Walking Safaris

Walking safaris offer a special way to discover the wonders of the African bush and appreciate its distinct character, perhaps especially for those who have undertaken game drives on previous occasions, who wish to learn more about the smaller fauna and flora and experience the rawness and vibrancy of nature around them, without the drum of a diesel engine.  Step away from a vehicle, and the smells and trills of the bush suddenly become much more apparent, electrifying your senses. Animals become more skittish as humans on foot represent more of a perceived threat than when seated in a vehicle - wildlife encounters tend to be fewer, but much more exciting and rewarding than when made in a vehicle.

Many camps offer guided bush walks, but these tend to be short walks lasting no more than an hour in the main part of the day, after morning game drives have ended.  They are limited in scope and are a far cry from walking safaris.  Full-on walking safaris, involving whole days out as a minimum, and more commonly, nights spent out in a fly-camp or a non-permanent, mobile camp, are conducted in a much more limited number of places:

Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Perhaps the best known is the Luangwa Valley in Zambia, which prides itself on being the home of the walking safari.  Most camps in the South Luangwa National Park, and the remoter North Luangwa National Park, specialise in walking safaris.  Standards of guiding tend to be top notch, with a strong attitude towards safety, and groups are small.  If a walking safari is high on your list of priorities, then the Luangwa Valley is probably the best place to head for. ...... click here for more information on walking safaris in Zambia

Wilderness Trails, South Africa

As a general rule across Africa, it not possible to walk in national (ie. state-run) parks, and most walking is conducted in private concessions and reserves. The exception to this are the Wilderness Trails run in the Kruger National Park and the southern sector of iMfolosi, in the Hluhluwe-iMfolosi National Park in South Africa. In the Kruger National Park there are seven three-day trails to choose from, staying in rustic hutted camps from which you walk out daily.  There’s also a three-night backpack trail for hardier types.  Wilderness Trails in the iMfolosi differ in that several trail options can be followed in the same area, and most involve sleeping out in the bush, either under the starts or in tents, making for a very “bush” experience.

Private Reserves in South Africa

A handful of private reserves and camps in South Africa now offer fully supported walking safaris; notable among these is Ngala Reserve, an extensive private concession falling within the Kruger National Park, which operates up-market walking safaris in a corner of the park that has a minimal number of roads.  Here, it’s possible to undertake walking safaris in semi-permanent tented camps which feature above average levels of comfort and service.  Guiding standards here are exceptionally good. It’s also possible to undertake wider-roaming walking safaris using mobile tented camps, which are more basic.  Whole day walks are also possible from the main camps. Similar safaris are run at both Phinda Private Reserve and Kwandwe Private Reserve, both of which have excellent walking terrain, and support walkers with high standards of guiding, food and equipment.