The Olifants River Back Pack Trail Part 2

Day 2

Departure is at sunup to try get most of the walking done before the heat of the day. It also meant my first walk out with Ogre! Once again Willing and Able husband came in handy. One to dig the hole and two to keep a lookout. After morning duties are done we head on out.  Morning pack up! What a setting. (See Picture)  Walking along the river means ample opportunities to see and hear birdlife. It is unlike any Kruger Trip you can imagine. All five your senses are involved. You feel truly part of the park. The danger that surrounds you, alerts you to the fact that you are just another mammal.

A very slow mammal with a very thin skin….

After a snack break we really start to feel the heat. Piet alerts us to the fact this is going to be one of those unusually hot August days and we need to push on to make it to a point where we can bathe/swim and relax for an afternoon siesta. When the temperature hits 48 degrees I really did think I was going to collapse and die. The backpack felt like rocks on my back and just when I thought that it would be me that brings the whole group down by collapsing in a pile of sweat, we reached our lunch destination. Lunch and a swim. (See Picture) Yes please. Two hours to rest and cool down in the Olifants River. It was heaven on earth in that water! Never mind crocs and hippos we were not getting out! Where else in the world would you be able to hang out with your mates in a wildlife reserve river?

For the next part of the hike we were taken up to Eden and Hell. Aptly named. A stunning view but hell to get up there on this particularly sweltering day. I was pretty grateful for my Super C’s! We set up camp quite early as the heat is just to much. What a great spot on the river’s sandbank with the river right in our view. (See sunset picture)

Our river bath is interrupted by the appearance of Mr Hippo. He popped just behind us and we had to make a hasty (but NO running) retreat.

Dinner was cooked and while watching the setting sun we sat around the campfire. Despite the heat of the day we felt like we were in heaven. That night I slept like a baby and it was a good thing too. Apparently we had a visitor during the night…

Day 3

Our morning wake up is filled with nervous laughs and giggles. All around our tents are “cat prints” . Yes a lion had walked right by us for a drink in the river. Not one of us heard it and I am thinking that is a blessing! That feeling you get seeing the paw print next to your tent is something pretty special.

Already we can feel the temperature rising but in comparison to the previous day it is pretty mild at only 35 degrees!

It is another interesting day as we glean valuable bush knowledge from Piet and Andre. We spot a buffalo and walk carefully for the next while as they are renown for double backing! Also a sleeping hippo under a bush kept us on our tiptoes.

So many small things that you would never notice in the car is revealed to those who brave a walk. You are often left wondering if any of our forefathers walked these trails back before civilisation took hold.

Our last evening is one spent really getting to know our guides. Not as tired, we get to ask them about their lives and love of the bush. Tales and stories are shared over our last sips of whiskey or Amarula. Now that we have got into our routines, we all wonder how can we go back tomorrow? Already plans are formed to hike again!

Day 4

Our final day has a slower start. We stop to watch a small herd of Waterbuck as they graze and drink from the river. With only a few kilometres to cover we try and take in as much as we can. Breakfast is enjoyed right next to the river. (see picture)

Another cooker and although very sad that the hike is ending I was also relieved to see the end in sight. A last walk up to the old fig tree signifies the hike is over and we have conquered the Olifants Wilderness Trail.

When the truck arrives we are spoilt with a very deserved ice cold beer! South Africans know how to celebrate with cold one! It is a much shorter drive back to Olifants camp and as luck would have it we stop to see a lioness along the road. Back at camp we attack the local restaurant and dive into some burgers and more ice cold beer.

The hike is a must do for any true Kruger enthusiast. It is the REAL Kruger. I can honestly say you could never regret embarking on such an adventure. I hope to do it again one day soon but for now I rely on my memories to sustain The Bush Baby within.

 

The old fig tree and the Olifants River Trail Conquerors !

Olifants Backpack TrailimageOlifants Backpack Trail

 

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