Trip Report Kruger Eco Trail May 2005
We had been trying to get on the parks board’s guided eco trail for some 6 months all to no avail, it was permanently booked up. Then lady luck stepped in and I learnt a trick about how to make the booking. As it was we had to book 13months in advance but the main thing was that we were on. Truth be told the waiting just heightened the anticipation for us. By the time the day arrived we were all pretty hyped. (I now have the knowledge on how to get on and if anyone wants to know they can contact me direct)
We were 5 vehicles, an Isuzu, 3 discos and our 130.
For those of you who don’t know about the trail herewith a short history.
It started as an experiment almost 10 years ago and was initially sponsored by Land Rover as an opportunity for enthusiasts to experience another side of Kruger. It is run weekly from (I think March) to about late October. The trip leaves every Sunday and roughly follows the Kruger’s Eastern boundary coming out at Crooks corner in the far north on the Thursday. Nights are spent at remote campsites, which have no amenities bar a long drop. In other words, there is no fence or protection around the site. This leads to some interesting and sometimes quite scary experiences. Now days the trail is sponsored by Nissan.
Our trip is detailed as follows
We left on Thursday 28th and weren’t 2 hrs on the road when Jenni realized she had brought her car keys along for the ride, “Never mind phone home and tell the kids were the spares are”. Ha Ha, half an hour later Tyrone phones, “the spares don’t fit!!!” Can you believe it? We had never had to use them before and now we had to have that vehicle mobile because the elder sons had to be mom’s taxi in our absence. So this seemed like a good excuse to stay in a smart hotel and find someone heading south and as luck would have it Tree Tops was just over the horizon and in any case Jenni never needed any excuse for a bit of luxury pampering! We booked in and quickly organized with the hotel for one of their staff that was heading south to give the keys a lift back to Durbs. Thanks to Tree Tops for all the help.
The 29th we headed further north and made an impromptu stop at Ndumu. Yes I know we were way off course but we were in holiday mode and I hadn’t been to Ndumu since 1969 when I was very much a lighty and Jenni had never been there at all (actually I don’t think she had heard of the place) We had a great drive that afternoon seeing huge herds of Nyala and the odd rhino, giraffe and a host of other game. It had been a while since we had last camped so we decided to give the roof top tent a trial run that night at Ndumu before the trail proper began. All worked well and on the Saturday morning we doubled back to Josini and turned right for Swaziland and the Golel border. Here we met up with the rest of our group who had driven up from Durban that morning. Border formalities complete, we made our way through Swaziland stopping for tea at Big Bend and came out at Komatipoort at about three that afternoon where we booked into our bungalows at Komati River Chalets for our last night of luxury before the trail. We were to meet our guide at Crocodile Bridge Camp at 0900 but the Kruger gate was closed and a long line of traffic had built up! Apparently the park was overfull and they weren’t letting any more cars in! What seemed like a disaster in the making was soon solved when a Nissan D/C 4x4 came down the line looking for us and we were royally guided past all the other waiting cars and into the park for our first day. We stopped to fit radios as supplied by the Parks board and were introduced to our guide Tugela and his assistant Margaret following which we began with a drive through to the South Eastern corner of the park (bottom right for those of you compassly challenged) Here we sat, for a while, with an army detachment on the lookout for illegal aliens and sure enough we spotted a group who had just crossed over and were busy changing their clothes, I’m not to sure why they do this, but it is apparently their M.O. Anyway after a short break we headed off north for our first stop over, which was on the Sabi river. A beautiful site close to the water and all the thirsty animals.
Signs in Africa :
On a river in the Democratic Republic of Congo: "Take note: When this sign is submerged, the river is impassable."
Andrew Mason Pietermaritzburg 1968 Series 11A 109”
Remember it’s your club and you will get out of it what you want to. You have purchased THE BEST 4 x 4 x FAR and now its time to use it. See you at the next club event.
|When||What, where||More Info.||
|26 June||Gates Event Eston Quarry||
The second Club Gates event for 2005 to be held out at the Quarry above the Eston Farmers Club. Meet at the Quarry at 09h00 for 09h30 start. Braai fires to be provided for a byo lunch braai. Give George a call for more info.
3 / 4
|July||Lesotho snow trip||
If interested in a weekend or day trip up Sani Pass to play in the snow then leave your name with George and you will be contacted when the snow trip is on.
3 / 4
|22 – 24 July||Shu Shu Hot Springs.||
Shu Shu is in the Tugela valley below Kranskop. Very rustic and one need to take everything. Give Henry a call for more info.
1 / 2
|28 August||Cars in the Park, Toti||
Bring your old or new Land Rover and join other club members at “Toti Cars In The Park”. A byo braai for lunch. Give Henry a call for more info.
|6 – 9 August||Hells Gate, Lake St Lucia||
Due to popular demand another trip to Hells Gate is being organized. Give Don a call if interested.
1 / 2
|August||Venue to be announced||
The third Club Gates event for 2005. More info to follow.
3 / 4
|October||Venue to be announced||
An event along the same lines as the Broadleaze event we ran last year. It’s a fun event suitable for the whole family. More info to follow.
1 / 2
|8 October||Watervale Lodge Inchanga.||
2nd annual Watervale Lodge Land Rover vs Toyota Challenge. WANTED Land Rovers to take part in the challenge. Both standard and modified required. Give George a call for more info.
4 / 5
|November||Venue to be announced||
The fourth Club Gates event for 2005. More info to follow.
3 / 4
|25 – 27 November||Hidden Valley, Mooi River||
As an end of year away trip Hidden Valley has it all. Fishing, tubing, 4x4 track etc. Give George or Henry a call for more info.
1 / 5
NON LROC ORGANISED EVENTS but worth supporting. Give George a call if more info is required.
|23-25 Sep||Hidden Valley Mooi River||
Southern Cross festival. More info to follow.
1 / 5
TRAIL GRADING All our events from now on will have a Trail Grading according to the 5 grades below.
1. Complete novice soft dirt road trail, no low range required. Suitable for all Land Rovers including the Freelander.
2. Limited low range required but suitable for the novice driver. Suitable for all Land Rovers with certain trails not suitable for the Freelander.
3. Low range and limited off road knowledge required. Suitable for all Land Rovers except the Freelander.
4. A low range technical trail suitable for the experienced. The inexperienced will be able to do the trail, as assistance will be available from the more experienced members. Suitable for all Land Rovers except the Freelander.
5. Extremely technical, suitable for the experienced only with the possibility of vehicle damage. Only suitable for "Series" Land Rovers. Ha Ha
CLUB OUTING TO HELL’S GATE
I would like to thank Don Erwin for organizing the wonderful weekend my son and I had at Hell’s Gate. All in all there were twenty adults and twelve children.
We have been to Lake St Lucia many times including last years trip and were shocked to see how low the water level is. It did however give us a great opportunity to cycle along the beaches, soft and muddy in many places, and see the fossils that are normally below the water. The bird life, pelican, spoonbills etc. were plentiful.
The Army base is a little run down, which is understandable as its intended purpose is no longer required. The accommodation reminded me of my time in the Navy and a lot better than a tent. The Army menu has changed. Two meals are served per day: brunch and supper. Brunch IS breakfast and lunch: egg, bacon, sausages, crumbed fish, mash, veggies (all on one plate), bread etc. followed by ice cream. Very filling, and delicious.
Game was plentiful and in good condition. We saw water buck, reed buck, duiker etc and during Saturday evenings night drive, we saw giraffe. Our highlight was the Sunday morning cycle when we unexpectedly came across five Cape Buffalo laying in the long grass about fifteen meters from the road. They weren’t bothered but we made a hasty departure. Later we saw a large heard of them. They had ear tags, which probably explained why they were very nervous as we cycled about fifty meters from them. They soon turned and run off. We saw fresh hippo tracks on the road not too far from camp and crocodile tracks (including tail grove) between the bank and the lake. The greatest treat for the children was probably the warthog family that came to the camp kitchen each morning for breakfast.
The Land Rovers ranged from a 1982 Rangie and S III to a new Series II Disco. Of great interest was an IBEX (90, purpose built in the UK for extreme off-roading and imported by Birken for possible local manufacture).
We met many wonderful people, chatted at length about Land Rovers and vehicle improvements, tested some of their capabilities and unwound in the African bush. Isn’t that what owning a Land Rover and belonging to a L/R Club is all about?
Gravin and Andrew Phyfer
Hells Gate By Don Erwin
and early on Friday morning, Barry and I set off for Hells gate following
the old Coastal Highway. I love Travelling along the coast early in the
We continued along the old highway and eventually arrived at the camp after viewing Giraffe and Antelope on the way.
consuming a sumptuous "brunch" we booked into our room and opened up the
other rooms preparing for the expected influx of members.
After this Barry and I went on a exploratory drive during which I showed him the Missile Silos, O.P site, waterholes etc, saw some Buffalo, Zebra and again Antelope.
In the morning went for a cycle with Robby's G/daughter, Megan ,a tough little cookie ,afraid of nothing, and Riaan C.J.s son ,on his Peewee m/cycle, didn't see much, maybe because of noise.
When we got back the Sgt/major was telling everyone how the Elephant had gored a hole in his son's car and another elephant had smashed his back w/screen with his trunk, on his wedding night!!! I said a little prayer not to come across these elephant on one of my cycles. the fact is, there are Rhino, Buffalo, Wildebeest ,Zebra , Pythons and elephant but they seem quite elusive, maybe because of the drought.
We went on a night drive in the evening with quite a large convoy. We travelled down the firebreaks and forest tracks ,not that challenging anymore as they are well worn but it was still fun.. Next morning the cyclists went down the chain road along the lakeshore to the Fossil beds. Apparently these fossils are 240 million years old and date back from when St Lucia was on the ocean bed.
That afternoon some members went for a drive, some walked and some had a swim, I included. After showering I went with Shannon in his Ibex (L/Rover based) to Mtubatuba to fill diesel and C.J. and family came along for the ride. I know a shortcut through the forests and back-roads which is also more fun so we took this route (you also avoid the little traffic Nazi this way) Lo and behold en route we saw a World War 2 American troop carrier (4x4) coming towards us sans headlights, no plates ,w/screen ,Grille etc and other niceties like that !
The front seat filled with Farmers (presumably) grinning ,waving and festively clutching beers!!
After filled up we went back the same route, very interesting!
After supper ,most of us sat around the lapa chatting and drinking, you couldn't have asked for a better crowd and numerous members mentioned this, some also said the problem with the food is there is too much of it .
Before we realised it, it was mid night and time to snooze!
Early next morning the cyclists who were up went for a excellent cycle. Its wonderful in the early morning to cycle with the silence of the bush surrounding you and it hasn't got so hot yet. We saw a herd of Buffalo and also a maverick Bull Buffalo separated from the herd which was nerve-racking as they had H.....uge horns and I couldn't remember how fast they can charge. Saw fresh tracks of my old friend the Hippo who hangs out at the Waterhole. I was quite happy he was still around although I'll pass on meeting him face to face!! A Hippo died at the Waterhole and the locals were allowed to cut it up for food but the skin is still there as it was too tough to cut up.
After cycling back, sadly it was time to leave but everyone was consoled by having had a wonderful W/end and I made a promise to try organise another w/end (August??) Some members found a shortcut to the Town of St Lucia via the bush and I want to explore that before Hellsgate closes.
Trip Report Kruger Eco Trail May 2005 Cont’d from earlier
Those who didn’t have rooftop tents were a little nervous having heard both lion and a leopard whilst sitting round the fire and we were all early to bed in anticipation of a start with the sparrows the next morning. I could not get to sleep and lay in the tent listing to the awesome sounds of the bushveld. Without wanting to wax too lyrical there were certain sounds that I identified as being right at the top of the list of my list of “must hear noises in the dark”. Number one is the Mozambique night jar, number two is hippo coming out the river to graze and number three the bark of a leopard! The next two days were more of the same as we made our way north but I have to detail the last night! I just have to.
Tugela had arranged that we make an unscheduled camp at the Langtoon (Jacana) Dam, which is in the middle of nowhere. There was no campsite as such, we just pulled up next to the dam and pitched our tents. It was a beautiful site and the magnificent sunset left me with that shiver down your spine feeling that this would be no ordinary night, not that the others had been ordinary, but the place just had a vibe going, you could feel it in the air (sounds nuts I know but that’s how it was)
You just got the feeling we were in for a treat and so it was, We were enjoying an after dinner drink when one of the ladies (Charmaine) called across to her husband that there was something on her leg. It was dark and she had a blanket on her lap to ward off the chill. Bob (her husband) fetched a torch and pulled the blanket off to discover that a python had curled three times around her calf and was making his (it had to of been a male right?) way higher! Oh boy did that get a rise out of the ladies or what? (actually they were all quite calm but you could tell all were a little shook up). Well we caught the snake and released it deep in the bush and then we all settled down again, for a brief while that is. No sooner had every ones hearts slowed to normal or a rough approximation thereof when we heard lions, There were two and they were quite far away. Well the intrepid campers were galvanized into action and the campsite was tidied tuit sui, with the odd nervous giggle, as someone had to move to the bush line to relieve themselves. Five minuets later the lion concerto began again in earnest, but this time they were right outside the camp and, as they continued their duet, we realized they were circling the camp. Wow what an incredible experience. By this stage all were wrapped up tightly in their tents and I was sitting at the top of my stairs just drinking it all in. What a night! It was an experience I’ll never forget. And I haven’t even mentioned the crocs and hippos, oh well you just had to of been there.
The next day the trail ended a Crookes Corner at the border where Zim, Moz and Saf meet.
All told, quite and adventure wouldn’t you say? but it wasn’t over yet.
Over the next two days we made our way South through the park and on Saturday morning we crossed into Mozambique at the Komatipoort border. That was an experience by itself. I’ve crossed dozens of African border posts before but Mozambique’s Ressano Garcia border control at Kommatipoort takes the cake (literally). Everyone’s on the take and not too shy about it either. We were stopped just outside the border post and hit with a “fine“ for not having the vehicles original registration docs, we only had copies. The fine was 1point 5 million of their funny money (about 400 odd rand) or if I slipped him a hundred rand we could continue. What were the options??? I paid up but as we moved out again I noticed the “cop” was jabbering away on his cell phone and could just imagine the conversation with his buddy down the road “ Attention Attention , regarde, touristo, touristo ees eeesy money compadre” So I immediately turned the convoy right, deciding to give Maputo a miss and headed south along some tracks and some not too bad roads. We ended up in a quaint old Portuguese colonial village of Bella Vista; It was somewhat deserted but interesting nevertheless. From here we turned Southeast and headed for the old elephant reserve. By now I was navigating by GPS alone as the roads were shocking, but we eventually made it through to Ponto Malongane (just north of Ponto du Oura) at 1700. We set up camp and found a restaurant, some of us tucking into a mountain of prawns. The following morning (Sunday) we left early heading for the border into KZN at Kosi Mouth. This was a simple and hassle free crossing. We then took the new road through to Hluhluwe, which chopped an hour off the normal route via Josini and made our way home. After an event filled 10 days away it was good to be back, but what an awesome trip.
This had been our second National Parks Eco Trail, having done the Kgalagadi about 18 months ago. In comparison the Kruger trail is a fairly tame drive and to be honest there was too much of “Elephant on the left” and ”Kudu on the right” and not enough in depth discussion / education except around the fire at night. Jenni & I both agree that the Kgalagadi is a far better experience and so for our next trip (hopefully later in the year we will be heading into the dunes up north for a second look.
We’ll keep you updated.
Sean & Jenni Mickleburgh
4X4 SELF-DRIVE EXPEDITIONS INTO AFRICA
TRAILS IN THE MYSTIFYING SOUTPANSBERG (LIMPOPO, RSA)
1-day trails possible but minimum of 3-day trail recommended
Indigenous forest; Angels’ Steps; panoramic views; Botha’s Pass; … and much more…
Bring your 4x4 Club and/or your business associates for an unforgettable breakaway…
WINTER SCHOOL HOLIDAY OPTIONS!!!
BERG AND BEACH EXPEDITION (SOUTPANSBERG/MOZAMBIQUE) - 12 days – 02 to 13 July 2005
Also 06 to 17 August 2005
Experience the Soutpansberg Forest Trail before venturing into Mozambique over the great Limpopo River. 7 days on the beaches of Mozambique - Vilankulos, Inhambane and Xai-Xai.
OKAVANGO EXPEDITION (BOTSWANA/CAPRIVI STRIP) - 12 days – 04 to 15 July 2005
Also 08 to 19 August 2005
Khama Rhino Sanctuary, Leroo-la-Tau on the Boteti River, mokorro and sunset cruises at Sepupa, Tsodillo Hills, Popa Falls, Horseshoe Bend in the heart of the Caprivi Strip, Kasane, Victoria Falls.
VILANKULOS EXPEDITION (MOZAMBIQUE) - 8 days – 25 Sep to 02 Oct 2005
Over the great Limpopo River. 6 days on Mozambique beaches - Vilankulos, Inhambane and Xai-Xai.
CHRISTMAS SERENGETI EXPEDITION (TANZANIA) - 24 days – 14 Dec 2005 to 05 Jan 2006
Let Tanzania and a truly memorable expedition take you and your family into the 2006 New Year...
Start at Kasane (Botswana), runs through Zambia to Tanzania. Christmas Day at the Ngorongoro Crater and/or Serengeti NP. Return via Malawi and Zambia - Old Year’s Eve at Lake Malawi. Other highlights: Lake Waka-Waka, Kapishya Hot Springs (Shiwa Ngandu), Mt. Kilimanjaro, Zanzibar, etc.
Visit us on the Internet at www.masazane.co.za E-mail us on firstname.lastname@example.org
Or phone us directly for information 082 829 5421 JACQUI and 082 772 6682 DAVE
|I have a 1966 Series 2A 109" hardtop with a badly rusted chassis. The vehicle is in exceptionally original condition, all body panels intact and straight. The vehicle was a runner when I parked it off about 10 years ago. I have a second hand chassis in excellent nick onto which I had intended to rebuild the vehicle. Sadly I now realise that I would have to live to be about 147 to have any chance of achieving that ambition! Make me a realistic offer. Contact Peter Bassett (031) 785 1190 (o) or (033) 347 1303 (h)||
Series 1 Station Wagon, 1955 model,
86 inch. Completely restored and in excellent condition. We bought the
car in Lesotho and retraced it to having belonged to a free state
farmer. Having spent all its time in this dry climate it is rust free.
I am looking at selling the care for around 65000,-
Six cylinder sidevalve motor
(turns but non runner) R500.00
Front Runner Roof rack for Disco 11. What offers. Contact Johan Juselius 0833031278.
Series 111S R6 s/wagon. Rebuilt in 1999. What offers. Contact Larry 0825550912.
|LAND ROVER DISCOVERY: Roof carrier with holder for 4x jerry cans and 2x Gas bottles. Almost new. R700 onco. (Roedtan) Tel. Hettie 082-6411427 or 015-6670005|
|Is there any chance that someone out there might possess two old 110 front seats - condition of upholstery not a problem. I need to uprate the comfort factor of my Series 1. Also Series 111 "soft ride" springs would help. Contact ADRIAN MOORE 031-7851190||
Landy 109 or 110 load bin to make into a trailer.
2.5Tdi CSW in good condition
|Looking for a LWB Series chassis. Contact Norman Bird 031-5643179 (w) or 031-5724500 (h)|
You gave my kids a couple of cardboard landie cut-outs during 'Cars in the Park'. they enjoyed putting them together - and here they are on some rug-ged terrain!
Mark Butler (technically the 'owner' of my dad, Colin's, Series one lwb pickup).
Solihull, The Home of Land Rover.
Solihull is a town, in the West Midlands in England with a population of around 120,000. It is a part of the West Midlands conurbation and is located south-east of Birmingham. It is the largest town in, and headquarters of the metropolitan borough of Solhull. Residents of Solihull and those born in the town are referred to as Silhillians and past pupils of Solihull School are called Old Silhillians. The motto of Solihull is Urbs in Rure (the town in the country) although the late Headmaster of Tudor Grange Grammar School in Solihull, Mr A. R. Munday argued that it should more accurately be rendered as Urbs Rure - the word in not being required with the ablative case of Rure.
Solihull is a popular shopping area. It has a largely concrete 1960s-style shopping square. Recently a new shopping centre - the Touchwood Centre has opened.
Solihull is the home of the car manufacturer Land Rover. Other products from Solihull include chemicals and tools.
The National Exhibition Centre, popularly thought to be in Birmingham, is in the borough of Solihull, as is almost all of Birmingham International Airport.
Solihull comes from the name soily hill. It has existed since medieval times when it was founded as a market centre, it later became an important coaching stop. The town is notable for its historic architecture, which includes many examples of timber-framed Tudor style houses and shops. The historic Solihull School dates from 1560. The Parish church of St Alphege dates from a similar period and is a large and handsome example of classical British Church architecture with a traditional spire making the Church visible from a great distance.
Unlike nearby Birmingham, the industrial revolution largely passed Solihull by, and until the 20th century Solihull remained a small market town. In 1901 the population of the town was just 7,500, by the 1960s the population had grown to over 100,000. This growth was due entirely to overspill population from Birmingham.
Until the early 1960's the main high street remained much as it must have been in the late 19th Century with serveral streets of Victorian terrace houses linking High Street with the Warwick Road. The construction of the central shopping area involved the demolition of all these streets together with the large victorian Congregational Church that had stood on the corner of Union Street and Warwick Road.
Solihull is now a dormitory town for Birmingham with which it is adjoined.
Solihull has a number of parks including Malvern Park, Brueton Park, Tudor Grange Park and Shirley Park. It has numerous leisure facilities including a pubic swimming pool on the edge of Tudor Grange Park. This pool replaced an outdoor pool in Tudor Grange Park which was demolished in the 1960's. The current pool is also under threat of demolition. Sailing takes place on Olton Reservoir.
The River Blythe, a headwater tributary of the River Trent passes through parts of Solihull including Malvern and Brueton Parks.
A number of main roads pass through Solihull including the Birmingham to Warwick Road and the Birmingham to Stratford Road. The M42 and the M40 both pass through Solihull and provide very rapid links to Oxford and London and to the rest of the motorway network surrounding the West Midlands.
Solihull's main railway station is on the former Great Western Railway line from Birmingham Snow Hill station to London Marylebone station. In the first half of the 20th century, this railway line carried most of the express trains from the Midlands to the South west and South (Devon and Cornwall) Wales including the Cornish Reviera Express and the Cambrian Coast Express pulled by the elegant and powerful Great Western Region King Class and Castle Class: locomotives.
Express train services to Solihull are now run by Chiltern Railways and local services by Central Trains.
The Grand Union Canal passes diagonally across Solihull within one mile of the town centre. This canal links Birmingham and the Midlands with the River Thames in London
Due to its growth,Solihull was promoted from an Urban District Council to a Borough Council, the honour being bestowed by Her Majesty Princess Margaret. In 1964 Solihull became a county borough and on this occasion her majesty The Queen bestowed the honour. In 1974 the Solihull county borough was merged with the rural district surrounding Meriden to form the metropolitan borough of Solihull. This also includes the districts known as Shirley and Castle Bromwich. At this time it also moved from the county of Warwickshire to West Midlands
Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solihull"
Categories: Towns in the West Midlands
in the Park PMB. One of Land Rovers many uses,
plenty place to stick up posters.
Series 1 – lwb with a little more than standard wheel travel.
Last Modified : 07/02/2006 13:45