Walking with wildlife in South Luangwa National Park

March 6th 2020  |   Interviews, Zambia  |  by   Charlotte Opperman
Walking with wildlife

Deb Tittle is without question one of Africa’s leading safari guides.  Over the last 22 years she’s led nearly 3,000 walking safaris through the African wilderness.  Having honed her skills working with renowned safari guides Robin Pope and Derek Shenton, she now runs her own operation at Mapazi Camp in a remote corner of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park.  The reviews of her exhilarating walking safaris are glowing so we decided to ask her a little about her life in the bush.

How did you become a walking safari guide?

The ‘how’ is an entertaining story best told around the campfire with a few drinks. Essentially, (with some interesting twists and turns) I made my childhood dream come true and started guiding in South Luangwa National Park in 1996.

Deb Tittle guiding in the South Luangwa Valley National Park

What makes walking with you in the South Luangwa so special? 

Mapazi is all about true walking safaris. I tailor the walks to the interests and abilities of each group; involving everybody in tracking, finding and spending time with all the wildlife that you might hope to see by vehicle – plus a whole lot more. It’s absorbing and fun!

What’s your most memorable safari moment with clients?

Watching an elephant give birth in an ebony grove near Nsefu.  A wonderful thing to witness – let alone on foot.

Is there anywhere else in the world would you like to walk? 

Under the Northern Lights.

What do you do on your day off ?

Watch the sunrise over the Luangwa, have a second cup of coffee and enjoy the serenity of Mapazi.

Guest tent at Mapazi Camp

What’s your favourite wildlife to see on foot?

Puku – they are the most reliable ‘informants’ in the bush, not just pretty faces.

What’s the strangest wildlife interaction you’ve had?

One dark night after supper a young leopard quietly sat itself down right next to my two guests to listen to the camp fire stories.

What piece of kit could you not survive without?

My hat.

Favourite sundowner drink?

Ice cold Mosi (lager).

Elephants spotted on a walking safari

What’s the funniest question you have been asked on safari ?

Years ago, I overhead a guest say to Derek Shenton, “hippos lay eggs …….that’s right isn’t it?”

Can you multitask – do you help out in the kitchen in camp and what’s your fail proof campfire meal?

Yes, I am training our two Zambian chefs. And our best meal …. that would be telling!

This is typical of the feedback we receive from guests staying with Deb:

“If you’ve ‘been there and done that’ in Africa, and if you want to understand the ethology of predators and prey, you should find Deb and learn from her.  She’s a master.”

Any questions on walking safaris?

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, whether to North Luangwa, South Luangwa, or the Lower Zambezi . 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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