Hiking and walking trails on the western side of Kruger National Park: a guide to the options

This is a guide for those who are interested in a walking trail on the western side of Kruger, and want to go on guided walks in Big5 territory.  Here are four options, what makes each option different, and some suggestions on how to select the option that is best for you.

General introduction

All walking and hiking activity discussed here is in the company of an armed ranger, and trained field guide.  The intention is to give people an opportunity to see and learn about the ‘small things’ of the bush; as well as maintain quiet so that animals in the area are not scared away.  There are a number of hiking and walking trails on offer:

The nature of these types of trails is that it is possible to see the large animals of the area and sometimes, some of the Big5, but it does not always happen this way. Animals are not predictable.  Sometimes the most interesting sightings are tiny and obscure.  Our guides and rangers keep you informed and help you appreciate this beautiful part of the country.

Letaba Wilderness Trail

3 Night 4 Day trail with a minimum of 4 and maximum of 8 guests.

Return to nature on this true bushveld experience.

Accommodation is in an unfenced rustic bush camp in Letaba Ranch, just north of Phalaborwa. Le Hlaba camp has two-man dome tents, camping mattresses and bush ablutions.

Awake at dawn, you set out on foot shortly after sunrise in the company of your armed guide and armed ranger following the river course or exploring the riverine area of the Great Letaba River close to the unfenced boundary with Kruger National Park.

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Makuya Hiking Trail

4 Night 4 Day trail – Hike in Makuya Park – Lodge to Bush Camp to Lodge – The ultimate ‘slackpacking’ safari –

This four-night hiking trail in Makuya Reserve will take hikers from the middle of the reserve where they spend their first night at Singo Safari Lodge, to a bush camp at Pandembile.

The hike then progresses to the Luvuvhu Gorge for a second night of bush camping, and finishes on the fourth night at African Ivory Route’s Mutale Fall’s camp.  (This trail is also available as a backppacking option.)

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Mutale Wilderness Trail

3 Night 4 Day Trail – Best for those who want dramatic scenery, rugged wilderness and extensive bird sightings. .

This three-night trail is offered in the Makuya Reserve, just south of Pafuri.  Guests sleep in the permanent camp’s safari tents with crisp linen and rustic en-suite showers & flush loo.

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Mtomeni Wilderness Trail

3 Night 4 Day Trail – Best for those who want riverine scenery and long walks, and want to sleep in comfort. While this is a Big5 area, the game sightings are likely to be at a distance.

This three-night trail is offered in Letaba Ranch, just north of Phalaborwa. Accommodation is in Mtomeni, the African Ivory Route camp on the banks of the Groot Letaba River.

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