The north of Kruger continues to cast its spell on me. I spent a day with trails rangers Christopher Mutathi and David Nemukula, who lead the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail in the northwestern wilderness area of Kruger. They wanted to show me this region, as they had a day off from their trails, and wanted to check up on the small camp where trailists spend their nights.
I definitely want to come back here sometime to do the Nyalaland Wilderness Trail. It’s in a very remote part of the park, where massive baobabs dominate the skyline, and the hilly terrain is carved through by the beautiful, flowing Luvuvhu River, where bird life is unrivalled in the park, with more species than elsewhere.
When we arrived at trails camp, we had obviously just missed an intruder – a bull elephant – because there were tracks all around. Christopher told me elephants simply push the low fence over, and how lions sometimes walk into camp when the gate is left open, and end up snoozing underneath the four A-frame thatched huts!
On our way back to Punda Maria, we were charged by an elephant cow – Christopher and David banged on the side of the Land Cruiser’s doors, shouting at the elephant to get her to stop, which she eventually did! Heart-pounding stuff!
Christopher told me that the elephants in the north of Kruger are more temperamental and less trusting of humans, because of the hunting in Zimbabwe and the poaching in Mozambique. And because there are no fences between the countries, and animals are free to wander over borders, they are exposed to a variety of different people…not all of them tourists!
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