Want to experience Africa's great wilderness up close? Universally adored by anyone who's been lucky enough to do one, a walking safari is the purest, most intimate form of safari. In the company of an expert guide, you get to dial back the pace, soak up the scenery, revel in the silence and spot birds, plants and small mammals you may miss on a game drive. In short, you're totally at one with nature.
For the original explorers in Africa, walking was the only mode of transport. Today, even with the advent of off road vehicles, walking safaris are still the best way of truly immersing yourself in your environment.
Most lodges and camps in Africa offer half-day walking safaris as an alternative to traditional game drives. Some operators have elevated the humble walking safari to art form, heading out into the bush for days, even weeks at a time. The great thing about the pace and intimacy of a walking safari is that it gives you the chance to really get to know your guide and host, many of whom will teach you valuable survival and bush skills as you go.
A typical day on a walking safari
While some walking safaris have support vehicles to carry your bags ahead to the next cam, others employ animals to carry your luggage and camping gear. Camp, complete with showers, bed linens and a portable bar, is set up ready for your arrival each day and a chef will magically whip up the most delicious feasts in the middle of nowhere!
You’re unlikely to cover vast distances on your walking safari, and the pace is usually pretty gentle with plenty of time to stop and investigate interesting plants and animals along the way. Typically, you’ll travel for two to four hours in the cool hours of the morning before you stop for lunch and a rest during the midday heat. Come late afternoon, you can embark on another light stroll as you wish.
A word about safety
While a walking safari is one of ultimate ways to experience Africa, it’s important that you use an operator with a proven safety record. At Scott Dunn, we only work with operators that have been in the business for years and use experienced, responsible guides. In some areas, your guide will be accompanied by an armed ranger as an extra precaution.
While walking safaris occur right across Africa, Kenya and Zambia remain most popular. A great experience for single travelers, couples and families with older children, a walking safari through Africa’s stunning and varied landscapes is the perfect way to get back to nature.