In the land of lions, leopards and other fearsome creatures, traveling on foot is a rare occurrence. Yet, I did it: I climbed down from an open-air jeep onto the dusty South African soil in the Madikwe Game Reserve, joined by three guides holding large rifles.

After a brief safety talk — which included instructions to stay in a straight line and to make sure I have a guide both in front of and behind me — we descended toward the Madikwe River on a reddish-brown path.

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