Going on walking safaris in Africa is one of our favourite ways to experience our continent's sights, sounds, smells, and soul-stirring stories. From meeting rhinos in the South African bush to gorillas in Rwanda's rainforests, here's where your feet can take you and what you can look forward to.
When you exchange the game drive vehicle's engine rumble for a silent safari on foot, a new world of experiences opens up in front of you, where you can truly appreciate the finer details you might otherwise miss. It's a chance to enjoy the smaller but equally captivating animals and plants, to understand the climate and its impact on the ecosystem, and to discover the art of reading animal spoor.
But is it safe to traverse through Africa on foot? Don't worry about safety. Before venturing into the wilderness for your walking safari in Africa, your guides will thoroughly brief you and teach you essential hand signals – because silence is key in the wild.
As you embark on your walking safari, you'll observe animals from a safe distance, witnessing their daily routines of drinking, grazing, foraging, and engaging with one another. On previous walking safaris, we've been fortunate enough to walk with rhinos, elephants, giraffes, and even formidable predators like lions and African wild dogs, all while on foot.
The duration of your walking safari in Africa can vary, ranging from a few hours to several days. But fear not, you won't have to lug your luggage through the wilderness – you'll only carry a backpack filled with water and snacks to keep you energised for the day. Your luggage will be transported to the next destination for you.
The best time to go on walking safaris in Africa varies depending on the country you decide to explore. Generally, the dry season is best for walking safaris since the vegetation is less thick, making it easier to spot wildlife without unexpected surprises lurking behind every bush. But you can enjoy shorter walks throughout the year.
You'll set off in the cool morning hours before the sun gets too hot and return to your campsite, just like you would after a game drive. And you'll have so many stories to share after your trek through the wild!
There are many unique countries and national parks for you to explore during your walking safari. You can even mix it up and combine destinations for an unforgettable trip.
Visit Zambia for a remarkable journey to the birthplace of walking safaris, South Luangwa National Park. As you traverse the plains, you'll witness the graceful movements of the puku, Thornicroft's giraffe, Crawshay's zebra, Coke's hartebeest, lions, antelope, buffalo, and elephants.
This haven isn't just for land-dwellers but also a paradise for bird enthusiasts, with over 400 species gracing the skies. Keep your senses alert for the vibrant carmine bee-eater, adorned in a technicoloured plumage, and the majestic grey-crowned crane, proudly donning its glorious headdress. The sense of exclusivity sets walking safaris in Zambia apart, as this hidden gem is less crowded than other safari destinations.
Choose from a variety of walking safaris in Tanzania, whether it's the semi-arid savannahs of Ruaha National Park, the vast plains of Serengeti National Park, or the enchanting realm of the giant baobab trees in Tarangire National Park. Be guided by a Maasai warrior and knowledgeable expert as you follow in the footsteps of their people. We love walking through these magnificent landscapes and encountering a diverse array of wildlife, from graceful waterbucks and zebras to majestic elephants, just to name a few.
But it's not just about the big wildlife – your guide will unveil the fascinating world of smaller insects and birds, sharing particular behaviours and intriguing facts to show you how everything is connected. And let's not forget Tanzania's friendly neighbour, Kenya, where you can also experience the wonders of a walking safari in the Maasai Mara National Reserve.
When it comes to walking safaris in South Africa, the options are endless. You can head to the iconic Kruger National Park and its surrounding private game reserves to smell, hear and feel the magic of the South African bush. Along with being Big 5 territory, the Kruger boasts an incredible variety of fauna, from grazing antelope to carnivorous predators. Another fantastic destination for a walking safari is KwaZulu-Natal, where the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park awaits.
This region boasts rich vegetation, diverse birdlife, and abundant wildlife, including the largest population of white rhinos in the world. For those exploring the Garden Route, consider visiting Gondwana, a private and malaria-free game reserve that offers a spectacular walking safari experience. Here, you'll have ample opportunities to observe a variety of wild animals, only 4.5 hours away from Cape Town.
In the Okavango Delta, you can track the Big 5 and diverse antelope species. Stumble upon thrilling predator sightings, including lions, leopards, hyenas, and African wild dogs.
At the Makgadikgadi Pans, witness the beauty of flamingos and the spectacle of migrating zebra herds in search of water. Here, you'll also learn about the land's rich history, seek out fossils, and spot fascinating reptiles. At Rhino Africa, we particularly enjoy meeting up with the indigenous San bushmen to delve into their captivating folklore. Also, we highly recommend you visit the adorable meerkat colonies where you can observe Timon from "The Lion King" film in his natural habitat. Another highlight on a walking safari in Botswana is seeing the iconic Baobab trees, lovingly nicknamed "the upside-down tree", adding wonder to this region.
Ever wanted to see adorable lemurs in the wild? Experience the wonders of walking safaris in Madagascar, where the rainforests are home to a wealth of rare wildlife found nowhere else on the planet. Be captivated by the Amber Mountains National Park, where lush rainforests showcase a stunning array of plants, including rare cycads, tree ferns, and orchids.
Look closer for reptiles, chameleons, and the elusive falanouc that inhabit this biodiverse paradise. Marvel at the Antahkarana Waterfall and crater lakes during your walking safari. Or venture to the Ankarana Special Reserve, where the limestone plateau unveils incredible needle-like formations called “tsingy”, which means "where one cannot walk barefoot". On your journey, you can also spot a variety of lemurs and the sought-after fossa, all while exploring this impressive landscape accessible via boardwalks and bridges.
Discover the great attraction of walking safaris in Rwanda, renowned for its exceptional gorilla and chimp trekking opportunities. Go on an awe-inspiring gorilla trekking adventure, immersing yourself in the natural habitat of these magnificent primates. Volcanoes National Park is one of the best places in Rwanda for gorilla trekking, while Nyungwe Forest National Park is home to chimpanzees. Witnessing their movements first-hand is an unforgettable and magical experience we can’t get enough of.
Your walking safari could cost anything between 300-4,000 USD per person per day, depending on where you visit. Walking safaris are typically offered as an add-on to a safari vacation. All-inclusive options include accommodation, food, drinks and a comprehensive range of amenities. Please note that gratuity, spa treatments, and souvenir purchases are not included.
When packing for your walking safari in Africa, you should remember the essentials. These include comfortable walking or hiking shoes, a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen. Opt for lightweight, long-sleeved clothing to protect your skin from both the sun and the elements of the bush. Also, don't forget to bring insect repellent. Unless otherwise advised by our Travel Experts, your camp will provide you with a sturdy backpack to carry water, snacks, and any other personal items you may need during the safari.
By now, we're sure you're inspired to undertake your own eventful adventure! Trust us when we say you won't regret it. The only hard work is to choose from a list of enticing destinations.
We can't wait to share our love for walking safaris in Africa with you. So lace up your boots, embrace the call of the wild, and entrust our team of experienced Travel Experts to curate your perfect walking safari experience.