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“An experience like no other”

Wolhuter Wilderness Trail
Reviewed April 24, 2014

I recently finished the Wolhuter Wilderness Trail and had an unforgettable experience. There aren’t a lot of write-ups about the trip here, so I thought I’d offer some advice for people thinking about doing this wilderness trail (and I’m guessing these would be useful for other trails as well).

First of all is a wilderness trail right for you? Take this simple test:

1. Is your main goal in visiting Kruger is to see the Big 5? If so then you’ll see more of the big five by staying in your car and perhaps taking a couple of ranger-led drives from the main Rest Camps.

2. Do you want to get out of your car and walk the terrain, exploring the trees, the landscape, and small animals like insects? If so, then yes you should seriously consider doing a wilderness trail. If you don’t have the time I suspect the 2-4-hour ranger-led walks that leave from the rest camps could give you a similar experience.

3. Do you think you would lose your composure when a rhino fifty feet away from you starts to bolt? If so, then no. Don’t put your guide and other hikers in danger. At least on the Wolhuter trail this seems to be a reasonably common event. And please, do not listen to other reviewers who suggest you should run from rhinos. Your guides will explain that running is the most dangerous thing you can do. If you obey your guides they can keep you safe.



4. Do you want to learn about the bush from people who have lived all their lives in it? If so, then yes. I don’t know what all the guides are like, but ours were rangers who have clearly been reading the land and tracking animals since they were kids.

5. Do you expect 5 star service and accommodation? Forget the trails then. The camp was much more civilized than I expected – with hot showers and tiny but reasonably comfortable A-frames – but it is still roughing it compared to the Bungalows we stayed in elsewhere in the camp.

Are you still with me? If so, I can’t completely prepare you for the 3 night excursion, nor would I want to, but here are a few tips that will make your experience better:

1. Bring the right clothes. I was a bit worried about being a cliché tourist. I needn’t have been. Khaki or olive drab green clothes are expected. Bright colors frighten the animals. Should you wear a silly bush hat? Your guides wear them to protect from the sun and occasional tree branches, so why not? Long pants are a must and we found that treating our clothes with permethrin did a good job of keeping the mosquitoes away.

2. Bring the right shoes. Waterproof hiking boots are almost a must. You are going to be trudging 15-20 km a day through fields, puddles, streams, and scrub. Dry comfortable feet will make your experience much better. An extra pair of lighter, comfortable shoes to wear around camp is good too.

3. Bring gaiters. I wasn’t quite sure what these were when I saw previous reviews of the trails. Now I know. You are going to be walking through dozens of different kinds of grasses, most of which will find a way to work themselves through your socks and into your skin. If you don’t wear gaiters you’ll be slowly picking rather painful seeds and burrs out of your ankles while the rest of the group watches a parade of elephants.

4. Other recommended items to pack: a headtorch for navigating the camp at night (there’s no electricity); flip flops for the shower; binoculars; water bottle / camelback

5. If you like to drink with dinner or around the campfire at night, feel free to bring along some alcohol – there is a good-sized fridge to store it in. And if you do, make sure to bring a little extra to share with your guides and the cook.

6. Everything is included in the package – transportation, food, housing, and tours. The only cash you’ll need is for tipping the staff. Ours certainly did a wonderful job at keeping us safe and entertained and well fed.

42  Thank Jamey W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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25 - 29 of 34 reviews

Reviewed February 26, 2014

An absolutely amazing place for all lovers of wilderness. Lots of rhinos; be prepared to run... Fantastic food. Incredibly competent rangers. Accommodation pretty basic, which is part of the charm. Not suitable for people who cant be quiet on walks or who cant cope with bugs. Will definitely go back

9  Thank Vincent S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed April 15, 2013

Feeling like something different? Wanting to experience the bush in more natural surroundings than driving thru in a car? Prepared to rough it a bit but still want all the basics provided? Looking for a touch of "daring" and excitement but still feel safe? Then consider a Wilderness Bush Trial Walk. You really don't need to be all that fit! The Kruger Park offers several - some are based at small camps (like Wolhuter) and others are more strenuous, no base camp, walk and carry your tent and provisions.
I fully endorse the review by Project 25 "Get up and personal to the real Kruger" , it's still as valid today as it was in 2011 for the Wolhuter trail. His kit list is spot on, please use it, and also add the following:
-for your comfort a "must have" item is carve height gaiters. The bush (underveld) is thick and lush and gaiters prevents itchy seeds and stuff working themselves into your socks and shoes. You can buy this at Cape Union Mart (at the airport and branches thru out SA), not cheap (about R200) but please do yourself a favour and buy it - calve height will suffice. Drifters Xtreme Sports at De Waterkant Centre Cape Town sells it for R100, and it works well. (See photo - if I can manage to upload it!)
- a rain coat/cover as it can rain heavily and unexpectedly
- sunglasses
- medium thickness socks ( I used trail runner socks)
- good quality lightweight binoculars, I recommend each should have his own
- you can wear colours but autumns shades, dark, nothing bright or white, cotton clothing breathes well.
Nowadays one don't have to book ages in advance, we booked end January for the beginning of April and had a choice of several dates. I think this is due to the many private reserves nowadays active around the Kruger Park. Keep in mind the different trails are in different regions of the Park and the Park is huge. Thus you see different species, depending which trail you choose. Wolhuter is all about rhinos ( I am not going to say anything much about poaching, except that poachers are very active in the area).
If you want to include the possibility to see lions and the rest of the big five gang on foot, then consider the Metsi-metsi Wilderness trial in the Kruger Park.
We were a group of 8 friends aged 54 - 60, most of us have done some trial walking in our earlier days but were quite unfit. Still, we found the walks (5 hours in the morning and about 2 in the afternoon) manageable and there were lots of breaks and rest periods. You don't have to be super fit at all!
I suggest that for the perfect combination you book a trail walk with some days of game viewing prior to the walk. Don't try to cover too much of the park, I suggest two nights at a camp to allow you to pack off and enjoy, not to rush to the next spot. Sartara is the most popular, as that is the known territory of the Big Five.
Enjoy!

17  Thank HoutBayDiver
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 7, 2012

Wow, it was such an amazing bush/nature experience. No electricity and only outside bathrooms and showers! Arrived on Friday evening, we were a group of 8 friends. Dinner was served around the fire (compliments to the chef)!. Awoken very early in the morning, served with tea and biscuits before the long walk. Amazing experience. Moses and Rangani (our rangers) were wonderful!! Cant say enough. The afternoon drive and the beautiful sunset, all unforgettable.

Had a fantastic time. If you want the safari experience, go ahead, try the wolhuter!

5  Thank zuluan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 22, 2011

Our guides, Rangani and Moses were excellent. Very knowledgable, experienced and great at tracking the animals. They could really explain in great detail all that we were seeing and experiencing, far beyond our expectations.

Note that you will walk, a lot... For those not prepared then don't bother but note that you are probably missing an experience of a lifetime.

We were a bit ill prepared expecting it to be warmer so recommendations are to have a rain jacket and sweater available during the Spring and possibly summer. The huts are basic but clean, the food was plentiful and well prepared by our camp host and chef, Henry who always had a smile on his face and happy to get you anything you needed.

Make sure you bring your selection of drinks as aside from the camp water, there aren't any other options.

We saw lots of Rhinos, Elephants, Giraffes, Hippos, A nesting Crocodile, Zebra and tracked a herd of buffalo as well. We heard hyenas and lions but never managed to walk up on them... Rangani and Moses showed us bushman paintings and caves in a few locations and were amazing at spotting the smallest of animals or other wildlife.

A great trip, book well in advance (6 months at least) as these trips are limited to 8 only...

8  Thank ACitizenOfTheWorld68
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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