Lesser-known Kruger: Hitting the 4x4 Mafunyane Eco-Trail

2018-09-21 19:00
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If you have a love for hitting the open road, then the surrounding areas of Kruger are always on your radar. Now you can add the Mafunyane four-day trail to your must-do list.

READ MORE: Off-Road Kruger: 3 Escapes just outside the park gates

This 4x4 trail allows visitors to get off the beaten track and explore territories of the park that are rarely seen - during a three night, self-catering guided adventure in the north-western section of Kruger. Set between the Olifants and Luvuvhu Rivers, the route only operates during the dry season. 

Doing this in 4x4 vehicles not only minimises environmental damage, but it serve as the gateway to a real wilderness experience in the park. Some of the trails have dongas or river beds that would make normal vehicles unfit for these trails, especially during the wet season.   

And with just six vehicles plus the guide vehicle allowed on the trail at any one time,  it is a pretty exclusive experience.

READ MORE: Ultimate SA Camping: Into the heart of Kruger's Mafunyane 4x4 eco-trail

 What is the Mafunyane 4x4 Eco-Trail exactly?

The Mafunyane 4x4 Eco-Trail covers a distance of approximately 270km and all participants are required to drive their own 4x4 vehicles, with provisions for the four-day trip, including tents and camping gear, sufficient supply of water, firewood and food. 

The camping sites are simple (there are only a few eco-friendly toilet stalls erected where you can camp), perched underneath sprawling old Tamboti trees or next to stunning lakes where wild animals come to quench their thirst at dawn and dusk.

Although the trail is self-drive, it requires an official, professional trail guide to lead the trail and also provide the necessary interpretation en-route. SANParks says because the adventure trails are not gravelled, they are usually closed after rain in order to dry completely.

Participants should note that there are no facilities along the routes and should take great care at all times, especially when alighting from vehicles, and be aware of potential dangers.

You will need to use your GPS throughout.  

Want to go? Here's what to know

The Mafunyane 4x4 Eco-Trail operates during the dry season from 1 March to 30 November. Bookings for the trail can be made via SANParks' Central Reservations

A maximum of 4 persons is allowed per vehicle. 

The trail departs from Phalaborwa Gate every Thursday afternoon at 12:00 and ends at Punda Maria Camp on the Sunday morning.  No children under 12 years are allowed, unless arranged prior to departure.

Road conditions vary from reasonably good to sections with steep inclines. The crossing of streams, rivers and muddy sections during or after rain can be treacherous and therefore only 4x4 vehicles with proper 4x4 trailers or caravans are allowed. 

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