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Thread: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

  1. #1

    Default Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    So for my 30th birthday my wife presented me with a booking confirmation for the above hike.

    It's a 4 day, 3 night hike in the Kruger National Park. Everything must be carried in (and out again), and water will be found by digging in the riverbeds. We will be accompanied by two armed rangers that also act as trailguides. There are no designated camping spots, you walk until the ranger decides on a nice spot.

    I am absolutely stoked. Our hike will be 6-9 July, winter here so longer nights than days (marginally so).

    I already planning my lighting requirements. It's quite difficult as weight must be kept to a minimum, but I think my MH20nw and Olight S1 will suffice for all the lighting needs, along with a collapsible solar jar.

    I must admit, the idea of sleeping with nothing but the thin nylon of a hiking tent between me and the lions is quite something :-)
    General flashaholic.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Lions! Sounds like the armed rangers are a good idea. Can't wait to see pictures. Hope there's room for a camera.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Yeah it's full-on Big 5 country. Elephant and buffalo sightings are practically guaranteed, but the carnivores are a tad more scarce.

    Camera will be a non-negotiable item!

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Man that sounds amazing! Really looking forward to seeing pics! Your wife sounds like a keeper. Keep us posted - I'd like to see what sort of gear you pack for the trip as well.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    This hike is hanging in the balance. I was in a motorcycle accident on 5 April, multiple compound fractures of tibia and fibula, few cracked ribs etc. After the whole thing getting infected I only got discharged from hospital this week.

    On the road to recovery now, but I have a very, very long way to go.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Sorry to hear that. That sounds painful.....hope you heal quickly!

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    That is terrible! I hope you are able to recover quickly; those are some nasty injuries.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Necropost.

    This hike is still on and booked for the last week of April.

    Still limping a bit but should be able to manage the hike.

    Really, really looking forward to this one.

  9. #9
    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Glad to hear you're healing up and still able to make the trip! I'm subscribing to this one for some cool pics.!

  10. #10
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Heal quickly and I agree can't wait for pics. Beautiful area

  11. #11
    *Flashaholic* Str8stroke's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Wow, hope you heal up and can make the trip. I would consider bringing one of those roll up solar panels and one of those clip on Foursevens chargers. That would be cool way to keep the batteries charged.
    Good luck.
    Interested in Saltytri lights. Pm me!


  12. #12

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Thanks all.

    We've heard from the guides that they prefer a low-light campsite at night, so no spotlights etc.

    My lighting planning is currently as follows:

    Wife:
    Headlamp Tikka XP plus one set spare Energizer Lithiums
    Handheld Olight S1 with primaries (1 spare)

    Me
    Headlamp Olight H1 Nova with primaries (1 spare)
    Handheld Nitecore MH20 with 3400mAh battery (1 spare)

    Tent

    Light jar with solar panel, to be attached to backpack during the day.

  13. #13
    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    I understand the low light campsite however, I'd still be more comfortable with at least 1 high lumen light "just in case" lol.
    Not sure if I can imagine myself in that environment without a "night to day" solution!

  14. #14

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Quote Originally Posted by Roger Sully View Post
    I understand the low light campsite however, I'd still be more comfortable with at least 1 high lumen light "just in case" lol.
    Not sure if I can imagine myself in that environment without a "night to day" solution!
    My MH20 at just shy of 1000 lumens is my highest-lumen light, though.

    I am attaching a Glo-Toob to my backpack incase emergency signalling is needed.

  15. #15
    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Aaah ok. It's still going to be a blast I'm sure.

  16. #16

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Leaving tomorrow, checking into the Kruger National Park on Sunday, and the hike starts on Wednesday. All set, batteries charged!

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Have fun and be safe! I am looking forward to hearing about your trip and especially looking forward to the pictures!

    If you see this guy below,,no worries,,,,,,,he looks like a Wolf but loves to run! We are closing in on 14K miles of hiking!

  18. #18
    *Flashaholic* Offgridled's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    That's a great accomplishment brother. So good for you and the capo

  19. #19

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Okay. Where to start? I cannot describe the experience in words or pictures.

    We started out on Wednesday. We were dropped on the southern bank of the Letaba river, about 8km from the nearest tar and public access road. From there we hiked southwards.

    Pretty soon we were shown where elephants dug for water in a riverbed, and were then shown how to do it ourselves. Much to my surprise, this hole in the ground was suddenly our life-line. Our only source of water, as sulphuric as it smells, and as yellow as it looks, and as organic (not in a good way) as it tasted, this was all we had.

    We made camp about 200m from there in a nice bend in the river, with a rock face as backdrop. The night gave us sounds of scops and pearl spotted owl(et)s, hyenas and lion.

    The next morning we kept south, following some fresh lion spoor for a possible sighting. Unfortunately they eluded us. We had a close encounter with a dagha boy (the name given to a lone buffalo bull that has been driven from the herd, that spends its time in mud (dagha) holes and have terrible tempers) when one of the ladies startled it during a toilet break, which made for a few tense moments. Luckily the sound of a .458 cartridge getting chambered made it think twice about a charge.

    From there we walked to find water, to find it occupied by a big elephant bull. We sat on the banks watching him, with the wind blowing our scent directly toward him. He was not bothered, and after about 20 minutes he calmly walked past us, not 10m from where we were sitting. Unbelievable experience.

    We had dug a fresh water hole and made lunch and had a siesta, from where we had a pretty hard walk to where we wanted to camp again.

    Impossible as it seemed, this campsite was even more picturesque than the first, again in a dry riverbed. The guides let us decide where to set up camp, but after we chose, they pointed out that it's right next to a well-used elephant path, and that our presence may prevent them from drinking. We moved about 300m onwards.

    We found a place to dig for water again, about 100m from the tents. This night the lions roared quite a bit, and we could audibly track the pride. I woke up early to take a leak, with the sky still very grey. As I finished I saw three big grey animals moving towards our water hole, and without my glasses I assumed them to be hippo. I made a tactical retreat to my tent, from where I got the bins, only to realise that it was 3 rhinos coming for a drink. They were very skittish, and when another hiker unzipped his tent, they vanished. Going to collect water for the day showed very clear evidence that a male leopard visited the water hole during the night as well.

    We broke up camp, for another close encounter with a buff, and finally reached the Letaba river again. Our guides found us a shallow pool with no crocs, and we were able to cool down a bit. The feeling of running water is immense, after two days of having practically only survival water with us.

    Our drinking water from then on came from the Letaba, which is quite polluted. Our water drops were used religiously from then on.

    Our last camp was on the sand, on the bank of the Letaba. Absolutely breathtaking. Crocs and hippo around us all night.

    The final day saw a short walk to the pickup point, where we were greeted with cold beers. After 4 days of suspect, luke-warm water, this went down very well!

    I'll add pics as soon as photobucket and I see eye to eye again.

  20. #20
    Flashaholic* Roger Sully's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Glad you made it back safe! I'm sure that even as you type this the words can't actually describe the experience....
    Looking forward to seeing the pics!

  21. #21
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Wow!! Sounds like a great life experience!

    If you have trouble w/ Photobucket[I stopped using it months ago] I would suggest Postimage.org.

    It is so much faster and easier to use.


    ..........so,,pictures or it did not happen!

  22. #22

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    First campsite:


    Early morning lion spoor:


    Ellie at our lunch spot:

    Getting a lesson on Golden Orb spiders:


    Leopard spoor at our water hole:


    Collecting our water for the day:


    Last camping spot:


    Sunset:


    Coffee imminent:


    And a last sunrise over the waters of the Letaba:

  23. #23
    Flashaholic* KITROBASKIN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    What a treat to see your pictures and enjoy your words. Being a flashlight forum and all, I can't help but suggest that those reading this thread might consider using a flashlight held roughly parallel, close to the ground over the critter footprints in order to emphasize the depth of the imprint. Your cat print images have a very strong impact. Maybe you can tell us more about the people on your adventure as well. I'm going to guess it was not only the sound of tempered steel hitting tempered steel while chambering a .458, but also the intent of the individual working the action, that gave the creature pause. Buffalo, crocs and hippos Oh MY.

  24. #24
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Thanks for the great pictures.

    How far were the tracks of the Lion and Leopard from where you slept?

  25. #25

    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    We had great hiking companions, two of them are very close friends of ours, and two others were colleagues of my wife at a previous job. They are nature lovers, and the ex-colleagues of my wife took some amazing artistic pictures. Will not mind if they hiked with us again.

    The leopard spoor was at our waterhole about 100m from the tents. The lion spoor was quite a bit further, probably around 2km.

    The guides told us quite a few stories of previous hikes, once where the lions were watching them from about 60m, while they were preparing dinner!

  26. #26
    Flashaholic* LEDAdd1ct's Avatar
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    Default Re: Lonely Bull, Kruger National Park

    Would you mind re-upping the photos?

    I'd love to see them!

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