5 Things you need to know about Walking Safaris
Bellevue Forest Reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa is one of only a few places where visitors and their families are able to take customised, guided walks among our wildlife.
Led by highly trained and professional guides, these excursions offer a wealth of information and new discoveries to delight people of all ages.
From getting up close to the magnificent and enigmatic giraffes (our most popular walk!) to trails through ancient forests with fascinating plants, bugs and little critters.
What about night-time celestial stargazing outings?
We can arrange a trail that will deliver a fascinating few hours, creating memories that are a highlight of your visit to our part of the world.
With that in mind, here are a few things you need to know about walking safaris in South Africa:
Tips for maximum enjoyment on walking safaris
We’re regularly asked if it’s safe to walk in the presence of wild animals. YES. We ensure that our guides are trained, experienced and capable of handling any situation.
Understanding animal behaviour and reactions ensures that you are in the best hands for a safe adventure.
We don’t allow close approaches or physical contact with wildlife but allow THEM to feel safe from us, so that they are not stressed or provoked.
We keep our voices low, obey the guide’s instructions and don’t startle wildlife – that way we are certain of a safe encounter.
In the bush we aim to be as invisible and quiet as possible to merge into the animal’s environment.
You’ll be most comfortable wearing long, lightweight trousers and long-sleeved shirts in neutral or camouflaged tones, sturdy walking shoes/ boots with socks and a hat for sun protection.
In winter, add a warm bush jacket and neck buff for additional warmth.
It is seldom very cold and warms up quickly when the sun shines and the adrenaline flows.
Remember not to wear any perfumed products or bright colours, and turn phones onto silent mode.
Your experience will be greatly enhanced by a pair of binoculars to study animals and birds close-up.
Cameras and bird books (or apps) are optional but you’ll find your guide very knowledgeable on all things wild.
A water bottle, sunscreen and insect repellent such as Bayticol are a good idea too, and a light walking stick if you need support.
Listen and learn
Walking amongst wildlife heightens your senses.
Hearing, smell and sight are all sharpened as every crackle of a leaf or twig alerts us to activity.
Your guide will direct you to notice so much more than you would insulated in a vehicle.
This surround-sound audio is a huge factor in appreciating and understanding the animal world.
Every frisson of excitement and wonder, even a perception of ‘danger’ (which is generally more the animal being afraid of humans than vice versa), will enhance your walking safari and become a treasured memory.
No National Geographic episode can hope to replicate the real feeling of being on foot, among the elements and feeling as one with the wild!
This is one of the most beautiful features of a bush walk, FEELING like an animal does in its natural environment.
It’s the most authentic way to get a real feel for the African bush, activating all of our senses for a complete immersion in the animal’s world – totally invigorating!