7 WALKING SAFARIS
THAT’LL CHANGE YOUR LIFE
This is the closest you’ll get to being a part of the African wilderness.
Walking safaris allow you to truly connect with nature, often recalibrating your perspective on life. They allow you to discover the smaller things that are often missed on a traditional safari; or even come face to face with lions, elephants and leopards as your expert guide leads you along ancient animal paths. For a truly authentic wilderness experience that’ll both ground you and invigorate you, a walking safari (easily tagged onto your traditional safari), is a must.
From wild and remote, to rustic or luxurious, here is our pick of Southern Africa’s top walking safaris that’ll either change your life, or at the very least, cement a love of Africa in your heart forever.
Africa on Foot (Kruger National Park, South Africa)
WHY? Authentic bush camp & walking experience in the phenomenal Greater Kruger N.P, that’s also affordable!
WHAT TO SEE? Elephants, Cape buffalo, baboons, Klipspringer antelope, and white rhino if you’re lucky
SUMMARY: Spend 3 nights “glamping” in the Greater Kruger Park. Each night is spent in a different location, and each day is spent walking through the vast Kruger wilderness. Each night a new, fully equipped campsite is erected in a beautiful location overlooking a river or grassy plain. A maximum of 8 guests.
TIP: Trail closed from 1 Dec – 31 March. No children under 12.
$$$: Approx. $700 per person for the 3-day trail.
Footsteps Camp (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
WHY? It’s the Okavango! Arguably the most unique and beautiful safari destination in Southern Africa. Great for children, mekoro rides, and fishing.
WHAT TO SEE? Abundant birdlife, hippos, wild dogs, crystal-clear waters, lions and lily-lined lagoons!
SUMMARY: This luxurious tented camp only has three tents, accommodating a maximum of 6 people. En-suite bathrooms, flush toilets and queen size beds make this walking experience extra special. Mekoro (traditional canoe) trips and game drives are also possible between your walks through this pristine wilderness. Walk in the mornings and evenings and return to camp to relax during the heat of the day. Evenings are spent around the camp fire, stargazing.
TIP: Spend a couple nights in Shinde Camp before or after your few days of walking.
PRICE: From $535 per person per night
Various trails (South Luangwa N.P, Zambia)
WHY? South Luangwa N.P is where walking safaris were pioneered, and it’s a truly remote and unspoiled wilderness. Here, the animals and birdlife are abundant! You’ll be led by some of the best walking guides on the continent as you follow well-worn elephant and hippo trails, not to mention the original footsteps of explorer David Livingstone!
WHAT TO SEE? Exquisite Ebony trees, hippos in their hundreds, leopards, elephants and unique antelope.
SUMMARY: Choose a multi-day walking trail between rustic bush camps where you’re truly in touch with nature; or choose a route between luxurious, but authentic, lodges dotted on the mighty Luangwa River. Stop frequently for your guide to share the secrets of this bush and discover the smaller, fascinating inhabitants of this park, often overlooked when on a game drive.
TIP: Many of South Luangwa’s bush camps and lodges are only open in the dry season (April – Nov)
$$$: From $650 per person per night
VISIT: Remote Africa Safaris (rustic): http://www.remoteafrica.com/chikoko-camps/
The Bushcamp Company (rustic & luxury): http://www.bushcampcompany.com/
Norman Carr Safaris (luxury): https://timeandtideafrica.com/norman-carr-safaris/camps
Selinda Adventure Trail (Okavango Delta, Botswana)
WHY? You’re on a private reserve with not one other tourist or vehicle in sight. This is authentic African adventure done in style, with a unique cultural & spiritual experience as you interact with local “water bushmen” from this area of the Okavango Delta.
WHAT TO SEE? Elephants, wild dogs, and lions swimming!
SUMMARY: Depending on water levels, this trail can be a mix of canoeing and walking, or exclusively walking. You’ll helicopter into the starting point and enjoy 3 days of walking through the exclusive and stunningly beautiful Selinda Reserve. Swim in crystal-clear waters and enjoy dinner around an open camp fire as you gaze at the stars. A truly unforgettable experience.
TIP: There are scheduled departure dates for this trail between May – September. Spend a few nights at Zarafa Camp, Selinda Explorers Camp or Selinda Camp before or after your trail.
$$$: From $2,850 per person for the 3-night trail.
Mana Pools N.P (Zimbabwe)
WHY? This park has a long history of walking safaris and as a result you can get to within just a few feet of Africa’s iconic animals! This park is also remote, and far away from the crowds. A unique and breath-takingly beautiful ecosystem with the mighty Zambezi River, towering forests and lush floodplain habitats.
WHAT TO SEE? The vibrant Zambezi River, towering Ana Trees, elephants, wild dogs and lions.
SUMMARY: There are many ways to do walking safaris in Mana Pools. Choose a luxury lodge to base yourself from, or pick a more adventurous multi-day walking trail that’ll include “glamping” and possibly a bit of canoeing on the Zambezi River. Natureways Safaris offers many luxury and rustic trails to choose from – all equally unforgettable!
TIP: Mana Pools National Park is closed from Nov – March due to the rainy season.
$$$: From $1,240 per person for the “luxury” 3-night trail.
Pafuri Walking Trail (Kruger N.P, South Africa)
WHY? Pafuri is arguably the most beautiful area of the Kruger National Park, with breath-taking views and a wild, frontier atmosphere where it meets the borders of Zimbabwe and Mozambique on the mighty Limpopo River.
WHAT TO SEE? Lanner Gorge, ancient baobab trees, The Luvuvhu Fever Tree Forest and the rare Pel’s fishing owl.
SUMMARY: This is a luxurious and comfortable camp based in a remote section of the park where few tourists and vehicles venture. You’ll set off for walks in the mornings and evenings, and occasionally take a game drive to areas further afield like Lanner Gorge, where sunset drinks overlooking the dramatic scenery will be the highlight of your safari!
TIP: The camp is only open from April – October. For the truly adventurous, try the Luvuvhu Discovery Trail, a 7-night adventure, which is a mix of slack-packing, with a few nights at the trails camp. No children under 16.
$$$: Approx. $180 per person per night. We advise you stay 3 nights.
OFF THE BEATEN TRACK
Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe
WHY? Gonarezhou National Park in southern Zimbabwe is completely off the tourist circuit, which is what makes it so magical. As a result, the animals here are really wild, and really abundant. This is as authentic and as raw as a walking safari can get. Make sure you get to Gonarezhou before the tourists flood in!
WHAT TO SEE? Elephants in their hundreds, rare sable antelope, dramatic Chilojo Cliffs, lions and spotted hyenas.
SUMMARY: This is a “rough” walking experience where the philosophy is to “leave no trace”. You will move camp daily and enjoy staggering scenery, varied habitats and an abundance of animals on your daily treks. Accommodation is in basic dome tents and you will help set up and break down camp each day – it’s all part of the experience of being totally self-sufficient in the middle of the African wilderness. You’ll have a bucket-shower or simply bath in the river!
TIP: Gonarezhou is out of the way, but it’s worth the mission! It’s one of Southern Africa’s last true wildernesses. Max. 6 guests, no children under 12.
$$$: Approx. $900 per person per night
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