‘A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.’ – Lao Tzu
Only a small percentage of South Africa is classified as real wilderness, but the great thing about the Kruger National Park is that 49% of its two million hectares is zoned as wilderness. And, thanks to its many unfenced boundaries with surrounding reserves, visitors to the Greater Kruger National Park have the incredible opportunity to enjoy the best of several bush worlds.
South Africa’s world-famous national park is home to a myriad of mammal species, including the continent’s ‘Big Five’ and over 350 bird species. But what sets the Greater Kruger apart is its accessibility, affordability and the wide range of activities and accommodation available. As a result, you can keep going back to try somewhere new and have a totally different experience each time.
And, whether you’re a Kruger aficianado or on virgin territory, what better experience to try than a walking safari? Wildlife safaris have become synonymous with game-viewing from vehicles, but for the ultimate wilderness experience you can’t beat walking in the wild. No matter what your level of familiarity with the bush, this chance to explore and feel part of the environment is one that’s worth a foot massage.
Standing on your own two feet, you can tune in to all facets of nature. Whether venturing off on a four-night wilderness trail or on a two-hour guided walk, encountering the African bush on foot is a sensory experience unlike any other. Accompanied by experienced safari guides, a walking trail brings you much closer to the environment and often leaves you with a profound feeling of connection to nature – both physically and mentally.
On these walks, safari guides also come into their own, expounding on the behaviour and characteristics of the flora and fauna that are sharing the trail and how they depend on one another to keep the ecosystem in balance; from mammoth elephants and baobab trees right down to tiny insects and seeds. It’s the ultimate interactive learning experience and it will change your perception of the wilderness.
This issue aims to highlight some of the best places to keep in mind in the Greater Kruger region if you wish to walk off into the wilderness, ranging from luxury basecamps catered to your every need, to back-to-basics adventures where it’s all down to you. From bush walks with iSibindi to wilderness trails with SANParks, there are so many fantastic ways to explore the Greater Kruger on foot.