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Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Senyetse
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Unread post by Senyetse » Wed Sep 12, 2007 7:53 am

Very good advice from MM there. Before you leave the guides weigh your pack and if its too heavy you will have to unpack unecessaryt items, so take only the essential. Even though they start off early its already quite hot by 7-8 am in the warmer months. I would suggest you do this trail in the cooler months if you can, ie May-August. I'm not 100% sure but I don't think it is open mid-summer. I'm sure the guides will accommodate special interests, ask them before hand. You will not be able to walk off on your own as you pitch your tents wherever the guides find a good spot - you're pretty exposed to the wildlife - you will be kept together at all times.
Dec '11 - Storms River
June '12 - Berg-en-Dal

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Unread post by Senyetse » Wed Sep 12, 2007 8:54 am

We are booked for 31 October, so heat will be a factor.


In that case, make sure everyone has lots of water, energy-rich snacks, a wide brimmed hat, light clothing, sunscreen and comfortable, well walked-in hiking shoes/boots.
Dec '11 - Storms River
June '12 - Berg-en-Dal

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Unread post by maussie » Wed Nov 07, 2007 10:11 am

Did this trail last week.

Many things make this a special experience, but the feeling of being at one with nature is the overriding impression.

The look a mother elephant gave us as she stood protectively in front of her day old calf made me realise that I was part of her world and not just a spectator looking out of a window.

Camping overnight and passing several hours swimming and relaxing in the river brought me closer to this environment than I have ever been, in fact on the last day it was with curiosity rather than fear that I watched a snake slither past my foot as I relaxed in the shade.

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Olifants river back-packing trail

Unread post by SANDCRK » Mon Mar 09, 2009 3:37 am

I would like to make this comment for a backpacking trip me, my wife and two daughters took along the Olifants River. We are from the United States and I highly recommend taking this trip if you have plans to see Kruger National Park or even if you are a regular visitor.

We were the first trip for the year 2008 and our guides, Donovan and Michael gave us complete confidence in all situations we faced. Other than living near or in the park, I cannot imagine any other way to really experience Kruger.

The amount of information received from our guides on insects, plants, birds and mammals was exceptional. Every day we saw a variety of insects--globe spiders, praying mantis, Elegant Grasshopper, dung beetles--plants--camas plant, huge fig trees, apple leaf trees, mopane--birds--Goliath Herons, wagtails, blacksmith plover, francolin, Grey Lourie, brown-headed parrots--larger animals--elephants, hippo, waterbuck, impala, cape buffalo, zebra, crocodile, giraffe. And on one day we had time to observe a pack of seven wild dogs across the river, unaware of our presence.

To sit on a sandbar as the sun is setting in all its beauty and listen to the sounds of the bush, the sounds of a troop of baboon, the vocalizations of the hippo, the call of a large variety of birds, and the roar of a lion as he calls in the night, and as luck would have it, headed towards our camp, can never be forgotten.

I would like to say that if the opportunity to visit the park comes your way, "Do it!" and make the Olifants back-packing trip part of your agenda. (My wife made all the arrangements online from the US without any problems.)

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Re: Olifants River back-packing trip

Unread post by SANDCRK » Tue Mar 10, 2009 3:21 am

Hi G@mespotter,
I would recommend two good water purifiers as the water was high and quite dirty. I would also bring some purifying tablets or drops also as we used both and had no ill effects from drinking the water. We purchased all the food we needed for the trip in Johannesburg.

The weather was quite warm for us as we had left the U.S. with temperatures around 20 degrees Fahrenheit. The high was around 90 degrees Fahrenheit and the lows maybe 50 deg.F. We always took a break at midday.

SANDCRK

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by G@mespotter » Tue May 19, 2009 8:37 pm

For a detailed report on the Olifants Backpack Trail, read the first part of The Beauty of Nature Revealed III, which has a thorough discription, tips, pictures and even short video's about this AMAZING Backpack Trail :D

Feel free to PM me for any questions regarding such trail.

:thumbs_up:
Tlopi 11 July Tambotie 12 July, Olifants Backpack trail 13-16 July, Letaba 16 July, Balule 17 July, and Sable Hide 18 July and Lower Sabie 19-20 July Can't wait actually :)

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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread post by Lourens » Sat May 30, 2009 5:15 pm

:D The Olifants River Back Pack Trail report which everyone were waiting for...

I drove to Olifants Rest Camp early Wednesday morning and found 2 African Hawk Eagles sitting in a tall tree and not far from them I got 5 Wild Dogs in the road, and after passing them they started running after the vehicle, but soon realised this animal is too fast and I left them behind.

I picked Jacques up at Letaba and welcomed our 7 gentlemen at Olifants, loaded all their back packs and off we went. All the way back to Phalaborwa Gate, down the fence line and arrived at the Cul de Sac around 11:00 and started walking about 11:30.

Not far in, we got fresh Black Rhino tracks and dung and lots of Hippos. We walked about 9 km's and saw a Giraffe, Impalas, Waterbuck, Kudus, Bushbuck and then pitched up all our tents. We went for a cool bath and prepared our supper below the cloudy weather.

The Thursday morning we woke up at 05:30 and left Camp 1 around 07:00. Up and down through the side streams, watching Hippos and Hippos watching us and close to our breakfast spot we enjoyed the Baboon troops communicating with each other, 1 troop on the Northern side and 1 troop on the Southern side of the River. Ai it was amazing!!!! Had our breakfast and proceeded the walk.

After our lunch we got a Elephant nearby and viewed it, before we left it in peace. Got another few Waterbuck, Giraffe, Impalas and lots of Leopard tracks.

We pitched up camp 2 about 16 km's from the previous spot, which was situated further away from the rapids, to listen at the night sounds and had a Hippo visiting us, while watching the beautiful night skies. After the Hippo left we went and sat down around the fire and as we went to bed the Lions roared all night long.

Friday morning we decided to sleep in a little bit, but everyone were up at 05:50 listening at the Lions moving further away as they roared. It was a much hotter day with the sun shining bright and a few clouds around and not cloudy and cool weather as the previous 2 days.

We had breakfast and then started walking for about 8 km's until we had our lunch break just after we found a African Rock Python and Mosambican Spitting Cobra. We viewed lots of White Backed Vultures flying on the Southern bank of the River, and wished we could get there to see if there is a kill...

The last stretch we walked for the day was about 5 km's and had a Elephant coming to investigate the funny Human voices at 1 of our water breaks and had to shout at him as he wanted to charge and he replied a bit louder with his trumpeting noise before he turned and moved into the bush. We also got a Hippo sleeping under some Red spike thorn bushes and a Giant Kingfisher with a big fish in his beak. For Friday evening we put up camp on the dry sand bank in the River and ai we had a stunning Sunset with a great Night Sky and 2 Hippos testing each other's patience with Humans in the area.

Every morning it was a bit chilly and felt the coldness of the early hours of dawn and tried to climb deeper into the sleeping bag, but then an hour later we woke up again.

This morning we had about 9 km's to walk and got beautiful Lion tracks, lots of Leopard tracks a Hippo that returned late to the River and a young Pels Fishing Owl!!! What an amazing sighting it was!!!

We finished the trail off with a big herd of Elephants, and had to be very cautious as we eventually got around them.

It was another unforgettable experience, and nice to see a toilet and shower again...

Hope the Blue Bulls win the Super 14 tonight!!!

Until next time... :D
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread post by Lourens » Wed Jun 17, 2009 5:20 pm

:D :D
I left Phalaborwa Gate at 05:50 and met Jannie Jurgens who I have done the Sandriver Bush Camp with, at Skukuza last year May, remember?? at Olifants and we waited for our guests.

Eventually the 8 young gentlemen arrived after 08:00, welcomed them, got all the paperwork done, loaded the Back Packs into the trailer, told the 8 young gentlemen to take a seat and off we went to start our Olifants River Back Pack Trail.

We found lots of Elephants, Giraffes and common game to our starting point.

Jannie gave them the briefing and started walking at around 11:30. It was hot, but something everyone was waiting for, for a long time.

We started off with some Impalas, Sharpes Grysbok, Hippo's, Kudus, and after a few kilometres or so, a Elephant Bull appeared from no where with us standing in his way, he quickly came closer, ears open and head raised, I quickly showed the guests to go down the Riverbank and within that second or 2, Jannie and I loaded the Rifles, shouted at the Elephant and luckily he stopped and gave us a second to get the guests out of the way before he came running towards us and came to an halt about 20 metres from us, the 2 of us kept on shouting and clapping hands and the Elephant just listening at these funny adrenaline pumping voices. Jannie took the guests around the Elephant while I was busy following each and every move of this big hairy beast, and then he decided to charge again, I shouted, loaded the rifle again and made sure we got out of there very quickly. We decided that it was enough for 1 day, so we got our first camping spot after tracking some Lions, but couldn't find them.

We put up camp and we all went for a bath and enjoyed the fire and the stories that went around about what everyones thoughts were about our afternoon's exercise.

The next morning, Monday morning we left camp around 07:00 and tried to do as much kilometres before it is too hot and had our breakfast at a Hippo pool and was very nice watching them, while enjoying breakfast.

After we filled our stomachs Jannie took us over a little Hill and followed the River when we got some Waterbuck, Kudus, Impalas and had a waterbreak when we found a Buffalo on the other side of the River and at our lunch spot a Elephant Bull, drinking water.

Not far from there we got a Buffalo and we surprised him a little bit, but luckily he jumped up and ran away very quickly. We went down into the River and got a nice grassy sandbank which we used as our second night's camping spot and we were in bed just after 8.

Yesterday morning, Tuesday morning we didn't know when we woke up this day is going to bring such excitement!!!

After we found a big Crocodile we got fresh Lion tracks, and wasn't sure how far ahead they were and where they are, but they are going into the direction we were walking to and guess what happened next...

We got 3 Hippo's in the River and while telling Jannie, this is the spot where the Elephant gave me and Jacques a mock charge on my previous trail Jannie spotted the Lions!!!

They ran up the slope, with us quickly running after and the gentlemen thought we are running from the Hippo's I turned around and shouted Lions!!!

Unfortunately Jannie and I were the only ones to get a quick glimpse at them again, but with no luck we ever found them again.

Had our breakfast next to the River watching 2 Elephant Bulls and another small herd crossing the River we proceeded our walk after our break and found some Giraffe, Bushbuck, Klipspringers, Fish Eagles, Bateleurs, 2 Giant Eagle Owls and stopped for lunch and put up our last camp not far from there.

After a stunning Sunset it became dark quickly with all of us starting the fire and moving around the tents, the 1 guest called me, asking which eyes are there...

Got Jannie to come and have a look, and we decided on Leopard, he watching us for a while, while we got our cooking pots and supper we went and sat around the fire, saying no 1 goes to their tents alone. Now and then we used the torches and still he was there, but eventually disappeared.

This morning we went to the spot to confirm that it was a Leopard, the tracks clearly showed where it was sitting and lying, while watching us and took off after some curiousity.

Luckily this morning we got back safe at the end point, but had the chance to track some fresh Lion spoor and viewed about 70 Elephants drinking water at the end point before the vehicle came to fetch us.

Ai man!!! All I can say, the trail brought lots of scary moments, but everything was worth while and the 8 gentlemen from Johannesburg will always have a story to tell!!!! :D

The pictures will follow!!! :D
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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread post by DinkyBird » Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:05 pm

Everyone - Pics from Lourens!
My Olifants River Back Pack Trail from the 14th to 17th of June 2009 pictures.


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Sawubona
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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by M.Paxton » Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:30 am

Greetings Back Packers

This is one of the most amazing trails around, the river is amazing to walk along. The riverine vegetation is something to see, there are some places along the river which can in my view only be described as an enchanted forest.

The possability to see the big 5 is there if that is what you are after. The chance of seeing the pels fishing owl is there. i've also seen cape clawless otter on one of my trail.

Everytime i do the trail there is something new to see and experience.
It is just amazing!!!!!

Any question about the trail please ask.

Cheers

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by DocD » Thu Jul 23, 2009 8:54 pm

Ive done this trail twice, april 2007 and Aug 2008. I believe its the ultimate way to see kruger. You may not see as much big game, but the birding scenery and informative guides make up for it.

And lying on a sand bank in the middle of the olifants river at sunset, is something really special and unforgettable.

Im going to continue going until i see the elusive black rhino who's spoor is so abundant on the last 2 days.
Sometimes its worth walking around with wet shoes all day, if it means you can jump in the puddle.
2 x Olifants river back packers trails completed

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by Mant » Tue Jul 28, 2009 11:12 am

Hi,

I've done the Olifant's River Trail and it was really nice.

It was a bit scary walking in the Kruger knowing that there were Big 5 around and other dangerous animals, but I really enjoyed it.

When we were staying in the "A" frame huts that you stay in on the walk, there was a big round hole in my mom's and mine and the whole night we had bats flying over our heads and going out the other hole on the other side of the hut.

I was scared that one of them where going to land on me. :pray:

The next night we had a genet that was scratching on the outside of our hut, it kept me awake the whole night. :sniper:

We didn't see much on the walk, but what we did see was the Pel's Fishing Owl, and 2 hippo's that were following us along the river that we were abit weary about. :pray:

The one was in the water and the other one was on land. The guide kept on telling us to look behind us all the time to check on the hippo. He had his gun ready incase he had to shoot at it. :sniper:

But luckily they both left us alone after a while, which was a relief. :pray:

It was a nice experience though. :)

Samantha
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Biyamiti 25th - 28th March 2017

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Re: Phalaborwa Gate Sightings

Unread post by Lourens » Fri Aug 14, 2009 10:23 am

:D Good morning to all!!!

Okay what you were all waiting for...

Jannie Jurgens and I did the Olifants River Backpack Trail from the 9th to the 12th of August.

We left on Sunday and started walking around 11:00, it was hot and the wind was blowing in our favour. We went over the small Hills and down to the River where we found a nice sighting of Hippo (Pictures coming).

We found lots of Impalas, Waterbuck, Giraffes, Kudus and more Hippos before we found our first Elephant about 4 km's from our first camping spot.

When we arrived around 16:15 at our camping spot we all put our tents up and went for a bath in the River and had a lovely view of Elephants coming down to drink water (pictures coming). The second morning we crossed the River just before we had breakfast and found Baboons and fresh Leopard Tracks. We went passed Hell Eden which is an old Ranger's picket which Mr. Tedd Whitfield build in the late 70's early 80's.

After a few kilometres we found Lions on the Northern side of the River but when they spotted us they jumped up and ran up the slope and disappeared into the Mopanies. Later the afternoon we were tracking fresh Lion spoor and it lead us to a Hippo that jumped up behind the bush and ran into the opposite direction. The Lion spoor were leading us away from the River and because it was late we had to turn back and look for a camping spot.

Got our camping spot, putting up our tents and took a bath. After a hot day the Sunset was lovely and I took a few pictures (coming).

The amazing thing of this trail was we heard Lions roaring every night and every morning!!!

After preparing supper and sitting around the camp fire, slowly but surely everyone went to bed to get ourselves ready for the 3rd day.

Tuesday morning came and we woke up at 05:00 again, taking down our tents and as it got light we started walking again. We found fresh tracks of a Male Lion, but he was going into the opposite direction, we were walking on his trail for a few kilometres and it eventually lead us to a dead Hippo in the River.

We believe the Hippo died because of a territorial fight and found lots of Lion tracks and Vultures at the carcass.

Not far from there we had our breakfast next to the River. After our breakfast we got to a spot which looked like a snake that moved over the animal path and as we looked down we saw the Leopard tracks next to the dragmark and knew he killed something and dragged it up the slope. We quickly dropped our backpacks and got the spot where he pulled the hair out and wasn't sure what it was and kept on following it and found the fresh evidence. It was a young Baboon, he killed, we first got the one arm then the heap bone with a leg and heard a Tree squirrel complaining not far from there and went into that direction when we just spotted the Leopard running away very fast!!!

We walked and walked and walked and found some Impala Lillies, Impalas, Hippo's, Crocodiles- big and small, Giraffes, Waterbuck, Bushbucks, Duikers, Sharpes Grysbok, and put up camp for the last night close to a Hippo pool.

For that afternoon we had our own amphitheater and man the Hippo's entertain us with their calls and showing their teeth.

The last morning as we got close to the finish point which is the Fig Tree we just heard a sound, like lots of racing horses, and knew it is a breeding herd of Buffalo. We dropped our backpacks and went and sat down behind a fallen down Mopanie Tree, but unfortunately as the Buffaloes came down they smelled us and turned around. We quickly moved up the slope and found this huge herd of Buffaloes. Their thirst was a bigger and more important factor, than watching us and they started running down to the River. It was a huge herd at least 1000 Buffaloes!!! We made our way down to the River and where we could see, it was just Buffaloes, more and more coming down and eventually with a huge dust cloud in the air they all moved away from us.

It was another exciting backpack trail with great sightings and moments which will always be a memory for me, Jannie Jurgens and the 8 guests...:D
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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by M.Paxton » Fri Aug 21, 2009 8:01 pm

Greetings All

Here is a quick trail report for the trail 16 to 19 August.

Sunday Morning picked 7 Guests up at Olifants Camp. The group call themselves "Dapper Stapper" group, great group of freinds.
We arrived at the drop of point at 10:30 and started walking shortly after that.

We had lunsh around 12 and then crossed the river to walk on the southern bank. The plan was to walk the whole trail on the southern bank. this is only possible when the river is low enough to cross.
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Sightings for the the day: Hippo, Croc, bushbuck, elephant, grysbok, kudu, zebra, klipspringer,impala, waterbuck.

the weather was good for walking, cool and a slight breeze.
this is camp sight for the first night.
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i can not explain the setting as photos can not give the feeling one has when you you camp in the middle of a wilderness area, with the olifants river flowing past.

Will post day two tommorrow.

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Re: Olifants River Back-pack Trail

Unread post by M.Paxton » Sun Aug 23, 2009 4:33 pm

Greetings All

Day Two

We woke up at 5:30 and got packing. Did not here much in the the night due to the rapids. we left camp at 7:00. the morning was cool so we covered good ground. sightings for the day; crocs, elephant, impala, baboon, giant eagle owl, fish eagles, hippos, duiker, kudu, klipspringer, scrub hare and a nile monitor lizard. oh and a mozambique spitting cobra.

Image
some of the many hippo along the river

Once again we camped on the southern bank just down stream from a grove of riverine thicket. no rapids near by so we hoped for a night filled with sounds. the sound for the night was most definetly they haunting call of the Pels Fishing Owl. sounds like some one blowing into a bottle.

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You know how the sying goes. "another @#$ day in Africa"

Day three to follow


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