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.
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.
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.
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”.