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SANParks Wilderness Trails       

Since 1978, Rangers have been leading small groups on exclusive bush trails. The SANParks-run Wilderness Trails offer tourists an excellent experience at a bargain price.

Groups of up to eight spend two days and three nights out in the bush, traversing the wilderness under the guidance of experienced, armed rangers, who both protect and unwrap the wonders of the Kruger Park to the uninitiated.

The focus is on experiencing natural wilderness and the accommodation, whilst comfortable, is relatively basic. There is considerable demands for these trails, and they must be booked well in advance. These two factors have led in the last ten years to the establishment of the Private Walking Trails which you will see elsewhere in this section.


South African Tourism

In keeping with the wilderness atmosphere, sites for the SANPark's trail camps are carefully selected for their scenic beauty and diverse plant and animal life, and are well away from the parts of the Park visited by the masses.

Groups spend three nights in four exclusive rustic two-bed huts. Ablution facilities comprise reed-walled showers and flush toilets. A covered lapa serves as a dining/socialising area where the campfire's flickering shadows encourage stories of adventures in the African bush.

Simple, wholesome meals are provided. The day commences with coffee and rusks in the crisp morning hours. A light meal is enjoyed in the bush and brunch awaits the group when they return at noon. Evening meals comprise either hunters' stew or barbecues, supplemented with salads and vegetables.

Seven trails are currently available; each is different and represents a microcosm of the floral and faunal diversity of the Kruger.

Bushman

The Bushman Trail lies in the southwestern section of the Kruger National Park, near Berg-en-dal restcamp. The trail camp is situated in a secluded valley. The landscape is characterised by awe-inspiring granite hills, reminiscent of the Zimbabwean Motopos, which provide splendid vantage points in the surrounding bush. White rhino, elephant and buffalo are some of the animals encountered on the trail. Bushman paintings can be viewed in many of the hill shelters and are a feature of this trail.

Report to: Berg-en-dal. Nearest gate: Malelane.


South African Tourism

Metsi-Metsi

The Metsi-Metsi Trail runs through the area east of the Nwarmuriwa Mountain near Tshokwane. The trail camp nestles at the foot of the mountain and overlooks a small waterhole. A hide provides the ideal place to view many species of birds and mammals at close range. The landscape varies from undulating savannah to rocky gorges and ravines. The Nwaswitsontso River, being one of the few permanent sources of water during the dry winter months, attracts an abundance of game especially elephant. A great variety of wildlife, including black rhino and large predators, can be found here.

Report to: Skukuza. Nearest gate: Kruger.

Napi

Situated midway between Skukuza and Pretoriuskop in picturesque woodland bushveld, the trail camp of the Napi Trail lies nestled in luxuriant riverine bush at the confluence of the Napi and Biyamiti streams. The Napi wilderness is characterised by undulating terrain, granite hills and a high resident population of white rhino. Black rhino, elephant, lion and buffalo also frequent the area. Birdlife is prolific.

Report to: Pretoriuskop. Nearest gate: Numbi.

Nyalaland

The Nyalaland Trail winds through one of the prime wilderness areas of southern Africa. The trail camp is situated on the bank of the Madzaringwe Stream north of Punda Maria, near the Luvuvhu River. The magnificent Lanner Gorge and other vantage points offer splendid views of the South African bushveld. The area is known for its fever tree and boabab forests, prolific birdlife and spectacular views. The beauty of this wild area more than makes up for its lack of big game. Another interesting feature of the trail is the recently discovered fossil sites.

Report to: Punda Maria. Nearest gate: Punda Maria.

Olifants

The trail camp for the Olifants Trail is situated on the southern bank of the Olifants River, west of the Olifants/Letaba confluence. It offers a magnificent view of a beautiful stretch of this perennial river which ultimately flows through Mozambique and into the sea. The landscape varies from riverine bush and gorges to the foothills of the Lebombos. It supports a variety of wildlife, including large predators, elephant and buffalo. The Olifants River is home to crocodile, hippo and many bird species. The call of the African fish eagle is almost synonymous with this trail and the rare Pels fishing owl can sometimes be seen along the riverine vegetation.


South African Tourism

Report to: Letaba NOT Olifants. Nearest gate: Phalaborwa.

Sweni

Conjure up a picture of Africa at its wildest: herds of zebra and wildebeest and tall, stately giraffe scattered across sun-drenched grass plains; the pungent smell of buffalo in one's nostrils, the heart-stopping sight of an enormous elephant bull feeding in a thick stand of lala palms only metres away.

The trail camp of the Sweni Trail, which overlooks the Sweni Stream in the wilderness area near Nwanetsi provides a view of the surrounding marula and knobthorn savannah. The area is home to the Sweni lion pride. Black and white rhino have also been sighted in the area.

Report to: Satara. Nearest gate: Orpen.

Wolhuter

As the name implies the Wolhuter Trail commemorates the legendary father and son rangers, Harry and Henry Wolhuter, who for many years patrolled the southern section of the park. The trail camp is situated midway between the Berg-en-dal and Pretoriuskop restcamps in the southern section of the park - the heart of white rhino country.

Report to: Berg-en-dal. Nearest gate: Malelane.

Details

The duration of the trails is three nights and two days, either from Sunday to Wednesday, or from Wednesday to Saturday. Trailists meet at the designated restcamp at 15:30 on Sundays and Wednesdays from where they leave by vehicle for their trail camp after a short briefing.

Note the following:

  • A maximum of eight persons between the ages of 12 and 60 years may participate per trail.
  • To derive the optimum benefit and enjoyment from a trail adventure, it is recommended that a group comprises persons of a similar age, with common interests and the same level of fitness.
  • A reasonable level of fitness is required as up to 20 km may be walked per day. The distance is covered at a leisurely pace, however, to afford trailists an intimate encounter with the wilderness.
  • Due to the terrain covered and the safety factor, handicapped persons should not participate in these trails.
  • All participants have to complete an indemnity form before embarking on a trail. Minors must be in possession of a form signed by a parent or legal guardian. These forms should be handed to the trail ranger before departing on the trail.
  • The general rules and regulations of the Kruger National Park also apply to trailists.
  • Trailists depend on the trail ranger for their safety and for guidance. The trail ranger should therefore be obeyed at all times. Failure to co-operate in this respect could lead to the immediate cancellation of the trail.

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