Feeling like something different? Wanting to experience the bush in more natural surroundings than driving thru in a car? Prepared to rough it a bit but still want all the basics provided? Looking for a touch of "daring" and excitement but still feel safe? Then consider a Wilderness Bush Trial Walk. You really don't need to be all that fit! The Kruger Park offers several - some are based at small camps (like Wolhuter) and others are more strenuous, no base camp, walk and carry your tent and provisions.
I fully endorse the review by Project 25 "Get up and personal to the real Kruger" , it's still as valid today as it was in 2011 for the Wolhuter trail. His kit list is spot on, please use it, and also add the following:
-for your comfort a "must have" item is carve height gaiters. The bush (underveld) is thick and lush and gaiters prevents itchy seeds and stuff working themselves into your socks and shoes. You can buy this at Cape Union Mart (at the airport and branches thru out SA), not cheap (about R200) but please do yourself a favour and buy it - calve height will suffice. Drifters Xtreme Sports at De Waterkant Centre Cape Town sells it for R100, and it works well. (See photo - if I can manage to upload it!)
- a rain coat/cover as it can rain heavily and unexpectedly
- medium thickness socks ( I used trail runner socks)
- good quality lightweight binoculars, I recommend each should have his own
- you can wear colours but autumns shades, dark, nothing bright or white, cotton clothing breathes well.
Nowadays one don't have to book ages in advance, we booked end January for the beginning of April and had a choice of several dates. I think this is due to the many private reserves nowadays active around the Kruger Park. Keep in mind the different trails are in different regions of the Park and the Park is huge. Thus you see different species, depending which trail you choose. Wolhuter is all about rhinos ( I am not going to say anything much about poaching, except that poachers are very active in the area).
If you want to include the possibility to see lions and the rest of the big five gang on foot, then consider the Metsi-metsi Wilderness trial in the Kruger Park.
We were a group of 8 friends aged 54 - 60, most of us have done some trial walking in our earlier days but were quite unfit. Still, we found the walks (5 hours in the morning and about 2 in the afternoon) manageable and there were lots of breaks and rest periods. You don't have to be super fit at all!
I suggest that for the perfect combination you book a trail walk with some days of game viewing prior to the walk. Don't try to cover too much of the park, I suggest two nights at a camp to allow you to pack off and enjoy, not to rush to the next spot. Sartara is the most popular, as that is the known territory of the Big Five.
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