Taking on a 55 000-step trek through the African bush requires more than courage – it’s about a profound connection to nature and becoming acquainted with the land.

Guided by seasoned mentors, new recruits undertake a gruelling, yet rewarding 42km journey across our reserve – a true test of their endurance and wilderness prowess.

The team sets out before sunrise, greeted by cool crisp air, bird song and the stirring of wildlife. But as the sun climbs higher, so too does the challenge. Beneath the relentless African sun, with the looming prospect of encountering the Big 5, they are tested both physically and mentally. Yet, amidst these trials, they find strength in camaraderie, sharing laughter, stories, and even songs to lift their spirits.

The walk traverses between termite mounds and low scrubby bush, dwarfed by Fever trees in riverine forests, then scale rocky outcrops and feel the resistance of thick sandy trails. Thirteen hours later, with weary legs, they complete their journey.

A Test Of Courage

Neo, Queen and Anthea – 3 of our intrepid rangers recount some of their memories whilst on this journey.

”The walk is a ‘rite-of-passage’ at Sabi Sabi and is one of the last things I needed to complete as a trainee. I was looking forward to it as I knew it was something that would push me both physically and mentally and I wanted to know what I was capable of.

I was so full of joy knowing that we were about to finish a 42km walk around the entire reserve. It’s such a privilege to be able to walk in the bush surrounded by so many wild animals. Every single one of us finished the walk and I couldn’t be prouder of everyone I was completing this feat with. We made so many memories along the way”.

“There were moments I had my doubts, especially when we encountered elephants, rhinos and a male lion, as my legs cramped and blisters formed on my feet.” The memory of a challenging but life-affirming trek is still fresh as our recruits reflect on the journey, which ultimately leads to a personal badge of honour.

This expedition across our reserve is an integral part of Sabi Sabi’s renowned ranger training programme, designed to push aspiring guides to their limits, fostering resilience and excellence.

Our landscape, characterised by granite-based rolling hills, offers diverse habitats, from open wooded plains to dense thorn thickets, meandering rivers to rocky outcrops, each nurturing unique fauna and flora. Navigating this terrain on foot is no small feat.

Find out more about the Sabi Sabi rangers and trackers here.

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