A walking safari in the Kruger Park is getting back to basics. Such a safari allows guests to get back in touch with nature, not from the back of a Land Rover or air conditioned vehicle, but on foot, under the trees amongst the wildlife, birds, insects and pristine wilderness.
Plains Camp in the Kruger Park offers just that, a high quality walking safari in that embraces all aspects of a safari, from big game and ancient trees, to breathtaking landscapes and dung beetles. The safari guides that lead the walking safaris are fully qualified and bring the African bush into perspective by highlighting both, the great, the small and sometimes the seemingly insignificant.
The camp is located in a wilderness concession in the south east part of the Kruger Park, not too far from Skukuza, and operates the walking safaris in a sole use area of twelve thousand hectares. The camp, built and decorated in an African explorer theme, has just four luxury safari tents, thus sleeping only a maximum of 8 adults. Each tent has ensuite facilities with hot and cold running water, toilets and comfortable beds.
The camp commands a view over a water hole frequented by all manner of game including elephant and lion. In keeping with the 19th century pioneer feel, the camp also has a small African library that guests are welcome to browse through during the heat of the day. The camp is powered by a generator that runs when the guests are out on walking safaris (and can be used to charge spare batteries). This is supported up by a bank batteries when guests are back in camp, thus giving the camp lighting 24 hrs a day. As part of the main area of the camp, there is a lounge for all to use, as well as a dining area and of course a fire pit to while away the African nights that are filled with sounds.
Sleep Outs in the Kruger Park
At Plains Camp a one night sleep out is sometimes offered which takes guests out to elevated wooden decks that have basic tents on them. This experience brings guests even more intimate bush experience, but this activity is very much weather dependant and is catered for, only if the first guests that reserve space on a departure day request a sleep out. Other guests that then join that departure would be obliged to join for the night. Of course if no one wants to do the sleep out then it will not take place
The Walking Safaris
The day to day life on a walking safari in the Kruger Park, starts before sunrise when the francolins start to call and the east sky turns shades of pink and red. Guests first enjoy some tea and coffee supplemented with a traditional South Africa biscuit known as a rusk. The safari guides may discuss and interpret any night sounds that were heard during the night, and then it is off into the bush on a foot safari. All walking safaris are conducted under the guidance of two armed rangers, and a maximum of eight guests.
Before leaving the confines of the camp the lead guide will give a brief covering safety on walking trails and a basic code of conduct and ethics to be adhered to when exploring a wilderness area such as this. Each walking is different from the next, and it is impossible to say what you might see. For example your guides may pick up some fresh tracks of buffalo or elephant or rhino, and you will then trail the animals until, hopefully you find them. Other wildlife may be encountered en-route and the guides will interpret liberally what they are seeing. Walking on a safari is slowly and easy going, it’s not about how ground you can cover, but rather about absorbing the sounds, sights, smells and general atmosphere of the wilderness. After walking for typically 3 to 4 hours you return to camp to a full brunch and some hours of relaxation in the camp. Guests have the opportunity to take a rest or keep a look out for the various species of game that may visit the camps waterhole. By late afternoon a high tea spread is enjoyed before setting out into the bush again either on a walking or game drive safari that culminates in a bushveld sundowner, and dinner at the camp. The rest of the evening is enjoyed under the starry sky around the fire.
Departure Days for Walking Safaris
The minimum amount of time set for a walking safari in the Kruger Park is 2 nights, but the option of 3 nights or more available for walking enthusiasts. To allow for continuity on a given walking safari the departure days have been set as follows:
* Start on a Tuesday for a 2 or 3 night walking safari
* Start Friday for a 2 night walking safari
* Start Sunday for a 2 night walking safari