Get active walking

January 9th 2019  |   Botswana, Community Safaris, Travel, Unique Experiences, Zambia, Zimbabwe  |  by   Richard Smith
Get active walking

The original safaris were walking safaris and this is still one of the best ways to really experience Africa. With an expert guide alongside you, you’ll sense things around you in a way much more vivid than you would from a vehicle. It may be the case that you’re not as close, but the experience is arguably much richer.

Walking safari can mean many things in Africa, from part or full day walks starting and finishing at your camp, to longer multi-day walking between camps or with a mobile camp. You might be in an area with predators, or somewhere less wildlife rich but with incredible scenery, where the focus can be on the smaller things you might miss from a car. And it doesn’t have to be just adults; with the right planning exploring on foot is possible for children too, who generally love looking at, and in some cases picking up and playing with, animal bones and poo!

Kichwa Tembo guides walking with children,

And Beyond Kichwa Tembo guides walking with children, Masai Mara, Kenya

Most walking in Africa, unless you’ve signed up for a multi-day mobile walking safari, is exploring on foot rather than what you might think of as hiking. It’s generally measured in the hours you are out for, rather than the distance covered. Equally walks tend to be in the cool of the morning, rather than the warmer afternoon and certainly not in the heat of the day.

Norman Carr Safaris sleep out experience

Norman Carr Safaris sleep out experience

If you do want to experience a walking safari as part of an African holiday, our experts have all walked in various countries and can advise which might suit you, but to give you some ideas to start with, have a look at the following suggestions:

Walking with Samburu guides in the Laikipia region of Kenya allows you to experience the landscape and its wildlife through the eyes of a local. Camels carry your kit, so you can be truly free of vehicles.

Loisaba Tented Camp walking safaris with camels

Loisaba Tented Camp walking safaris with camels

Walking safaris, as we now know them, really began in Zambia and the national parks here offer fabulous walking safaris. You can enjoy part day, full day and multi day walks here, either coming back to the same camp, or as part of a mobile walking safari.

Toka Leya walking with rhino, Zambia

Toka Leya walking with rhino, Zambia

Walking is more limited in Botswana since getting licences for rifles is difficult. However the wide open salt pans of Makgadikgadi are an excellent option. You can walk here with Kalahari Bushmen, a people who have lived alongside nature for 40,000 years.

Walking with the San bushman, Makgadikgadi, Botswana

Walking with the San bushman, Makgadikgadi, Botswana, Uncharted Africa

Zimbabwe is another country which allows walking within its national parks and whose guides will carry a rifle in their vehicles to allow you to hop out and explore on foot during a wildlife drive. There are now dedicated walking camps in both Hwange and Mana Pools national parks, with a couple of companies in the latter offering multi-day, multi-camp walks.

Walking with elephants, Sausage Tree Camp, Zambia

Walking with elephants, Sausage Tree Camp, Zambia

A different type of wildlife watching is possible when walking in Uganda and Rwanda, namely tracking chimpanzees and gorillas. In both countries, this is done on foot and while the rule is to keep some distance from the different primates, it doesn’t necessarily stop them coming very close to you!

Kyambura Gorge Lodge chimpanzee tracking, Uganda

Kyambura Gorge Lodge chimpanzee tracking, Uganda

Any questions on a safari in Africa?

If you’ve got this far and not found an answer to a question you have that we should have included, please ask in the comments section below, or pop us an email. We’ll be sure to reply and may amend the article to include our answer.

What next?

We would be delighted to help you plan a holiday, or answer any questions about visiting an area with wild dogs or other iconic African predators.  Our team of experts have travelled widely throughout Africa. They can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris.  If you would like to talk to someone who has been there and done it, please just send us an email or give us a call.

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