A Walking Safari in South Africa with @AfricaOnFoot

Posted by - October 21, 2013 | Category: Africa, Escapes, South Africa

When I first told people I was heading to a safari camp called Africa on Foot where they offer walking safari tours, many reacted like this:

“Are you nuts?”

“Yeah, good luck not getting EATEN!”

“Why would you wanna walk? Don’t they have people to carry you over there?” 

Truth is, I really didn’t know what to expect either. I knew there would be some walking, but I wasn’t looking forward to dodging lions and water buffalo during the mid-day African heat in the process.

 

Africa-on-Foor-Klaserie-Game-Reserve-tree-houseTurns out there was no need to worry. The walking is done early morning when temperatures are cooler at an easy pace over even easier terrain, and led by experienced guides with rifles — just in case.   

Africa-on-Foot-SafariSafari-goers have a choice each morning of a walking safari or a traditional driving safari, followed by another driving safari late afternoon. Granted, you get to cover more ground in a vehicle and subsequently see more animals, but walking through the nature reserve allows you the opportunity to spot tracks and other signs of animals up close — like poo (and lots of it!)

Then there’s the heightened awareness and adrenaline rush that comes with knowing something could pounce from the bushes at any given moment, dragging you to a grisly demise. (Kidding of course, the good guides at African on Foot would never let that happen.)

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The camp itself is situated in the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve — a series of private game parks that are a part of the Greater Kruger National Park. What that actually means is that it adjoins Kruger National Park, and since there are no fences, you’ll get to see many of the same animals. What is also means is that the private game reserve doesn’t have some of the same restrictions as Kruger National Park — one being walking safaris are possible in the Klaserie — but also that vehicles are allowed to go off the dirt roads, whereas in Kruger proper they must start on the paved roads at all times.

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Africa on Foot is one of a handful of safari companies in South Africa that offer walking safaris. Guides need to be trained to handle any encounter that may occur, and the chief guide Rein (pictured above) has had years of experience here at Africa on Foot and at other camps.

Since Africa on Foot is a fairly small operation (there are only 5 chalets and a treehouse for the more adventurous), there’s not much chance of crowding. 

Africa-on-Foot-safari-camp-dining-area

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One of the chalets.

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Africa-on-Foot-safari-camp

Africa-on-Foot-Safari-

Africa-on-Foot-safari-camp-sunset.And while I didn’t get to see as many animals as I would have liked on the particular day I went on the walking safari, I did get to learn plenty about tracking, spotting and the habits of the animals.

Plus I think I was spoiled when I got to see four out of the Big Five (and that amazing sunset) when we went for the late afternoon drive the day before. 

Note: I was a guest of Africa on Foot, but they did not ask that I write a positive review.

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19 comments - add one
  1. Great post. Last year I went on a number of safaris, and one of the most enjoyable was a lion walk in Zimbabwe. Definitely provides a different perspective, and a lot more learning, than what you get being in a vehicle.

  2. I’m laughing because at each photo I stopped and said, out loud, Oh wow! They’re great and it’s not often I see a string of great. Thanks Raymond.

    1. Haha. This comment made me laugh.

      Raymond, I’ve always wanted to go on a safari. And I would never had consider walking. Sounds ‘excitingly dangerous’. LOL. But a rather more intimate experience, I gather. Thank you for sharing. Love the pics.

  3. Those living arrangements are sooo cool… but I can’t help but think of “The Ghost in the Darkness.” and expect to see tag team lions show up. And Val Kilmer.

  4. I would enjoy learning about tracking and spotting the animals, but would have been so busy scanning the ground for scary snakes and spiders I would have missed any animals that came our way!

  5. Most interesting Raymond:

    “…the private game reserve doesn’t have some of the same restrictions as Kruger National Park — one being walking safaris are possible in the Klaserie — but also that vehicles are allowed to go off the dirt roads, whereas in Kruger proper they must start on the paved roads at all times.”

    Things must have changed at Kruger – back in 2005, I did a dawn walking safari (with 2 armed Kruger Rangers) and we definitely drove off-road.

    Indeed, it turned out to be THE most extraordinary wildlife experience (apparently even for the rangers). Far too long of a tale to peck here – suffice, check out my Random Photo Memory: “Lions at Dawn” post at TL – we stumbled upon a pride of no less than FIFTEEN lions feeding on a freshly killed wildebeest!

  6. While they do ensure your safety with through security measures, the whole idea of a walking safari would give you serious “that guy/girl has cojones” cred with your friends!

  7. Let me guess…the one you didn’t get to see out of the big five was the leopard; so elusive. Great coverage of the available options and spectacular photos.

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