Walking Safaris is one of the best ways of seeing the African Bush. It might sound a little dangerous when you have some of the world's largest animals walking around and the possibility of coming across one of the large Predators is a real possibility but the reality is that it is perfectly safe if you follow the instructions of your guide.
Your expert Guide will be carrying a large calibre Rifle, usually a .375 or .458 but the idea is that they don't use it unless it is an absolute last resort. Their training in both the use of the Rifle and how to recognise the behaviour of the wildlife means they will be able to steer you away from any potential danger before it occurs.
What can you see?
The usual activity at most safari camps is the game drive, and understandably so, as you can cover huge distances in search of wildlife encounters and get really close in relative safety. The difference with the walking safaris is that you can enjoy these wild areas without the background sound of the Diesel engine and see things that you never could from a vehicle.
Any ecosystem relies on all parts of it to keep it functioning and for the large animals to survive they either need other animals to prey on or plant life to feed on. In order for the plants to grow you need the insects to pollinate them, all sorts of ways to distribute the seeds, some which need to pass through the gut of animal, bacteria to break down the old flora so that the next generation has nutrients to grow.
This and much, more can be seen on a walking safari and, of course, you can still get close to some of the large wildlife, particularly Elephants which is a great experience.
Where can you walk?
In this wildest of countries you can only walk outside the National Parks in the private concession areas. These lodges are almost exclusively luxury and allow you to enjoy the bush in the knowledge that you have vast tracts of land all to yourself.
The Footsteps across the Delta and Linyanti are two specialist walking adventure camps that focus on this as their main activity, although you can also take part in Game Drives and Mokoro, the dug-out canoe.
In all the National Parks in Zimbabwe you can take part in walking safaris. This is one of the best walking destinations in Africa and, particularly in Mana Pools National Park, there are some trips that solely use this form of activity, in particular walking the Mana Pools shoreline.
Here you can also walk in the National Parks with a government trained National Park Guide accompanied by your lodge guide. Known for its walking you can visit several National Parks including Kafue, South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi.
The best to go walking in South Africa is the Kruger National Park where there are several camps and operators who offer walking adventures, either as an activity in camp or as a specific trip.
Kenya & Tanzania
In both these countries many of the lodges offer this as an activity.
Martin Smith, Managing Director, Bush Pilot, Lodge General Manager and Travel Agent