Things To Do in SkukuzaSweni Wilderness Trail
Where? Start and finish in Satara Rest Camp in the Kruger National Park.
When? Booking is essential. Contact SAN Parks.
How much? Price on request
Start: Satara Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
Finish: Satara Rest Camp, Kruger National Park
Duration: 2 days, 3 nights
Fitness: you need to be fit enough to manage up to 20 km a day, but most of it is on the flat at a leisurely pace, and you don't need to be super fit
Our tip: this is a popular wilderness trail because it is lion country
The concept of a wilderness hike is unique to Africa. It involves heading out into the bush (something you are expressly forbidden to do from your car in the rest of the park) in the company of an (armed) ranger or two to find animals.
Kruger has seven wilderness trails. They involve a small group of people (around 8) who stay in a remote wilderness camp - usually A-framed huts with beds, a communal eating area and no electricity. Your meals are cooked for you. 49% of the Kruger is designated wilderness and these camps are miles from the usual tourist routes in Kruger.
Most of the time you do not spot any of the Big 5 (drive the reserve before or after your trail if it's the Big 5 you have come to see). What you will get is a first-hand experience of the bush, and insight into the lives of smaller animals, traces of which you will stumble upon during your walks.
Leave your cell phones, radios and any other potentially noisy gadgets at home. They won't work in the bush anyway.
Sweni is regarded as the least challenging of the wilderness trails. The wilderness camp is in central Kruger with plenty of wide, flat savanna and largely treeless as a result, but this makes for incredible stargazing at night. The sounds of the bush whilst lying in your bed at night – the lions and jackals – are without doubt a highlight.
Sweni's two days of hiking start at 4am during summer. Early morning hikes are best to spot game and you want to be out of the heat of the day (11am – 3pm is usually siesta time).
Hikes are in single-file without any talking. On the way your guide will educate you about termite hills, interesting birds, animal tracks and dung, spiders, and scorpions. And you will probably spot antelope, zebras, buffalo, elephant and hippos, if you are lucky.
Evenings either involve a game drive, or another shorter walk.