Secrets In The Soutpansberg
Go! Camp & Drive|October 2019
You can relax properly at Tshipise’s hot springs in Limpopo, but if the 4x4 bug unexpectedly bites, there’s a free trail nearby for you to tackle.
Cyril Klopper
It is wonderful to spend all day at the pool at Forever Tshipise, but sometimes a person needs a little excitement lest all this relaxation turns to boredom. Zip up your tent, hop in your off-road vehicle and head south to the Soutpansberg where a few surprises await you. Drive 18 km east from the resort on the R525, in the direction of the N1 highway, until you reach a turn-off on your right (S22.67385 E30.02589) and a road sign that sends you to Schuitdrift. It is a corrugated road that follows the Mutamba River for 10 km. At the first road that turns left (S22.75702 E29.98918) is signage for Nzhelele Dam: take it.

Drive across the Mutamba River – 10 km further you cross the Mutshedzi River. The road is terrible, but if you persevere, you will arrive at the Mufungudi River 7 km later. But before crossing the Mufungudi, turn right onto the Mangwele road (S22.75831 E30.13449). All around you is a harsh, dry and dusty landscape. Aloes crack through rocks and goats listlessly chew on whatever they can. Drive 13 km east, through the Maranikwe settlement, and focus on the back of the Soutpansberg. In the distance you’ll see a winding trail – this is what you have come for.

The turn-off (S22.79112 E30.25043) has no road sign or any indication of where the road is leading but believe us when we say it’s fairly challenging. If you (like us) have an off-road caravan hitched, you may regret it, because the road is rocky and quite steep. Engage low-range and consider the diff lock if you have any doubts about your vehicle’s ability. Bear in mind, though, the road has many, many a bend, which isn’t something that diff locks like much.

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