fbpx

You Ain’t Done The Bush Till You’ve Been To Africa On Foot

Two weeks ago, as the sun was rising over Joburg and thousands of vehicles were inching their way towards the city of Gold, I was happily heading off in the opposite direction. The road in front of me was wide open, and as I thought about the next couple of days, outside of the bustling burbs, enjoying a few frosty beers in the bush, a smile crossed my face and I put my foot flat on the accelerator. Sure, I had been to the bush before, but somehow I knew this experience would take me out of my comfort zone. I left JHB looking for an experience and returned from Africa On Foot having had an adventure I will never forget.

Nestled in the Klaserie Private Game Reserve (next to the Kruger Park) is Africa On Foot, home to an awesome bush lodge and great crew, looking to give every guest an intimate and unique African safari experience. I was fortunate enough to be offered a stay at Africa On Foot and I jumped at the opportunity for one particular reason: I really wanted to lace up my tackies and take a walk in the bush.

Come on, it’s one of those once-in-a-lifetime opportunities, right?

Like most of you, I’ve only ever had my game-viewing experience sitting in the back seat of an air-conditioned SUV and somehow I knew a bush walk was going to serve up something a little more up-close-and-personal. And I sure wasn’t disappointed!

The moment of truth arrived at 06H00 on Friday morning – coffee down the hatch, the bush walk was on like Donkey Kong.

Straight off the bat, let me be 100% honest when I say I had my reservations about this bush walk, long before I arrived at Africa On Foot. I’m a city boy with very little “bush experience” and the thought of strolling through the wild with lions, leopards, buffalo, elephant and rhinos around, had me a little anxious. But there was no backing out – it was time to ‘man up’ and take a walk on the wild side.

We were probably 20 minutes into the walk when Enoch, our guide, spotted three rhinos relaxing under a tree, about 50 metres off to our left. After sussing out the situation he made a call and told us it was safe to get closer to them.

Slowly and steadily we inch our way towards these massive prehistoric mammals.

We finally come to a stop about fifteen metres away from these seemingly docile rhinos, who were chilling under a tree, and it was pretty awesome. Sure, you can view wildlife from a game viewing vehicle, but until you are on the ground, with nothing but a few bushes between you and a one ton animal, you will never understand, in that moment, how vulnerable and completely insignificant you feel.

This is their domain, and you can feel it in every cell of your body.

All of a sudden, in the blink of an eye, the situation changed.

I think it was the birds nestling in a nearby tree that gave us away, but the rhinos went from lying flat on their side, to up and alert in less than a second.

They knew we were there, they were uncomfortable about it, and they started staring us down.

Enoch assessed the situation quickly and asked us to all drop down to our haunches and remain still – “No sudden movement guys!!”

Rhino

My heart was beating out of my chest, my adrenalin was kicking like a mule and my senses were in overdrive. I was looking a rhino dead in the eye with nothing but a couple of bushes and shrubs separating us. Who was going to make the first move?

Enoch was cool though. He managed the situation like a pro. Rhinos don’t have great eyesight, so provided we remained still, the beasts would eventually become disinterested and wonder off.

And that’s exactly how it played out. The rhinos just trotted off, after realizing we weren’t a threat to them.

Situation defused and I breathed a massive sigh of relief.

Is still doesn’t take anything away from the moment for me. It was mind-blowing, it was exhilarating, frightening and just so friggin awesome, all rolled up into one. An experience I will never forget.

If you haven’t done a bush walk, you haven’t really experienced the bush. I can say that now that I have done it and I would urge everyone I know to do it.

And you should do it at Africa On Foot. This is what I liked about my stay at their camp.

Africa On Foot is really intimate, with only 5 chalets and an open-air tree house (if you are brave enough), so at the top end I would say max capacity at the lodge is 12 – 14 people. Our chalet was nicely kitted out with an en-suite shower, but in the summer months you might want to opt for a unit with an outdoor shower (you know, get that ‘naked bum in the bos’ thing going on)

Our Spot

4th image

The vibe is chilled and relaxed and you are going to get an opportunity to connect with everyone staying there, on a personal level. It’s weird, but by the 3rd night of our stay, it really felt like a little family. Everyone at the camp (including the staff) had got on so well, it was hard to say goodbye to everyone.

The chalets all lead to a main tented living and dining area where guests congregate for meals and kick back and hang out. There is a fully stocked bar, a splash pool (for those hellish hot Summer days) and a lekker boma area to kick up your feet, by a fire, after dinner.

This is how you can expect your day to play out at Africa On Foot:-

  • 05H30 Wake Up Call
  • 05H45 – Coffee
  • 06H00 – Bush Walk or Game Drive
  • 09H00 – Breakfast
  • 14H00 – Lunch
  • 15H30 – Tea
  • 16H00 – Bush Walk or Game Drive(including drinks as the sun sets)
  • 19H30 – Dinner

5th image

A big shout out to Hennie (Food & Beverage Manager) for serving up really great chow and for keeping everything in the camp running like a well-oiled machine. Wake up at 05H30 before your morning bush walk or game drive, and Hennie had the coffee pot brewing, get back from your excursion, and he had a delicious breakfast ready to go, awake from your afternoon slumber (that’s how I chose to spend my afternoons), you guessed it, Hennie was waiting to put a kick-ass lunch in front of you.

6th image

Out of all the meals Hennie, I gotta say dinner was the highlight for me. It was so cool to roll out of the landy at 19H00 and be greeted with a lekker little sherry and a set dinner table, waiting for everyone to share their stories of the day, over great food and a couple of drinks. You managed to capture the mood and create a real ambience. Nice work dude!

But even if the food was stellar, you would feel a little disgruntled if you trekked all the way to the Limpopo province for a “bush experience” and returned without seeing much wildlife.

Have no fear…

That’s where Greg and Enoch, the resident game rangers, step in. These guys really know their stuff and it was a pleasure being able to spend a couple of days, on the back of game-viewing vehicles, with highly trained “bush guys”. Both Greg and Enoch had one mission in mind – to give every guest the best value for their money and make sure we got to see as much as possible.

7th image

8th-image

And if you are looking for wildlife, you ain’t going to be disappointed. We managed to see it all – up close and personal.

If you are looking for a something a little different, you might also want to check out Nthambo Tree Camp, we popped over to their camp for a great lunch on Saturday. This place is so cool, they have 5 tree houses and a great dining & lounging area, which you can happily chill out in for a couple of days. I’m going to need to get back there again to experience the tree house vibe.

9th image

I left Joburg looking for a bush experience and left Africa on Foot having made a couple of great friends. I experienced the bush like I never have before and I feel truly blessed for the experience. Thanks to the guys at Africa on Foot for allowing me the opportunity to experience the bush like this.

Want to get it touch with the guys at Africa On Foot?

Visit their website here

Telephone: +27 21 421 8433 / Email reservations@sundestinations.co.za

Want to get in touch with the guys at Ntambo Tree Camp?

Visit their website here

Telephone: +27 421 8433 / Email reservations@sundestinations.co.za

Telephone + 27 21 421 8433

A big shout out to Nicky Arthur and the team from Nicky Arthur PR. Thanks for sending me off to the bush guys!

SLEB

2 replies on “You Ain’t Done The Bush Till You’ve Been To Africa On Foot”

Comments are closed.