Where to Go on a Walking Safari in Africa
Offered in both East Africa and Southern Africa, walking safaris can be divided into two main types: short guided 'bush walks' offered by a lodge as an alternative activity to game drives, and multiday guided walking safaris. The former don't need to be booked in advance and can be built around your safari schedule; the latter require a degree of fitness, the right gear and a willingness to engage with the wilderness. After a short guided walk you simply return to camp; on multiday walking safaris you'll be on foot for most of the day but will later enjoy walk-in tents, beds and bedding, hearty food, warm showers and cold drinks. A cook prepares all the meals and a crew erects the camp before you arrive and breaks it after you depart each day.
East Africa Walking Safaris
With much accommodation set in private reserves and conservancies, most lodges in East Africa offer short guided walks around camp in the company of professional guides and in-house naturalists. These include Tanzania's Serengeti and Tarangire as well as Kenya's Masai Mara. Many of these bush walks in Kenya and Tanzania are led by local Maasai warriors who will teach you how to make fire, find food and stay out of trouble on the East African savannah.
Longer, multiday walking safaris in Tanzania and Kenya are also available in some of the East Africa's wildest destinations such as Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park and Kenya's Samburu National Reserve. These are not for the faint-hearted but for those who want a genuine adventure. The terrain is rugged but the reward lies in seeing what few ever see: places in East Africa that are still as wild as they were a century ago.
And if you want a walking safari with a difference, head for Tanzania's Mahale Mountains or Uganda's Kibale Forest for chimpanzee tracking safaris in magisterial rainforests, a great ape experience rivalled only by the famous gorilla treks of Uganda and Rwanda.
Southern Africa Walking Safaris
Most safari lodges across Southern Africa provide their guests with the chance to head out on foot for a few hours in the company of armed guides. This is a popular activity in Botswana's Okavango Delta (great for birding) and in South Africa where families can enjoy child-friendly, interactive walks with plenty to discover. The Kruger's private reserves such as the Sabi Sands plus the reserves of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal are especially good for family walking safaris.
But the real deal is to be found in the vast Kruger National Park itself as well as on a Zambia safari, particularly in the South Luangwa National Park. Home to great numbers of animals, these two destinations are well known for their extraordinary dry-season walking safaris. Complete with comfortable camps en route, multiday itineraries offer the opportunity to explore these classic wilderness areas to the full: expect heart-in-the-mouth game viewing under the watchful eyes of the best guides in Africa.
View our experts' recommended Best Walking Safari Tours in Africa.
At a Glance
Get up close and personal with Africa’s wildest game reserves on a walking safari – from short, guided “bush walks” to multiday expeditions, it’s the most intimate way to discover Africa’s wildlife.
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