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Rio Elefantes Wilderness Trail
This amazing wilderness experience offers four nights of camping under the stars, walking through the bush with nothing but a GPS and canoeing down the gentle current of the Rio Elefantes (Olifants River) in the pristine and untouched Great Limpopo Transfrontiers Park.
Price: 6100 ZAR Per PersonDuration: 5 Day(s)Read moreSend to friendAdd to favourite
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Tour RegionLimpopo
ActivitiesBird watching, Game Viewing, Hiking, Photography, Walking Safaris, Bird watching, Game Viewing, Hiking, Photography, Walking Safaris
Full Description
Please note:
This trail is not recommended for the inexperienced, first-time Africa traveler, probably hoping to see as many animals as possible. This trail is NOT about game viewing. You will probably see elephants, hippos, crocodiles, giraffe, zebra, warthog, a few bucks and you will definitely see many, many birds, but the civil war still fresh in nature’s memory, most animals are skittish. This trail is also NOT about luxury. It is rough, but it is more than worth it if you are looking to be truly immersed in nature. This trail will awaken your senses, it will allow you to leave your terrestrial problems behind and overwhelm you with the true spirit of Africa – her strength, simplicity, humility and beauty. 

Detailed itinerary:

Day 1: (D) – Border crossing into Mozambique, bush camp Machampane area

The starting point of the trail is in Letaba Camp in the Kruger National Park. Unless you are staying close to Phalaborwa gate, you would do well to overnight at Letaba Camp the night before the trail. You will meet your guide at Letaba Camp around 11.30 am, where you will have a short briefing before driving to Giroyondo Border Post. After the formalities here you will continue to your first bush camp close to Machampane Camp, and that afternoon you will have your first introductory bush walk, followed by sundowners and dinner under the stars.

Day 2: (BLD) – Bush Camp Machampane area

Early morning wake-up, followed by breakfast. Walking in the general direction of the second bush camp aided by a GPS, you simply follow animal trails. There are no roads, no cell phone towers, no electricity poles – just nature’s logic. The walk takes you through Mopane forests, past small rivers and open plains, and as you go along, your guide will point out useful information about trees, plants, insects and tracks. Lunch will be enjoyed during the heat of the day, and in the afternoon you will reach your second camp. Sundowners whilst they prepare a fire, followed by a much-earned hearty supper.

Day 3: (BLD) – Bush Camp, Rio Elefantes

You may go for a short walk before breakfast, but otherwise it’s an early rise, breakfast and packing up for the drive along Massingir Dam to reach the launching site on the Olifants River, from where you will continue your safari on the water! The ‘highway’ along the dam is nothing more but a one-lane dirt road, but is very scenic and takes you through numerous villages and flood plains. You will reach the launching site around lunchtime, and settled nicely in your two-man canoe, the Rio Elefantes gently sweeps you away from the land. The river is averagely about 50-80 meters wide and flows at about 3,5-4 km/h downstream, so paddling is all you will need to do, which gives you plenty of time and opportunity to fully enjoy the overwhelming scenery. The biodiversity in flora and fauna is incredible, and although you will not be seeing too much game, you will see plenty of birdlife, as well as local villagers doing their washing, fetching water and fishing. You will stop regularly to stretch the legs, jump out for a swim (watch out for crocodiles!), or have a good look at a rare bird. Today you will paddle for about 10 km, until you reach your next fabulous campsite next to the river. At night, keep your ears open for the elusive Pel’s Fishing Owl, which has been spotted at this campsite a few times!

Day 4: (BLD) – Bush Camp Rio Elefantes

Today you will canoe about 30 km down the river, starting straight after breakfast. At the end of the day, you will be collected and taken back to the same campsite as the previous night.

Day 5: (B) – Border crossing into South Africa

After an early breakfast, it is time to pack up the camp and head back to Machampane Camp, which is quite a drive. You will get there around noon, and after a short coffee break, you will be transferred back to the border post and Letaba Camp should be reached around 14.00 pm.

NOTE: It is advisable to book a night at Letaba Camp pre- and post-safari.

Accommodation & Trail Information:

• The whole safari is fully catered and portered, so the trail’s staff will be taking care of transporting your main

luggage, food & drinks, setting up and breaking down of the campsites, washing and cleaning. You only need

to carry your own small daypack with water, camera, sunscreen lotion, binoculars etc.

• Due to weather conditions, animal movements and the nature of the trail, the itinerary and location of the

campsites are always subject to change.

• Each trail is accompanied by a South African lead guide and a Mozambican (armed) back-up guide.

• You sleep in small dome tents that can sleep two people – camping beds and mattresses are provided, but

you will need to bring your own sleeping bag and pillow.

• Ablution facilities are very basic – the toilet is a hole in the ground, with or without a small platform,

screened off with bush and/or fly screens. Each tent is given a mobile canvas basin, which at night is perfect

for brushing teeth and washing your face. You can have a shower (also behind a screen of bush and/or fly

screen) underneath a canvas bag with showerhead, which at night is filled with hot water and hauled up a tree.

Departure day: every Friday throughout the year, but flexible
Terms, conditions and cancellation policyUpon request.
Child policy

Min age: 12 - Minimum 4 people for this tour to depart
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