Wilderness Trails

The point of Wilderness Trails is to reinforce the idea that man himself is just a visitor who does not remain; in the Umfolozi wilderness area there are no roads, and access is only permitted on foot or horseback. (The trails in the Umfolozi were the first to be introduced in South Africa in the late 1950ís,and is the only park under formal conservation in KwaZulu-Natal where the Big Five occur - let alone its history as the exclusive hunting preserve of the Zulu kings).

Trails are led by two armed wilderness guides - their role, beyond protecting you - assuming you are not able to make it up a tree fast enough - is to provide background knowledge, the history, flora and fauna, of the trails.

A fair degree of physical fitness is assumed, as walking occupies the majority of time spent on this trail - the average distance covered per day can be up to 15 km. As the terrain is relatively rugged, and the best game viewing points are on higher ground (the same as when you are in a car), if you are not physically fit enough, you will only be letting other trailists down. Similarly, being able not to chatter, so that you can both listen to the sounds of the bush around you, and, more importantly, not to frighten animals away from the trail group, is essential. 

The KZN nature conservation service provides everything you are likely to need - all food, cutlery and crockery, tea, coffee and fruit juice, water bottles, backpacks and daypacks, and all bedding.  Three meals per day are provided, starting with supper

on the day of arrival and concluding with breakfast on the day of departure. 

Having walked on a couple of trails on the Umfolozi, I can only say that they are an essential part of an African bush experience. Even if you are likely to see more, and different, animals, from a car window, the experience is so much more rewarding - you feel properly involved.