'Pomene Trip Feedback, Jan 2008'

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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
    Thanked: 0

    Default 'Pomene Trip Feedback, Jan 2008'

    This account is repeated at Moxguide.com...

    My family and I travelled to Pomene from Fourways, Johannesburg, from 31 Dec 2007 to 14 Jan 2008, in a 1993 Toyota Landcruiser, with RTT and long range tanks.

    The plan was to avoid any border queues wherever possible and take in htsome of the Kruger Park (compulsory part to any holiday in the area!)

    After much forum searching and some very kind help from other travellers, we settled on Johannesburg-Giriyondo gate-Pomene-Komatiepoort-Johannesburg, with 'Tomatie'-poort only included as we would be hightailing it to get the kids to school the day after our return, and a leisurely drive through the KNP was not going to be possible...

    The trip covered 2777km and 13 days; accomodation was only camping and that was easily found where we stopped.

    Depart JHB at 05h30 Speedo reading 269865
    Toll near PTA - R5.50
    Toll at Bela Bela (Warmbaths) - R27.00
    Toll at Nyl Plaza - R28.00
    Arr Phalaborwa @ 11.15 Speedo 270408

    Filled both tanks, but not the Jerry cans.

    Our Wild Card meant we did not have to pay access to the KNP, and we
    Arr Mopane Camp @ 15h30 Speedo 270503
    We over-nighted at the lovely new Tsendze camp near Mopane, and
    Dep Tsendze @ 09h05 Speedo 270507

    Road from here is gravel...
    Arr Giriyondo Border Post @ 10h40
    Both sides took a total of 45 mins to execute, with payment for entry to the Limpopo Transfrontier Park and a night's accomodation for four people coming to R338.

    I'll stick to the facts and avoid the temptation to wax lyrical at this point, but you may be curious as to what wildlife exists across the border: It's not much, as the locals have cattle in the park, so I doubt there are many - if any - big cats, though that's speculation. Bird life is fairly plentious, and we did see zebra and wildebeest and of course the ubiquitous

    At Speedo 270584 we were faced with a fork in the road with both options going to Massingir. Forewarned by a fellow traveller, we went left, taking the direct route, not the one marked 'Massingir via...'

    At Speedo 270605, we turned right - signposted - to the Aquia Pesquira (Fish Eagle) campsite. Set atop a hill with a great view of the nearby dam, we settled in the deserted 'Overlander' section, as there was no-one there to direct us anyway.

    By fivecard, shot with FE210,X775 at 2008-01-18

    The ablutions were very clean, very rustic and just about perfect for the setting. Here's a pic so you can see the stonework they employed...

    Dep campsite @ 05h40
    Arr Park Gate 06h40 Speedo 270643.
    15 minutes later we rolled over the Massingir dam wall and through the small town itself Speedo 270654

    The road from here on is tar, but not in great condition, though certainly better than some of the sections on the coast as we were to learn...

    After hitting a T-Junction, Speedo 270758, we turned right to Chokwe.
    Arr Chokwe 08h30 Speedo 270777 where there is no signage to the next town. However, you find the main traffic circle in this fairly large town and turn left to Chibuto.

    A few km (5?) along we crossed the Limpopo at the new bridge, opened some 12 days before we arrived, some after some 30 years after it was blown by Rhodesian forces...Great timing!

    The road improves from here, is still tar, and has fewer potholes...

    Arr Chibuto @ 09h30 Speedo 270850
    Turned left to Manjakaze and back onto a gravel road @ 09h50 Speedo 270867.

    Fairly thick sand allowed us to travel at only 50km/h for a while, but the road improved soon, as did our speed...

    Arr Manjakaze @ 10h25 Speedo 270894

    Average speed from here to the coast was 80km/h...

    Arr at the N1 (EN1 on some maps) coastal highway @ 11h00 Speedo 270932, in the Chidenguele region, though we didn't see the town.

    Road is badly potholed, but certainly traversable until Speedo 270970, where it reverts to a very good surface indeed.

    From here it's plain sailing and impossible to get lost - yes ladies, impossible!

    At Maxixe (Pronounced Masheesh) Speedo 271140 we took 40 minutes to change money at the Standard Bank, getting a rate of 3.37.

    We arrived at Masinga @ 15h15, and that's when the wheels fell off! I did the impossible - sorry, ladies! - and got lost!! Actually, there are extenuating circumstances...

    We took the turn off to Pomene Lodge, and travelled down the sand road to the first town. Seeing no signs, we continued and at the next village asked for directions. We were pointed down the same road by three young girls and after two hours, finally arrived at the coast, at Casa Rai, a lodge some three hours out of our way! (It transpired that there was indeed a sign at the first village, but you had to turn right to find the sign, and if you knew to do that...why the hell would you need a sign anyway?!

    Anyhow, we were north of Pomene Lodge, but had to drive all the way back to the aforementioned 'first village' before we could turn, as the many inlets and lagoons meant that no roads joined the two lodges directly.

    Have Cruiser and tent...stay in bush!

    We stopped at a small kraal, where we were welcomed to pitch our tents and after 13 hours in the saddle, had a welcome night's sleep, before moving on in the morning.

    Pomene is around 58km from Masinga, and provided you know where to turn so you can find the sign (sic!) is an easy 90 mins away.

    Reckon this was worth driving for?...

    We did rent a 'Baracca' which is a single-roomed building, without door, where you can store your extra goodies, or hide from a storm, but I'm not sure it's essential at 50% of the camp site's cost..?!

    This is becoming lengthy, and rather than have you doze off, here's the abridged version of the route home...

    Dep Pomene 05h10 Speedo 271386
    Arr Komatiepoort 15h30 Speedo 272110
    Note: Road deteriorates 100km before Xai Xai and reverts to normal at Xai Xai itself.

    Border crossing took 25 minutes despite a queue of at least 100 people standing in line.I avoided the 'chancers' who insisted I had no hope of quick service on my own, and went to the front of the queue, where I enquired of the doorman for the best place to stand. It transpires that SA passport holders line up from the opposite side to 'other' passport holders, though both queues use the same door. Suddenly, I was fourth in line and finished in minutes! Lekker!

    The chap in front of me had paid R350 to a 'chancer' and the woman behind me paid R125 for the same - unnecessary! - service...

    A drum with a cowhide 'skin' that we had bought was confiscated at the SA side as there was a 'Foot & Mouth Scare'! Ja, sure!!

    Arr Fourways @ 22h20 Speedo 272642.

    Great holiday. Seriously! Ya gotta go, man!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2007
    Thanked: 0

    Default Pomene

    Huntsman, where did you camp. In july 2007 we camped on the last site on the right just before the turn to the lodge. That site has been washed away. Do you know what the sites past the lodge are like & whether any of them have barracas?
    I would really appreciate your input or anybody elses who reads this.

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