The sensational African walking safari began thousands of years back as missionaries and explorers trekked through deep, thick bush forest jungles, grasslands and traversed high tide rivers. The walking safaris experience continues on to date, this time safer, managed and more thrilling than before!
A carefully guided walking safari tour to the extensive African wilderness is one of the best and exciting ways to discover Africa, closely and more intimately. While planning your walking safari in Africa, look forward to visiting south and East Africa for the best experiences. There are several tour and travel operators that can help you not only to choose the perfect destination but also make itineraries for the walking safaris to suit each tourist’s needs and preferences.
African Trekking Safari
Walking safaris in southern Africa include more than wildlife watching. Popular sights include different varieties of birds, unique plants and crossing scenic geographical features. The walking trail experience allows guests to get their feet on the ground and really feel, smell and touch the ground. Under close guidance and lead of an armed ranger, visit famous trails from the game rich Kruger National Park, rest assured of sights like lions, antelopes, elephants, giraffes, leopards and the endangered black and white rhino among others. Okavango Delta in Botswana has splendid trails crossed by large herds of elephants. Night trails are dominated by nocturnal predator sights like jackals, hyenas, cheetah and sounds of insects.
Zambia’s vast game parks, particularly North Luangwa and South Luangwa Park are pioneer destinations for walking safaris in Zambia. South Luangwa stands out with its unique woodlands, spectacular valley cliffs, water fall, Mwaleshi River and animals like wildebeest, impala, zebras, Thornicroft giraffe and over 200 species of birds. This park hosted the very first walking safari in Zambia and Africa, back in 1967.
East African walking safaris are ranked among the most interesting, besides the most insightful/rewarding in the world. Start your magical experience in Kenya’s Masaai Mara National Park, set in unspoilt beauty and hosting several wild animals that cross the savannah. Sights here include giraffes feeding in acacia woodlands, lion prides resting on rock outcrops, leopards, zebras, buffalos, hyenas and more. The dry season is preferably good for walking safaris in the Mara, especially early in the morning as animals and birds flock the banks of Mara River to quench their morning thirst.
Other attractions famous with walking safaris include Lake Naivasha, Baringo and Nakuru; popular with several flocks of pink flamingos, good for bird watching. In Loita hills and Chyulu hills from northern Kenya, fewer animals will cross your path but you’ll enjoy the spectacular rift valley cliffs, dry river beds, and unique woodland species like giant lobelia, Lianas, giant nettles and heath. Parrots, crowned eagles, colobus monkeys, antelopes, hyenas, camels and elephants are some of the wildlife seen on your walking safaris. Visit the shores of Lake Victoria for more exciting birding experiences and the famous Serengeti National Park from Tanzania, a renowned habitat for several prides of lions among other predators.
Safari tips and Guidelines
To make the best of your walking safari, book and plan with a trusted tour and travel company before you arrive. It helps to secure backup 4WD vehicles or animals like Carmel that will carry necessary camp gear and luggage.
Most game parks and reserves are in accessible by vehicles or with poor road networks and a few tracks that are mostly impassable during the rains. Participants in a walking safari should be in good health and be reasonably fit and active. There is no simple path as such and some parts of the walk lead through hilly and rocky areas and sometimes last several hours. The morning and late afternoon are preferred times for walking safaris and more rewarding during the dry seasons.
Remember to carry light clothing, a wide brimmed hat, sun glasses and a pair of binoculars for each trip, not forgetting a camera to capture the moment. Respect and follow all instructions from your game/ tour guide on a walking safari as they look forward to keeping you safe and free from any dangerous situations.
All walking safari itineraries range from hours to more than one day and will require that you take accommodation near the attractions or desired destinations. Some walking safaris packages offer luxury lodges and bush camps situated in remote areas of national parks. Although an open vehicle safari covers more distance and sights, a safari on foot is more engaging with close interaction with the wilderness and adrenaline rushes down your body once you encounter game on the trails.
If you are to define a typical African safari, one traveller or tourist will begin with adventures of game viewing from the comfort of an open roofed vehicle. This is however nit all Africa Safari holiday adventures comprise of.
Although game viewing vehicles cover larger area and more sights of African game, they too are perfect for taking pictures from a safer point of view. Putting that aside, think of African Walking safaris! How much more fun will you have on an African walking safari compared to the usual truck experience? On African walking safaris, you have the rare opportunity to experience the wilderness on foot, discover the smallest of the animals and insects living within this setting.
The unique adventure of a walking safari is a deeply spiritual journey that will forever change the way you view nature and how the 'true' African safari should be. Walking safaris in African were actually the traditional way of going on African safari excursions before the arrival of trucks several centuries back dating to the time of the early missionaries and explorers. Tourists have all the glory of the African wilderness before them…smelling the earth, getting scratches of dry grasses (if you don’t dress in long outfits), experience the dust of the African land and so much more.
Walking Safari destination
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is said to be the birthplace of the true African walking safari dating a couple of centuries back. In Luangwa Park, you’ll find herds of different animals near the riverbank and others on the shores of the ox-bow lagoons. Zambia safaris are not the same without a walking safari in the twin parks in the Luangwa valley. Its is a sheer luxury safari...not like that of a game drive, this one is a awww experience! Ever thought of walking to the high gorge on Victoria Falls in Zambia or Zimbabwe? There is no way you are going to get to view these magnificent water falls without laboring on the intense trek. Don't worry,the sight on the water sheet falling on the gorge will soon make you forget how hard you have walked here
Trails in Kruger National Park of South Africa are famous for South African walking safaris. Many of the South Africa safari companies will be more than delighted to give you exclusive safari walks, explaining all sights on the trails and also tipping you on what to expect in the wild. For Botswana’s Okavango delta safaris, you’ll enjoy sights of the African elephant crossing the muddy flood plain, more than 200 different water birds not forgetting other small mammals
Coming on East African Safaris is another experience for adventure on walking safari. Behind the led of an armed ranger guide, push through the dry savannah of the famed Masai Mara Game reserve and spy on the sleeping lion prides, tree lounging leopards, small insects climbing an anthill and porcupines eating away some fresh fallen fruits. Arusha National Park and Serengeti National park will blow you away with amazing sights of different animals on the trails
Walking Safari Tips
Make sure to have the proper safari clothing that includes long sleeved shirts and trousers in light breathable fabric-Khaki is preferred, comfortable walking shoes, wide brimmed hat, sun glasses and sun screen.
Something you must not miss to take with you is a good camera (never carry a flash for a walking safari by day) with a good lens, long lasting batteries or memory card and any other extras as dictated by your safari guide.
An armed tour guide will always first brief you on what to expect and then lead you through the wilderness. Make sure you follow each and every instruction he gives you. This is very important because the ranger guides are typically experienced and knowledgeable about the conduct of African game like lions and other big five. You don’t have to be scared for your safety as these guides give tips on how to disguise your presences in the wild. You are in Safe hands! There is a world of difference between experiencing a safari in Africa on foot and the usual dramatic safari vehicles. All you have to do is Enjoy!