Walking in the African bush is quite unlike any other safari activity - with some very distinct and exhilarating advantages. On foot you truly become part of your surroundings. For the first time, you will begin to truly notice the smaller things around you and be able to take the time to smell, listen and seek out the wealth of animal and bird life that surrounds you in the African bush. On foot you will lose that feeling of detachment that you get sitting in the back of a vehicle. Instead, you will feel a tingle of excitement in knowing that you have joined the food chain!
Whilst a number of safari camps and lodges offer walking as an activity option (also recommended), in this section we are talking of the more traditional walking safari - a multi-day safari where guests walk from camp to camp (or walk out from a single location both in the morning and later that afternoon (or sometimes for a the whole day, returning to camp at dusk). True walking safaris are unique to only a few locations throughout Africa and are generally associated with some of the most remote and unspoiled wilderness areas in Africa. All walking safaris are accompanied by a qualified walking guide.
Although no two safaris are alike, a walking safari is not strenuous - generally covering about 6/8 to 12 kms each day (5 to 8 miles), stopping frequently to watch the animals or to relax and enjoy a picnic lunch. Generally, you are not required to carry any more than your own drinking water and binoculars (and some camps will even provide a 'tea-bearer' for that mid-morning tea break)!
......FROM A VEHICLE YOU SEE AFRICA ON FOOT YOU FEEL, HEAR AND SMELL AFRICA....
Whilst we have a number of walking safari options available in various parts of Africa (see examples below), in choosing a suitable walking safari for you, we would need to consider many options, depending on time and budget, before selecting the most appropriate. If you are looking for a walking safari (or wqalking trail) please complete the Start Planning form at the bottom of the page and we will provide you weith some options.
The Luangwa Valley in Zambia (both North and South Luangwa National Parks) is considered by many to be the home of the African walking safari. In combination with comfortable, yet rustic, bush camps this is one of the most exciting safari experiences around.
We work with a number of safari operators throughout South (and North) Luangwa utilising purpose-built walking camps (mostly seasonal) in seldom frequented areas of the Park. These remote camps provide an unmatched wilderness experience with trails from 3 to 10 days in duration.
Experience the thrill of the traditional walking safari in one of the last unspoilt wilderness areas in Africa. Ideal for small groups seeking a personalized, remote bush experience, great hospitality and spectacular opportunities to explore this magnificent wildlife sanctuary on foot. Activities are tailored to individual tastes and include day and night game drives. Numbers at each camp are generally limited to 6 although groups of up to 8 can be accommodated. Age restriction of 15 years applies.
Rhino Walking Safaris, Kruger NP
Located in a private concession area in the south of the Park itself, RWS specialises in luxury walking safaris and a most rewarding way to discover and experience the secrets of the Kruger wilderness. These 3, 4 and 5 night walking trails are limited to 8 guests guided by two armed rangers. The guides will share their wealth of ‘bush culture’; the identification of animals, trees, grasses, insects, birds, the medicinal uses of plants, local folk lore and basic tracking & survival skills. With exclusive traversing rights within 12 000 hectares of pristine bushveld you will stay in 3 distinct lodges/camps within this wilderness concession. Approximately 10km North East (as the hornbill flies) of Skukuza Rest Camp, the concession shares a 15km boundary with Mala Mala in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, with game moving freely between the two reserves. The concession comprises of environmentally sensitive areas previously unexplored, with huge diversity of both fauna and flora – an ideal setting for wilderness walking safaris in an internationally renowned big five area.
Jock's Explorer Camp & Tanda Tula Trails Camp (Kruger & Timbavati)
Both of these camps have established small, unfenced seasonal tented camps within their concessions to allow a stronger focus on walking (and to complement their existing camp/lodge). Guests explore a remote region on foot, accompanied by armed, qualified rangers and experience a more exclusive and intimate safari experience without distraction.
Africa on Foot Safaris, Timbavati & Klaserie Private Game Reserves
These walking safaris are designed for the keen adventurer and there is little that compares with the thrill of meeting the Big 5 on foot. Our luxury tented safari camps are situated in the Timbavati and Klaserie, part of the Greater Kruger Park. These scheduled wildlife walking safaris give you the rare opportunity to get out into the bush on foot and to really feel the pulse of the Africa. The tented camps are the real thing, complete with open air showers and dining tent and a camp fire to gather around at night and share the adventures of the day. The specialised guides open up a new world to guests by sharing their tracking skills, knowledge of the African bush and extraordinary bush expertise.
Whilst a number of camps and lodges now offer guided walking I thought I would mention a few of the available walking trails on offer:
Go on a walking expedition with your Loita Maasai hosts. Get to know each other and see how your safari contributes to a continuing dialogue between a changing traditional culture and the global culture where you are coming from. Learn how Maasai with a mobile phone contribute to the conservation of their elephants. Imbibe the natural calm of the forest and take in the Maasai perspective.
Our team from Jan’s Camp in Loita and Speke’s Camp on the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, invite you to experience life around the campfire at night, walking and interacting with our Maasai Guardians. Choose from the many trails, or do it all in the Great Maasailand Trail and combine the unmatched African wildlife diversity in the Masai Mara with the Great Rift Valley seen from the Loita Forest. Here is just one example itinerary:
The Great Rift Valley Trail (6 days / 5 night trail)
This set departure trail starts and ends in Nairobi and makes its way to Jan’s Camp – Osasinai Camp – Olmelil Camp – Mausa – Ol Chorro Naibor and finally to Pakaase village for the transfer to Nairobi.
Walking Wild in Laikapia / Masai land (supported by camels)
Walking Wild in Laikapia / Masai-land is a walking safari experience through some of Kenya's best wildlife-viewing habitats, and some of the most stunning landscapes in Africa. A wide variety of game including the "Big Five", over 420 species of birds, Reticulated Giraffe, Cheetah, numerous different antelopes, and endangered species such as the Grevy's Zebra and Sitatunga, may be seen.
Professional guides lead the 3 to 6-day Walking Wild safaris starting on the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, recognised as one of Africa's top safari destinations. Walking Wild routes across Lewa to Il Ngwesi and Lekurruki depending on the number of days, with all nights spent camping out under the stars.
The focus of the safari is learning about the ecosystems as well as the local Masai culture. Guests will be shown tracking techniques and other vital bush skills, as well as how to identify and understand the behaviour of the insects, plants, and animals they come across. Laikipiak Masai will join the guests to give insight into Masai customs.
Selous Walking Safaris
The Selous Game Reserve is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Relatively unknown and still remarkably undeveloped it is the perfect location for intimate walking safaris.
Your accommodation is in a fully serviced exclusive fly-camp, with an experienced support crew. Mosquito nets under the stars, bedrolls with sheets & blankets, dome tent for changing / storing luggage or use in bad weather, shared use of private shower & toilet tent at rear of fly-camp. Limited bar, limited laundry facilities.
Itineraries: vary according to conditions, but will cover a variety of terrain including the banks of the Rufiji River , riverine & miombo woodlands, Lake Tagallala, a network of sand rivers, open plains and access to the Hot Springs.
Walking season: 01 June to 31 October only. Each Selous Walking safari can be booked to start on any day, subject to availability. Minimum of 2 guests, maximum 6. All Selous Walks are operated on an exclusive basis and are for a minimum of 4 nights..
Activities: walking (minimum 4-5 hours a day), game viewing on foot, birding, fishing - depending on precise itinerary. All walking safaris are led by an experienced, armed walking guide.
Serengeti Walking Safaris
Walking within the Serengeti National Park itself has only recently begun, but outside the park itself, in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Loliondo and Lobo areas a number of seasonal tented camps, and at least one lodge, have been offering guided walks as an optional safari activity. For walking safaris (or trails) as per Selous (as described above) take a look at the itineraries below - either as complete trips or as segments that can be joined together with your vehicle based safari:
3 Day Serengeti Walking “Taster” : This is an ideal trip for those that want to add just a sample of walking onto their regular vehicle based safari. We have great wilderness areas to visit any time of the year. You will escape the safari “crowds” and have the unique opportunity to stalk some game.
5 Day Serengeti Walking Adventure: This trip can stand alone as a short safari, or be added to a vehicle safari to round out your Serengeti experience.
7 day Serengeti Wilderness Walking: For the more adventurous this is a seven day trip hiking through the Serengeti. On this trip we will cover more distance and have less structure of exactly where we go. We will move with the game and let our experiences determine where we set up camp. It is a trip for adventuresome spirits and flexible minds.
5 Day "Angata Kiti", (Wet Season Dec-June): This is a fantastic walk through the short grass plains of the southern Serengeti Ecosystem. Mix with the Maasai and enjoy massive herds of migrating Wildebeest.
5 day "Highlands to Plains", (Dry Season June-Dec): This Ngorongoro Highland walk starts by climbing up over 10,000 feet then you drop down onto the plains of the Serengeti enjoying fantastic views. A good trip for those who enjoy hill hikes and stunning vistas.
8 Day “Donkeys to Lake Eyasi": (Dry/wet Season) This unique trip is supported with Maasai donkeys rather than vehicles. Although the trip is a bit rougher, it gets you into remote Africa and you visit three very different cultural groups. Walking is mixed with vehicle game viewing on this trip
11 Day Intigrated Walking and Driving Safari : This trip is a nice mix of getting close to wildlife in vehicles and stretching your legs on the ground. It is for people who want something more than just the ‘standard safari'. Entirely camp based you will get a great visit to the famous Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti Plains as well as go walking in the Serengeti National Park
14 Day "Integrated Walking and Game Viewing": (Dry Season June-Dec) This trip is more like a standard game viewing safari but there is walking scattered throughout so you can stretch your legs in many different environments. This trip visits the remote and unique Embakai Crater as well as famous National Parks.
Tarangire Walking Safaris
Walking safaris are available from only one safari camp on Tarangire's eastern side; its wild side. Opened in 1992 and re-sited to the Park's semi-wilderness area in 2001, this camp is ideally placed to follow migrations of wildlife, and to view the concentrations at waterholes for a nine to ten month season each year. The variety of habitats include open plains, acacia woodlands, tree lined sand rivers, and challenging hill climbs.
Longer walking safaris are also available inside Tarangire National Park, along the Rift Valley or onto the Maasai Steppe. The longer walking safaris, usually for 2 to 3 nights out, are based in wilderness parts of the Tarangire National Park, often starting froma base camp. We vary these walks by season, depending on conditions, so as to maximise the experience. To the south of our base camp is the wilderness area of the Tarangire National Park; wild and rugged land with no roads; to the east the Maasai herders mix with wildlife on vast open savannahs, and to the north is the Great Rift Valley and Lake Natron. These are wonderful areas to explore on foot and covering 8-12 miles each day we move free of porters as a private group. The equipment is carried by Landrovers, cross country, to meet up with us later in the day. Each night a new and exciting campsite is found.
Motswiri Walking Trails
Motswiri Walking Trail The Motswiri Walking Trail will get you closer to nature and features tracking, spoor identification, searching for specific game, bird watching, detailed study of flora and fauna - whatever you want really! You will be accompanied by an armed, professional guide who will tailor his activities to your specific areas of interest and is there to answer any and all of your questions!
Groups are small, no more than 6, and you can choose whether to walk on dry land, wade in shallow flood plains, explore the floodplains by mokoro or the Spillway in a larger boat. Walking activities can be interspersed with fishing and swimming, or by taking up watch on some of the spectacular pans within the reserve and observing the birds and animals coming to drink.
At Motswiri there are no set departure dates, preferring to be flexible. We do, however, recommend a minimum of 3 nights and suggest that the optimum stay is 5 nights to include a night out at our fly camp. There are 3 and 5 night itineraries available. ASk for details.
Footsteps Walking Camp, Okavango Delta
If you are keen to do some walking in Botswana, then Footsteps Walking Trails should be at the top of your wish list! The guides here are very experienced, and with them you'll usually head off for a walk in both the morning and another in the afternoon. Each lasts for three to four hours. These are not route marches, but opportunities to explore the environment and wildlife with an expert guide. Open April through November inclusive.
Footsteps is a very simple and rustic camp, currently located on the edge of a beautiful hippo-filled lagoon (the camp is fully portable and tends to be moved to a new location every couple of years). The tents are set-up in the shade of a lovely forested area and the camp takes a maximum of six visitors at once, who sleep on proper twin beds inside insect proof tents with sewn-in floors. Each tent has a private bucket shower and long-drop toilet, and wash-stand outside the front. Again, these are simple and functional rather than in any way stylish. There are just 3 safari tents (max 6 people).
Footsteps has a full bar and laundry service, and a dedicated chef, who prepares excellent fresh meals to a high standard.
A few nights' stay here will give you an authentic taste of the bush – the area is notable for the diversity of wildlife present, although walks tend to focus on learning about the small things, rather than getting too close to the big things! Both wild dog and lion are often seen in the area and also a variety of plains game including kudu, tsessebe, zebra, giraffe and impala. If you wish, you can also go on game drives, and mokoro, depending on water levels.
Note that family groups, with children as young as seven years old, can hire the whole Footsteps camp, including the services of a family-oriented guide. Activities will then be much more varied - from teaching the children to identify animals and their tracks, to learning bush skills like cooking on a fire, how to make bows and arrows, and fishing. The emphasis being on learning to understand and respect the natural environment.
Mashatu Walking Trails in Tuli (Land of the Giants)
Walking Safaris at Mashatu in Tuli take place from Monday to Friday each week - departing on Monday and returning five days later. The four nights out in the wild are spent in Walking Trails Camps. Camps will be moved daily to ensure a fulfilling experience. For those who are unable to spend the full period in the bush, the itinerary may be flexible to accommodate a minimum of 3-night stays. All camping equipment and food is provided, with your luggage being transported by vehicle...you will only need to carry a day pack.
The Land of the Giants offers the complete African experience as you walk with your experienced guide. Witness the walkabouts of the wild animals of Africa, learn about the hidden secrets of nature, the smaller creatures hidden in their bush homes, see how the eco-system involves the inter-relatedness of species, track down an animal after coming across its footprints and much more.
A word from your walking trails guide: Why so passionate about Walking Trails? Says Darran, "I love the fact that on a walking trail the focus is more holistic than purely big game. Although many opportunities arise to view big game, the focus is on the little, often overlooked aspects of the bush - tracks, plants, insects, etc. I feel that a walking safari is an awakening of all the senses. You as a trailist are a part of the environment - not merely a spectator as you are on a drive. As a trail guide, my passion is in sharing this, and in reconnecting with our primal selves and the environment around us".
Guided Desert Walking Trail in NamibRand Nature Reserve, Namibia
Tok Tokkie Trails takes you close to the desert’s stunning beauty. Is there a better way to immerse in nature than on foot? Whilst walking, you will discover many secrets of the Namib that cannot be experienced when driving and you will get to feel different aspects of the desert – from mountainous terrain to sandy dunes. Let your experienced guide explain all this to you, relax with a sun downer and enjoy a three-course dinner before falling asleep under the stars...
Character of the trail:
- 2 nights/ 3 days, accompanied by an experienced nature guide
- walking is easy, only carry your daypack (basic fitness recommended)
- the pace is set to suit the guests
- small groups of 2-8 guests. Lager groups on request.
- closely experience the awe-inspiring beauty of the desert and discover the amazingly adapted diversity of life in the desert
- unwind by walking in the vast calmness of the desert
- a service team cares for you and transports your luggage
- highly eco-friendly and responsible set-up
Enjoy Tok Tokkie Trails desert luxury & unique open air accommodation.
Accommodation & Facilities:
- spend unforgettable nights under the starry Namibian sky in your private stretch of dunes in a cosy camp bed equipped with mattress, duvet, cushion
- hot bucket shower & open air toilet with splendid vista
- breakfast, lunch, sun downers and three-course romantic dinners enjoyed out in the dunes.
- bring only "worn in" light hiking boots and your personal water bottles - all other equipment supplied.