We’ve explored Mozambique’s Parque Nacional do Limpopo reserve on several occasions, but this time our Technical Editor, Grant Spolander, discovered a different side to the park when he undertook a new off-road tour and adrenalin-filled adventure.
What is mankind’s greatest fear? Is it his fear of the unknown? Fear of failure? Or perhaps the thought of being alone? Being eaten alive must surely rank pretty high; throw a crocodile into that scenario and the prospect of having an overgrown lizard rip me to pieces, while dragging me under murky water, gives me real palpitations.
I contemplated this concept of fear while driving to Mozambique’s Parque Nacional do Limpopo (PNL) reserve. We were embarking on a brand new adventure tour offered by the folks at Transfrontier Parks Destinations (TFPD) – the same company that manages the Shingwedzi 4x4 Eco Trail, the Luvuvhu 4x4 Eco Trail and a dozen camps and lodges across southern Africa.
TFPD’s new tour is called the Great Limpopo Adventure Trail, and it focuses on several unforgettable activities: 4x4 exploration, hiking in big-5 territory, and canoeing down the crocodile-crammed Olifants river. We met our guide, Janco Scott, at the Bollanoto Tourism Centre in Phalaborwa. After a few handshakes and introductions, we quickly asked the one question on our minds: “So, Janco, are the crocs gonna chow us or what?”.
In typical game ranger fashion, Janco responded with a brief reply and an interesting wildlife fact, “Nah, we should be okay, but did you know that crocodiles are the only predators on earth that view human beings as food? Even lions and sharks don’t include us in their food chain.” I tried to think of a witty response to Janco’s unsolicited trivia, but the only sound that squeaked past the sudden frog in my throat was a shaky, “Aaahaa”. PNL shares its western boundary with the Kruger National Park. The animals in the Mozambican reserve are wild and skittish, so the park’s game-viewing prospects aren’t as good as its fauna-filled neighbour’s. But despite all that, I prefer the Moz side. Kruger feels like a glorified zoo; the only difference is that the millions of tourists sit caged in their cars and the animals roam free.
And I’m not using the million-mark description loosely, as from what we were recently told, Kruger gets over 6 million visitors per year. That’s roughly 16 500 people per day. No wonder you find traffic jams, high prices, and speed cops lurking in the bushes. I’m not criticising Kruger’s management, rules or regulations – when you have that many people entering a predator-filled park you need to govern animal / human interactions as strictly as possible, leaving nothing to chance or so-called common sense.
To read this article in full, buy this issue from selected stores or you can also subscribe here.