A walking safari is usually either a short walk in the mornings or a walk that take more than three hours depending on the itinerary that you choose and it is one of the many ways that you get to explore nature at full length. A walking safari will involve you tracking down wild life that habitates within the different National parks especially the smaller ones that cannot easily be seen while on a game drive.
There is no better way for you to explore Botswana other than walking around the country. The relatively flat land in the country makes it extremely easy for tourists to walk through the country with ease and the walking safaris can either be a one day thing or hikes for several days depending on what you want. Walking safaris in Africa became a hit in the 1960s after tourists came to the continent and got to know that walking through Africa gives you a chance to get a different view of what all the African countries have to offer.
Walking safaris in Botswana are mostly done in groups and these groups are always escorted by experienced tour guides who will take you around the country and into the different parts even those that cannot easily be accessed. There are several places where you can take your walking safaris from while in the country although the best safaris are taken in the wild side of the country that is National Parks. Walking safaris are not as common as many tourists would love them to be in Botswana but there are several camps and tour operators who have tried their level best to actually improve on their deals when it comes to walking safaris.
What you need to know before heading out for a walking safari
Before you head out to Botswana for a walking safari, there are some things that you will need to know and these include the following:
- Walking safaris in Botswana are usually done in the mornings or in the late afternoons when the heat from the sun is minimal.
- When going for a walk through the National Parks, make sure you dress appropriately because the wild animals normally see in black and white and therefore you should choose your clothing wisely.
- Not all walking routes in the country are Cleary marked and you will therefore need to be ready for all the routes that you will use and therefore you will need to put on good hiking shoes so that you can avoid blisters on your feet.
- When choosing colors of the clothes for you to put on make sure that you avoid putting on black and blue because the tsetse flies are more attracted to these colors.
- Make sure that you follow your guides and do all that they tell you because this is the only way that you will survive attacks from the different animals and you get to enjoy your walk without worries.
- Walking safaris are long and tiring and therefore you should carry protective gear like sun screen to get protection from the sun.
- During these walks, make sure that the animals do not notice you or scent you because most of them are extremely wary of humans and can attack when agitated. For example if you are taking a walk through the park and you find an elephant you should make sure that it does not scent you with its husks because if it does, it will walk away from your direction.
While walking through the walking safari destinations of Botswana is always filled with adventure that you cannot miss while in the country and some of the best places where you can go for these walking safaris in Botswana include:
Walking safari in the Linyanti game reserve
The Linyanti game reserve is located between the Okavango Delta and the Chobe national Park. It is a privately owned reserve and one of the many that allows walking safaris which are in most cases organized by the several camps that are located within the reserve. The best time for tourists to go for a walking safari through the Linyanti reserve is during the dry season which starts in the month May and ending around late October before the rains come in November. During your walk through Linyanti, you will be rewarded with the best views of animals passing by, birds flying around the reserve and it will also take you through the nearby villages where you will get to meet the different locals who will entertain you with the traditions and culture that they practice. The good thing about taking walks through the Linyanti reserve is that it is rarely crowded with tourists and this gives you ample time to actually enjoy the walk with your friends and loved ones.
Walking safari through the Okavango delta
The Okavango delta is extremely large and a walking safari through here will leave you wanting more of what they have to offer. The Okavango delta walks are best done during the dry season that is from May to October and this is because the delta often floods during the wet season making it extremely inaccessible. The walk through the Okavango Delta is done with the guidance of a local tour guide who knows all the routes around the delta ns it is an exciting adventure that you wouldn’t want to miss out on while on a safari in Botswana. The eco system in the area, the animals that freely roam the delta, the birds and the Okavango River that flows majestically through the delta are some of the many things that will make your walking safari into the Okavango Delta interesting. Do not forget to also follow the instructions of the tour guide in order to keep safe and some of the animals that you will see on your walking safari include zebras, birds, hippos, crocodiles in the Okavango river, you will also get to meet the san people and get to know some of the medicinal uses of the trees that make up the vegetation that is found in the Delta.
Walking safari through the Makgadikgadi
The Makgadikgadi salt pans are also worth visiting if you are planning on taking a safari walk in Botswana but you must know that it gets pretty hot out in the pans and you should get ready fo the heat. The safari walks through the Makgadikgadi salt pans are taken either in the morning or late afternoon because the hours from midday to three o’clock in the afternoon are too hot for one to walk through the pans and due to the heat that is unbearable you should carry lots of water and appropriate clothing so that you are not perched. But despite the continued heat and sometimes unbearable conditions while walking, you will enjoy the zebra migration that crosses the Makgadikgadi and is considered to be the second largest animal migration in Africa, the numerous birds, animal species and not forgetting the expansive salt pans themselves. These are always flooded during the wet season so all those that want to explore it intensively should go during the dry season.
The Makgadikgadi walking safari is sometimes done by the san Bushmen who live near the pans and these make it more interesting as they will tell you all about their culture, show you their hunting skills and how to track down animals while walking through the salt pans. You can also join your walking safari in Makgadikgadi with a walk through the Nxai pans which are nearby but this should also be done with the help of the tour guide otherwise you might get lost. Some of the animals that you will see while on your safari walk include zebras, impalas, hyenas, caterpillars, different bird species, small animals like snails and other smaller ones that cannot easily be seen during a game drive.
Although many of the National parks that are found within Botswana offer early morning bush walks, it is never safe to take walks through most of them as they have large animals passing through whereas the ones that have been mentioned above have several camps that offer guided walks through them. It is however advisable that when taking the walking safaris through Botswana you move from one camp to another.
Even though the places in Botswana from where you can enjoy a walking safari are less, they all have something grand to offer and given that you keep on the walking routes that the guides show you, you will be able to enjoy all the good scenery provided by the Okavango delta, the Makgadikgadi salt pans and the Linyanti game reserve. If you are not sure of when you should go for the walking safaris, it is much safer for you to first inquire from the tour operators because you do not want to go for the walks when the various destinations are muddy or flooded.