Mphongolo Backpacking Trail

Mphongolo Backpacking Trail

Mphongolo Backpacking Trail
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5.0
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Wynand_K
7 contributions
Jun 2021
Huge thank you to Donovan and Rapid, our two trails guides. These guys were incredibly professional and fun at the same time. We were very impressed with how they took the "zero impact" policy very seriously, and I can honestly say that we left no trace behind, and we never saw any sign or trace of anyone before us! It was such a privilege to spend time in nature in this way. We were totally bummed on the last day to realize our hike was over. Next time we will book back-to-back and go for six nights!
Written 7 July 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

_badgersa22
North-West Province, South Africa13 contributions
Jul 2019
Amazing to experience the Kruger on foot. 4 Day, 3 night trail with experiences trails guides. Most have a certain level of fitness as you carry your own backpack and equipment. But not to strenuous at all. Most amazing trees on the river systems and drainage lines. We saw plenty elephant, buffalo and general game. Heard lions and a leopard call at night.
If you're a nature enthusiast this is a must. Don't think you can get much closer to nature then these trails.
Always nice if you can get a group of "like minded" friend together to share the experience.
Will be back again for sure.
Written 8 October 2019
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

rosscosaus
Perth, Australia22 contributions
May 2017 • Couples
The real way to experience the Kruger Park if you are a Wild life enthusiast and not scared to sleep in a small one man tent in a randomly chosen site in the Kruger with no fences , this Trail is set up north , so lots of Elephants and big trees on the trail as you stay close to the drainage lines . Good to book all 8 places and make this a trail for special friends who enjoy hiking and camping out,You do need to take all your own food , utensils , tents and sleeping bags. Take a comfortable pair of boots , hiking shoes
Written 25 September 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Bill B
Johannesburg, South Africa24 contributions
Jun 2017 • Friends
Truly rewarding experience that will put you in touch with your spiritual side. One cannot get closer to the wonders of the wild and this 'walk' is highly recommended. So much to learn and so much to take away, it is great to spend time where so few others with two legs go.
Written 4 June 2017
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

tiaandewit
Secunda, South Africa21 contributions
Jul 2016
Our group of privilege friends hiked the Mphongolo backpacking trail last month. This was a true life changing experience that will leave a longing in our hearts for many years to come.

This trail is one of only a few full backpacking trails where you need to carry everything that you might need during the course of 3 nights. It's also important to note that you need to take everything out that you carried into the wilderness. This is to ensure minimum impact on the environment and keep the human footprint as low as possible. The trail forms part of the biggest wilderness area in Kruger, close to Sirheni camp.

What made this trail even more special is that you have a set drop-off point and a predetermined collection point. How you navigate and where you sleep in between these two points is totally up to the group and the guides.

Some people might be disappointed about the total number of km's walked/hiked, we only "hiked" for about 15km. The rest was short walks from our camps, without backpacks, into the bush. This meant that we spent much more time appreciating the surrounding environment.

We had two of the most experienced guides I have met. Brenden and Andre made this whole experience so much richer. Their knowledge, not just about animals, but trees, plants, birds and nature is truly astounding. The way they manage our group of 8 people and protected us from a dangerous encounter made this even more memorable.

Our "nature lover freak" friend, Anton, wrote an amazing blog about our experience and I would recommend that if you are interested go and google "Anton and Renate's Wildlife Adventures" to experience this through the eyes of a true nature fanatic.

I would recommend this to any nature lover that is not scared to go without a shower for a few days and that want to experience nature on a much deeper level. You will not be disappointed BUT you Kruger experience might never be the same again as you will always be longing for the total freedom and closeness to nature that this experience provides.
Written 15 August 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

899lyndab
Hazyview, South Africa3 contributions
Mar 2016 • Family
This wilderness trail was a fantastic experience. 3 nights in an area of the Kruger park that you can only get to on foot. You have to carry everything you need and leave nothing behind when you leave. Clean water is obtained from digging for it - just like the Elephants do! Dave and Donovan where our guides (definitely request them if you can), they they were so informative and great fun, their bush experience clearly shone through and I always felt extremely safe. They even organised "bush" showers for us every night. The area we walked in is truly magnificent along rivers with the most beautiful trees and magnificent scenery.
It was very hot during the day but we mainly rested in a shady spot when it got too unbearable. Make sure you pack only what you need- you don't want to carry any extra weight. Don't expect to view a large amount of game - thats not what its all about, but we did see Elephant, Buffalo, Waterbuck, Nyala etc etc and an impressive 90 bird species spotted by our guides. At night we heard Lion, Leopard, Owl and lots more calling. We woke every morning to the sound of Francolin calling and thats your alarm clock - bliss to have no technology around. Make sure you have good walking shoes, hat and sunblock and I would advise you to stay the night before in Shingwedzi camp.
Overall a very special and unique experience.
Written 3 April 2016
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Fkafrica
Pretoria, South Africa677 contributions
May 2015 • Friends
We recently hiked the Mpongolo Backpacking trail in the Kruger National Park. The trail starts at the Shingwedzi rest camp where you meet the rangers. It is a full backpacking trail, which means you need to carry your tent, food, cooking equipment, etc. You can choose to pitch camp every day at a new site, or to camp for three nights at the same spot. You can also decide the distances you would like to hike. The hike is in a wilderness area, so you never see any trace of human influence.

The guides (ours were Pete Dippenaar and Louis Lemmer), are very knowledgeable so it makes sense to pitch one camp and to hike from there with day packs in order to explore as much as you can. Being in the Kruger Park, you can expect to bump into anything from the big 5 to hippo and hyena, etc. The wonder of the hike is actually not the big game, but the small creatures, grasses, flowers, trees, etc. The guides will share with you their knowledge on fauna and flora, animal tracks, etc.

This is one of the best ways to really get into nature, learn a lot about our fragile planet and get a better understanding of our impact on nature. The hike is based on the principle of zero impact. The camp site is rehabilitated completely and the activities designed to leave only tracks and take only pictures. Well worth the effort!!

From the SANPARKs website:
The Mphongolo Trail is a primitive Backpacking Trail starts from Shingwedzi Camp and is conducted in the large wilderness area between the Shingwedzi and Mphongolo rivers.

The trail stretches over 4 days and three nights, with departures every Wednesday and Sunday between 1 February and 30 November. This trail allows its participants to spend three nights in this wilderness area without having the constraints of having to get to the next point or of following a prescribed route. The trail allows the trail leader to decide when & where to camp and how far & which route to follow. Hikers can leave their cars at Shingwedzi Camp in the designated parking area.
•The activity will be conducted by two experienced Trails Rangers and the maximum number of participants will be kept to eight people per trail with a minimum of 4 people.
•Guests are expected to provide their own camping equipment and food for the duration of the trail. There are no overnight huts on this trail.
•As the safety of hikers is of major importance, all participants have to bring tents and sleep in them every night while they are walking the trail.
•Participants will be responsible for setting up their own tents and for cooking their own food.
•No rubbish bins or toilets are provided at any of the overnight stops and the trail operates on a strictly “take it in, take it out” basis and strictly adheres to a “no trace camping” ethic. Please only use biodegradable products – soaps and detergents – on the trail.
•The group will meet at Shingwedzi camp at 11:00 on the day of departure in order to leave the camp by 12:00. They will then be transported, using an open vehicle with a trailer, and dropped off at a predetermined drop off point (according to a rotational usage schedule).
•The group will then be collected at a predetermined collection point at 10:00 on the last day and transported back to Shingwedzi Camp. This ensures that walking can be done in any direction from the drop off point allowing the trails ranger to decide at random where to camp and how far to walk. The trails ranger will be able to plan a circular or direct route to the pre arranged collection point and will also be able to decide whether to spend more than one night at a particular camp site or not. This will allow the group the opportunity to walk at a slower pace and to leave their back packs at the camp and they then don’t have to lug heavy packs around and can enjoy more of the wilderness.
Written 4 May 2015
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
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MPHONGOLO BACKPACKING TRAIL: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)