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    Northern Kruger Blog

One of a kind: Full Moon Walking Trail

Posted on Mon August 1, 2016.

Is this trail for you?

This trail is not for the inexperienced. You should have completed previous multi-day hikes, spent some time in wilderness areas, meet the fitness recommendations and be 18 years or older.

Return Africa reserves the right to interview prospective participants and accept only those it believes are capable of completing this trail.

Due to the safety requirement of sitting watch at night on the slack-packing section, the trail requires 8 guests.

LUVUVHU DISCOVERY TRAIL – AN EXTRAORDINARY WILDERNESS EXPERIENCE

Welcome to the Luvuvhu Discovery Trail. The trail is a 7 night adventure with the first night at Baobab Hill House, three nights slack-packing and exploring the Luvuvhu and Mutale Rivers and adjacent areas, followed by three nights in Pafuri Trails Camp from where we explore other parts of the Makuleke wilderness on foot.

Baobab Hill House:

The first night is spent at Baobab Hill House where we enjoy the comfort of a well equipped house. Return Africa provide a braai for dinner, but we bring our own drinks. It is the opportunity for guests to meet, to finally check our kit and food for the trail and to go over all the important logistics and safety aspects of the trail.

Breakfast the next morning is self catering, and we depart early to commence the trail.

Slack-packing section:

The next 3 nights are slack-packing and self catering, starting from Mutale Gorge on the western boundary and ending at the Pafuri Trails camp. The route basically explores sections of the Mutale and Luvuvhu Rivers and adjacent wilderness. Here we sleep “under the stars” in campsites the location of which we choose when on trail. These campsites have absolutely no facilities. We build a small fire each night for safety (not for cooking) and we each take turns to sit watch on a shift basis. Slack-packing describes a self catering trail where our main rucksacks are transported by vehicle between the overnight “under the stars camping sites” and we walk with light day packs.

The route is not fixed. We walk some parts in the river if the water levels allow. We have to carry our main rucksacks from the vehicle drop-off point to the campsite (up to 1 km). We may also have to do one night back-packing because the area cannot be reached for a vehicle drop-off. So all the rules of wilderness trails apply – travel light. The 3 nights slack packing is “self catering”, which means you supply all your own food and equipment. Cooking is on a camping gas stove you have to carry. The fire small and is only used for safety and boiling a communal kettle for coffee, and not for cooking food. Bring easy to cook lightweight wilderness trail foods.

A reasonable level of fitness is required. Once we start there are no shortcuts and we all have to finish. Campsite to campsite is between 5 to 8 hours, not rushing but spending time appreciating the wilderness. If we reach our campsite destination with time to spare, the opportunity may exist to drop off our kit and do farther exploration. We want to be fit enough to do this. Fitness enhances the trail experience.

There are no facilities. We use a spade to dig a toilet, sleep on your thin mattress on the ground, wash using river water when we can and wear the same clothes. We leave nothing but footprints behind us.

Pafuri walking trail section:

The last 3 nights see us based, in comparative comfort, at the Pafuri Trails camp, a rustic unfenced tented camp where we will do a normal catered Pafuri Trail, walking in the adjacent area and driving to other areas of Makuleke to walk. This allows us to explore, on foot, the greater biodiversity of Makuleke.

Weather:

The trail takes place in winter so there should be no rain. This is not, however, guaranteed and a long range weather forecast helps planning.  Average temperatures in June are 25oC in the day and 10oC at night but can drop to 5oC. This a great time for trails.

What to bring:

Slack-packing:

For the slack-packing half, taking the weather into account, travel light. It is short enough to mostly wear the same clothes. Comfortable worn in boots are essential. Neutrally coloured clothes to blend into the bush. Hat and sunblock. Warm wear for the night and early morning. A light groundsheet and light camping mattress. Sleeping bag and small pillow.  A light but strong torch for your night watch duty. Two rucksacks, your main pack and a light day pack. See also the list for the Pafuri trail section below.

Your kit should not weigh more than 15kgs. There may be some days where we need to carry our main packs, so a light pack is important.

Individuals have their own food preferences. The core of my food is muesli (mornings), dehydrated food (evenings) and snacks (midday). Water for consumption will be provided at the campsites, and we can treat and drink river water (at own risk). Depending on your type of food, a small gas stove and cooking/eating utensils. A collapsible bucket is useful.

Other than the river, there will be minimal water for washing, but enough to use a wet face towel. A small towel for the river is useful.

The main reason for slack-packing is to travel light during the day, so bring cameras and binoculars. Plan to have capacity to carry a minimum of 3 liters of water.

We burn paper and carry out all our other rubbish, so bear this in mind if you choose to bring heavy tinned foods. 

Pafuri trail:

For the Pafuri trail half we stay in a rustic unfenced tented Pafuri trails camp.

The tents have comfortable camping beds (sharing 2 per tent) with mattresses and

bedding as well as chemical toilets. Bucket showers with hot water are supplied.

All meals are provided. Let me know if you have any special dietary requirements at least three

weeks before the trail. Drinks are separate.

Here are a few suggestions for what you should bring along:

• Comfortable walking/hiking shoes

• Light clothing for daytime; neutral colours please

• A warm jacket (it can get surprisingly chilly especially in the open vehicle)

• A hat or cap

• Camera

• Binoculars

• Any personal medication and toiletries

• Sun-protection cream/lotion

• Mosquito/insect repellent

• Flashlight/torch (a minimum 2-D cell flashlight with extra batteries).

Please see Pafuri trails’ own descriptuion of the trail, which we will broadly follow. (Separate attachment to the email).

Fitness:

On the slack-packing section of the trail, once we start there are no shortcuts and we all have to complete 4 days of walking. This requires a level of fitness equivalent to being able to jog 5 kms.

Fitness enhances the trail experience.

Malaria:

This is a malarial area and although the malaria risk is low in the dry months Pafuri trails strongly recommend malaria prophylaxis. Please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Safety:

Dehydration is a risk so be able to carry sufficient water and rehydrate treatment (or equivalent just in case). A minimum of 3 liters water capacity is recommended.

A strong sun in the day means hats and sunblock are advised.

The area is a true wilderness and we are certain to see or be close to potentially dangerous animals. This is their home and we need to respect them. Before commencing the trail I will go very carefully through the “trail rules” and the “sitting watch at night rules”. When sitting watch at night a minimum 2-D cell flashlight is necessary. Once at the unfenced Pafuri Trails camp I will cover the “camp rules” as well.

Following these rules both minimizes the risks and enhances the enjoyment.

There will be 2 guides with heavy caliber rifles, and we carry a hand held radio for contact with Pafuri trails.

If you have any medical conditions (bee sting allergy, diabetes etc) please let be know.

Our motto is safe and enjoyable.

Travel:

We meet at Pafuri Camp between 14hr00 and 17hr30 on the day of arrival.  

For your planning, allow for 7H30 for easy travel from Johannesburg.

Indemnities:

You will need to sign indemnities for Pafuri Trails and Accipiter Tours and Trails.

Is this trail for you?

This trail is not for the inexperienced. You should have completed previous multiday hikes, spent some time in wilderness areas, meet the fitness recommendation, be fluent in English and be 18 years or older.

Return Africa reserves the right to interview prospective participants and accept only those it believes are capable of completing this trail.

Due to the safety requirement of sitting watch at night on the slack-packing section, the trail requires 8 guests. 

Contact:

The trail is marketed by Accipiter Tours and Trails jointly with Return Africa.

Contact Johna   [email protected] or 0824922880 or Sam [email protected]

Join us for a wilderness experience of a lifetime.