In this article we will focus on camps and trails within South Africa’s Greater Kruger National Park zooming in on the idea of experiencing safari on foot.
Walking trails and camps awaken all explorers’ senses. From feeling the earth under your shoes, smelling the fresh air, hearing the sounds of the bush and witnessing all its splendour is truly a magical experience. Expert walking guides enable you to truly and authentically envelope yourself in your surroundings while tracking wildlife and seeing a variety of flora and fauna up close.
Here our Top 5 recommendations for Walking Trails and Camps in the Greater Kruger National Park.
Klaserie Sands Trails Camp
Nestled and located in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, this camp offers stylishly appointed tented accommodation and twice daily nature walks.
This camp has four private en-suite tents, each with its own private decking overlooking the seasonal riverbed. The gauze tent flaps allow the sounds of nature to gently send anybody into deep relaxation, with the added benefit of no mosquitoes disturbing your peace. There is also a luxurious communal lounge and plunge pool area, boasting a fully stocked bar and scrumptious appetizers to treat your palette.
A typical day starts at dawn. With an expert field guide and tracker to discover the wonderful and varied terrain over sunrise hours, strengthens your chances of encountering and spotting wildlife by foot. The afternoon heat can be spent at ease in the shade of your private deck or with a dip in the plunge pool. The second walking trip commences after a refreshing light lunch. Evenings are usually filled with lovely local and boutique wines, a traditional ‘braai’ (barbeque) and the unforgettable sound of wild Africa at night.
Ivory Wilderness – River Rock Lodge
With both authentic walking trails and safari drives on offer, Ivory Wilderness Rock Lodge is an intimate and one of its kind safari experience in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.
With only four Kruger style rondavels, set up in the style of a pioneers’ camp, allows guests to authentically experience the bush. Rooms are decorated with a mix of traditional and rustic Africa with top end finishes as well as catering for all modern services requirements.
One can choose between morning and afternoon walks or game drives. Every day is concluded with a sunset through to night drive to search for the elusive nocturnal animals of the wild.
The morning and afternoon safari drives are between three and four hours long and the walking trails average between two and nine kilometres in distance (taking into account the guests’ fitness levels and wildlife activity seen during the trail).
This Lodge has very unique animal-specific walking trails therefore giving guests the the upperhand of spotting the elusive and mysterious pangolin on the pangolin trail.
Africa on Foot
This camp specializes in walking safaris within the big five Klaserie Private Nature Reserve.
The camp has five chalets, ensuring an intimate safari. For the more adventurous there is a treehouse tent, which can be booked at no extra cost, located a few hundred metres from camp – reaching up into the trees with a game-viewing platform and a top deck with a bed and unrivalled panoramic views of the reserve. On balmy summer days, guests can relax at their choice of 2 splash pools and enjoy a traditional South African barbeque around the campfire in the boma area.
Walking safaris are led by experienced and professional trail guides through rich in game wildlife areas. Game drives are also offered and this allows guests to partake in a variety of safari activities. The morning starts with a 2 – 3 hour walk (if the conditions aren’t favourable, the walk is replaced with a game drive) and in the evening guests enjoy game drives which allow them the opportunity to see some of the nocturnal animals that are close to impossible to spot during the day.
Simbavati Trails Camp
Simbavati Trails Camp borders an unspoilt wilderness area of 11 000 hectares in the Kruger National Park is situated in a quiet area of the Timbavati.
The camp accommodates a maximum of eight guests in four en-suite Meru-style safari tents. Bucket showers are filled on demand with warm water and hearty meals are prepared over open fire by expert chefs. With neither electricity nor cell phone reception the camp allows guests get to reconnect with nature and the true heart of the African wilderness.
Start the day with a light 3-4 hour walk accompanied by a specialist guide, stop in idyllic locations for snacks and drinks. A superb brunch awaits at camp upon your return. After some down time for guests to relax outside their tents, afternoon tea is served before another two hour walk. This late afternoon walk ends at a special spot where guests can enjoy an unforgettable African sunset before a short drive back to camp and a dinner around the campfire.
Tanda Tula Field Camp
Available only from March to September, Tanda Tula Field Camp is an exclusive-use camp which is pitched especially for each booking, based on the bespoke needs of their guests. The Camp changes its location each season and therefore creates rare experiences that are second to none.
With four canvas Explorer tents, the camp can accommodate up to eight guests. Each tent has an en-suite, open air bathroom while the main camp has a bar, coffee & tea table as well as a lounge area for guests to take a break between meals and trails.
Guests at Tanda Tula Field Camp are able to enjoy morning and afternoon walking safaris with optional evening safari drives available. They also have the opportunity to enjoy the unique experience of tracking big game, on foot in the Timbavati with highly skilled trackers and guides who reveal the tempos and intricacies of the wild through their experiences, knowledge and skill.
Pafuri Walking Trails
Found in the remote and wild northern most part of the Kruger National Park, the Pafuri region is unsurpassed walking territory.
Expert safari guides open the walking trails from April to October each year, allowing bush lovers to enjoy a rarely explored corner of the Kruger that is as vast and varied as it is wild. The trail allows walkers the opportunity to focus on the little things, whilst also experiencing a rush of adrenaline when there’s a Big Five spotting. Marvel at the myriad of varying landscapes; from bushveld to riverine forests, from mountains to floodplains, and perennial pans all attracting a wonderful diversity of animals and birds.
Explore forests of fever trees, groves of baobabs and a diverse collection of wildlife. Other highlights of the visit include visits to Crook’s Corner, where the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers meet, and Lanner Gorge. The trail is tailor made to suit guests needs and there is a minimum stay requirement of two nights although a three to four night stay is highly recommended if you are to reap all the benefits that Pafuri has to offer.