Some people enjoy nothing more than the feeling of being directly and intimately close to nature and wildlife. There is surely no more thrilling experience, and what better way to do this than by enjoying a walking safari!
Thankfully for us (and you!) Africa is undeniably a walkers Utopia. From the Mopane Pans in Botswana and the secluded bush camps in Zambia, to the varied landscapes of the Kruger Park in South Africa. The choices are varied and plentiful to meet a range of fitness levels and preferences. If you are travelling as a family, it is worth noting that all walking safaris have an age restriction – so make sure to check on this before booking with children.
In this article we look at a handful of lodges that are ideal for walking safaris…
Simbavati Trails Camp – Timbavati Reserve, Greater Kruger Park, South Africa
Simbavati Trails Camp is a gem; a luxury-yet-back-to-basics walking trails camp located in a secluded area of the Timbavati Game Reserve. It’s all about guided walks with expert guides, one of the most stimulating and enthralling forms of safari. Trails Camp borders, without fences, an unspoilt wilderness area of 11,000 hectares in the Kruger National Park.
There is no electricity, WiFi or cell phone reception. Just you, in the heart of an untamed African wildlife wonderland. Hearty and delicious meals are prepared over an open fire by an expert cook.
Africa on Foot Walking Safari camp – Klaserie, Greater Kruger Park, South Africa
As the name suggests, walking is at the core of this relaxed camp in the Kruger. It’s position in the heart of the Klaserie Private Nature Reserve that shares unfenced borders with the Kruger, means that wildlife roam freely and the area is rich in game.
Didn’t think it would be possible to see the Big 5 on foot? Well at Africa on Foot you can. The specialized game rangers have years of experience, so you’ll see a variety of game AND you’ll be well informed.
If walking is not entirely you’re fix, or you’d like to mix things up, you can go on Big 5 game drives and night drives to get the full spectrum of safari activities.
If you’re already getting excited by the prospect of a walking safari, but would like more experienced assistance in planning your trip (at less than the cost of booking direct) – Chat to us!
Pafuri Camp & Pafuri Walking safaris – Northern Kruger Park, South Africa
Pafuri Camp has an idyllic setting between 2 rivers – the Limpopo and Luvuvhu, in the far north of the Kruger National Park. The rivers provide a mix of botanically rich sandveld, mopane woodland, baobabs, spectacular kopjes and hidden freshwater springs. Sounds amazing right?
Between April and October, Pafuri offers 2 to 4 night walking safaris from the main camp to fly-in camps. This is ‘glamping’ at its best as tents are super comfy and have en-suite loos… let’s face it, no one wants to sprint to the toilet in the middle of the night and risk an encounter with a predator!
This area of the Kruger is also filled with folklore of the early explorers and ancient civilizations. So what’s great about a walking safari at Pafuri, is that the guides are not only game-spotters, but story-tellers as well. You don’t need to be super fit for this experience. BUT you’ll need to be comfortable with walking 5 to 10km’s a day.
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Hyena Pan – Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
The new Hyena Pan Tented Camp has a rather unique setting, lying within Cathedral Mopane forest that overlooks a natural Mopane Pan. As the pan is a constant water supply to many species of birds and animals year round, game-viewing from any part of this peaceful camp is safari paradise!
Even more distinctive to this camp is their offering of the “Elephant Song Trail”. Now this is no ordinary bush walk. This walking safari is to track some of the oldest bull elephant in the area. Few experiences are more initimate, humbling and slightly terrifying all at the same time! Knowledgable and well-trained guides will show you what makes these magnificent creatures the most revered on the planet.
Try either a 3 or 4 night walking trail with the first and last nights based at Hyena Pan, and the middle night or two at Hyena Skybeds.
Nsolo Bush Camp, only Walking Safaris – South Luangwa, Zambia
A highlight of this walking safari is that the Luwi River is renowned for its lion population. Various pride territories overlap in this area and the cats use the dry river bed as a road. Imagine heading out in the early morning having heard lions calling in the night, only to find their tracks and follow them?
Elusive wild dogs have also denned between Luwi and Nsolo for the last 6 years. So there’s a good chance you’ll catch a glimpse of them too. This certainly is big game viewing on foot at its best!
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Shamwari Explorer Camp – Eastern Cape, South Africa
Shamwari opens up their Explorer Camp during the summer season in South Africa (October to April). And we’re so glad they’ve done so! One of the great things about the Shamwari Game Reserve is that it lies at the convergence of five ecosystems. This diversity supports the Big Five as well as varied antelope and a rich birdlife.
So a guided walking safari in this environment is a truly abundant experience. The Explorer camp is located on a plateau set amongst the only basalt and granite extrusions on Shamwari. You can imagine what kind of views that position yields!
This Walking Trails Adventure comprises of a 2-night trail, departing each Friday, with an optional 3rd night on request.
Marataba Mountain Lodge – Waterberg, South Africa
Marataba Mountain Lodge is a stunning eco-friendly camp situated on a hillside within the Marakele National Park in the Waterberg. With a max of only 8 guests at a time, you might feel like you’re the only one lucky enough to be soaking up the 180 degree views into Waterfall Valley.
If walking is as enjoyable to you as butter is on toast to me (the answer is VERY enjoyable…), then you will simply love the walking safari experience here. Hiking trails vary from shorter 1-2 hours hikes, to longer 3-4 hours hikes. All leave and return from the lodge every day.
Although originally designed to cater for seasoned hikers, Marataba Trails has incorporated other activities like afternoon game drives, especially in the sweltering summer months. So whether you are on foot or relaxing in a game vehicle, this is a fantastic bush adventure in a big 5 game reserve.
“6 Must-see Lodges for Walking Safari enthusiasts” was written by Cedarberg Africa
Cedarberg Africa is a travel and safari company specializing in African tailor-made itineraries. We have special rates with all the hotels and game lodges. Booking through us will cost no more than booking direct. So our expertise and knowledge comes at no extra cost to you!