Professional trails guides are central to all of the experiences described in Walking Safaris of South Africa. These men and women devote years to attaining the skills required to lead guests safely in big game areas, and in this new blog for Penguin Random House South Africa, we give them their due credit.
For the last few years, Hlengiwe Magagula has been resident blogger for RETURNAfrica, a walking safari specialist in the Pafuri Triangle in the far north of Kruger National Park.
More correctly known as the Makuleke Contractual Park, the area is less than 1% of the Kruger’s area but contains an astonishing 75% of the park’s biodiversity, according to SANParks. The rich ecosystem and diverse terrain make it a superb walking destination. The land is owned by the Makuleke community, who share in the tourism revenue as well as benefiting from employment and local sourcing of traditional furnishings.
Each blog examines a particular aspect of this ecological hotspot with the latest focusing on pachyderm skin hydration regimes.
Previous blogs have covered the Pafuri’s critical location at the nexus of an enormous transfrontier conservation area; the special place for trees in the walk experience; a personal “Makuleke 5” and the variety of wildlife to be found without leaving camp, the Makuleke Menagerie.
The diverse walking options in the Pafuri triangle – RETURNAfrica, EcoTraining and African-Born Safaris – all feature in Walking Safaris of South Africa.
In Walking Safaris of South Africa, we include a narrative of a three day Wilderness Trail in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in Kwa-Zulu Natal. It describes the most popular form of trail in the park, whereby visitors are based at a seasonal fly camp, and walk with day packs.
The park also offers a backpacking sleep-out experience, known as the Primitive Trail, an authentic wilderness adventure that includes everyone taking a turn at night watch. Hlengiwe has written about it in a recent article for Escapes magazine and you can read it below.Adventure-Nov2020
Walking Safaris of South Africa is now on sale in bookshops in South Africa. It should also be available park curio shops and in outdoors stores that stock books such as Cape Union Mart, Trappers and Outdoor Warehouse.
If the book is not in stock, the shop should be able to quickly get it in – just mention the title or ISBN 9781775846901.
For online sales in South Africa, there is a R60 discount for sales at Loot. Use the code SAFARI.
The book was printed in South Africa, and as shipping takes some time customers in other countries will need to wait until April for print copy availability.
It’s great to see reserves innovate in walking safaris, and a new activity at Amakhala Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape is a prime example.
The reserve has just introduced guided backpacking trails, with hikers spending a night in a cave overlooking Bushman’s River. Guests supply all their own kit and food and the camp has camp beds, chairs and a portaloo.
Guests need to be at the Amakhala Conservation Centre by 11AM, and will be back at their car by 12PM the next day. Each day the walks take about 4 hours, and the terrain is not too challenging.
The trial is designed for groups of four, and costs R950 per person, plus the R70 conservation levy. If you don’t fancy cooking, they’ll even provide the camp meals for an additional R200 per person. The minimum age of 16. Enquire via email@example.com.
It looks like a great offer to us, and as far as we know, this is the only opportunity to backpack in a big game reserve anywhere in the Cape. If you know of any others, please leave a comment below.