If you don’t want to see Africa through a camera lens, it’s well worth adding a walking safari into your trip. Always exhilarating, walking safaris can take any format, from a few hours meandering through the bush before lunch, to several days of guided walking accompanied by a tracker and an armed guide.
Normally walks take place in the morning and afternoon, when temperatures are a little cooler. The pace is generally a slow one, as the aim is to take in as many of the sights, sounds and smells around you as you can. Often your walk will include a stop on a log for a drink and cup of tea, and it’s rare for any walk to last for more than 2-3 hours without a break. You will usually walk with an armed guide, and he may be accompanied by a tracker or national park ranger. In Zambia, your crew will also include a tea-bearer, who can whizz up a fire between two sticks, and have your tea bubbling away before you’ve even had time to sit down!
You’ll see some big game (and meeting an elephant on foot makes you REALLY appreciate its size), but of course not as many animals as you would see from a vehicle. The focus on a walking safari is really more on the “little five” and understanding the environment around you - so you’ll seek out ant lions in the dust and admire the intricate nests of the buffalo weaver. Your guide will point out paw prints and hoof marks in the dust, and you’ll learn to identify bird calls and different types of dung with ease.
For short morning and afternoon walks many of the private game reserves in Kenya are worth a visit (we’d pick Lewa Safari Camp in Laikipia for gorgeous rolling scenery), as is the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania (try Beho Beho for incredible guides). Further south, many of the camps in Botswana will offer walks, as will many of the South African safari lodges.
Worth a particular mention is the South Luangwa in Zambia, where walking safaris were really pioneered. Almost all of the camps here will offer walking as an activity, and many, like Tafika have satellite camps that you can walk out to. Finally, there are a handful of operators that cater to committed walkers, and offer walking safaris as their only, or primary activity. These include the wonderful Karisia Walking Safaris in Kenya, and Mwaleshi and Zebra Plains in Zambia.
To discuss incorporating a walking safari into your Africa holiday, click on Enquire Now or call 020 7337 9010 to speak to one of our experts.