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Wolhuter Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
gwendolen
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Wolhuter Trail

Unread post by gwendolen » Sun Aug 05, 2007 11:58 am

The first of all the wilderness trails is situated roughly between Berg-en-dal, Ship mountain and Afsaal picnic site.
It was named after one of the first rangers that were appointed in the establishment of the Sabie Game Reserve in those days - 1902.
Harry Wolhuter later in his career killed a lion single handedly with his hunting knife while out on patrol on horseback.
It is a spectacularly scenic wilderness area characterized by high granite outcrops with deep valleys as well as a flatter undulating landscape.
Wilderness qualities are high as the trail area is far removed from the boundaries of the Kruger National Park.

Culturally, Wolhuter Trail was a very active area in days gone by and a lot of relics of the past can be seen everywhere.
Evidence of Bushmen and stone and iron age people can be found on the higher lying areas and rocky outcrops.
The famous Jock of the Bushveld and his master Sir Percy Fitzpatrick were also criss-crossing this area on their adventurous hunting trips and transport driving routes.

Plant life is very diverse especially in the higher lying areas – this area is also classified as a botanical reserve within the KNP.
Birdlife is good with a lot more species to be seen in summertime when all the summer migrants return.

White and black rhino can be found in the Wolhuter Wilderness area with the former very concentrated. Elephant and buffalo are also regularly seen as well as sable, mountain- and common reedbuck can be seen.
Other more common species include zebra, giraffe, kudu, waterbuck, blue wildebeest and warthog.

Wolhuter Wilderness Trail’s biggest plus point however is to sit on a granite outcrop and to stare into the distance and experience a wild feeling in a wild land amongst wild creatures.

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Red
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Unread post by Red » Fri Aug 17, 2007 10:38 am

My dad and I did this trail last year, and it was amazing. We're going back to do it again in September (only a few weeks to go!) and bringing some people with us. Last year we had two fantastic sightings of groups of white rhino :)

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Unread post by BushCall » Sat Aug 18, 2007 1:49 pm

I did the Wolhuter Trail when I was 6 yrs old ...I can still remember it very clearly the evening camp fire and the walks and looking at Bushman Paintings in rock shelters...therewere also lots of White Rhino sightings as well

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Wolhuter trail

Unread post by ndloti » Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:16 pm

I have not been there recently, but have enjoyed it every one of the 8 or so occasions I have stayed there .
The first trail I walked was Wolhuter in March 1985, there were tents not the wood & thatch huts, pit latrines , and one had to climb a ladder to fill the shower tank with hot water .
Cyclone Demoina ocurred a few months prior and the ground was still sodden, all the spruits were gushing crystal clear .
I would like to see the Mangake area near Newu dam again, this is spectacularly beautifully area indeed , perhaps a request to the guide will take you to this gem ....
KNP is sacred. I am opposed to the modernisation of Kruger and from the depths of my soul long for the Kruger of yesteryear! 1000+km on foot in KNP incl 56 wild trails.200+ nights in the wildernessndloti-indigenous name for serval.

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jb72
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Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Unread post by jb72 » Mon Aug 11, 2008 12:41 pm

Just got back from a trip to Kruger, which included the Wolhuter Trail from the 6th to the 9th of August.
What a experience !
I just wanted to mention that the two guides Kenneth and Orpa and the cook, John, were exceptional.
We were treated like kings, and the walks were incredible.
These gentlemen are an asset to SanParks, and I hope someone could please pass this message on to the "powers that be".

For the record: 25 Rhinos in one day ! 18 of them on foot !
Must be some kind of record !
We also did an afternoon walk from Stolsnek Dam and encountered 27 different species of animals and birds during the 2 hours !
The highlight being 2 lionesses with their 2 cubs whom we had been tracking for 2 days ! Awesome !

I highly recommend the Wolhuter Trail.
I certainly can't wait to do more.....

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jb72
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Re: Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Unread post by jb72 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:53 pm

Hi Diesel,

You are going to have a great time !!!!! It's an experience of a lifetime ! Here are a couple of pics as requested.

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Give me a shout if you need anything else !

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jb72
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Re: Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Unread post by jb72 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 2:57 pm

Diesel wrote:Hi JB!
I believe it is very hot in the Kruger right now - 38 degrees.
:dance:


Take loads of liquid refreshments :lol:
Don't know if you have done the trail before, but there is a big chest freezer in camp, and you can put your own "drinks" in there. Nothing better than an ice cold beer after a couple of hours out in the bush....

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Diesel
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Re: Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Unread post by Diesel » Tue Sep 09, 2008 3:45 pm

Thanks JB, for the pics and info...

First time I am doing Wolhuter.

Is that the Stolsnek dam?

You are right, I better take more liquid refreshments, as one can dehydrate in this heat...
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jb72
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Re: Wolhuter Wilderness Trail

Unread post by jb72 » Tue Sep 09, 2008 4:00 pm

Diesel,

You are right yes - that is the Stolsnek dam.
You will probably go there on your last day.
It certainly is the highlight of the trail - loads of animals around and maybe the lions with their cubs are still around. :pray:

Regarding the "liquid refreshments":
All they supply on the trail is water and coffee or tea.
The water is straight from mother earth and at 38 degrees it might be a bit hot for coffee, so take lots to drink. :thumbs_up:

Enjoy - I'm certainly :mrgreen:

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Diesel
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Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Diesel » Wed Oct 08, 2008 3:21 pm

Myself and Riana walked the Wolhuter Trail in September.
We reported at Berg-en-Dal the Sunday afternoon and arrived at the camp early enough to go for a stroll after we saw an elephant close to camp.
Our guide Sakkie then took us for a drive.
We came across a young elephant bulldozing a Jackalberry tree to reach the green leaves on top.

We had the hut closest to the ablutions and we had a splendid view as many animals were passing the area on their way to Stolsnekdam.
When we saw the one meter high fence, we decided to limit our liquid intake in the late afternoon.
Believe me, you do not want to be outside your hut at night here.
Sakkie warned us to use a torch and walk in couples when visiting the ablutions at night.
Friends who walked this trail had a leopard in the camp – not a very comforting thought at that moment.
The first night was extremely cold.
The openings in the panels of the A-frame hut were huge and the wind was ice cold.
Due to these openings we had various strange species inhabiting our “residence”.
When I lifted my pillow, a giant spider scuttled to Riana’s side, but luckily for it, Riana is fond of spiders and she didn’t mind sharing her bed with an eight-legged creature.
I did not sleep well at all the first night: it was cold and ......hmm, I needed to visit the loo, but every time I asked Riana to accompany me, she simply mumbled: “no” and went back to sleep.
This was extreme torture...

The first morning we saw many white rhinos and elephants.
Back at camp we had brunch prepared by the chef.
While the rest slept in, Riana and I sat at the clearing in front of our hut and admire the view.
We saw impala, baboons, warthogs and elephants resting in the shade on their daily route to Stolsnekdam. When Riana photographed the elephants she ventured too close for comfort and one mock- charged her.
I never have seen anyone “reverse-jump” so quickly.

That late afternoon we sat at Stolsnekdam on the grass amongst elephant dung and ticks, admiring the playful behaviour of the elephants bathing in the water.
One couldn’t help to wonder about these highly intelligent animals.
Their behaviour reflects a social and emotional creature with a sense of fun, almost humane.
We were stirred by emotion when watching these magnificent, wonderful animals.

On the second night I decided to use my thermal blanket and other thermal goodies.
By this time I didn’t care with sharing my bed with a python, never mind a few spiders... It was extremely cold for this time of year.
The three blankets were folded double, making it six altogether.
Early the next morning I dreamed that my electric blanket was on fire – I was wet with perspiration as the temperature in the Kruger was back to normal (that means “HOT”).
Gone were the thermal blanket and goodies!

The next morning it was time for me to be alone.
Sometimes I enjoy solitude: to be by myself and have my senses experience nature.
I watched a dwarf mongoose playing in the sun.
The bush was alive with animals as well as birds and their songs.
The rest of the group admired the Bushman-paintings on a close-by hill.
The daily temperature had risen and the group returned quite early.

That afternoon we were off to Stolsnekdam again.
This time there were three elephant bulls playing in the water, where after they rub themselves in the mud to get rid of parasites.

Our last night was a HOT Kruger night.
Like every other night, the hyenas whooped: it was time to hunt and the alpha female was calling.
We even heard lions roaring far off.

The last morning, on our way back to Berg-en-Dal, everyone on the bakkie was quiet.
It was time to said goodbye to this truly magnificent place and unique tranquility one can only find in the Kruger Park.
But not for long: in a few months I will be back for my most addictive Kruger “therapy”...


A few pics:

One of the rhinos we saw

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Wolhuter camp

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Our hut

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Our hut from inside: wind was blowing right through (spider friendly environment)

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View from our hut

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Impala in clearing in front of our hut

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Wolhuter wilderness area

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Time to take a break

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Admiring the elephants at Stolsnekdam

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Time for “sundowners”

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Toilet with one meter high fence in background

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This elephant “mock charged” Riana at the fence of our camp

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One unhappy elephant

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Bird bath in Wolhuter camp

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A dwarf mongoose at the lapa

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Wolhuter wilderness area

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Bushman paintings

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On our last afternoon we visited Stolsnekdam once again to see the elephants bathing one last time (this photo was taken the day before)

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Sunset at Stolsnekdam ... moments to be quiet to admire your surroundings. Stolsnekdam and it’s elephants was to me personally the highlight of the trail.

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Last edited by Elsa on Mon Apr 08, 2013 2:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Pics resized.
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Diesel
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Diesel » Sat Oct 11, 2008 1:03 pm

Some more pics, as promised:




Another pic of sunset at Stolsnekdam

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We saw many elephants on the trail

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Wolhuter area

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Elephant bulldozing jackalberry tree

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Sunset

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Admiring the view while having snacks

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Taking a break

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Wolhuter camp

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Silence is the entrance into the deepest experience of being...

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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Meandering Mouse » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:29 am

Diesel, what a wonderful report :D thank you :thumbs_up: Just loved all your little Waxbills :clap: :clap: :clap:

My daughters did the trail about a year ago and they just fell in love with the Dwarf Mongoose. They told me that the grass looked alive at times there were so many.

Imberbe, my daughters found the food absolutely delicious. They could not believe the quality and quantity. Mind you they are used to MM's cooking :wink: Bedding was provided, but a torch was essential.

The highlight of their trip was walking into a pack of Wilddog chasing an Implala. The Impala was very happy about their appearance, not so the Wilddog. They had a thrilling few minutes while the Wilddog tried to make sense of what these creatures were. In the meantime the Impala got away.. one lucky Impala.
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Kamadejo
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Kamadejo » Fri Jul 30, 2010 6:48 am

Lovely report Diesel, thanks so much for sharing :clap: :clap: The Blue-Waxbill pic is beautiful, I never got even one in a pic, as they were to fast or the grass was too high. :lol:
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Imberbe
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Mon Aug 09, 2010 1:14 am

Herewith the promised report!

Going to do it a bit differently so as to answer some questions prospective hikers may have.

ARRIVAL:


We met our guides at Berg-en-Dal at three pm. on the first day of our trail. We parked our vehicles under the trees at the parking area set aside for the trails. After a brief welcome some basic information was given as to what to expect, and we packed our suitcases in to the trailer of the game viewing vehicle.

We then departed on a 45 minute drive to Wolhuter trails camp, which is situated in the wilderness area located between Berg-en-Dal and Pretoriuskop camps, in the Stolsnek area of the park. This is to me one of the most scenic areas in the park with lots of granite hills (koppies) and rolling savanna bush veld. Ideal rhino country, not known for major animal populations, but well known for sightings of some special and scarce animals such as wild dog and sable.

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Entering the no entry road at the Matjulu waterhole, we were not to see any other humans or vehicles for a full three days. The trail last for four days and three evenings.

Arriving at the camp we were taken for a brief introduction to the camp, while one of the guides unpacked our luggage from the trailer.

THE CAMP:

Wolhuter trail is the oldest trail in the Kruger and was started due to the vision and commitment of people like Trevor Dearlove, Johan van Graan and Mike English. It became operational on the 4th of July 1978. For more information on the history of the trails read here.

The camp itself is fenced only by an ordinary cattle height diamond mesh type fence, which merely demarcates the boundaries, and will not really keep anything in or out.

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The view from our unit across the fence, with a small water hole hidden behind the grass.


The camp does not have any electricity. Water is pumped by a Lister engine from a nearby borehole, and are clean and drinkable. Warm water for showers are provided by gas geysers, and lights in the camp are provided by paraffin lanterns.

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This "donkey" used to provide warm water, but have now been replaced by gas geysers.

There are four thatched guest huts, each with two single beds. They are small but quite nice and clean. Bedding is provided as well as a paraffin lamp in the evenings. In front of each unit there is a wash basin which is filled with warm water in the mornings when you are woken up. The huts have wooden shutters which can be opened or closed.

When we were there the temperature late at night was quite cold, and the huts got really fresh, due to openings in the wooden floor and walls. Luckily enough blankets were provided.

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Imberbe
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Re: Wolhuter Trail: photos and report

Unread post by Imberbe » Mon Aug 09, 2010 2:35 pm

Besides the four guest units there are also two toilets and two showers. These are true to character also simple constructions, with pole walls and thatched roofs.

As mentioned, the showers are powered by gas geysers. The original design, had an old dustbin drum with some piping welded in to it, which stood on a ledge and was filled by hand. It was left for historical purposes, but the water supply is now automated via pipes from a holding tank. There are two shower units.

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Two toilet units are provided with flush toilets. They are on the edge of the camp, and at night you are not quite sure what you may find just on the other side of the fence. Again, clean but basic.

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There is a thatched lapa (roof) for if the whether gets bad, but it is small and not used unless necessary. The most of the socialising is around the fire, where some steel tables are provided, and the food is served.

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The kitchen facilities are very basic. For the convenience of the guests a gas freezer is provided. It does well to keep drinks cold, but should not be used for freezing anything. Guests do not really use the kitchen since food is provided.

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To the back of the kitchen, there are more units which is used as a pantry and in which the personnel stay. The have their own ablutions, in the same style as the guests. Here John, one of the guides, sits in front of his home.


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Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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