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You never know where the first step may lead.

March 20, 2013

There is something magical about getting out of the safari vehicle and putting your feet down on African soil.  One of the joys of staying in a private conservancy is that you are able to do a guided bush walk and experience the landscape and wildlife on foot.   Not only does it help you burn some calories from all those delicious meals you’ve eaten on safari, you also have the opportunity to learn more about the art of tracking, plant life and the little things.

At the Bush and Beyond properties you are able to do various types of guided bush walks – as simple as a short stroll with your guide or as ambitious as a 5 night guided walking safari supported by camels where you will be camping out under the stars.  It is really up to you and we truly have a walk suitable for everyone at every age.

What I love about doing a guided bush walk is the chance to spot things that often go unnoticed while you are in vehicle, well, unnoticed by me but definitely not your guide.  This is the art of tracking or bush craft – one of the many ways your talented safari guide is able to find the wildlife and this is something you can learn about on a walk.  How to spot animal tracks – the difference between a hyena and a wild dog; or how to interpret animal droppings – which is the black rhino and which is the white rhino; or what does this sign mean – be it a tuft of hair or a broken branch.   Kids love learning these things and nothing makes them giggle more than the chance to poke at animal poo!

On a bush walk, you also get a chance to learn more about the plant life which I know might sound a bit boring at first unless you are botanist but is truly amazing when you understand its importance in the local culture and with other wildlife.  For example, the maasai toothbrush is a branch from an elephant pepper tree stripped of its bark and chewed by the Maasai and if you look you will see they have very white teeth!  Or what about the sandpaper tree whose leaves have a rough side just like sandpaper and is used by the Maasai to do the fine sanding of their bows, rungus and machete handles.

Everyone talks about the “Big Five” on safari but what about “The Little Five” which you stand a better chance of spotting on foot than in a vehicle.  The Big Five as many know are the lion, buffalo, elephant, rhino and leopard while the Little Five are the lion ant, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, rhino beetle and leopard tortoise – I am still hoping to one day spot an elephant shrew!! I have to say that tracking the Little Five is a much fun and provides as much if not more bragging rights as spotting the Big Five.

So if you are lucky enough to stay at any of our Bush and Beyond properties, make sure you get out on foot and take a guided bush walk.  Who knows what you might discover simply by putting one foot in front of the other.

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