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Backpacking Trails

Lonely Bull Trail

The Lonely Bull Trail is a primitive backpacking trail which starts from Mopani Rest Camp and is conducted in the large wilderness area between the Letaba low water bridge and the Mingerhout dam along the Letaba River.

The trail stretches over 4 days and three nights, with departures every Wednesday and Sunday between 1 February and 30 November. This trail allows its participants to spend three nights in this wilderness area without having the constraints of having to get to the next point or of following a prescribed route. The trail allows the trail leader to decide when and where to camp and how far and which route to follow. Hikers can leave their cars at Mopani Rest Camp in the designated parking area. The activity will be conducted by two experienced Trails Rangers and the maximum number of participants will be kept to eight people per trail with a minimum of 4 people. Guests are expected to provide their own camping equipment and food for the duration of the trail. There are no overnight huts on this trail. As the safety of hikers is of major importance, all participants have to bring tents and sleep in them every night while they are walking the trail. Participants will be responsible for setting up their own tents and for cooking their own food. No rubbish bins or toilets are provided at any of the overnight stops and the trail operates on a strictly “take it in, take it out” basis and strictly adheres to a “no trace camping” ethic. Please only use biodegradable products – soaps and detergents – on the trail.

  • The group will meet at Mopani Rest Camp at 13:00 on the day of departure in order to leave the camp by 14:00. They will then be transported, using an open vehicle with a trailer, and dropped off at a predetermined drop off point (according to a rotational usage schedule).
  • The group will then be collected at a predetermined collection point at 10:00 on the last day and transported back to Mopani Rest Camp. This ensures that walking can be done in any direction from the drop off point allowing the trails ranger to decide at random where to camp and how far to walk.
  • The trails ranger will be able to plan a circular or direct route to the pre-arranged collection point and will also be able to decide whether to spend more than one night at a particular camp site or not. This will allow the group the opportunity to walk at a slower pace and to leave their back packs at the camp and they then don’t have to lug heavy packs around and can enjoy more of the wilderness.

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Olifants Trail (42km)

Commencing from Olifants Rest Camp, this trail stretches over four days and three nights, covering about 42 km. The trail does not include any overnight huts, therefore hikers must bring their own tents to sleep in. The trail leader will choose a suitable camp site each night, and participants will be responsible for setting up their own tents and carrying/cooking their own food.

The first day’s hike is quite an easy one of only 4-5 km to a camp site. For the remaining days, hikes will rise at the break of dawn to complete the first stretch of that day’s hike. During the maximum heat of day, no walking will take place, and a siesta can be enjoyed.

During siesta time, hikers can revel in the wild environment: trying to spot exciting bird species on the Olifants River’s banks, photographing the picturesque surroundings, soaking up the African sun… After siesta time, only a short hike will cover the last remaining kilometres to the overnight camp. Whatever option you choose, siesta time is your time to enjoy nature.

Fires are set up each night, but only for social and safety reasons, not cooking. Firewood will be used sparingly, and hikers are advised to bring gas stoves for cooking. As the trail follows the Olifants River, there is adequate water suitable for drinking. However, purification tablets (chlorine) are necessary.

The landscape is characterised by rugged veld and rocky areas. Magnificent species of large trees, such as Apple Leaf and Sycamore Fig, are found in these parts. This backpacking trail requires hikers to cover 10-15 km each day, carrying heavy packs. Therefore, a reasonable amount of fitness is required, and participants must present a medical certificate that proves they are fit and in good health.

The trail leader is a qualified and armed field guide, assisted by a second armed guide, for additional peace of mind. The guides will carry basic first aid kits, but no medicine. It is the responsibility of all hikers to take along their own supplies of general/prescription medicine.

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Mphongolo Trail

A primitive backpacking trail that stretches over four days and three nights, with departures every Wednesday and Sunday between 1 February and 30 November.

Starting at Shingwedzi Camp, the trail allows its participants/trail leader to decide when and where to camp and which route to follow. No prescribed route is followed.

Guests must bring their own camping equipment and food for the duration of the trail. No overnight huts are available. Trailists can delight in fires each night, but please note that they are meant simply for social and safety reasons, not for cooking. A reasonable level of fitness is required from all participants, as four consecutive days of walking and carrying heavy packs can really take it out of you. It is worth noting that hikers must sign an indemnity form, and that the trail is undertaken at the hiker’s own risk.

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