My partner and I took part in the Wolhuter trail recently and had a fantastic experience.
A brief overview of the trail:
Day 1 - late afternoon, meet at Berg-en-Dal and transport to camp (1 hour). By the time you arrive it will be early evening, time enough for a camp overview and then an early bed.
The camp is small, just 4 guest huts , a dining area, 2 toilets, 2 showers and the staff area.
It is encircled by a low wire fence to let visitors know of the boundaries rather than to keep animals out - more on this later.
The huts are small, two single beds with a little storage space. There are no washing facilities in the huts, you must walk to the loo/shower.
The dining area is big enough for 8-10 people and there is always hot water and tea/coffee making facilities for any time of day.
Loos and Showers are basic with no lighting so you will need a head torch for the evenings, although best not to shine it about too much if you aren't keen on spiders, lizards and snakes!
We didn't have any 'creatures' in our hut though so rest assured they are well lined.
Day 2 - Early morning call at 5:30am. A bowl of warm water is left outside your hut for washing. A small breakfast of rusks (a bigger version of the baby biscuit) a quick briefing and you are off.
The morning's are cool, even in summer and you may want to wear a light sweater, but by 8am, the sun is up and it will be very hot. Make sure you take plenty of sun lotion and water.
The morning walk lasts about 5 hours and you will have a breakfast stop on the way. There will be two guides, both with .458 caliber rifles (big) so you feel safe enough, but you will have plenty of encounters with animals.
Back to the camp by 10:30/11 for a lunch (usually hot - you get plenty of food) and a rest until about 3:30.
Take some games / cards / books to read in these long gaps.
The afternoon walk is a lot briefer and you will be back by 6:30. The sunset views are spectacular.
Day 3 = same as day 2 with slightly different routes. You will get to see some San bushart on one of the days too.
On the third day, the camp pump water into the water hole just outside the boundary which means that a good deal of animals come to drink. You can expect to see zebra, elephant, warthog, giraffe at the least during the afternoon rest. It's a great chance to get some close up photos of the animals you will have seen on the trail.
Day 4 = up later, around 6:30, time to leave the camp by around 8am. No walks this day.
Other things to know:
Wildlife: The Wolhuter trail is in white rhino country. You can expect to see a LOT of Rhino. We saw almost 100 over the two days. While they are fantastic to see, and are likely to charge if they get wind of you, which can be quite exciting, there is a bit of a lack of variety after a while.
We did see other animals, zebra, buffalo, giraffe, elephant, lots of antelope....we were lucky enough to see a lion eating a buffalo kill and got quite close. But do expect to mainly see rhino on this trail. The more northern trails (there are 7 to choose from) offer a wider variety (although may be limited to one or two her trail) so look around.
Camp Life: The water hole attracts a number of different animals to the perimeter of the camp at night and as a result also attracts a number of predators. We saw and heard hyena every evening and while they are on the other side of the fence, this can be quite disconcerting, especially if you need a late night loo-trip.
One evening, we heard a hyena and lion fight which was thrilling but a bit scary!
There are traces of animal dung in the camp but the guide assured us that visits are rare.
Fauna: The majority of the trek takes place in the low veld where there are lots of types of grasses. HIgher up on some of the mountains there are lots of types of wild flowers. I am no expert and while we did have a few types of plant pointed out to us, i think there are probably better trails for botanists.
Guides: We had two guides who were extremely knowledgable and made us feel safe. They can answer most questions and if you have a particular interest, for example ours was antelope, they will try their best to point out things of interest including tracks and droppings.
Safety: there were a few occasions when we were charged by rhino and got very close to a lion. This was scary but the guides tell you want to do in all situations. Most of the advice is based around not running and you would do well to listen to this.
- Neutral clothing (no white or colours) for the walks. Shorts and light pants are best
- Neck cover for the midday sun
- Trail shoes or boots
- Plenty of changes for the above - it is hot and sweaty
- Day rucsac with water reservoir if you prefer
- Headtorch for the evenings
- Games/cards/books for the mid-day
- Phones/ipads etc will have no reception but you can take them
- Camera and SPARE BATTERY. there are no charging facilities, don't miss out on that shot
- Travel towel - there are towels provided but they are pretty mini
- Mosquito net - these are provided but ours had holes in
- Beers / wine - there are plenty of opportunities for drinks and sundowners and also big freezers and fridges to keep cool. Ice is provided
- Sun cream and mosquito repellant
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