What is walking in the bush?
Walking in the bush is like I have described previously an amazing and totally different experience to explore Kruger. What should I take along?
No need to take extra water as the guides have more than enough water in their rucksacks.
You'll have breakfast snacks in the veldt too, provided by the guides.
Also take along camera and video camera, binoculars, hat, sun block, comfortable shoes, preferably with ankle support.
You can take photos anytime and the guides will confirm that.
Just make sure that the shutter noise is off as some animals react to it.
Always adhere to the guide's rules and commands. Food on trails
Breakfast snacks consisted out of boerewors, nuts, apples, peanuts, gum sweets, provitas and cheese and fruit juice. The breakfast snacks only are the case for day walks too.
Brunch consisted out of bacon or pork sausages or both, scrambled eggs, toast, onion and tomato mix and pap and juice.
Dinner was either steak and boerewors, chicken, stew and garlic bread, salad, pap.
Finished off with a fruit salad and custard.
One good question from a friend of mine: Does walking trails cater for halaal.
I suppose in one interested group it should be ok but in mixed groups I doubt.
You however are allowed to take your own food along.
The whole time coffee, tea, hot chocolate, biscuits and rusks were available.
Lovely!!Safety on walks
I have done several walks including wilderness hikes in the Kruger.
The walks can be extremely dangerous if you ignore the rules of the bush, your guides who are clued up in protecting their customers and the animals explain which will all to you.
Like I have said before on this forum.
No tourist has been killed on such a walk.
There have been some very close calls though.
Walks are about 2-3 hours long and depending on the season can start from 5:30 to 6:30.
Heart problems, leg injuries and so forth might be a liability and it is best advised to contact your Dr. before attempting to do a walk in the bush.
Afternoon walks I have only done on wilderness hikes, which could be different from the normal ones and would therefore not advise on it.
I find that morning walks are better as it is still cool and more animals and yourself will be more active then.
Summer months are very wet and hot and ticks are a problem.
Wear comfortable shoes and sun block and a hat and take your binocs and camera with.
Bright or white colors are not recommended and so are motorized cameras.
Elephants and rhinos don't like the sound of it and it chases off other game.
A certain level of fitness is recommended but I know of an old man joining a walk with his cane.
But you will probably frustrate the others in the group.
We have experienced lions on very close quarters (50m away) and then listening to the guide is absolutely a must.
If you run you are seen as natural prey and will be taken after by a predator.
Stay behind the guides at all cost and keep quiet.
Click your fingers when you wants to attract the attention of the guides.
They normally carry 457/8 Winchesters, which is powerful enough to put a charging elephant down in its stride like a wet shammy cloth against a plastered wall.
If you are in front of them you are in the way and believe me when I say that you don't want one of those going off behind you.
Guides have the special skill of listening to warning signals like the oxpecker.
They also keep the wind in their favor and their sense of sight is unmatched by us poor mortals. What to expect to see on walks
Don't expect to see the big 5 on walks.
Enjoy the smaller things like dung, trees, shrubs, grass, insects, birds and sounds etc.
Who knows you might be lucky to see some of the big stuff as well.
You should never expect to see more than what you will be seeing from a vehicle as animals normally run like hell to avoid this unknown creature coming their way.
They are far more comfy with cars and thus good sightings will always be possible from cars.
Rather look out for small detail, which you can't spot from cars. Spoor, dung, smaller animals, birds, insects. That is what walking is all about.
To experience the bush with all your senses.
Listen to your guides and share in their experience and knowledge.
Read some of my previously posted hiking and walking posts if you can.
But, there was many big 5 sightings on foot all over the Park throughout the years.
One of my best sightings was 13 lion cubs and a female 30-50m from us and a huge black maned about 60m off.
Roaring at us that made the earth shook.
You also get very close to Rhino due to their poor sight. 15-20 m from rhino is not unusual.Cost of Wilderness trails
You can read up more on the Kruger Park activities page. Here
To book is the difficult part.
You will be very lucky to get an opening for a year or so in advance.
You have to request for a booking. Again see the url above. How does it work?
It consists out of 8 visitors, 2 guides and a cook.
The camps are very secluded and rustic with no electricity!
You are picked up on a Wednesday or Sunday at the nearest camp and gets dropped off there again.
2 Walks a day. Morning (longest) and Afternoon (shorter).
On the morning walk you get breakfast snacks in the bush.
A sundowner drive to a waterhole etc. in the afternoon is not uncommon!!
It is breathtakingly beautiful!!
Everybody has got to do one at least in his or her lifetime! I love it!! A bit more about my Bushman's trail experience and other trailsWilderness trailsA bit more about Sweni trail
I did the Sweni trail last year in June.
Lovely trails camp with excellent views from almost all A-frame huts.
All huts have a little wooden deck with nice lay back chairs.
A view from the waterhole linking out of the Sweni stream from the fire area is awesome.
Hippos are present there.
The sweni area about 50000ha is excellent for almost all game species and is host to the Park's biggest lion concentration.
No wonder we had 2 prides roaring at each other on the first night on both ends of the camp.
They were so close that you could smell them and hear the intake of air, as they were about to roar.
The Sweni pride used to consist out of around 37 individuals.
I have experienced this awesome pride first hand.
We have tracked the two pride males fom a kill where they and the rest of the pride have devoured a kudu in double quick time during the cause of the night.
Very few was left of the kudu.
The sundowner spots are awesome alternating between a low water bridge and a lookout from a hilltop with a breathtaking view to the east.
The walks are conducted more on the flat open plains of the Sweni area.
Good sightings of lion, rhino and elephant were marked on the trail.
Awesome to see sometimes flocks of up to 30 ostriches.
Plenty of general game around which gives you the impression that anything can happen at anytime and causes some major adrenalin rushes.
Good spots to find these lions are in the Marabou windmill area as well as the Gudzweni dam.
But they go as far east as the Trichardt road.
Birding is quite prolific on this trail and we picked up a 103 species on the 3 days.
A truly lovely trail!!A new walking experience in Kruger
A new type of wilderness hike is going to be introduced in Kruger to cater for backpackers.
The trail will be in the Olifants area and will enable you to carry your own backpack with your own tent and food.
You will sleep in a different area on the trail every night with no fences around you, cooking your own food and bathing and swimming in sections of the Olifants river.
The first trail had a nice experience with a black rhino that almost tripped over one of the tents.
Guess what I will be doing sometime when it gets the go ahead and I get a reservationWhat weather is best for walking
The perfect weather for the walk is cool and cloudy weather. A bit more about Bushman's trail
Isn't it amazing what the Kruger can provide?
The diversity of Kruger is absolutely incredible!!
It is amazing how many different types of animals occur in this vicinity.
The view from those mountains must be one of the most awesome sights in the Park.
Imagine standing up there and looking down below to c game moving around and then to decide to follow the rhino or elephant or lion or as what happened once, wild dogs.
To walk in an area of 45000 ha is amazing.
You can't believe how big the Park really is. Roughly the area of 35000 rugby fields.
Amazing hey? We saw the highest point in the Park!!
This trail is situated in one of the most scenic parts of the Park.
Rocky outcrops every now and then with some beautiful valleys in between, surrounded by some impressive small mountains.
The shear number of rhino and buffalo there is remarkable.
Klipspringers were seen on almost every koppie.
It is the only trails camp that has rondavel shaped sleeping accommodation.
There are 2 showers and 2 toilet facilities.
The ranger, assistant and cook have got their own facilities hidden a bit away on the other side of the camp.
The one toilet has got the loveliest view, right on the fence.
That is was I saw the elephant on the Thursday morning early.
The camp itself is fence with about a 4-5 foot wire fence, which only the first meter or so has cables running all around. The latter part of the height is normal wire.
There is a waterhole +- 30m from the fence just behind the lapa, which attracts plenty of game, as it is the only water facility in the immediate area.
The camp consists out of 4 rondawels, a lapa, a kitchen and a storage facility with deep freezers.
Just outside the lapa there is a fixed fireplace, which attracts semi sober hikers at nightfall.
The Wolhuter trails camp is the nearest other form of human habitation from this camp.
The trails camp is good for birding and crested francolin, pied barbet, arrow-marked babbler, green-backed cameroptera, southern boubou, grey go-away bird, green pigeon and cardinal woodpecker are frequently seen.
The tap and birdbaths just behind the lapa is a good spot to look for birds. A typical day at all trails would look like this:
5:30 - awakened by assistant ranger with a friendly good morning who pours hot water in a small basin just outside the rondawel.
5:45 - arriving at the fireplace for coffee and rusks and a quick brief by the ranger on the walk.
6:00 - set out for the walk on foot form the camp.
6:30 - Watching the sunrise from a nearby hill.
8:30 - Having breakfast snacks on a hill or boulder overlooking the vast area.
Snacks include: apples, juice, boerewors, nuts, dried fruit, provitas, cheese and jelly beans.
11:00 - arriving back at camp and getting feed up and a drink or 2.
11:30 - Having a proper breakfast, which contains scrambled eggs, bacon, pork sausages, toast, juice and onions and tomatoes.
12:30 - off for siesta or waterhole watching or shower or whatever.
15:00 - meet for the afternoon walk, normally a short one accompanied by a drive to a spot where sundowners will be taken.
17:30 - walking back to the vehicle and after a short night drive arrive back at camp.
18:30 - Dinner consisting either out of stew, steak and wors or chicken followed by a treat afterwards like fruit and custard.
19:30 - Socializing around the campfire until whenever.What to wear
As with all walks u r advised to wear neutral colors.
Whites are easy for animals to see. It will spoil your sightings. Green and blue seems fine.
Track suite pants aren't favorable, as it will get many things stocked into it. Grasses, “knapesekrels