The origin of Africa safaris can be traced back to the walking tours which the early explorers, missionaries and trophy hunters did in the toughest conditions known to man. While these pioneers of safari had a whole life devoted to traversing the African continent on foot, you can enjoy a quality walking tour in Africa even with limited number of days
What makes walking holidays such superior travel experiences? Simply put it is the magic of outdoors; the sound of leaves crushing under your boots, the shimmering colors of a bird in flight and the smell of fresh flowers. Walking is a positively addictive hobby as there are health benefits associated from walking and being outdoors.
A guided walking tour to Africa is a thrill that lets you get in the African wildlife well away from the mass tourism. The type of game you are likely to see will obviously depend on the location of your walking safari. A well thought-out walk should give you sightings of giraffes, zebras and various antelopes. There are places where you may walk without an armed ranger but where there is dangerous game an armed ranger is essential for safety.
Overall safety should be the determining factor and ideally you should not get in close proximity with dangerous game such as lions, buffaloes, elephants, rhinos or hippos.
Is an African walking tour all about wildlife viewing? Certainly not. There is wide variety of colorful birds, different kinds of plants and a scenery is ever changing and captivating.
Are there places which can be ranked as the best for walking safaris? There is no right answer for this, as best is a very relative Southern African countries had an earlier start in walking safaris but the East African countries are quickly catching up. In whichever African country you take your guided walking tour, you are likely to get more value in private game conservancies and small national parks which are not visited by mass tourism.
There are many Africa walking safari outfitters giving you a wide range of tours and prices to suit. But this can severely compromise on the quality tours especially on guiding and logistics. There is a clear difference between a trail guide whom you follow blindly and a naturalist safari guide who brings life into your tour by explaining and interpreting animals behavior, shows you plants with medicinal values and teaches you about bush survival skills.
Note that a walking holiday requires better preparation than a lodge-to-lodge package safari. It is therefore important to do a thorough background check on the experience of the walking holiday’s outfitter and his guides before booking the tour.
To enjoy your African walking safari, it helps that your tour is fully supported with back-up vehicles or animals for carrying luggage. In many walking places the vehicles come in handy in that you can hop in and do a game drive instead of walking. Find out if there is flexibility of activities in your walking holiday.
Your accommodation during the walking safari should be close to the walking sites to reduce the amount of time taken for transfers. Guided walking tours in East Africa can be done all year round. Even in the rainy season as long as one is not camping out in the bush, it is possible to go out for walks. Yes, life never stops in Africa! It is more likely to rain in the afternoon , so you can still enjoy your early morning walks.
The distances walked vary, but look at 10-12 km with frequent stops for game viewing. Ideally it should be possible for the walking group to split up to accommodate not only different abilities but also different interests such as birdwatching and nature photography.
Now that you know the basics of an African walking tour, hit the keyboard for a walking safari that suits you.