South Africa :: Mpumalanga
Category: Activity :: 4WD-Trail
Quad bikes are welcome, camping facilities and covered accommodation is available, food/catering is available, or there is a shop with supplies.
The trail has shade and swimming. Granted, Riverwild 4x4 has all the usual suspects - great trails, spectacular surrounds, and well-rounded accommodation options.
But it has somehow managed to effortlessly acquire the perfect balance between adventure, leisure and get-away-from-it-all escapism all neatly packaged in a genuine 'Out of Africa' type experience.
No easy feat. Situated just beyond the Sudwala Caves near Nelspruit, Riverwild is nestled within the pristine Weltevreden valley. It's set amidst the rushing water of the Houtbosloop River, buried beneath a dense canopy of Water-berry (Syzygium cordatum) and Riverbush Willow (Combretum eryththrophyllum) trees.
Up until three years ago it was privately run, but today it's back in the hands of its original owners, the Sotho people, who rather impressively now manage and oversee its everyday operating needs. Riverwild's trails are all self-drive, but can only be ventured upon under the watchful eye of well-trained and experienced guides.
Our guide, Tshepo, was hand picked by his tribe and it's easy to see why. Personality aside, he is perfectly qualified for the task having spent two and a half years mastering the skills required to guide convoys through this dense entanglement of indigenous lowveld forest.
Two and a half years may sound a bit excessive, but it's not. Riverwild is not a simple, quick in-and-out trail - it's in fact nine separate and individually challenging trails. None of them are easy, but despite the myriad of river crossings, mud sections, glacial-like ascents and descents and rocky crawling portions, they are not overly dangerous either.
Each of the trails have obstacles designed specifically to test the abilities of both the vehicle and the driver, so what they are is undeniably challenging, each ranging between a three and a four difficulty grading. Of course, you don't have to do all of them. You are free to choose a trail that best suits your experience, mood, passenger hysteria levels and/or blood pressure limits. That said, they all have one thing in common: they all require a steady foot, solid nerves, a calm head and a reliable vehicle.
On our visit we completed five of the nine trails on offer, and I will admit to some trepidation on the steeper slopes and specifically along the Bush Tunnel trail. Fortunately Tshepo was there, his huge smile repeatedly calmed the nerves and his faith in both my abilities and that of my vehicle were in many instances all the encouragement required. Under his watchful guidance we soon pushed our vehicles to new limits.
With a broad brush, the trails we completed were as follow: Leopard Leap: A trail specifically designed to test your driving skills through a series of exceptionally steep ascents and rigorous descents. Monkey See, Monkey Do: An enjoyable trail, which is rather appropriately named.
All you will ever see during the course of this mini-adventure, dotted with unending steep declines and sharp ascents, is the butt of the car in front of you, and in that butt as they say 'you must trust'. The Bush Tunnel (my favourite): A deeply canopied trail which puts the vehicle through a series of twists and turns that you would never before have deemed possible. Your car will tilt as far as you can push it and further.
Out one window you will see the ground and out the other the sky. River's Edge: A more placid and relaxing trail which follows the course of the river. Rock Spider: This trail is nasty but gratefully short. Strewn with jagged rocks (hence it's name) it's a potential tyre-shredder if not done correctly. So listen to your guide and proceed with care. (Information supplied by DriveOut Magazine).
|Address :||Sudwala's Kraal, Weltevreden Valley, Mpumalanga, South Africa|
|Contact :||Gideon Stapelberg|
|Contact 2 :||Rexon Shai|
|Cell :||+27(0)81 438 5511|
|Cell2 :||+27(0)82 371 8420|
|Fax :||+27(0)86 585 6681|
|Email :||Click Here|
|Website :||Click Here|
|Best Time to Visit :||All year, but spring and autumn is superb.|
|Fee/s :||R250 pv Guided|
|Accommodation (Wood Cabins), Camping, Swimming Pool, Shop (Kiosk)|
|Notes on Activities:||(Some activities may be offered nearby).|
|Number of Trails :||1|
|Trail Length :||17km|
|Driving Time :||3 -4 Hours|
|Difficulty Grading :||2 - 4 Rating|
Low range gears are required to complete this trail
Vehicle needs good ground clearance
Rescue Services are available
The trail has substantial shade
Environmentally friendly practices are in place
|Closest Town :||Nelspruit|
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