Kingston Boundary Walk
My alarm sounds at a fresh 4am. It’s boundary walk day! A tradition – as part of our field guide induction into Lion Sands – which challenges each of us to complete a solo journey around the entire perimeter of the Kingston (Lion Sands Sabi Sand) property. At 27km, it’s not for the faint of heart!
As I make my way down to the field guide office, I can hear the calls of the night birds fade and the daytime birds chirrup in with their songs. I collect my rifle and then set off on my walk from here, with a welcome cool breeze to my back.
The first 8km were going well, until I disturbed a bull rhino in the middle of his morning drink. While avoiding him, I came across four dugha boys (old, and often grumpy, bull buffalos), so I quickly changed tactics. Dugha boys are a part of the Big Five (the five most dangerous animals to encounter on foot) for good reason, and it’s important to handle any encounter with them carefully. Walking into any animal, big or small, is a great possibility out here, so I had to keep alert.
Nearing the 18km mark, I found a curious hyena who didn’t know what I was doing or why I was doing it – by this point, neither did I! The rest of the walk was pleasant, with some elephants in the distance and a male lion walking away into the bush.
Coming up to the last stretch, I pushed myself knowing that the end was nearing by the second. Rounding a corner and seeing everyone waiting for me, I ran the last few meters and was welcomed with many high-fives and a warm beer – also a boundary walk tradition!
The 27km journey and worth every step!
Words by: Monique Dermauw
Images by: Monique Dermaux and Ingrid Nemorin