Walking through the wild African bush, dinner around the campfire and listening to the 'call of the wild' while camping under the stars is possibly the best African wildlife experience you can get. Zambia is one of the premium and best places you can take an African walking safari.
A day on a Zambian walking safari
As with most safaris a walking safari begins early. You want to be up and out for the morning before the sun has a chance to take its toll on you.
You will be awoken with a cup of tea and a chance to freshen up and have a light breakfast before heading out with your professional guide and an armed ZAWA (Zambia Wildlife Authority) guard. You will generally find that there is also a tea-and-biscuit-bearer (well you've got to have elevenses!) and if you're on a set walking departure you will probably be accompanied by 5 other guests. So that is the extent of your safari party as you head out into the unknown to find ... who knows what? It's an adventure.
You will stop for lunch, usually back at camp, but possibly in the bush if you're going from A-B that day. Whichever it is, you'll have a delicious lunch and there will be somewhere to chill out in the shade over the siesta time.
In the afternoon you set off again for another few hours walking - none of it strenuous - to see what you can see. You might come across a herd of elephants you can watch from a discrete and safe distance, or perhaps you can sit and watch the antics in the hippo pool for a while. Whatever larger mammals you see will be in addition to the myriad of smaller, seemingly less significant creatures and fascinating sights that your guide will point out to you. Learn about termite mounds, watch a chameleon cross the track, discover the traditional uses for plants you pass.
In the evening you’ll have a three-course meal under the African stars, a glass of wine by the fire, and a chat about the day. Then it’s off to your cosy bed.
Where is the best place to go?
South Luangwa is possibly the best place in the whole of Africa to come for a walking safari. They were pioneered here, and many guides are exceptionally well-trained walking guides. You need a better class of guide to ensure your safety on a walk through the Zambian bush.
South Luangwa offers both short walking safaris activities from many camps, as well as longer walking safari itineraries where you’re walking for about 5 days.
North Luangwa is another good reserve for walks. Whilst game drives can be done here, the focus is definitely on the walking and camps are only open in the short season from about June to October.
There is also the opportunity to walk in other Zambian reserves such as Lower Zambezi and Kafue, and even the really remote Liuwa Plains, though these walks tend to be shorter activities rather than the main focus of a safari.
When can you take walking safaris in Zambia?
June to October is the time you will find that the longer walks are undertaken and the safest time to walk at all. This is the dry season and the grasses have died down so that visibility in the bush is much better than earlier in the season. You really don't want to risk a lion or any other predator being able to see you without you being aware of it!
It is these months that the scheduled small group walking safaris are offered by such well-respected safari companies as Robin Pope Safaris in South Luangwa. It is also the time that bush camps which focus on walking are open. Camps such as Norman Carr's Luwi Camp, or the Bushcamp Company's Chindeni Camp, or Remote Africa Safaris Chikoko Tree Camp.
Walks can be offered in other months but they will be much shorter and very much at the discretion of the camp manager and guides.
Walking safari holidays in Zambia
We have a number of suggested walking safari holidays in Zambia. You will find these listed below. We can plan a tailor made holiday especially for you though if these don’t fit the bill you for you.
You might also be interested to read:A Guide to Walking Safaris in Africa