Lockdown boundary walk

Sabi Sand | May 2020

Myself and a few of the other guides that are on site decided to walk the perimeter of the Singita property in the Sabi Sand. Not only is it a great challenge, but it is special to do an extended walk through the reserve, it allows for one to notice the finer details of the bush as well as the smaller life. In saying this we had a goal to complete the walk in eight hours.

The alarm goes off and it was time to get ready for our challenge. We began our walk at 6:30 am deciding that we will start off in the western part of the boundary. As we set out, it was something pretty spectacular to witness, the sun was rising and the birds were chirping, the bush was starting to wake up and come alive once again. The morning was fairly cold, so the warm sun was welcomed with open arms. The day started to heat up as we got to the halfway point. Here we decided to hydrate and have a snack, we did not want to stop for too long as it becomes tougher to get going again the longer you sit for. We all agreed on a lunch spot that we would stop at and take a proper break. So, we set off again down the railway line. Now up until this point we had not seen many animals due to the cool morning, little did we know that the rest of the walk would be engulphed with elephants. We approached the grasslands and through the last thicket came a large herd of elephant. We had to alter our course and try make our way around the herd. We got to a safe point that was elevated enough to allow for us to see our surroundings. As we scanned around, it became apparent that we had elephant herds all around us. It was something special to see but at the same time we knew we had to make a move and get out of the area as we did not want to disturb any of the animals.

Once we got through area we stopped for a lunch break, sandwiches done and ready to go again. We wanted to make the rest of the way without another stop. We got a good pace going and we set out for the final stretch. We knew our route would go past a dam and along the river so it was important that we kept focus in order to spot any animals in the late afternoon seeking a water source. As we were walking along, Ross suddenly spotted a herd of elephant close by. We retreated and watched as the herd moved deeper into the thicket before they disappeared. This was a good reminder that we had to keep our wits about us. We continued down towards the river that offered some spectacular views and great game viewing. By this time, we all started to feel a bit of pain as the blisters came about. We did our final push and made it back to the lodge at eight hours on the dot.

It was a great experience to be out on foot with fellow guides all sharing the same passion for wildlife and conservation. We all had our stories that we told and we all learnt something new from each other and that is the beauty of doing walks and spending time together as the guides in the bush.