Limpopo crossing at Mapai





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  1. #1
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    Default Limpopo crossing at Mapai

    Hi all,

    Has anyone recently crossed Limpopo river at Mapai?
    Is it really dangerous at this point in time?


    Thanks in advance for your advice,
    Fabrice

  2. #2
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    We have just had some good rain, so I can't tell you.

    Last week it would have been a breeze
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  3. #3
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    Default

    Thanks for the reply Henris, I'd love to do it but I cannot take the risk...

  4. #4
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    Heya Henris,

    We travelling through to Vilanculos on the 18th Dec, would love to do the Pafuri route if by some slim chance the river is crossable.

    Any info or updates until then, on river levels or rainfall in key areas, would be great!
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  5. #5
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    I haven't been there lately, but there could be a slim chance that you could make it.

    As soon as my LC has the new rectifier on the alternator in, I will go down and have a look.

    The other alternative will be to cross at crooks corner, go north to Sango and from there go east. We did that leg 2 months ago and it is really a very nice drive.
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  6. #6
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    Default We crossed Mapai river yesterday!

    Hi Henris and TStone,
    We crossed Mapai river yesterday!
    It was absolutely thrilling and very risky but we made it.
    We left Vilanculos Sat 12:00pm, bush camped some 100kms after Mabote and arrived at the river Sun around 9:30am.
    First when I saw the river, I said to myself, there is no way I will be able to cross it. It looked so deep and the river is so wide (yes my first time).
    Then I saw 2 ladies crossing just outside the "bridge", what was my joy when I saw it was just above knees level... But there was a boom, and I knew there is a "toll fee", so I called the guys on the other side. A young boy came, testing the "bridge" at the end. Then he said the price is 500Mt or 700 rand if we want the cows to tow the car... I was not confident at all looking at the piece of woods here and there, and it looks so narrow, not sure your car will fit in between. So an idea came through my mind: I gave 20Mt to the young boy and I asked him to cross the river from a point where I saw some tyre treads (maybe someone crossed from there).
    It was a bit deep at the beginning, at "balls" level, but then after 50m it is just at knee level. Now what is underneath, is the mud thick? That is the risk... In the mean time, the real "boss" crossed the river. So sure of himself with his bloody big smile, he said I will be stuck if I do not use his bridge... Then I replied I will do it my way, if I am stuck I will ask his help.
    I put the car in low range, diff-lock on and... yes we made it! No damage, not even water inside!
    The guys were amazed but dry as well. They have lost a business opportunity. Then they wanted me to pay to use a small portion of road. I did not care, I used another track then joined the main road after few kms.
    Having done it, I would not advise anyone to try to cross it for the coming days. Simply because it does not stop raining in the region, the water level may be very high quickly.
    It is really a pity my camcorder did not work, the pics don't give you the full dimension!

  7. #7
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    Default

    Fabrice, what were the road conditions from vilanculos to Mapai?

    Where else to cross if not there? Any suggestions
    May your stay be an experience and your experience be why you stay

  8. #8
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    Hi Scooter,

    Vilanculos to Mabote is pretty ok (see detail on thread created by TStone), you can do 70-90km/h easily.
    After Mabote, it is getting worse, thick sand, muds, water holes. But still, it is better than between Mapai and Pafuri, that was really painfull.

    Henris talked about Crooks Corner as an alterantive for crossing, but I do not know where it is...

  9. #9
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    Thanks Fabrice, Tstone and I are doing the trip together and looks like we will be going to massingir instead and then travelling north again.
    Then whatevr comes our way we will deal with then I guess.

    Amper amper tyd om te ry.
    May your stay be an experience and your experience be why you stay

  10. #10
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    It is an old ploy of theirs to make you pay. You can refuse.

    Right next to their track they dig holes, so if you fall into them, they will recover you with a team of oxen. I have heard of a figure of R2,000.

    Last time we went through was 2 months ago at Crooks Corner, but the last time through Mapai, was 4 yrs ago.
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  11. #11
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    Henris, I see on T4A there's a road about 1.6km from Pafuri border turning left towards and over the Limpopo, turnoff at S22 26.992 E31 19.852 is this Crook's Corner crossing point?

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  12. #12
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    Yes that is him. Very nice drive to Sango. S22 04.454 E31 40.816

    Maybe it might be an idea for the guys to go that route and from there follow the rail.
    Last edited by Henris; 2009/12/09 at 02:31 PM.
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  13. #13
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    Sorry I'm lost again, can't find Sango on the map. The track seems to follow the Limpopo on the Eastern side and joining with the usual route opposite Mapai.

    Do you suggest carrying on straight over the Limpopo along the Moz/Zim border and then following the railway line southeast.

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  14. #14
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    Granlor,

    That's how it looks to me, one will have to drive along the fence. I am also looking for ways to avoid the Mapai Crossing.

    Henris:
    1.The T4A map labled this road "Off-road (Difficult)" is this rating for rainy season or it applies during dry conditions also?
    2.How many hrs driving is it to cross Limpopo at approximately S22 26.992 E31 19.852 and drive to Sango then down to Sao Jorge do Limpopo (close to Mapai)?
    3.Is the river crossing above, a low bridge/ deep wading?

    This is so valuable to my trip...thanks guys for your help.

    Regards,
    LR

  15. #15
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    Not true. That track is very 4x2 friendly.

    The river is shallower there than Mapai.
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  16. #16
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    Went to Mapungubwe yesterday.

    Just to give you guys an idea. The Limpopo was reported to be bank to bank about a week ago, around Mapungubwe. We were there yesterday and the river is low enough to walk but not to drive as yet. (S22 11.261 E29 23.490). At the Sand River (S22 18.747 E30 07.726) it is bone dry.

    Will post some pics later

    So yes, it changes from minute to minute.
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