The African wilderness holds many wonderful and intriguing secrets that can only be experienced when you get off your safari vehicle, put on your walking boots and explore it on foot. Walking safaris are undoubtedly the ultimate way to experience the continent's wild places in its most raw and authentic form.
Game drives are at the core of most photographic safaris, but there is something extra special about exploring the same areas on foot that gives safari-goers a much deeper and more powerful connection to Africa’s soul. After all, walking safaris are the purest of all safaris.
The rising popularity of incorporating active experiences into holidays has helped walking safaris boom across Africa. Many camps and lodges now offer guided bush walks as an alternative to traditional game drives. These walks are typically conducted in small groups with no more than 6 guests and last up to four hours – covering relatively short distances around camp at a gentle pace, with plenty of stops to investigate interesting plants and animals along the way. Depending on the destination, you may be accompanied by a safari guide with an armed scout, or more guides and armed scouts in areas with possible big game encounters.
Multi-day walking safaris and fly-camping
Safari and nature enthusiasts yearning for a deeper connection with the African bush can embark on longer multi-day walking safaris. Head out for days with your safari guides and armed scouts; hopping from camp to camp or even camping out in dome tents under the star-studded African skies. The pace and distances travelled are relaxed and comfortable, with most camps within 3-5 hours’ reach. Some guests may even choose to walk part of the way, then finish with a game drive back to camp.
Customising walks according to your fitness levels
We understand that everyone has different fitness levels, which is why our walking safaris can be tailored to be as relaxing or as strenuous as you wish. These can even be tailored to cover specific areas that match your interests and comfort levels. Most destinations have a minimum age requirement of 12-16 years for walking safaris. Our Africa specialists will work closely with you to recommend the most suitable destinations and camps, as well as customise the walking safari experience according to your preferences.
Mana Pools, Zimbabwe – to explore its unspoilt biodiverse wonderland
Situated on the southern banks of the mighty Zambezi River, the remote UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mana Pools National Park is a paradise for walking safaris. Its sparse vegetation provides good visibility and walkers can often enjoy close encounters with relaxed wildlife in the company of experienced guides. Keen photographers will delight in capturing stunning wildlife moments in the same space where BBC Earth filmed the Painted Wolves episode of Sir David Attenborough’s Dynasties. It is also one of the rare places on Earth to see elephants stand on their hind legs to browse for irresistible seed pods in albida acacia trees.
Roughly the size of Switzerland with just a handful of camps, the Selous Game Reserve offers some of the best walking safari experiences for adventurous travellers looking for a slice of East Africa that is still as wild as it was a century ago. Its rugged landscapes teem with hippos and crocodiles in its Rufiji River, along with all of Africa's large mammals including wild dogs and more than 400 bird species that roam its miombo woodlands, open plains and wetlands. Consider fly-camping and spending the night in a cosy tent by the riverbank, falling asleep to the grunts of hippos as your knowledgeable guides and armed scouts keep watch.
Arguably one of the most beautiful areas in the Kruger National Park, Pafuri offers unrivalled walking safari experiences. Safari veterans will easily fall in love with its ancient and diverse landscapes like Crook’s Corner (where the Luvuvhu and Limpopo Rivers meet), the fever tree forest, Lanner Gorge and more. Your guides will reveal small miracles of the bush and you will most likely be able to encounter many species of big game on foot!
Related Activities in Walking Safaris
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We do not subscribe to the ‘one-size-fits-all’ philosophy. Sample itineraries and cost estimates are meant purely as a guide. To find out more, please contact one of our expert travel consultants to plan a customized itinerary based on your budget and interests.