Many safari camps and lodges offer guided walks in the morning as an activity option (although some are merely nature walks and conducted in close proximity to camp or within its grounds). But in a number of more established walking destinations, where walking is a particular focus, multi-day and overnight walking trails * are undertaken with a qualified (and usually armed) licensed guide.
They say that going on a game drive is like going to see the movie, but that taking a guided walk is like reading the book. Actually, I don’t know if anyone ever said that but I think you get the point. Walking is more about the smaller things (and the big things do look even bigger when on foot!).
* A walking trail, where you would walk from camp to camp over a number of days has been modified in recent times and often consists of a simple fly-camp from where the focus is on walking – both morning and afternoon (although game drives are also offered). Very few true walking trails remain (although I have included a selection below).
Selous GR, Tanzania
A number of safari camps in Selous GR offer both guided walks from camps and overnight (or multi-day) fly-camping / walking safaris in some of the more remote sections of the reserve. Highly recommended.
Mana Pools & Matusadonna, Zimbabwe
With renowned walking guides, Zimbabwe is a good option for walking enthusiasts – Mana Pools on the Zambezi River, Matusadona on the shores of Lake Kariba, and Gonarezhou in the southeast are all excellent options.
Kruger NP, South Africa
Most dedicated walking safaris in the Kruger region are based at a permanent walking trails camp (Africa on Foot in the Klaserie and Rhino Walking Trails in Kruger are examples), or utilise an overnight hide or trails camp for 2 day/1 night walking trails (Tanda Tula in Timbavati). Not to be forgotten are the excellent backpacking/walking trails offered by South African National Parks (SANParks) themselves.
Utilising a mix of rustic semi-permanent trails camps Tuli Wilderness Trails offer a number of walking options in this diverse region using experienced professional rangers. Renowned for its large elephant population, and abundant predators, opportunities to spend time watching big game and tracking their movements is all in a day’s walk!
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Whilst Botswana has not traditionally been strong on walking safaris (although a morning mokoro excursion often includes a walk on an island) there are currently a number of structured walking safari options including with Footsteps in Africa walking on Chief’s Island, a combined mokoro & walking trail from Kanana Camp, or a multi-day walking trail with Ride & Walk (RAW Botswana). With the ebbing and flowing of water levels from season to season, and its stunning palm-fringed landscapes, this is truly is a stunning region for walking and highly recommended.
Walking was not allowed in Tanzanian National Parks until more recently, and whilst walking initially ‘found its feet’ (pun intended) in Tarangire NP it is in the Serengeti where more operators are now focusing their efforts – try Wild Frontiers, Lemala Walking Trails or African Environments who each offer a range of walking options in the Serengeti (and other northern Parks).
South Luangwa, Zambia (& North Luangwa)
Considered by many to be the home of walking safaris, South Luangwa has a number of established safari operators who offer camp-to-camp walks along with regular guided morning walks (together with a Parks scout and tea bearer!). Only Remote Africa Safaris, with their Chikoko Trails, offer a genuine 4 night walking trail utilising two purpose-built walking camps, and Robin Pope Safaris who offer a Walking Mobile where the guests walk between camps which are moved and set up ahead of their arrival.
North Luangwa NP offers a definite feeling of remoteness, and as it is less visited, lends itself to walking as its main focus.
Walking Wild, Laikipia Kenya
Offering both 3 and 5 night walking safaris (supported by camels), both Porini Safaris and Walking Wild (Bush & Beyond) offer multi-day walking trails that traverse a number of conservancies in the Laikipia region below Mt. Kenya, an area bursting with a wide variety of game (including the big 5), open skies and stunning vistas.
Maasai Trails, Kenya
Walk with the Maasai in an area of the Great Rift Valley from the Loita Forest to the Masai Mara utilising overnight fly-camps and donkeys to carry the equipment. Walk in stunning, untouched sacred forest, past waterfalls and over plains....a unique and rewarding experience.
Tok Tokkie, Namibia
Situated in the NamibRand Nature Reserve in Namibia, Tok Tokkie Trails offers multi-day walking trails in pristine landscapes of awe-inspiring beauty, all the time searching out the many, and smaller, creatures endemic to this arid and expansive region.
Speak with an Africa Travel Specialist about the type of walking safari you are looking for and remember ...
...FROM A VEHICLE YOU SEE AFRICA ON FOOT YOU FEEL, HEAR AND SMELL AFRICA.
© Patrick Brakspear, African Encounter