All I can say is that I am truly blessed to have been able to go on this trail in the Kruger National Park, and recommend this activity to anyone who loves the bush. It was undeniably one of the most personally profound trips for me.
The camp is based in the north of the KNP, and you enter through the Punda Maria Gate, and then collected from the Punda Maria base camp. We were picked up by our guides, Christopher and David with big smiles and a good welcome. We were safely driven through to the Nyalaland Base Camp – even though we just had to stop to see the elephants and other fauna that allowed us to see them along the way!
Base camp is very basic – there is no electricity or even solar power (heaven on earth is you want to get away from any technological device) – there are toilets and showers however and very comfy little huts with single beds, a hanger for your clothes and plenty or warm bedding for cold winter nights. Each morning you are woken by a guide, and a steaming bowl of water is placed outside your door to refresh yourself, before grabbing coffee and rusks and then setting off as the sun comes up to the starting point of your walk each day.
Food is homely and cooked by your own “chef”, and we were treated to Winston, whose father was also a “chef” in camp. He cooks on fires and gas and delivers all sorts of yummy dishes – his barbeque chicken was just the best ever (I had 2 pieces!) Each day your day pack had been packed with trail food from fresh fruit to cheese and biscuits. Coffee/Tea was always available with a kettle constantly on the boil. At this point I must mention the converted wheelbarrow that is brought to the lapa for each meal (look at the pics!)
Each day you are taken to a starting point and from there you walk for miles learning about the bush at ground level. As a South African, I have had many opportunities to be in the bush – but nothing can ever live up to the excitement of being at ground level. Firstly, there is the “danger” of being in the same vicinity of large wild animals, and secondly you get to see the small things and REALLY learn about the bush and how it all ties in together in the most wonderful ecosystem. Christopher and David were exceptional trackers as well as avid bird lovers. They would call back to birds, and could identify them in flight or in distant trees. They tracked a lion with us the one day, showing us how the animal had gone this way and that, taken a break here, paused there and eventually got to the river and must have traversed to the other side. We learnt about the Small 5, about baobabs (and how they get sunburnt!) to the nesting habits of birds, and differentiating dung/scat. Note: your guides carry guns and are experienced shooters and trackers, and if you keep to their rules, you will have no problem at all in the bush if faced with something a little larger than yourself!!
We climbed mountains and were treated to spectacular views of the Luvuvhu Gorge and surrounding Limpopo. We saw an “elephant graveyard”, fossils and archaeological sites. Every step of the way gave up some interesting fact about the bush, beautiful flora, peace and tranquillity.
After sun-downers somewhere in the 54000H of land, by a river, on a log, on a rock, we were engaged in lively discussions around the fire, continually learning more about the bush and the people who live in it, before eventually our eyes would droop, and it was time for bed (if you weren’t pleasantly kept awake by roaring lions or barking leopards, or perhaps the fighting buffalo on the other side of the fence).
I could write forever about this trip. All I can say further is that you MUST experience this for yourself. It will be an experience of a lifetime.
Some notes: this is not for physically disabled people. You will need to be fit and able. Bring all your own extra drinks, as you cannot drink the water here. You will have no access to the outside world for 3 nights and 2 days. The bush requires respect, and it is vital that you obey all the rules and follow your guides as stated and requested. Take few clothes (there is no need for dressing up!) and very comfortable walking shoes, and LOTS of suntan lotion (the African sun can be harsh). Lastly, enjoy every minute, learn as much as you can and ask every question that passes through your head!
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.