We have described trails in South Africa - Hiking Trails in and Around Pretoria and Johannesburg to maximize the wildlife viewing experience from the hiking paths.
You increase the likelihood of seeing wildlife from the trail by following a few basic principles:
- Select trails from the guidebook with high wildlife viewing potential;
- When you walk, stop frequently and look around through the bush. If you look at the bush, you will see only the bush and not wildlife;
- Look through the bush and scan the area as far as your eyes let you. Wildlife often has smelled, heard or seen you before you are aware of their presence and tend to keep their distance;
- Look for unusual colors, forms, and shapes in the bush;
- The wind direction determines whether wildlife smells you. If the wind blows in your direction away from wildlife, the viewing distance can be shorter;
- Wildlife is normally less afraid of cars and quad bikes than hikers. If you want to be very close to wildlife, consider adding a game drive to the day’s itinerary. Wildlife tends to keep a larger distance from human beings as it may mistake hikers for a predator;
- Listen for calling signs from birds, monkeys, and other wildlife as this often indicates that you have been spotted and wildlife is around;
- Ask the park rangers where they have seen wildlife on the day you hike; and
- Bring binoculars on the trail.