Step out with Rhodes Bezuidenhout and Shangani Trails

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“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannas of long ago?” Brian Jackman (freelance writer best known for his interest in wildlife and wild places – especially Africa)

 

This bull elephant was enjoying the fruits of a Nyala berry tree while contemplating his next move. There is no experience like being in the presence of the largest land mammal while on a trail walk. It is only when you are on foot that you come to realize just how enormous these animals are, yet how gently they tread on the earth. What are YOU going to be reaching for in 2020? What is currently on your ‘to-do‘ list for the year ahead? How about a walk on the wild side with Shangani Trails? Their walking trails are just one of the options offered by Rhodes Bezuidenhout and his team of back-up guides and camp staff.

Quote: “Shangani means literally, To walk on the Sand in Shona (a language spoken in Zimbabwe) and relates to Shangani Trails’ strong belief that the only way to fully enjoy and truly understand the bush is to walk through it, experiencing the smell, sounds and sights undisturbed by all external and artificial interference”.

 

A walking trail experience is unlike anything else a visitor to this area might enjoy. Although Makuleke is renown for its herds of elephants and buffalo, walks are more about being in touch with nature as a cohesive whole and that includes the smaller flora and fauna that might be missed while on a game drive. These elephants, partially hidden in a large Fever Berry thicket, watched as a group of our visitors drove through Ambush Alley, a  section of Luvuvhu West on the way to our campsite.

 

Two ‘predators’ side by side. A gigantic Nile Crocodile and a large(by bird standards) Goliath Heron.

 

This is from a morning walk to Mashashiti Spring. Reaching the small ridge, this group chose a path that had been worn into the earth by countless Elephant, Buffalo and other animals over decades. Walks are about enjoying the vista and some of the group settled down to take in the view, bathed in the soft early morning sunlight.

Quote: ” The Makuleke concession covers about 24000 hectares and is situated in the far northern section of the Kruger National Park with the natural boundaries being the Limpopo River in the north and east and the Luvuvhu River in the south. Described as one of the few remaining true wilderness areas in Southern Africa, Makuleke is highly regarded for its biodiversity, spectacular scenery and famous Fever Tree Forests. Our visitors can expect to see a variety of big and small game, with large herds of Elephant and Buffalo. A healthy prey population that includes Nyala, Eland, Kudu and Zebra supports regular predator sightings.  Walking the concession will also allow you to see the numerous natural springs which provide much-needed water sources all year round. The Concession is particularly well known for its prolific birdlife all year round with over 450 species being identified, including the elusive Pels Fishing Owl and the Racquet Tail Roller which can often be found in the Fever-Tree forests lining the Limpopo Flood Plain”.

 

Each African sunset is unique and each one will make memories for those who take the time to share the moment.

 

A moment to take in the stunning beauty that is the Chachacha Pan.

Quote: “We adapt the walking trail to what our guests want to experience, answer the questions they have always wanted to ask while utilizing the walking opportunity to see, smell, touch and feel nature at her very best. We at Shangani Trails will strive to fit our trails into your timetable and social group. (The trails season is from1 April to 31 October). We welcome individuals and couples as well as groups of friends, families, and work colleagues of up to 8 people for our 3/4/5-8 day trails”.

 

A breeding herd of elephants come down to the Levuvhu River to quench their thirst. Watching activities like this might interrupt a meal or change the planned direction on a walk, but it is well worth it. Food can always be consumed at a later stage and a detour is easily corrected but this sighting might only last for a short while.

 

A panoramic view of the Luvuvhu River flood plain from a ridge that gave the group a stunning vantage point.

 

An unusual sighting. The mighty Eland is the largest African antelope and despite its size and mass, it is able to clear a 2m(6 ft)  fence with ease!

Quote: “For those wanting a more “Close to Nature” type of bush experience, the Pafuri Walking Trail provides a rustic tented camp type accommodation situated near the banks of the Luvuvhu River on the southern boundary of the Makuleke Concession. This unfenced tented camp will allow you to enjoy a true wilderness experience in the heart of the Makuleke bush. The Trails Camp is situated in one of most scenic landscapes with imposing sandstone ridges and exquisite Riverine Forest. The walking trails run seasonally from 1 April to 31 October and on a 4 day, 3-night basis. Morning walks commence at first light after coffee/tea and a light breakfast, walking either from camp or using the vehicle to drive to a drop-off point, then walking from the vehicle. After brunch, guests have the option of a shower and some much-needed downtime before the afternoon walk or drive and sundowners. Evenings are spent around a fire with ice-cold drinks followed by a three-course dinner, thus ending another day in paradise”.

 

Time to check the morning ‘newspaper’. Overnight tracks allow guests to see what animals passed the camp during the night.

Quote:” Rhodes, thanks for such a wonderful and detailed account of our trip with you! It’s great to have as one forgets the details. Also, nice to have those photos which help the memory! Hope you are doing well….pouring rain and cold here as we dream of that amazing African experience! That’s for making it great”! Adrienne and George Buck, Nelson, British Columbia, Canada

Rhodes Bezuidenhout- Shangani Trails

Note: All the images in this posting were supplied by Shangani Trails and have been used with their permission. Quotations are taken from the company website and used with minor content edits. To request a quote, please click on the Shangani Trails logo below…

 

 

Having finally left the Corporate Financial World in South Africa well behind to pursue a life-long ambition of walking trails in the African Bush. Rhodes is a fully qualified FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa) Trails Guide with Advanced Rifle Handling qualifications. Since its inception in 2010, Shangani Trails has attracted both local and international guests that wish to experience the walking trails in the Makuleke Concession, situated in the remote northern area of Kruger National Park. 

Instead of dispensing financial advice, Rhodes now shares his experiences and knowledge with his guests in one of Africa’s most incredible wilderness areas.

Shangani Trails provides participants with a true immersive African Bush Experience covers the what, where, why and how of the behaviour, tracks and sign of the many animals and birds found in the region. while also providing an insight into the environmental and historical aspects of the Makuleke Concession.