Top 5 Walking Safaris in Tanzania

Strike out from the 4x4 and experience the African bush on foot. Here's our pick of the bunch.

1. Ruaha National Park

There aren’t many places where it’s possible to explore game-rich wilderness on foot. Kichaka Walking Safaris in Ruaha is one of those places. Operating in the quiet eastern end of the park, the base camp is located in a glade on the banks of the Ruaha River. Even before you leave camp you’re in superlative game country. Elephant feed along the river banks in search of fruits from the large shady acacia trees and game is drawn to the water in the heat of the day to drink. Sable, greater and lesser kudu, roan, waterbuck among others are common sights. Lion and leopard frequent the river banks and flood plains. The walks are anything from day-walks from camp, to safaris over several days supported by a mobile camp. You can expect to encounter all the major species in this part of the world and there’s a good chance of doing so on foot.

Take a look at a sample trip

Best time to walk in Ruaha

The game in Ruaha follows a predictable pattern of dispersing during the wet season and congregating around the remaining water courses between the months of June and October as things get more and more parched. This makes walking in June - October the best time for game viewing, so if you haven’t experienced Ruaha in the dry season, you have a treat in store.

2. Serengeti National Park

Everyone knows that the Serengeti, with its world famous wildebeest migration, offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the world. Few people realise that it’s possible to do proper walking safaris here using a light mobile camp too. Only a handful of companies are allowed to walk in the Serengeti, but there are extensive wilderness zones where game driving vehicles aren’t allowed to visit.  The experience of striking out on foot couldn’t be more different to game viewing from a vehicle. The pace is gentle and the terrain varied. Low acacia woodland provides cover, the rolling terrain slowly reveals its secrets. And scattered rocky kopjes make wonderful lookouts or camp sites. Sit in the shade of a fig tree high up on a rocky bluff with views for fifty miles. At night sleep under the stars after drinks and dinner round the camp fire. 

See a Serengeti walking trip

Best time to walk in the Serengeti

The Serengeti offers a number of different walking areas that can be selected at different times throughout the year depending on the headline act at the time. During the dry season of July to October, head to the far north of the park and catch the drama of millions of wildebeest chancing their luck across crocodile infested waters of the Mara River. Then later in the season as herds head south into rolling hills and valleys of central Serengeti - a stunning location for incredible game viewing.  

3. Selous Game Reserve

Massive rivers, tributaries, lakes and woodland. The Selous is a wild environment hotching with mega fauna. The landscape is defined by hippo and elephant in particular. Much of the Selous is thick riverine bush, but the elephant and hippo have created an extensive network of paths in the soft sandy soil that conveniently link the river to all the lakes. These not only make the going under foot easy, but also reveal myriad tracks of other travellers – lion, leopard & civets among many others take these same routes. Quite apart from the big game viewing here, the Selous’ waterways are what makes it special. Walk quietly up to a lake shore, sit in the shade with a drink and a bite of lunch as wildlife comes and goes throughout the day. Or meet a boat and drift silently downstream to a flycamp on an island in mid-stream.

Let the adventure begin. Enquire now.

Best time to walk in Selous

As with other parks the Selous flourishes in the dry season from July to October as game gathers around remaining water sources and also the vegetation begins to thin out making for easier game viewing. However, if you are motivated by more than animal numbers don't rule out visiting the Selous outside the dry season to experience the green glow and experience a quality of game viewing that will be hard to beat.  

4. Katavi National Park

Katavi's a long way from anywhere, so gets only a fraction of the number of visitors a park of this quality would normally expect. Walks here are nothing if not exciting. Narrow seasonal rivers at the centre of Katavi’s flood plains look at first glance unremarkable. But the quantity of wildlife that seeks refuge here during the dry season – whether predator or prey – has to be seen to be believed. Pods of hippo can number in the hundreds crammed cheek-by-jowl into shrinking pools. Lion and other predators use the natural cover provided and crocodiles aestivate in tangled heaps in the caves in the mud river banks. Walking here is usually for a night or two as part of a stay at Chada Camp, although longer walks of several days can be arranged. Sleep on bedrolls laid out under the fronds of a Borassus palm with good simple food and plenty of cold drinks. Katavi is a thrillingly wild place – you can expect your share of excitement and the odd sleepless night, but the experience is one serious wilderness enthusiasts will relish.

Let the adventure begin. Enquire now.

Best time to walk in Katavi

Remote, under-developed and at certain times of the year bristling with wildlife. Head to Katavi in the dry season - July to September - to catch a glimpse of unimaginable concentration of hippos and buffalo. In the green season, walking can be quite tricky with vegetation hampering efforts to spot game - big and small. 

5. Tarangire

This park can be overlooked in comparison to its more famous neighbour, the Serengeti. As a result many people dip into Tarangire for a couple of nights before moving on all too quickly. However, Tarangire more than justifies an in-depth visit, both in terms of its size and diversity and because it offers some of the best walking in northern Tanzania. The southern end of the park is the wilder region and, with its springs and riverlines lends itself well to walking safaris, whether for a night from a camp such as Kuro Tarangire, or for part of an extended walking safari. Wildlife during the dry season comes into Tarangire from the surrounding Maasai Steppe, lured by the Tarangire River, the region's most robust source of permanent water through the dry season. All the major species abound here and there is an excellent chance of encountering many of them on a walking safari.

Let the adventure begin. Enquire now.

Best time to walk in Tarangire

Particularly great walking in the dry season (late July to late October) when the last remaining source of moisture is the Tarangire River - guaranteed to attract a significant amount of animals including notable attendees of elephant, wildebeest and zebra. In the green season from December to May, Tarangire's birdlife comes alive in all its plummage. 

 

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Our experienced travellers include:

Andrea Hulme
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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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