New Trails Camp in Marakele National Park

SANParks Honorary Rangers have announced the opening of a new camp in Marakele National Park. Morukuru Bush Camp is modelled on SHR’s successful Nyarhi Rustic Bush Camp in Kruger National Park. Like Nyarhi, Morukuru is designed for self-sufficient campers, but is much shorter journey for those travelling from Gauteng.

Courtesy SANParks Honorary Rangers

Groups of up to eight guests will be able to use the camp as the base from which to explore the attractive eroded sandstone canyons and kloofs in Marakele. It provides a third option for walking in the park, alongside the dawn walks operated by SANParks and Marataba Trails in the northern sector of the 67,000 hectare reserve. Morukuru Bush Camp is featured in Walking Safaris of South Africa.

A foreword by Todani Moyo of Wilderness Foundation Global

We’re happy to say that Walking Safaris of South Africa will open with a foreword contributed by Todani Moyo, chairman of Wilderness Foundation Global. It’s a beautiful read which echoes a central theme of the book – that getting more people to go out on foot in the African wilderness is important to engender deeper appreciation and protection of these areas.

What makes it more special is that Todani was a personal friend of the late Dr Ian Player, the great conservationist who can be credited with founding wilderness trails in South Africa in the 1950s. Over sixty years later, the “primitive style” trails he started are still operated by Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife and the Wilderness Leadership School in exactly the same authentic format: leave-no-trace backpacking, sleeping under the stars, taking turns for the night watch.

As well as founding the Wilderness Leadership School, Dr Player created Wilderness Foundation Africa which led to a network of like-minded organizations that comprises Wilderness Foundation Africa, Wilderness Foundation UK, and the WILD Foundation (USA), with the Wilderness Leadership School (South Africa) as a patron partner. The alliance takes the position that wilderness areas have local meaning and global significance with a direct importance to human health, well-being and inspiration. We agree, and hope that Walking Safaris of South Africa will encourage more people to enjoy a wild walking experience.

As Player said about the many people he guided in the reserves of Zululand, “I wanted them to feel the soul of Africa through the soles of their feet”.

Walking Safaris Are Back

Sanbona Explorer Camp

In the Western Cape, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is the latest post-lockdown reopening for big game walking tourism. Since October 1st, the reserve, which is a 3-4 hour drive from Cape Town, has been welcoming guests again. Unlike in the lowveld, where walking is mainly a winter activity, Sanbona’s peak walk season is the summer and that’s when it operates its Explorer Camp every weekend.

In the Eastern Cape, two of the six lodges in Shamwari Private Game Reserve reopened on September 16th, so walks are back on the menu. Their walks-focused Explorer Camp will reopen in early 2021.

Luvuvhu River near Pafuri Camp

Meanwhile in Kruger’s far north, RETURNAfrica reopened on 1st September, with all options bookable – Pafuri Luxury Tented Camp, Baobab Hill Bush House and Pafuri Walking Safaris. Reports are that bookings are strong from domestic visitors, with everything full over the Heritage Day long weekend.

There are good deals to be had as operators encourage local guests to return. In Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Isibindi Africa have an offer of 40% off at Rhino Ridge until the end of June 2021, excluding the Christmas/New Year and Easter peaks.

Credit: Karin Braby Photography – Mashatu Game Reserve Botswana

Across the border in Botswana, Mashatu is due to reopen on November 1st 2020. But it’s hotting up there now, so multi-day walks with WalkMashatu won’t restart until March 2021.

Camping on a Spirited Adventures trail in the Greater Kruger

Backpacking operators, without the cost of lodges or fixed camps, were well placed to ride out the lockdown, and are now back in the veld. Spirited Adventures guests are having fun, judging by their Instagram feed.