Walking Safaris

What they are, where to do one and why we love them

What are walking safaris?

In a nutshell: Safaris on foot in big game country, lead by an experienced armed guide. They can vary from short walks from a safari camp, offered as a morning, evening or full-day activity, to much longer expedition-type safaris supported by mobile camps. In many ways these walks are the ultimate way to unplug, freeing your self from the demands of modern technology and letting the natural rhythms of day and night dictate.

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Our experience as walking safari guides

In decades living in the African bush we've spent a huge amount of that time on foot. From leading walks and flycamps in the Selous Game Reserve to tip-toeing barefoot along dry sand rivers in Ruaha.

Rod Tether lived for many years in Zambia's North Luangwa National Park, where he owned and ran the legendary Kutandala Safari Camp. This little gem - built with sticks held together with string - was the base for exceptional walking safaris for many years. There he built a reputation that remains to this day as one of Africa's most respected walking guides. 

Rod is therefore better placed than most people to advise on when, where  - and indeed if  - you should go on a walking safari.

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Africa's best walking safaris

Walking safaris in Zambia

From South Luangwa to Kafue and beyond

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Africa's best walking safaris

Walking safaris in Tanzania

From multi day walks in the Serengeti to Ruaha

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Africa's best walking safaris

Walking safaris in Zimbabwe

With Africa's leading walking guides

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Africa's best walking safaris

Walking safaris in Kenya

Camel safaris with Samburu guides and more

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Why we love walking safaris

The best walks aren’t hikes, but stalks that force you to dust off long-unused senses

The smell of fresh elephant dung, the sound of tick-birds, the alarm calls of other animals announcing your presence. Above all a walking safari takes you out of the audience and puts you on the stage.

If the prospect of stretching your legs in places devoid of human interference isn’t enough, then think about how it feels to be out there; wall to wall space, 360° skies, and all the freedom that comes with it. Padding softly along a footpath last used by a 5 tonne elephant on its way to the river - every sense on alert - the khaki-clad back of your guide moving steadily in front of you, the excitement is akin to any childhood pre-birthday butterflies.

Anyone who has come upon lion lying up in the grass just a few metres away while on foot will assure you how different that is from seeing the same animal while safely surrounded by a trusty Land Cruiser.

There's always the possibility of encountering something big and toothy but that’s not the main aim of the walk, and the guides won’t go out specially to scare the daylights out of you. Walks are as much about the little wonders of the wild: fascinating insects and birds with funky colour-schemes or dodgy habits and tricks that will leave you a whole new appreciation for life on this planet. All these things, when pointed out to you and interpreted by a professional guide, are so worth seeing that it’s almost criminal not to do so.

Perhaps counterintuitively many of the best walks also involve sitting and not going anywhere. Spending the heat of the day in the deep shade of a tree is part of the experience. Have lunch, read and relax while watching a scene evolve around you; elephant coming down to drink at a lake, kingfishers hovering with uncanny precision or hippos perfecting their masterly inactivity.

The joy of remote locations is that you really don't see another human, let alone a vehicle on your walks – a very different experience from some jeep safaris where every lion has its circling circus of vehicles and camera-clicking tourists.”

- THE TELEGRAPH

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The top countries and parks for foot safaris

A look at where to go for the most authentic walking experiences

Many safari camps throughout Africa give guests the chance to get out on foot for an hour or two. However, if you're looking for a proper, immersive foot safari for a couple of days or more, then you need to look a little further. Key here is the quality of your guide, who will need to have the experience and back-up to offer walks in game-rich areas. Having lead such safaris ourselves, we make it our business to know where to find just such trips.

Some of our favourite walking areas are in Tanzania, Kenya Zambia and Zimbabwe, most notably in the Serengeti and Tarangire in Northern Tanzania, Ruaha and Selous in Southern Tanzania. In Zambia the Kafue and Luangwa Valley offer superb walks, while in Zimbabwe some of the best walks are available in Mana Pools.

If you aren’t looking to commit to a full walking safari, many camps offer walks of 3-4 hours in the morning or evening which can be highly rewarding and in many places - like Tanzania’s Tarangire - very action packed.
For veteran travellers, or those wanting to get out there, we recommend longer trips like a multi-day walking safari in the Serengeti or 6 days walking safaris in South Luangwa.

On the whole, these aren’t arduous expeditions, and entail walks of 3-4 hours in the morning, a lengthy lunchtime rest and all-important siesta, followed by a couple more hours walking in the evening
Some of our favourite trips move from camp to camp, and sometimes the camp actually moves too...which makes you feel all Ernest Hemingway. Accommodation can vary from simple, comfortable tented camps to the lap of luxury in intimate lodges.
 

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Our top 5 walking safaris

1 - Elephants on foot in Ruaha National Park

Highlights:

5 days exploring southern Tanzania's incredible dry-season wildlife on foot

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Our top 5 walking safaris

2 - WALKING SAFARI IN ZIMBABWE'S MANA POOLS

Highlights:

As close as you can get to wild elephants with Africa's leading guides

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Our top 5 walking safaris

3 - South Luangwa 5-day walking safari

Highlights:

5 days immersed in the beautiful wilderness of Zambia's Luangwa Valley

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Our top 5 walking safaris

4 - EXPEDITION ON FOOT THROUGH THE SERENGETI

Highlights:

Multi-day walking safari with a mobile camp through one of the best game areas in the world

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Our top 5 walking safaris

5 - Kenya Camel safari

Highlights:

Exploring KENYA'S WILDLIFE & UNSPOILT WILDERNESS with a Samburu guide

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+44 (0) 1747 830950

Our experienced travellers include:

Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Catherine Ronan
Catherine Ronan
Olly Williams
Olly Williams

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.

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