S33 Vutomi Road.

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S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw »

In Jan 2007 I traveled this road a couple of times and found it to be very scenic and had good sightings of elephant, ***, and buffalo as well as the normal browsers / grazers such as impala, kudu ,giraffe, zebra etc. I did not see any of the cats as I did not get there early.
I was staying at Satara and getting there early is a bit of a problem because of the distance involved.
On my next trip in Nov 07 I intend leaving Satara at 04h30 and drive straight to the S33 as I think this road has great potential for lions and leopards.
Do any of the forumites have good experiences on this road?
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Unread post by Duke Ellieton »

Have had very good sightings of buffalo and elephant on this road snd agrre that it is very scenic and has good potential for predator sightings but have not seen any.

We usually drive to the Jones dam are from Skukuza hoping to see sable and then take this road but like you have not been there early in the morning.
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Unread post by DuQues »

Saving those that do not know where the S33 is some time:
Almost between Nhanguleni and Tshokwane picknicspot, about 35 km under Satara. It does not start at Tshokwane, that's the S34, but the road above that.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Gabar »

I was in the park two weeks ago (late October 2011) and I decided to try this road in my effort to get to Jones' Dam to look for Sable.
It had been 43 degrees Celsius the day before and the morning seemed to be getting hotter and hotter again.
I saw lots of interesting stuff on the way and then came upon a lion kill right at the Vutomi Dam.
Best lion sighting I have had in ages!
I sat with them for hours and then drove up to Lugmag Dam, found the Sable and a pair of Martial Eagles and then returned to the lions and sat with them for a few more hours.
Having just attended a Raptor Identification Course in Letaba, I wanted to photograph the Vultures on the Buffalo carcass.
No Vultures arrived in all the hours I sat there!
It really isn't like all the wildlife documentaries show it at all!
I was supposed to drive home on that day but stayed over at Pretoriuskop for another night due to this worthwhile delay.
As stated by somebody else in here, this must be one of the most remote points in the park in terms of getting to it early in the morning.
Skukuza and Satara are the two accommodation options, but it will probably take you two hours to get their from either of these camps.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Bush Baptist »

About 2 years ago to the day, I heard of wild dog at Vutomi dam.
I got there just in time, because the 24 dogs milled around for a minute or 2 and them sped off - gone.

My last doggie sighting in Kruger and my 6th trip in succession seeing them.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by MLAMBANE »

If you want solitude i.e. private sightings without the whole of Satara and the Orpen day visitors then the s33 is a great place to be!

In a recent trip we came across a pride of 21 lions that had downed a giraffe at the Vutomi dam.
Three lionesses lying in the road about 6km in from the tar.
A young leopardess hunting a scrub hare as well as a male leopard seeking refuge in a sausage tree, next to the road, during a rainy morning...

Despite these the road is always littered with tracks of lion, leopard and hyena...
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by zivvy&muffin »

Wonderful pics of Vutomi, was there last week ...
but no cats turned up in the 30 seconds I waited.
Great area and nice in several seasons.
Indeed, following a nice drive thru on the way from Tamboti to south I will now relent and book Skukuza or Satara (next trip) just so I can get at this area at the earliest possible time of day.
Do remember, forumites, that the Hamilton Lodges vehicles visit this area too so you're unlikely to beat them to a fresh kill of a morning.
The big downside of the S33 and other nearby roads (especially the S36) is they are in shocking condition and have been for the last year or so.
Very nastily corrugated and any number of sightings ruined as the poor bird / animal's ears get battered by the racket of tyres juddering to a stop.
The vibration for any poor creatures making their home close by must be dreadful.
But for that, Talamati would work as the access camp.
Vutomi and Lugmag dams are still intact (end Oct11), but are earmarked for being drained according to the Park Maps.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by adw »

I was dismayed to hear the Vutomi Dam and Lugmagdam dam have been earmarked for drainage. Could somebody from the Parks board please comment.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Joao »

adw there is a water management plan in action at Kruger. Many of the waterholes and dams will in due course be closed and drained.

Lugmag dam and Vutomi are both on the list to be closed.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Stoffel »

granjan wrote:I think Vutomi is one of the dams that is due to be drained anyway, isn't it?

If that's the case - so be it.
I realize the scientific approach behind such decisions, but still find it sad to see such beautiful landmarks disappear.
Rabelais Dam used to be my most favourite spot in Kruger because of the beautiful sightings that I have witnessed over many years around the dam.
For quite a few years it is gone now.
I still travel the S106 regularly just to experience some nostalgia when I pass the area where the dam was located.

I had an interesting discussion with my neighbour a few weeks ago.
Piet van der Hyde was ranger at Kingfisher Spruit (his photo can be seen in Rabelais Hut).
I thought that Piet (being of the older ranger generation) will be against the closure of water points in the park.
I was surprised to hear his support for the decision.

Big parts of the western boundary (between Kruger and the neighbouring private reserves like Sabi Sand, Timbavati etc) has been dropped.
Piet was very much against the erection of the fence to keep the game inside the park boundaries.
That prevented game like wildebeest and zebra to follow their natural migration routes.
And as wildebeest is very dependent on water, the man-made water points had to be made.

He told me those days the migrating game was shot on neighbouring land, but it did not have a negative impact on populations of the abundant species like wildebeest.
But the artificial water points had detrimental effects on some of the already scarce species as predators were drawn to the drinking places (attracted by wildebeest which had to come for water).

If Vutomi has to disappear I will experience it as a sad day, but will have understanding for it.
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Re: S33

Unread post by Elsa »

ruud wrote:I wonder when they print new maps.... :hmz:
Apparently there is a new map out Ruud.

@ Bucky I am sure I read somewhere where it was said that Vutomi dam is now permanently closed.
Will try and find it.

Ok Got it!

Joep Stevens wrote:Many thanks for your query. For now S33 is still closed and plans are to have it repaired by end of November 2012. I have been informed that Vutome Dam will not be repaired.
With kind regards.
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by okie »

NogardGio wrote:ok.....but when open Vutomi Road ?????

Well , as we know , during the floods quite a lot of damage was caused to roads , such as culverts , bridges , causeways , etc being damaged , portions of roads totally being washed away . It would obviously be necessary then to " rebuild " such sections , replacing base-course , compaction , grading , relaying of culverts , etc . , and that can take time , especially if it continues to rain , having to wait for " fair " weather , and so on .
One has to be patient :doh:

Rooies wrote:
okie wrote:
Rooies wrote:I was just wondering, why don't they use a farm implement, what we call a 'skottel eg'? It looks like a skottel that is use for the braai at the picnic sites. It normally has 4 rows of skottels, with the front row at a 30 degree angle to the right and the second row 30 degrees to the left with the other rows the same. It will cut trough, and break up any corrugations, even in winter.

Just a thought from a former plaas boytjie.

Not really a good idea Rooies . The gravel roads are constructed by laying down layers of material and compacted . This is called the basecourse and you certainly do not want to plough it up . It is shaped and profiled specifically to allow for water run-off and drainage , etc . Vehicle traffic over it unfortunately does cause corrugations and rain-water also damages it , and as such it regularly needs to be re-graded not only to smooth out the bumps , ridges and channels , but also to scrape back displaced gravel and sand that had been moved and blown to the sides of the roads .

Ag no man okie, you have bursted my bubble. I thought that I am in line for SANParks's medal of the year for ingenuity and now you are telling me that I may not even be in line for the wooden spoon. But, there must be a simple and efficient way to get rid of the corrugations without resorting to expensive grading and other maintenance.

Rooies , I do not think there is any solution to the problem of corrugation on gravel roads . The riffles are caused by many things , and IMHO , wind plays a large part in this . As vehicles travel over the road , it cause dust to swirl up behind them ( wind-action ) , and the more vehicles that use the road , the more dust is disturbed , and loosened by the wheels .
The dust-particles are picked up and deposited on the lee-sides of the ridges , ready to be disturbed and picked up again by the wind-action of the next vehicle .
This , to some extent is the same as that of wind which cause the huge sand-dunes in the desert . These dunes lie in a pattern , crosswise to the prevailing wind . Dust particles are picked up on the windward side of the dune , and carried OVER the ridge ( which causes a somewhat negative pressure/vacuum , causing the particles to be deposited on the leeward side , and forever creeping forward .
Flowing water have the same effect on sandy-bottoms , also on the ocean-floor , through wave action :wink:
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by Viewfinder »

Just read the Flood update posted on the website this morning - the Vutomi road is open!! :dance: :clap:

Can't wait to drive it for the first time when I am there in November! Thank you SANPARKS for all the work going into the fixing of all the camps, roads and gates damaged by the floods! :clap:
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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by UKbadger »

S33 Vutomi IS NOW OPEN!!

Jenny and I drove it the day after it opened and they have made a great job of it widening the surface and cutting back the bush just enough not to spoil the atmosphere.

Sadly, as we know, the dam is no more and we cried a tear or to see impala grazing where the water used to be.

The good news is that a little further west there is a small pan right next to the road where we had a rest and sandwich break. There was nothing but a hammercop there for 15 min or so but then impala vervets and elephants [just a bit close but OK for the strong of nerve] came to drink so there is at least some compensation.

Will try and get some photos posted as soon as we can get ourselves together, only got home to the UK today!

The s34 was still closed when we were there and it looks as if many of the concrete fords were washed away and this could be the reason why it has taken so long to fix.

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Re: S33 Vutomi Road.

Unread post by jb72 »

bornfree wrote:Is the water trough still working...the one that was next to the dam.

No - there is no water on this road except for the "pan" mentioned above, and probably a few spots in the river that you can't see anyway.

We drove the S33 & S34 on Sunday, and the S34 had huge herds of zebra and wildebeest. It was like driving near Satara, there were thousands of animals.

About halfway along the S34 the was a new "waterhole". I suspect this is the borrow pit where they were mining gravel for the roads. There were a lot of animals in the area, and although it still looks a bit rough, it could be a good spot in future. Does anyone know if this will be added as a tourist view point in future ?

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