What to Expect on a Walking Safari in Africa

By Sarah Gold July 17, 2020

A bush walk, or walking safari, through an African game park—an environment you might share with herds of zebra and wildebeest, families of giraffe, or even dozing prides of lions—is one of safari’s most exciting experiences. Even if your walking adventure lasts only a few hours (as most do), you’ll return from it exhilarated, with your senses sharpened and your awe for Africa’s landscapes and creatures magnified.

In most conservation areas in southern and East Africa, Micato Safaris offers you the chance to take part in just such a walking safari. And while your Micato Safari Director and local guide will fully prepare you before any on-the-ground trek, you may already be wondering whether this sort of excursion is for you. To that end, here are some details about what you can expect.

Walking Safari at Tarangire Treetops
Spectacular views await on a walking safari at Tarangire Treetops in Tanzania

Safety

For most travellers considering a walking safari, staying out of harm’s way is the primary concern. And while it’s true that in some cases, you might be walking through the same terrain, and at the same level, as some of Africa’s most imposing creatures—like elephants, Cape buffalo, rhino, and lions and leopards—you’ll be accompanied every step of the way by deeply experienced local guides, whose tracking skills and knowledge of wildlife will let you give any potentially troublesome animals a wide berth. (In areas where there is even a hint of risk, at least one of your guides will also be armed with a rifle.)

Walking Safari at Lewa Conservancy
Spot Rhino on a Walking Safari in Lewa Conservancy

Quiet

After a few days of observing wildlife from a safari vehicle, you’ll be amazed at how different it feels to navigate without the omnipresent rumble of an engine. Trekking in quiet lets you take in the enormous stillness of the savannah, and tune in to all its myriad sounds—the calls of birds, the humming of insects, the snorts and moans of animals. It also allows you to approach wild creatures—the safe ones—more unobtrusively, and sometimes more closely.

A new perspective on wildlife

From the ground, every impression you have about Africa’s wild creatures will be amplified. Giraffes and elephants seem even more colossal than they do from a vehicle; antelope and wildebeest herds seem even more thunderingly profuse when their hoofbeats rattle the earth beneath you. At the same time, less obvious creatures that you might ordinarily speed right past—brightly coloured lizards and frogs, darting birds and iridescent beetles—seem suddenly magical when you have the time to notice them. Walking also gives you a chance to try your hand at tracking; your guides will point out footprints, markings, and other signs that reveal what animals have passed through, and when.

Bush Walk Kifaru House
Guests enjoy a private guided bush walk at Kifaru House

More than just animals

The wild animals prized by safari travellers actually comprise only part of Africa’s vast and complex ecosystems, whose interconnecting components—weather, geology, plant life, and human communities—are far easier to grasp on a slower-paced, more meditative walking safari. Your guides can take the time to explain how the savannah’s seasonal rains, topographical features, wildlife migration patterns, indigenous cultures and tourism all contribute to the environment that surrounds you. And your understanding of these factors will leave you with an even more profound appreciation for the extraordinary beauty of the safari experience.

To learn more about how to include a walking safari in your Micato itinerary, contact one of our safari experts.

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