Walking safaris have become a much sought-after activity – the ultimate way to experience nature first hand. They are in general, very popular, and several lodges offer a short walk during the quieter part of the day (after breakfast or lunch). Still, for the enthusiasts, we recommend a full-length walking safari as you experience nature intimately, using all five of your senses. Marvel at the miracles of nature: from the fascinating minutiae of insect life, vibrant birds, and the fragrance of wild herbs to the adrenalin injecting exhilaration of colossal animals and sinewy predators as nature intended.
Early morning walking trails depart the camp at sunrise, either on foot, or driving out to an area hand-picked by your guide, and then walking from there. You will walk accompanied by two armed guides who have a wealth of knowledge and experience to share.
Enjoy tracking animals, identifying spoor, dung and plants, learning about animal behaviour and the medicinal and traditional cultural uses of various plants and trees. Make the most of photographic opportunities, bird watching and all the while keeping an eye out for general game and predators.
Stop to study the small things, smell and taste wild herbs, and enjoy refreshments in the shade of a tree.
Until you have walked in big game territory, it is hard to conceive the actual height of a giraffe, or just how enormous, silent and gentle an elephant really is. It is also a heart-stopping privilege to round a corner and surprise sleeping lions or buffalo grazing.
Return on time for a hearty brunch, followed by a swim, nap or time spent spying on nature from the comfort of the camp.
High tea is served in the late afternoon, followed by a short walk, sundowners in the bush and a game drive, returning after dark with spotlights with the opportunity to view nocturnal animals on the prowl.
Share drinks and stories around the fire before a delicious dinner with a South African twist. Then turn in and tune out, lying between cotton percale sheets on a comfy bed with nothing but a canvas to filter the night sounds of the bush.
Morning walks take place early to ensure that you return to camp before it gets too hot. The average morning walk takes 3 – 5 hours, totalling 5 – 12kms.
The terrain is fairly even (see fitness requirements), but comfortable walking shoes are a necessity. It is advisable to walk in long trousers to protect your legs from grass and thorn scratches. Before departure, your guide will issue you with back or hip packs to carry, containing water and juices. The assistant trail guide carries a first aid kit as well as snacks for a refreshment break on the walk.
Afternoon and evening activities usually comprise a combination of a short walk and game drive. The afternoon activity is decided upon between the rangers and the guests. This may include a short walk and after sundowners jumping onto a vehicle and completing the activity with a short game drive before heading back for dinner!
The guide will adjust the walking speed to accommodate the ‘slowest’ person in the group. However, to be fair to others, a fair amount of fitness is required to participate in the walking safari – we say if you can walk 18 holes on a golf course or some serious retail therapy at a shopping mall, you most certainly will enjoy a safari walk. The guide will structure the trail, considering the fitness level of the group and taking into account any special requests.
As a guideline; should you be under the age of 65, an average level of fitness is required. If you are above the age of 65, an above-average level of fitness is required.
For a completely different and unrivalled wilderness experience, guests can walk from Plains Camp to our Sleep-Out decks with their guides. These are 4m high elevated wooden platforms with shade cloth tents on the top level where guests can sleep out under the stars. Imagine a giant treehouse with flush toilets and running water! This is the only place in Kruger National Park offering this unusual accommodation, and it must be pre-booked.
Minimum age for children participating in safari game drives
Minimum age for children participating in the Sleep-Outs
Minimum age for children participating in walking safaris
Enjoy the breath-taking skies on a clear night, and for the enthusiasts, make use of our XT8 Classic Dobsonian telescope with the assistance of a knowledgeable guide to view the magic of the southern hemisphere constellations, unspoilt by light pollution.