If you’re needing some inspiration on a safari with a twist, then look no further than that of the walking safari. This incredibly understated activity possibly may invoke fear in some, that the guide will make you trek for miles in the searing heat, looking at small insignificant plants that have no meaning. Well, here we are to say, how very wrong you are. The walking safari is one of the most enjoyable, magical activities anyone could wish to partake in and here are a few reasons why and where we suggest you should go.
On a normal safari you will set off, coffee in hand, at around 5.30/6am, climbing into your comfy seats in a 4×4 Toyota cruiser, or Land Rover. You will cruise around in the 4×4 vehicle enjoying the sun rising and the animals waking up themselves, darting around to warm up from the chilly nights. This is, of course a very pleasurable experience. BUT you miss out on so much on even this short excursion from camp. On a walking safari, you will do the same thing; have your morning coffee at camp and you will meet your guide. You will not only meet your guide, but one of the local rangers, equipped with a rather over the top weapon – for ammunition enthusiasts, we may as well have you hooked already. This weapon is solely used to protect you and not to harm any animal either. You will set off on foot, treading carefully through the bush, with the fresh morning air beginning to warm as you make your merry way. Walking in single file, barely talking but listening intently to the early morning noises of the African bush. Your steps making rise to new and different smells of small plants and dusty earth. Your guide, who is ahead of you leading the way, raises his hand and comes to a stop. He looks long and hard at the ground, raises his head, looks around the area in which you have stopped at, then back at the ground again, hard. You stay stock still, waiting for the next instruction, eager to find out what is going on and what magic he has discovered from the picture book that is the earth beneath your feet. The guide confers quietly with the ranger, muttering under their breath, pointing at the ground and then again in different directions, then back at the ground again. Finally, with bated breath, you hear the conclusion from the guide. There are lion tracks, or are they leopard? Possibly hyena… or it may be all three. Slowly but surely, the guide passes on the story of what may have happened in this spot only a couple of hours before.
Walking safaris allow you to have a closer, in depth look at the drama that unveils every day within the African bush. From the life cycle of termites to honeybirds that have a symbiotic relationship with humans, you are bound to return from your walking safari bursting full of new knowledge and a new passion for the smaller things out there.
Next time we will let you know some of the best places to enjoy a walking safari, from Zambia, up to Tanzania and Kenya, we will let you know!