Yet is is not
just wildlife that makes the journey so dangerous, but the
involvement of people smugglers the "malume".
These people claim to offer safe passage across the river,
however in reality strip their victims bare often
demanding extra cash and possessions half way across the
Those wishing to illegally cross into South Africa hire
our canoes for R200 and we tell them to leave them on the
other side of the Limpopo." Stated one malume, "Some lucky ones manage to
cross, but the unfortunate ones are devoured by the
blood-thirsty reptiles and equally dangerous hippopotami"
And for those who do make it more horrors await with
bandits prowling the banks of the river in search of victims who are often
raped, robbed and killed.
For those who survive any documentation they may be
carrying is also destroyed. It is estimated that three million people to date
have faced this hazardous situation.
On such teenager stated "I heard that if you went to South
Africa you can buy yourself a car after just three months because there is a lot
of money there. My parents couldn't pay my school and exam fees so I decided to
go to South Africa with my friends because there is nothing to do here."