Makalali Walking Safari
Wild Planet Safari in combination with Siyafunda Wildlife Conservation have created new and exciting safari options focussed on getting back to nature and walking trails. There is no better way of connecting with the African wildlife than traversing the untamed bush on foot. On a walking safari guests will have the opportunity to completely immerse themselves in this wild environment and experience sights, sounds and smells that they would not be able to enjoy from a traditional vehicle safari.
There is no better way of connecting with the African wildlife than traversing the untamed bush on foot.
The Greater Makalali Nature Reserve is currently a 25,000-hectare game reserve and is located outside Gravelotte in the Limpopo Province of South Africa, the towns Hoedspruit and Phalaborwa are about an hour’s drive away.
Makalali’s bushveld differs to nearby Kruger and the greater Kruger private reserves by being located in an area consisting of rolling hills that have spectacular viewpoints allowing guests to enjoy views of the reserve and the stunning backdrop with the Drakensberg Escarpment. The Makalali bushveld consists of acacia bush and open savanna grassland is dotted with with a variety of the bushvelds most loved trees including marula, knobthorn and jackalberry, the fairly arid reserve is dissected by the beautiful meandering Makhutswi River lined with most stunning riverine forests.
Makalali is home to the `Big 5` species, Lion, Elephant, Black and White Rhino, Buffalo and Leopard. The reserve is also home to all the flagship species of the area including cheetah and Wild Dog. The area is teeming with birds and lesser known wildlife species.
We have 2 options for the number of days required for our walking safari`s in Makalali, that being a 3 day option and a 4 day option.
We also have 3 different options with regards to accommodation choices inside Makalali. First we offer a Chalet accommodation, this is a permanent base for the duration of the safari, the Chalets are situated on the banks of the Makhutswi River and is the perfect place to relax in-between morning and afternoon walks. The Chalets have a double bed, en suite bathroom and have electricity. The chalets are rustic and sit in the 3 star category. On the chalet option guests will depart from the lodge and enjoy 3 to 5 hours walks each morning and afternoon returning to the same lodge after each walk.
The second option is a rustic permanent safari tented camp. This camp consists of permanent safari tents set on wooden decks overlooking the same Makhutswi River. There are shared toilets and showers in ablution blocks and there is one ablution block per two safari tents. The tents have double beds and electricity is provided by solar power. On this option guests will depart the camp for 2 walks per day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon, Walk duration is between 4 and 5 hours and all walks return to camp.
The third option is a Slackpack trail. This is a fully catered and non-participation trail (a non-participation trail means that guests do not need to set up and pack down camp or carry their tents with them on the trail). Guests will sleep in large canvass dome tents that will be set up and moved to a new location each day. This will all be done while guests are out on their walks. Most of the camps will be setup in dry river beds or in areas with lots of shade and space to relax. This is a back to basics option and showers are hung in a tree and the toilet is a hole in the ground. There is no electricity and although all camping equipment is provided to make the stay as comfortable as possible the idea of the safari is to leave everyday luxuries behind and really get back to nature on a primitive level.
All of the options are in camps with no fences that are surrounded by nothing but raw nature. All options are safe and our guest’s safety is always the priority and all Covid 19 safety regulations will be adhered to. The walks are easy paced as with everything in the bush and are available to guests of all ages over 12. All of our walking safaris are operated with 2 experienced guides that have full qualifications and have passed all firearms competency requirements, these guides are armed with rifles and have intimate knowledge of Makalali and the territories and movements of the dangerous game that call the conservancy home. Guests will also be joined by a host team who will be responsible for all cooking, camp set up and creating the perfect camp atmosphere. The host team are also there to look after any guests under 12 while the rest of the group are out on walks.
All meals are provided whilst on safari and we will be provided superb bush meals using quality ingredients locally sourced from Hoedspruit as well as ingredients foraged from the bush around the camps. All cooked meals are prepared on the fire using a variety of techniques.
The Walks are the highlight of the Safari and there are few places better to walk than Makalali, the bush is in pristine condition and there is a very low amount of tourism operations on the reserve. The reserve has healthy populations of animals and guests often enjoy unbelievable sightings that are more often seen in vehicles than on foot. The guides are excellent and have infinite passion and desire to walk in the bushveld. Often the best experiences on a walking safari involve tracks, signs and an appreciation of the smaller things that are often overlooked on a vehicle safari but at the same time there is no feeling quite like the adrenalin rush of successfully tracking down a pride of lion.
The reserve has healthy populations of animals and guests enjoy unbelievable sightings that are more often seen in vehicles than on foot.
Click on the links below to find out more info on the 3 different accommodation options we offer on our walking safari as well as itineraries and prices.
Job`s Halt Chalets
Accommodation consists of four en-suite double bedroom units. Each has very comfortable Victorian-style brass and metal beds plus arm chairs or a couch. The bathrooms each contain a shower, a wash basin and a toilet. Being eco-friendly the hot water system is solar heated which can be boosted electrically if the weather is overcast. The rooms each have a different theme drawn from the Job Family's history and experiences dating back to the 1870`s. The lodge has a waterhole to the rear where animals can be spotted at various times of the day.
Our second option for Wild Planet`s walking safari`s is a permanent tented camp known as the Endangered Species Tented Camp. The Tented camp is an eco-friendly camp powered by solar and set amongst the riverine forest trees which overlooks a water course. There are 4 large, comfortable twin share tents set on raised platforms, ensuring each has its own unique view of the African bush! Each tent has 2 comfortable single beds, with duvets, blankets and hot water bottles for the colder winter nights. There are shared ablution facilities with flushing toilets and bush showers.
The third option for Wild Planet`s walking safari`s is a fly camp option. The Fly Camp accommodation is in large 3m x 3m canvass dome tents complete with mattress and bedding. The tents are large enough to stand inside and accommodate 2 guests per tent. The best thing about the fly camp option is that the camp site changes every day, the camps are private for the group and guests will sleep in a different area each night. The camps are back to basic and showers are heated by the sun and hung up in trees. The toilet is simple and basic and is a chair with a hole in it placed over a deep hole in the ground. There is no fence around the camp and it is just about as wild as it gets. All camping equipment is provided including solar lights, chairs and tables.