Mashatu Yellow Season is here

It’s been a good summer for rainfall in Southern Africa, and farmers are getting ready for a bumper harvest. It’s welcome news too for wildlife and walking safaris, as parched bushveld has been transformed in just a few months.

Nowhere better illustrates this change than the semi-arid lands skirting the Kalahari desert. Mashatu Game Reserve gets an average of just 24 days a year when rain falls, often in the form of thunderstorms. This year it exceeded the average over the summer months, and the result is clear in the video below, with the land carpeted in the yellow flowers of Devil Thorn (Tribulus Terrestris) which the elephants love to munch.

Video courtesy Mashatu Game Reserve

In April, the reserve will reopen and Walk Mashatu will welcome walkers back for the 2021 season. It promises to the best time to visit for many years. Walkers in April can expect day time temperatures in the range 18-30°C, and perhaps occasional showers. From May on, it will be dry with chilly nights and perfect morning walking temperatures.

Walking safaris at Mashatu feature in Walking Safaris of South Africa.

Letters from Pafuri

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.

Under the stars in iMfolozi

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.


Get R60 off ‘Walking Safaris’ in South Africa

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.