Why walk?

Walking in big game country is all about pulling down the barriers and becoming a participant as opposed to a passenger

In practice you rarely get as close to a lion, buffalo or elephant as you could in a jeep, or even a boat, but crucially you feel closer ­- standing eye-ball to eye-ball with a mammal renowned for its power and potential to cause you harm is a very special experience, not in a macho way but because it is timeless. Man has been encountering big game on foot for millennia and the way that we, and presumably they, feel goes very deep in to our respective psyches.

Truth be told we can only walk in Africa because the game fears us and their natural reaction will be to flight, get it wrong however and they might be inclined to fight. And it is witnessing good bush-craft at work which provides much of the pleasure of a walk - the wind is read, the condition of the animal being approached noted and various escape routes or places of safety to retreat to considered.

A walk on the African savannah is rarely a high-adrenalin activity – no-one, neither man nor beast, is seeking-out trouble - but the heightened sense of awareness that something may lie ahead and that you do need to keep your wits about you at all times makes it deeply immersive.

Excellent walking safaris exist in countries across Africa, undertaken by a handful of operators - and it really is not particularly dangerous (many more people undoubtedly receive grievous injuries from golf balls) but can be highly addictive. Talk to us about spending time with a guide in good country.

Posted by: Rod Tether

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