Lebombo Overland Eco Trail: Day 3
Day 3 begins with an early start and ends in my idea of paradise.
Having survived the tribulations of the night, we awoke on day three knowing we had to cover well in excess of 100 km, so an early departure was inevitable. The Boss took us to the site of a tupi, which is a small temple built by Hindu priests hundreds of years ago when trade between the African and Asian continents was unencumbered by European influence! Upon approaching the Olifants River, we swung west again to the S90 tourist road, which took us north past Balule to Olifants camp for much-needed replenishments and cleaning.
A short while after having left the tourist facilities, brunch was enjoyed on a low water bridge across the Letaba River, just upstream from its confluence with the Olifants. The rest of the day was spent in the Lebombos again, featuring Bush savannah and mopaniveld. Late afternoon, travelling close to the border, we came across the Giriyondo border post, before we swung inland for a short distance to travel amongst hills featuring boulders the size of Berg-en-Dal bungalows. This indicated that we had reached the northern extremities of the Lebombo mountain range and one was again struck by the biodiversity of the eco trail. The reverie was however soon broken when the Boss had us stop close to a hilltop, got us to embark on a short climb, encouraged the enjoyment of some refreshments and unveiled another spectacular view.
The Boss had told us that our next camp, Shilowa, is the most special of them all, but nothing prepared us for the picture perfect setting on a river bank under huge jackalberry, tambotie and sycamore fig trees. This is a place that demands better patronage than a single night’s stay, but our leader unemotionally dismissed our requests with one small concession – that we may have breakfast there and leave a bit later the next day, doing away with brunch. Hennie’s dinner, complemented by some perfectly matched wine, exceeded the best any lodge can offer and thus we retired overcome by emotional and physical bliss.
Read about day 4.