MHC to Gwahumbe Game Reserve
Mid Illovo
Kwa Zulu-Natal
8 September 2013

Report & Photos courtesy of Dave Sclanders

Bushy and Pat , founders of the well known Midlands Hiking Club, were to lead another great day hike in the KZN Midlands to Gwahumbe Game Reserve. In this Game Reserve well laid out roads and paths take hikers from the top of the valleys , down into the riverine bush and then pack up to the office and reception area of the game reserve where welcome cold beers and other cold refreshments can be enjoyed at the end of the days outing.

11 of us met at the start point of the walk and once we had sorted and paid our dues, Bushy led us off for the day. The path leads down into the valley , along the river where there are a number of places to rest, a very inviting cave area where our first break was enjoyed. Then up and down to the very “algae ridden dam” with its very rickety causeway onto a rock island from where we could observe the resident hippo, then back along the road where one or two river crossings were encountered. Then onto another camp site where, under in a comfortable boma area alongside the river, lunch was enjoyed. The camp site had very rustic, low and small, thatched 2 mattress sleeping areas for the more adventuress campers. The temptation to have a relaxing Sunday afternoon sleep was very hard to ignore.

After lunch we headed down stream for a while, then started the long slow pull up out of the valley back to the reception area at the top of the hill. On the way, a detour was made to another look out area to take a last look down into the valley to the area we had walked in.

On walks or visit to a Game Reserve area, one never knows what you will see or come across – it is always an “Anticipation thing”, and that is rewarding, as anything you may see or experience is good. We had a good walk, and were rewarded with a number of sightings and experiences of animals and flowers. The last good one, was the reception area and bar, where some very cold refreshments were enjoyed before we went our separate ways after a great day in the outdoors.

Pics - 4 , 5 Shady White Rhino
Pics - 6 , 7 “Quizzy” giraffe
Pic - 8 Nervous Zebra

After our first river crossing we stopped at a well appointed cave for tea. The cave had a table and benches and was set next to the river so the sound of the river running by added a cooling touch to the atmosphere, and a small bridge led to a rocky outcrop where one had a good view of the river.. Nearby were toilets, so that was great.

Pic - 9 Crossing the river to the tea break area.
Pic - 10 A helping hand is always welcome.
Pic - 11 & 12 the Cave area
Pic - 13 Rocky outcrop with a view
Pic - 14 Getting ready to “head off” again

Along the way , some bright splash of colour in the green bushes and dry picnic areas.

Pics - 15 – 21 - The Bright and Beautiful. “Up Close” shows the wonder of natures creations.

At the small algae dam, we walked on a very rickety, wooden causeway that really was in need of repair, to a small rocky island to get a closer look at two very algae laden hippo, and a large number of very pretty White Faced Duck that were happy to share a dry spot with the hippo.

Pic - 22 Rocky Island
Pics - 23 – 25 Hippo and duck on a green base
Pic - 26 Carefully navigating the rotting bridge back to terra firma.

The river , even in the middle of winter still offers a beautifully cool and relaxing atmosphere

Pic - 27 Cool River
Pic - 28 Cool “River Dance”
Pic - 29 Cool “River Feet”
Pic 30 – Cool “Pole Sitters”

Lunch at the picnic area , with the small overnight facilities for 2 people.

Pic - 31 Eating area and thatched sleeping shelters
Pic - 32 Lunch in the shade
Pic - 33 Waterfall

Then, after a long up hill pull we recovered for a while on a high observation platform to look back down into the valley that we had spent the very pleasant day walking through. As we neared the office reception area we looked in at one of the “Bungalows with a cool pool and a great view”. A great place to spend a hot sunny day cooling off in the pool, and looking at the valley below.

Pic - 34 Cool Pool
Pic 35 - 36 Pool with a view.

Then as always on such a day , someone must say something that sort of puts them in a predicament. Our leader was no exception on this day and moment.

Pic - 37 Bushy’s “Kipper”

Thanks to Bushy and Pat for a great day, we all enjoyed it very much.