Heine's Ramblings and Rumblings

2020 Limpopo River Trip

Day 1

Alarm goes off – 4:30 am…

Poochies are totally disorientated, then reality hits them, we’re going away for a few days.As it dawns on then one by one their faces becomes very mopey .

As we pack the last items we tell them “It’s only one sleep”.Oh how we lie to make ourselves feel better.

We depart from home at 5:30am, whilst its still dark.Destination the Petroport (West) N1 for 6:30am to meet up with our fellow travellers.

It’s a cold rather chilly morning when we arrive, a few of us stand around getting to know each other whilst we complete our paperwork

Off we set, next get together the Shell garage – Polokwane.

Polokwane reached by noon, quick petrol stop for those wanting to fill up before pushing through to Giyani , situated in the North-eastern part of Limpopo Province, the Administrative Capital of Mopani District.

Just through Giyani turned off onto a gravel stretch of road, let down tyres and continued for 30 KM’s before we were to reach our destination for the next few nights and reached the river Klein Letaba River.

Temperature has now climbed to 26 degrees, nice an warm for a winter’s day.

We all gathered on the bridge crossing the river before our descent onto the sandy river bed. A quick vehicle pose under the bridge and brief from Tony “We’re going to travel down the river for approx. 30 KM, they’ll be a few obstacles along the way such as sand dunes, river crossings which we’ll need to navigate slowly” Let’s go and have some fun !

The river bed was very dry, bordered by green trees either side and on one side a little water,  covered in a variety of reeds. Some cows wandered amongst these, you can hear the faint ring of their bells around their necks.

We arrive upon our first obstacle a small river crossing, we all cross one at a time no drama here.

We continue a little further up river the second obstacle appears, a sand dune or embankment!

One vehicle at a time we ascend a little power needed. The first to struggle were Mark & Michelle, travelling in a Bushlore hired Toyota Land Cruiser, just not enough power the first couple of attempts then they easily reached the top.

Now our turn.Enough power,we’ll be good but BO had other ideas, the rear end decides otherwise taking us sideways, not exactly a side slope but a side slip. Now we hang precariously Heine’s side at the lowest point of the slope about 25 degrees, as we try to get out we dig ourselves in further.

Mandy jumps out to video, to be honest shit scared we were going to turn over… played it safe !

Bernie stands on the  passenger side of the vehicle and guides Heine out of the slope…A few small bushes destroyed nearly running over one of our fellow travellers but out safely.

A reminder to all on the trip…

“What goes on Heine Cam stays on Heine Cam”

What was to happen next? Our fearless leader Tony has a puncture, a quick change and off we all go.

The last few KM’s went without mishap , a leisurely drive until we meet an enormous net across the river barring us from continuing further.

On one side we sat parked, on the other Kruger Park.

A lone elephant wanders not far from us, he must be rather old, one foot is the sizes of two of Heine’s.

There were also some croc prints present

Some quick drone footage then off we set back the way we came to set up camp

Setting up camp we all positioned our vehicles in a circle around the focal point… a bonfire that when lit later could be perhaps seen by those in Gauteng !

Heine finds his forever Unicorn ! (Don’t ask !)

Braai, drinks and chatter around the fire.

Tony introduces us to the the most poisonous scorpion found.. how to freak you out and make you mind where you’re walking !

Day 2 – Thursday 23rd July

We woke to chatter in the camp at 7:15am, the early birds were up , those with ground tents started to pack up to get a head start.

The previous night was chilly but not too cold , no electric blanket needed.

Coffee , rusks and a briefing around the fire which was still burning from the previous night .

Day 2 was going to be around a 40 – 45 KM drive, trekking back the way we had come on day 1 and back under the bridge where we had turned onto the riverbed .

Again a few obstacles will cross our path, we set off at 9:30am.

We reached the first dune not so long into the drive.Each vehicle took turn’s to drive up the dune.

Michelle took 4 attempts in trying to get up the dune in their hire vehicle, each time she would lose power just before reaching the top, of course it didn’t help when Mark took their vehicle up first time.

Last person to climb the dune was Heine, adamant that he was going to succeed unlike the day before. He checked his tyre pressures again and realised that he’s been reading the gauge incorrectly, the tyres were still way too hard for sand.

He made the necessary adjustments then finally floored it to get Bo up and over the dune.. all four wheels were off the ground, but we were up.

We continued up river and encountered another two obstacles which we had to navigate.

Boulders that needed others to spot for them so no one damaged their sidewalls.

Note:  Tip to self for future trips if we encountered a similar obstacle, lift the rear of Bo using the airbags to ensure we don’t hit the back of the vehicle when climbing.

We ran out of track, too many boulders in front,we back tracked to find the most frequently travelled route, also to be found on T4A.

The last obstacle for the day, a steep climb out and along the riverbed, a large wash away which needed packing with rocks and a conscious decision to take the correct line when driving out.

As we drop back down into the riverbed further along we see a herdsman on his bike with his trustworthy dog.

On the right of us his herd, it seems one of the cows had gotten a fright, fallen and his horn had been driven hard into the ground.

Unable to stand or release the horn, Heine went to the rescue. The local and Heine eventually managed to get the cow to stand, not impressed the cow went to headbutt Heine but luckily missed.

After a full days drive , we looked for camp before the sun set, gathered enough wood for another raging fire.

Butter Chicken Curry, Gin and chat around the fire before we retire to a warmer night then the previous one.

Day 3 – Friday 24th July

Awoke again to the chitter chatter of our travel colleagues up , having coffee and starting to pack up for the forthcoming move.

Today will be our last day as we have to bail.

We travel back out into Giyani to the closest petrol station to say our goodbyes. The rest of the group will continue their trip till Saturday.

A fond farewell and a huge thank you to Bernie and Tony for an amazing and memorable trip over the last couple of days as well as those we met and shared the fun with…

Mark & Michelle / Pierre, Anette & Mikayla / The Joubert Family / The Swanepoel Family / Reginald & Charne  / Gary / Pieter & Michael / Stanley & Christopher / Johnny & Hilda / Johan / Gerhardt.

Let’s do it again !

Mandy & Heine

Below is an assortment of pics from everyone , thanks for sharing.

Click on any pic to start a slideshow :