Words by Anton Willemse, Pictures by Anton Willemse & Jaco Erasmus
When the guys from Ironman4x4 invited me to join them on the Lebombo 4×4 Eco Trail, the word “yes” was out of my mouth in an instant. Who wouldn’t want to spend four nights exploring the eastern boundary of the Kruger Park with no fences and no people – just us, nature, some fresh air and over 500 kilometres of beautiful dirt roads?
Our team consisted of seven guys: Mic van Zyl, Deon Anderson and Quinton Ebersohn from Ironman4x4 SA; Carl Rogers from Autoquip; Adam Craze from Ironman4x4 Australia on his first trip to Africa; me, representing SA4x4, and my partner-in-crime and back-up photographer, Jaco Erasmus.
The route starts at Crocodile Bridge in the south of the park. We were met by our guide and host for the four nights, Johan van der Walt. The briefing was short and to the point. After we had filled up and checked all of our equipment, we set off, taking a short right on the first management road.
We slowly headed towards the Lebombo Mountains, briefly stopping at the skeleton of an old hippo that had fallen victim to the drought that the country had been experiencing. The sad reality is that, despite the fact the Komati River still had water in it, there simply was not enough grass around for the larger mammals to feed on.
As we climbed, the road suddenly opened up and we found ourselves next to the Mozambique/South African border − with views over the Komati valley below. It was here that we engaged 4H. We spent most of the morning driving up and down the uneven terrain, sticking close to the fence for most of our journey. We stopped at a Rhino Loo, and Johan explained that this was basically the rhinos’ “Bush Facebook”, because every rhino which passed by could find out who had “checked in” at that spot.
We stopped again at Lower Sabie before we headed to our overnight camp, and arrived at probably one of the most beautiful views in the Kruger – the Sabie Gorge.
Lebombo Eco Trail Gallery