Our guide to
Walking Safaris in Africa
On foot and off the beaten track
Forego the comforts of hotel and 4×4 and take a walk on Africa’s wild side. You are guaranteed close encounters with wildlife and the emphasis is not on big game – though there’s plenty of it about – but on the raw wilderness experience that offers sensual and tactile interaction that becomes more than just spotting animals.
Safety is paramount, so a highly qualified guide and ranger who have both undergone intensive specialist training will lead your walking safari holiday through some of Africa’s finest landscapes. This is a unique opportunity to enjoy the luxury and romance of the original classic safari and to benefit from the experience and knowledge of trained bush leaders.
There are a number of well known walking holiday destinations in Africa, namely Zambia and the South Luangwa National Park, Zimbabwe and Hwange National Park, Tanzania and its Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Conservation Area plus of course walking in the Serengeti.
It’s not just about wildlife walking safaris. Some of our most enjoyed walking safaris in Africa are with cultural groups like the San Bushmen from the Kalahari and surrounds and the Hadzabe tribe in Tanzania.
From half-day, full-day to multi-day walking safaris, you can experience as much or as little as you wish when considering on foot activities in Africa.
Best time for walking safaris in Africa
Depending on where you wish to walk in Africa and what you’d like to see, there will be high and low seasons to work around. The difference will be in the price tag, weather conditions, amount of rain and lushness of landscapes. The drier it gets, the more you will see wildlife congregating around water sources which makes for exciting game viewing.
Also keep in mind not all national parks allow walking, so ask us today and we can start planning your walking safari holiday in the best regions to maximise your experience.
Top tips for Walking Safaris in Africa
Pack light and smart. Ensure you have a decent hat, neutral colour wardrobe, comfortable shoes, good quality socks and clothing you can layer because days warm up quickly in Africa. Remember to pack insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses and band aids to ensure your comfort.
Essential equipment for a small back pack usually includes camera, multiple memory cards, charger and safari binoculars.
Most importantly, listen and follow instructions provided by your guides and park rangers. These are for your safety and enjoyment.
Whatever you do don’t run. Have you read Peter Allison’s book with that title? It’s a good read before your walking safari.
Walking Safaris in South Luangwa
Birthplace of the walking safari, Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park is still to this day our favourite wilderness area for on-foot experiences. There are multi day walking trails from camp to camp, half day and full day walks from a base camp plus game drives, mountain biking and micro lighting for others who prefer not to be on foot. With some of the very best walking guides in Africa, you are sure to have the most outstanding walking safari.
Nothing beats seeing the South Luangwa wilderness teeming with wildlife and the river system filled with hippo, crocodiles and other animals coming to drink from its edges.
Walking Safaris in the Serengeti
Tanzania is home to the famous Serengeti and it is home to a very unique and rare walking safari. There are only a handful of exceptional companies have been granted permission to enter the park on foot and it is highly regulated to ensure your safety and to protect the wildlife and environment. You can expect rolling hills, small streams, springs in valleys, grassland plains and acacia forests peppered with big granite outcrops (kopjes) and resident wildlife abundant in the walking zone.
June to August is the best time as the wilderness becomes even more saturated with wildlife as the annual migration moves through the area along with its predator followers.
Walk with Hadzabe
Rarely do you get the chance to spend time with a traditional hunter gather tribe without impacting the way in which they live. We are blessed to work closely with outstanding walking guides and the local Hadzabe tribe in northern Tanzania who live traditionally in the remote dry woodlands of Lake Eyasi. It can be done as a day visit or multiple days which is always our preference. If you go for two days, your first day will be spent with the men heading out on a hunt and gathering honey.
Day two is then spent with the women from the village as they forage for roots and berries. It is an easy add on to any Tanzania safari holiday and worth a few nights because you learn how one truly lives in harmony with the world. ( Image courtesy of Pete Dobre)
Laikipia Walking Safari
North of Mount Kenya is a remote area called Eastern Laikipia and here, you can experience an outstanding walking safari that is supported by camels. Children can walk (age limits apply) too and this is one of our top family safari experiences as you traverse through spectacular landscapes spotting awesome wildlife and learning about life in the bush with local guides.
You can walk for a number of days and see no other person outside your party other than local people herding animals.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
Walking safaris are less known about when it comes to the palm fringed islands of the Okavango Delta. Not for the faint hearted, you will walk with professional guide and venture through beautiful scenery in this waterways wonderland. Our favourite is at Abu Camp, home of the original elephant safari experience in Africa. It sits on 400,000 acre private concession in the heart of the Delta.
The Abu herd of elephant are habituated through a unique conservation program and you can watch them in the wilderness and walk beside them. This is an outstanding and interactive experience, with game drives, canoeing, elephant back safari and walking.
Walking safari feedback
From those who have ventured
As usual, all arrangements by Encompass Africa worked like clockwork,It is as close to stress free travel as you can get.
Tswalu Safari – Lee & ChrisRead more
We will definitely return to Africa. It was an amazing family holiday.