Howzit Inkwazi Adventurers,
We trust that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and healthy during these times.
One of the highlights on our #Bushveld2020 tour is the #HikingSafari. This 4-day and 3-night experience is bound to awe you from the first step you take into the bushveld to the last step you give before returning to civilization.
At Inkwazi Adventures our mission is: "Changing lives, one adventure at a time", and the hiking safari, as part of Bushveld 2020 is one of our life-changing adventures.
Today I would like to share some personal insights into how a multi-day #hikingsafari will be different from anything you may have done before, but more importantly, better than anything you may have experienced before. What I am about to share may address some common concerns and questions you may have and hopefully entice you to join us on one of these adventures in the future.
How it will be different...
Following nature's trail, slow and steady. There are no set trails (you will follow the trails set by the animals) and there are no set distances to cover each day. You will walk at a leisurely pace and stop often to admire the bushveld. (This pace will be refreshing.) You will learn so much from Lutz (our professional guide from Spirited Adventures) about the surrounding fauna and flora. As late afternoon approaches, Lutz will look for a place to overnight, no matter where we might be at that time. Lutz and his guides know the area like you may know your local shopping centre, and they know where the best spots are to overnight safely.
While you need some form of fitness, if you can walk around a shopping centre with your shopping bags for three hours, then you are ready to join us.
While it's not 5-Star, you will sleep under a million stars. This is what makes it special. You will be reminded that you can go without some luxuries for a few days. All you need is a small one-man or two-man tent, sleeping mat (or mattress) and sleeping bag... that is it. Being immersed in the open bushveld with the unique sounds of nightlife will be something you will never forget. Don't worry if you do not own any of the gear you may need, as hiring the gear when in South Africa is also a great option and this may save you from bringing it over from Australia.
You will be your own Master Chef, and will get creative. You are your own chef during the hike. Carrying all your food with you will remind you of how little you actually need to get by (and you won't go hungry). Anneke and I once carried a kilogram rump steak with us (Yes, that is normal for a South African). We braaied it over river rocks, with the campfire being mainly for ambiance... not cooking. I remember how we had to hide behind our tents at the time while a hippo was grazing nearby. At that moment, I was more worried that the steak might be overcooked than the hippo being a threat.
A toilet with a view and background 'bushveld' music. This is often one of the main concerns for people deciding on embarking on a hike like this. Personally, I think it is part of the special and unique experience. All you need is a shovel (you can call him Doug or Douglas), a roll TP and lighter (and maybe something to read, as you won't have reception to check your Facebook). When 'nature calls', you head off into the bush, not too far, just far enough to be out of earshot in case of any sounds that might be, uhm, created. You then choose a nice spot, dig a hole, go about your business. Once completed, you light the toilet paper (make sure you do this only once you have finished) and wait for it to be completely burned in the hole before filling it up with soil. Best of all, while you are enjoying the view, the bird sounds will be your background music.
While it's immersive, it is also very safe. Unfortunately, second to the whole going-to-toilet thing, many people deny themselves from experiencing a hiking safari because they are afraid of the animals. While you are in Big Game country and the slowest (of anything that might harm you), Lutz will reassure you that the animals are more afraid of you. If you respect their space and read their behaviour, then you should not encounter any problems. I have had many great sightings sitting in a vehicle, but I have a lot more respect for animals when seeing them on foot in their own environment. Most often they do not even know we are there and then you see behaviour you won’t see from your vehicle.
Time will fly and the experience is life-changing. There is never a dull moment on a hike like this. From the moment you enter the bush your senses will go into overdrive. Personally, I loved the fact that you walk in silence (yes, how else will Lutz and his companion hear the sounds of the bush). These silent walks, coupled with the fresh air, provides excellent opportunities to #reflect. While on the hike you may learn new life skills like digging a well in the riverbed to get fresh water, or making a fire without striking a match. As night falls the stories shared around the campfire will entertain you, and I promise you these will be better than any TV series you have ever watched on Netflix. As you lay down in your tent, all snuggled up in your sleeping bag, the sounds of the bush will whisk you away into dreamland, better and quicker than any sleeping pill could ever do. There will be no need for an alarm clock, because instead, the beautiful sounds of the birds will wake you up, making you wish that you can freeze time for just a moment.
While you never know what you will see each hike; the one thing you can be sure of, is that the experience will be life-changing.
How it will be better...
Strangers will become friends, and friends will become family. As you experience this special time with strangers and friends, you will feel like family at the end. Like-minded people do similar things. You are on this hike with people who share something in common... a sense of adventure. The experiences on this hike will strengthen bonds and forge new relationships, and the memories will last forever.
Less is more and the experience will be priceless. While you will carry a fraction of your worldly possessions with you, you won’t be able to put a price tag on the value of your experiences. There is something unique and special about disconnecting from daily distractions, getting out of your comfort zone, and reconnecting with nature.
Physical, mental and social wellbeing adventure. Expect to get in touch with your body and mind. I never realised that my senses of smell and hearing are so important. You can often smell an elephant before you see it and you can hear the oxpeckers (birds) that accompany buffaloes before you can see the herd. (Who knows, maybe you will get to see an Inkwazi as well). Furthermore, as I alluded to earlier, the silent walking and richness of information shared by Lutz will fuel your mind.
Out here there will be no distractions from emails, instant messages or phone calls. Instead, you will spend time reading the tracks in the sand and listening to the calls of the animals and birds.
Inkwazi Adventurers, just by writing this blog post I am getting excited to welcome you on the #Bushveld2020 tour. We would love to hear from you, in particular, if you have any questions or comments.
Excuse me as I put on my hiking boots and take my dog for a walk.
Cornel van Onselen
Inkwazi Adventures Leader