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Sweni trail

Discuss activities available in the Kruger National Park, and follow all the sighting reports.
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Sweni trail

Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:21 am

I did the Sweni trail last year in June.
Lovely trails camp with excellent views from almost all A-frame huts.
All huts have a little wooden deck with nice layback chairs.

A view from the waterhole linking out of the Sweni stream from the fire area is awesome.
Hippos are present there.

The sweni area about 50000ha is excellent for almost all game species and is host to the Park's biggest lion concentration.
No wonder we had 2 prides roaring at each other on the first night on both ends of the camp.
They were so close that you could smell them and hear the intake of air as they were about to roar.

The sun-downer spots are awesome alternating between a low water bridge and a lookout from a hilltop with a breathtaking view to the east.

The walks are conducted more on the flat open plains of the Sweni area.

Good sightings of lion, rhino and elephant were marked on the trail.
Awesome to see sometimes flocks of up to 30 ostriches.
Plenty of general game around which gives you the impression that anything can happen at anytime and causes some major adrenalin rushes.

Birding is quite prolific on this trail and we picked up a 103 species on the 3 days.

A truly lovely trail!!
Latest Lifer(s): Burchell's Courser, Cory's Shearwater, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, Great Winged Petrel, Grey Waxbill, Cape Rock-jumper

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Unread post by Oumie » Wed Jun 29, 2005 8:50 am

WTM does the Sweni trail go along the Sweni river?
If it does will pass it onto my SO.
He just loves that road and keep on going on it at least 5 times during our trip :!:
He is thinking of going on a trail next year (I have to stay in the camp due to back problems :cry:,
but I sit and watch the birds :!: )

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Wed Jun 29, 2005 9:05 am

Oumie, it is quite far from any tourist road that you know off.
Some parts of the trail is conducted along the Sweni stream.
It is a huge area, roughly 50000 ha.
It is a beautiful part of the Park.
Lots of open plains mostly.

If you look at the map you'll see that the trails camp is some km's below the Nwanetsi tar road.

Some parts of the area is very similar to that you and your husband drives.

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Unread post by wildtuinman » Fri May 26, 2006 12:59 pm

Tracking the Sweni lions.

The wet cat smell hangs strongly in the air, almost as strong as the sound of two lion prides’ roaring on opposite sides of the Sweni Wilderness Trail camp.
Now is not the time to go deal with the consequences of the earlier consumption of a couple or more of beers around the campfire.

Pitch dark.
Lions roaring their heads off.
And they are real close, so close that you can smell them.

Earlier in the day we were picked up at Satara by our trails’ rangers.
A lovely dinner and socializing around the campfire set the tone.
Never would we expect to experience nature in the form of lions going mad right outside the camp on the first night.

Early the next morning we set out to find these felines.
Only footprints.
Not a visual of any lion.
After tracking lion spoor, not clear and even sometimes invisible, leading by our tracker for 2 hours we decided to pull out the breakfast feast.
How lions manage to cover such a vast distance in a morning still remains unclear to me.

Breakfast consisting of crackers, cheese, biltong, fruit juice, dried fruit and fresh fruit are being laid out delicately by our guides on our breakfast table; a rocky outcrop.
Half way through our meal we got silenced by one of the guides.
A white rhino bull appears from nowhere and gently makes his way towards us.
Cameras out and action!
Only after he came 15m from us did he realize that something was lurking in front of him.
He stood dead still… And then trotted off away from us.

What a way to enjoy a breakfast!!

Lion tracking continued after breakfast, which brought us to a kill.
Young kudu bull, our guide informs us. Lion spoor all over the place.
Nothing left of the kudu except for the horns and a hoof.
Silently our guide replays the event of the happenings.
Astonishing how good he replays the events in front of our eyes.

The executors, 5 female lions, 2 young ones and 2 males, only 30min in front of us.
We take the spoor of the 2 males whom broke away from the pride.
viewtopic.php?t=16557We are getting close, real close if you listen to the calls of helmeted guinefowl going off like burglar alarms. Then suddenly… a guinea-fowl flushes and I have my heart bouncing around in front of my feet.
At the stream 2 fresh pairs of male lion spoor.
Soaking wet.

As we continue to move through the stream we see the “spin marks” of a zebra, which would make a Gezina voortrekker street racer proud.
There he stands looking as nervous as an Elvis Presley impersonator before his maiden show.
Lions? No sign but they are too close.
And our guides lead us away to safety.

A day later, having sun-downers on top of a hill, everyone gasps at the beauty of unspoilt Kruger nature. Forty thousand hectares of it, stretching out in front of us.
No one says a word.
Only the memories of the 2 days’ hike and the close encounter with the lions in our minds.
The only sound is that coming from a waterbuck clearing the stream below us and the sound of a chin-spot Batis.
Oh yes and of course that off an Amarula bottle’s “doep-doep-doep”.
Latest Lifer(s): Burchell's Courser, Cory's Shearwater, Wilson's Storm-Petrel, European Storm-Petrel, Great Winged Petrel, Grey Waxbill, Cape Rock-jumper

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Unread post by fannymays » Tue Nov 14, 2006 2:45 pm

Hi Fredi

Some of the pics I could find on my adventure on the Sweni.







Hope it gives some idea of what it's all about
Last edited by Elsa on Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Resized Pics.
Why do I do it??? Well because I ..... can!!!!

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Sweni Trail

Unread post by fredi » Mon Dec 18, 2006 11:49 pm

Hey folks,
I'm back in Belgium now.

I did the Sweni trail from 29/11 till 02/12.
We had 2 excellent guides Laurence and Obet.
The other guy's doing the trail were 6 South Africans, 3 men with their wives mid 50 year each.
They all where living in the Lowveld and were farmers.
They constantly spoke Afrikaans what was easy to understand for us.
Problem was that they were not prepared and they didn't know what such a trail is.
They thought they would have a nice 3 day in the bush with friends in the bush drinking beers at a sun-downer.
So some of them couldn't walk a lot what was a big disappointment for us.
We were very lucky we had 2 excellent guides.
We saw a lot but walked not enough!
Otherwise I can recommend you that trail and the professional Kruger staff that accompanies you.


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Unread post by wilmaw » Thu Nov 08, 2007 6:46 pm

I've only been on the Sweni so can't compare with others... but it was great!
We went 29 March 2006 with guide Kally and tracker Ozzy - great guides too.

Onto the Sweni, we saw white rhino and the guides were disappointed that the rhinos got wind of us and ran off but frankly we were all OK with it!
Got a good look at them and don't want to get too close!

We did get lions on foot.
Beforehand I thought I wouldn't want to (too scary) but when it actually happened, it was amazing!
They ran off and as Kally was explaining to us what he think had happened etc., I saw another one behind him (quite a distance).
We couldn't believe it, it was really amazing.

My trip report and video of the lion encounter.

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Unread post by Elsa » Thu Nov 08, 2007 9:46 pm

That was an amazing video clip wilmaw, what a wonderful experience, thanks for sharing. :D

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Unread post by Imberbe » Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:56 pm

No children under 12 allowed on trails.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

"Wilderness cannot be conquered, it becomes part of you and enriches your soul."

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Unread post by sammuri » Tue Feb 26, 2008 4:58 pm

Went on the sweni trail some 16 years ago.
excellent sighting.
Saw lion and elephant that the rangers had to take down the week before because it charged a group on the trail.

The lions left the carcass the day after and we have a change to get up close to the carcass.

Dead ellie more that a week ripe in the Africa sun is not something to enjoy on a walk.

Did not see much the second day. the rangers had to try and catch some illegals/ poachers from Mozambique that were returning to Mozambique through the park and had to resort to shooting over the heads of the fleeing people to stop them in their tracks, then had to wait for rangers to come and arrest these people.

other that that incident wonderful trip!

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Wilderness Trails - Sweni

Unread post by Jenna Leigh » Sat May 31, 2008 1:04 pm

Hi there!
I'm really keen to do the Sweni Trail - I've visited Kruger many times but this will be my first trail.

2 questions:
The info states the camps are fenced - does this take away from the 'bush-veld' experience?
Do you feel cut off from the bush, or do you still have a good view into the environment?

-How fit do you have to be?
About how far do you walk?
I'm young and don't need a cane or anything but am not super fit!


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Unread post by ndloti » Sat May 31, 2008 1:37 pm

The camps of all the trails (besides the Olifants back packing trail) are fenced, although certain sized animals will be able to enter and have entered .
If people are up after the trails ranger has gone to bed animals would possibly pose a threat and the camps are also large enough for dangerous animals to be hidden within without trailists knowing of their presence till it is perhaps too late.
The fences are not high , perhaps 1.5 metres and one can still easily see out of the camps and I am of the opinion that although there is a perception of it, the safety concerns outweigh the detraction from the bushveld experience .
If you page further down on this topic you will find a separate thread on each trail , as well as one "Wilderness Trails , FAQ" (frequently asked Questions) which will answer most of your questions .
A moderate degree of walking fitness is all that is required .

This is Sweni trails camp, a view of the lapa .
To the right you can see the roof of one of the huts , 2 are on the one side of the lapa , another 2 on the opposite side of the lapa behind the point from where the photo was taken .


This is a view fom the lapa northwards .

The bathrooms .

The huts , they have a small verandah on the opposite side with a view over the plain similar to that from the lapa .
Last edited by Elsa on Mon Nov 26, 2012 3:16 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Resized Pics.
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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Unread post by Diesel » Mon Jun 23, 2008 6:35 pm

In April we did the Sweni trail.
On the way from Satara to Sweni camp we saw seven lions at the river close to a herd of buffalo and wildebeest.
We had dinner in the company of a python who made itself at home inside the eaves of our lapa.
I should mention that a very professional Marius Renke was our ranger and he warned us not to run if we wanted to avoid becoming prey.
The next morning, we were in the bush for about a hour when we were being stormed by a lioness.
Marius and Obed shouted at her and immediately loaded their guns.
Their aggressive shouting stopped her and she returned to her cubs, while growling continuously.
It took all our self control to stand very still and then back off slowly.
We had lots of excitement - there were lions everywhere!
Most of the lions we encountered on Sweni trail, ran away when being aware of us, except the lioness with cubs.
We also came across lions at a hippo carcass - it was quite scary standing there taking photos of the carcass with lions in the surrounding bushes.
Marius really went out of his way for us and we never were in danger at any time - he was in control at all times.
This really was a wonderful experience no nature lover should miss.
I will attach a few photos - one by one....
Last edited by Diesel on Sat Jul 05, 2008 12:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Unread post by Diesel » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:30 pm

Python in lapa

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Unread post by Diesel » Mon Jun 23, 2008 8:38 pm


...while walking.....

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