Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari in Photos

People learning to make string from pandanus on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
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Looking for a unique experience in Kakadu? We have the answer! A Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari is part Aboriginal culture experience, part wildlife safari, and part bush tucker dinner. Kid-friendly? No question!

Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari

What is an Animal Tracks Safari?

An Animal Tracks Safari is a chance to get hands-on (yes, that means dirty!) learning about Aboriginal culture and bushcraft. You spend the afternoon and evening in the Kakadu bush gathering food, supplies, and medicines. At sunset, the group settles in the Gindjala (Goose Camp) wetland to prepare the meal. While you eat, what seems like millions of magpie geese fly in huge wedges overhead as they return to the safety of the wetlands for the night.

Magpie Geese flying over Kakadu National Park at sunset

The safari takes place on the Kakadu Buffalo Farm, which is Aboriginal-owned land closed to other tours. You feel remote! The location is also an excellent reminder that the Bininj/Mungguy people still live and thrive in Kakadu today.

A non-Aboriginal guide leads the tour and drives the bus. Our guide, Don, was amazing – engaging, flexible, and informative. Patsy, an Aboriginal bush woman, accompanies the tour and makes the call on what food and supplies to forage that day.

While on the bus, Patsy and your non-Aboriginal guide share stories, dreaming, and anecdotes. You never know which ones you’ll get!

A ghost gum in Kakadu, Australia
We stopped in this grove because Patsy hoped to find bush honey. Sadly, no luck on the honey. We did learn that these trees were intentionally melded together to create an identifiable location.

Our Animal Tracks Safari in Photos

Each and every Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari is unique. The season, whims of the guides, food availability, and animal encounters are a few factors that will shape your experience. Below are photos from our safari in July 2019.

Our safari tour included families with kids from preschoolers (youngest was 4) to teenagers and child-free adults. We bumped along in the open-sided safari bus from destination to destination, never entirely sure what was around the corner. At one point, we drove alongside a billabong, but after Patsy spotted slide marks from a giant saltwater croc, she decided not to forage in that spot. I was on board with that decision!

Children collecting firewood on an Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
A cookout requires a campfire! Falcon and Batty worked hard to collect deadwood for the fire. I took photos. 🙂
Two children ollecting pandanus leaves with an Aboriginal woman on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
We harvested dried pandanus fronds to make string. Making string was far harder than I expected! We also chopped out a few palm hearts to eat fresh. Yum!
Two children harvest the outer bark from a eucalyptus tree on an Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
The outer layer from the paperbark tree can be removed without damaging the tree.
Left picture is of a green ant nest. Right picture is a boy eating a green ant.
Would you eat green ants? We all did! Green ants have a lovely citrus taste and are good for colds and headaches.
A man teaching a boy to start a fire using a traditional Aboriginal method
Starting a fire the traditional way! It actually works!
People plucking magpie geese on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
How many people does it take to pluck a goose? My eager beaver helpers soon abandoned me for more interesting tasks…and to play with the feathers.
An Aboriginal woman singes a magpie goose over a fire on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
Patsy singed any remaining down in the roaring fire.
A girl using a feather to remove singed down from a magie goose on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
Batty removed the singed down with the goose’s own wing feather.
A man making damper bread.
Our guide, Don, made delicious damper that he baked to perfection over the coals.
Man drinking billy tea on an Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
All that work makes you thirsty for a cup of billy tea!
Magpie geese, water buffalo, and vegetables ready to cook over steaming coals
Magpie goose, water buffalo, and veggies for dinner!
A woman and man cover a coal fire with eucalyptus bark to create a ground oven on an Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
The paperbark protects the food. A little dirt on top and we had a perfect ground oven for cooking dinner.
A wedge-tailed eagle takes flies off with meat
Not much goes to waste in the bush. The wedge-tailed eagles were happy to eat the goose innards.
A man and children examine a children's python on Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia
On the bus ride home, just when we thought the tour was over, the guide suddenly stopped the bus. A Children’s python lay across the road and he didn’t want to injure it. Instead, we stopped for an impromptu snake petting session and rescue mission. The python was safely released into a nearby tree.

Is a Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari Worth it?

Yes! The high price is a splurge, but Animal Tracks Safari was the best thing we did in Kakadu…and one of our favorites on the entire Explorers Way.

I know, I know. You’re questioning whether younger kids can handle the 7-hour duration and late return time, but the guides make it engaging and fun the whole time! I would say kids under 4 might struggle with the length and format.

Planning Your Animal Tracks Safari

How to Book

A Kakadu Animal Tracks Safari can be booked directly on the website. The tour takes a maximum of 18 people and does book out. We strongly recommend making your booking before you arrive in Kakadu. We met several disappointed people who missed out on a spot.

Ticket Price

  • Adult $220
  • Child $110 (aged 16 & under)
  • Seniors $195 (aged 65 and over) 

Timing

The Animal Tracks Safari starts at 1:00 pm at the Cooinda Lodge in Kakadu National Park. The tour is scheduled to return by 8:30 pm. Heads up that the return time is approximate! We returned after 9:00 pm due to our python rescue mission. 🙂

What to Bring

  • Sun protection (hat, sunscreen, lightweight long layers)
  • Bug protection (lightweight long layers, insect repellant)
  • Water bottle
  • Camera
  • Kakadu Park pass (buy online here)

What Else Should We Do in Kakadu?

If you’re looking for more ideas for your trip to Kakadu, check out our post on 8 fabulous things to do in Kakadu National Park.

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A pin titled "Animal Tracks Safari in Kakadu, Australia" showing two children and an Aboriginal woman collecting pandanus fronds.