Ker & Downey Luxury Travel Consultant Trista Gage shares why a bush walk is one of her favorite things to do on an African safari
A bush walk is one of my favorite things about a safari. I feel more immersed in my surroundings, stepping into the bush and breathing in the sounds and smells of Africa. It’s not like they are shoving you off into the wilderness with a compass and a pocket knife. You have a skilled ranger with a rifle and an experienced tracker to lead the way.
Talking is kept to a minimum so the ranger and tracker can be fully aware- of any movement, sound. They orchestrate the entire operation—from where you stop, how you approach and how close you might get. I was very lucky to have Philip and Pat at Lion Sands lead us on one of my most memorable walks.
After a relatively quiet afternoon, our last goal was to see a black rhino. We had been following tracks along the road and now the ranger and tracker positioned the vehicle, set off to scout the area and can back to fetch us. We stepped off the relative safety of the open safari vehicle—a barrier between us and the wildlife. Venturing off on foot is an entirely different perspective. The bird twitters sound louder, the branches crack underfoot. We follow single file, observing the signals of the ranger, hanging back when we need to. We walk over fallen logs and skirt around thorny bushes. And suddenly the ranger lifts his hand. We fall silent. He motions us to advance, slowly, quietly. And there, not 100 meters in front of us, browsing on grasses, are 2 rhino. It’s a mother and calf. We are downwind and so they are not at all alerted to our presence. We watch them moving effortlessly through the bush. We reposition ourselves a couple of times before they move into the thicker bush where we can’t follow.
As we head back to the vehicle, we stop to talk about plants, observe some dung beetles as they efficiently pack and roll the dung. It feels like a more honest way to approach the bush, from ground level. The size of the wildlife is more impressive but also feels more authentic. It instills in me a respect for the bush, and the wildlife I’m honored to observe in close proximity.
Follow in Trista’s footsteps. Add a bush walk to your next Ker & Downey African safari. Contact your Luxury Travel Consultant. Stay up to date on all our online content by following us on Facebook and Twitter.