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WS1. The Beginning. Exploring the Pafuri Wilderness area.

WildSide 1 (WS1), the inaugural backpack trail guided by WildSide during the Easter Weekend in 2023, took adventurous souls on an unforgettable journey through the enchanting Pafuri wilderness area. With three nights camping out in the African bush, WS1 proved to be a true test of endurance, rewarding us with breathtaking landscapes, some meaningful wildlife encounters, and a deep appreciation for the natural beauty that thrives in this untamed wilderness.

Day 1 – A Riverside Retreat

Departing from The Outpost after lunch, the first day of WS1 began with a steep descent into the valley below the management house at Pels Post . It was warm and trekking along the Luvuvhu River was hot and hard work. We pitched our tents on an embankment some 50m from the river, where the soothing sounds of water provided a rhythmic flow, as we drifted off to sleep under the starry night sky.

We were lucky to spot an otter on the other side of the river just before sunset. Otters area symbol of joy and rediscovering your freedom – a meaningful moment special indeed!

Day 2 – Conquering Technical Terrain

Day 2 proved to be a challenging day as we ventured 11 kilometers amidst technical and steep terrain. Although we encountered a shortage of water along the way, when we discovered Palm Spring to be dry, the indomitable spirit of the group pushed us forward. Eventually, we reached the Luvuvhu River at Mangala, where we quenched our thirst and basked in the relief of completing this demanding stretch. Very few animals were seen along the route, only spoor.

Day 3 gifted us with a leisurely day walk to Mashisiti Spring.

Surrounded by the pristine beauty of nature, we spent several hours immersed in the tranquil atmosphere of the spring. The soothing ambiance allowed us to rejuvenate our spirits, appreciate the simpler things in life, and connect with the peace that only the wilderness can offer.

Along the way, we were graced with the awe-inspiring presence of elephants and buffalo, reminding us of the incredible wildlife that calls Pafuri its home.

Day 4 – A Final Farewell

On our final day, we embarked on a walk to the airstrip via Hutwini Gorge. With our bodies and minds now accustomed to the rugged terrain, we savored every step of the journey, cherishing the memories we had created throughout the WS1 trail.

As we bid farewell to this untamed paradise, we carried with us a profound sense of gratitude for the unforgettable experiences and newfound connections with nature and the people we had met and got to know.


WildSide 1 (WS1) backpack trail will forever hold a special place in our hearts. This trail not only pushed us beyond our physical limits but also allowed us to rediscover our connection with nature in the Pafuri wilderness area. We witnessed the awe-inspiring beauty of untouched landscapes, shared intimate moments with the local wildlife, and bonded with fellow adventurers.

WS1 stands as a testament to the splendor of the outdoors and the resilience of the human spirit. WildSide promises more unforgettable journeys in the future, and we eagerly await the next opportunity to embark on a new trail of discovery. Until then, let the memories of WS1 fuel our wanderlust and inspire us to continue exploring the wonders of the natural world.

Tragically one of the members of this trail, Charles Lubbe, lost his life to Malaria three weeks later. He made a big impact on the group and will be fondly remembered.

For our next available dates for a WildSide backpack trail in the Pafuri wilderness area, click HERE. Otherwise Send an Enquiry for specific dates.

Inaugural WildSide backpack trail participants and guides.
Participants of the inaugural WildSide backpack trail (WS1), together with guides Mark Montgomery and Andrew Booth.

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