There’s nothing like your first encounter with a dangerous wild animal on foot: the excitement, fear and thrill of this primal experience is much more memorable than a hundred game drives where you’ve ticked off the big five. Escaping the confines of your 4×4 and exploring the bush on foot opens a whole new world of the wild.
Here are 5 reasons to get out of the car and put your hiking boots on:
1. A new perspective on wildlife
Being on foot changes how you view animals. You may have previously dismissed impalas as boring when you see herds of them on game drives, but when you encounter them on a walking safari, you can’t help but marvel at their beauty, speed and grace. You realize how much work it is just to stay alive in the bush, and you can feel how vulnerable prey animals are: at any given moment they could be eaten, which endows you with a new sense of respect.
2. You learn more about the bush
You do find out about the behaviour of animals on game drives but you learn a whole lot more on foot, especially if you have a good guide. Delve into the stories behind a pile of old bones, learn about the place of animals, insects and plants in bewilderingly complex ecosystems, discover that trees are more interesting that you think and find out about seeds that are almost magical in their evolutionary adaptations.
3. Micro details
You don’t see as much big game on foot as you do on game drives, but you do get the chance to be immersed in a fascinating world of plants, seeds, insects, reptiles and small animals: all the things you don’t see on drives. You also become much more sensorially aware when you’re walking as opposed to driving: you’re constantly alert to the sounds of alarm calls and the smells of the bush, which means that you take in a lot more detail than you would in the car.
4. Learning tracking
On some walking safaris, you’ll have a tracker along with your guide, who will teach you some of the basics of this master skill. Learn to read tracks in the sand to follow animals through the bush, how to identify the smell of rhino wee or work out when ablution time was by poking through middens. Tracking is interesting and fun, and adds another dimension to your wildlife experience.
5. The chance to slow down
You can’t take cell phone calls or answer emails on your smartphone while on a walking safari. If you’re a technology addict, then this is the holiday for you: you’re forced to unplug, switch off and be totally connected to nature.
Guided or non-guided walking safari
When you are staying in one of the holiday homes of Homes of Africa it is also possible to go on a walking safari (also called bush walk). You can choose if you want on a guided walking safari in a Big Five area or on non-guided walking Safari with harmless animals around you. The guided walking safari in Big five area take place in the Timbavati Game Reserve (Greater Kruger National Park). The non-guided walking safari you can do around the houses on Zandspruit Estate, leave the front door of your rental, step into the bush and walk freely around Giraffe, Zebra, Kudu, Nyala, wartogh, birds etc. The freedom you have by going on a walking safari in your own backyard makes a stay in one of the rentals of Homes of Africa unforgettable. On Zandspruit Estate, where Villa Blaaskans is situated, there are lots of walking trails which will lead you into the heart of the Bush, near lakes and fantastic viewpoints.