Makuya Hiking Trail
This slackpacking trail is set in the beautiful Makuya Reserve which is home to a variety of different landscapes including rivers, gorges, mountains and plains. The reserve is home to the Big 5 as well as a rich variety of birds. The trail is interpretative and time will be spent discussing the ecology of the area. The trail is well suited to fit hikers in good health who wish to experience and explore this magnificent wilderness area.
5 Night Trail:
Day 1/ Night 1:
Today we meet at the Singo Safari lodge where we will spend the night and leave vehicles for the trip. Accommodation will be in en- suite safari tents where we get a good night’s sleep in preparation for the early start on day 2.
Day 2/ Night 2:
We begin the day with a 10 km walk along the Luvuvhu River towards our overnight camping site at Pandembile. Flooding in the early parts of 2013 has removed a large part of the riverine vegetation and the walk is generally easy and flat. There is a chance of encountering local fisherman and people along the route today as this part of the journey is considered the least “wilderness in nature”. We will spend time discussing the ecology of the area as well as the floods.
We will camp overnight at Pandembile campsite where there are few facilities as we camp in the bush.
Day 3/ Night 3:
We begin today with a 7km walk along the Luvuvhu River towards the start of the Luvuvhu Gorge. We then head up a steep game path onto a plateau above the cliffs; it then transverses a few kilometres through the plateau sandveld vegetation and back down a steep elephant path to the centre of the gorge. We may explore more of the gorge which will make the route longer. This section can be rather tricky considering the rough terrain but offers some spectacular and rewarding views.
We will camp overnight in the heart of the Luvuvhu Gorge where there will be a safe place to swim. Minimal facilities are available as this is bush- camping.
Day 4/ Night 4:
We start today with a 5 km walk out of the gorge, through the plateau sandveld towards the Nyanada campsite close to the Nyanada Mountain. The vegetation in this area is very unique which makes exploring it a delight. The walk today is fairly short which allows plenty of time for looking around before heading towards the Nyanada campsite.
We spend our night at Nyanada campsite camping in bush. Since there is no river around, water will have to be provided.
Day 5/ Night 5:
The walk today starts with 10 km’s along the drainage line. This then heads to the base of the sandstone cliffs, across mopane vegetation to the Mutale River and then finally to Mutale Falls. There will be an opportunity to swim at the falls in “safe” areas.
We will spend our last night in the comfort of Mutale Falls Lodge which offers en- suite safari tents.
Alternative Distances and Night Configurations
3 night hike: Pandembile, Luvuvhu Gorge & Mutale Falls (2 bush camps and 1 lodge)
4 night hike: Singo, Pandembile, Luvuvhu Gorge & Mutale Falls (2 bush camps and 2 lodges)
4 night hike: Pandembile, Luvuvhu Gorge, Nyanada and Mutale Falls (3 bush camps and 1 lodge)
These trails are also available as backpacking trails offering hikers the opportunity to take their own food and required camping equipment. A good level of physical fitness is required for those choosing this option.
The Makuya Reserve is situated in the north- east of South Africa and is unfenced on the western side of the Kruger National Park. The trail is only available between April and September every year with a minimum group size of 4 people and a maximum of 8 hikers.
When participating in the slackpacking trail, hikers will need to provide their own sleeping bag for camping nights. All other necessary items such as food, cooking equipment and other camping equipment will need to be portered between camps during your hike. Water will be provided but should you wish to bring extra water on the trail, you are advised to bring water purification tablets.
The Makuya Reserve is situated in a malaria area; therefore the use of prophylactics is advised. You are responsible for your own travel and medical evacuation insurance.