In every walk with nature, one receives far more than he seeks
– John Muir
Seated in a four-wheel drive during a safari, you may wonder, what it takes to be a part of the African bush setting. Think of the giraffe who wants to bend its elongated neck to sip water at the cost of an ambush or an elephant bull who keeps up with his mothers pace at great joy. Does the terrain feel thorny and warm and how hard it is to forage for greens or run speedily for the prey?
There is a great chance for you to be in a predator’s shoe or think like a herbivore or even an insect, thriving in the tropical environ of the African Savannah.
Let us take you into the world of walking safaris and experience Africa, eye to eye with the wild.
The most exciting aspect of a bush walk is to become one with nature and immerse in active game watching. Once you set foot into the vast plains, walk through the thick canopies or deserted landscapes, there is an overwhelming sense of becoming one with nature. You may feel like a speck of dust, surrounded by gigantic baobabs and acacia trees, the sudden respite of heat and the long distance you walk, but this is the real thrill; to experience Tanzania wilderness as it is. What you take back is far more enriching than the nervousness that creeps in the beginning. It’s an energizing adventure to muster courage and walk in the wild and so it’s an adventure of its own kind…
The thrill begins…
The Maasai knocks your door or greets you through the tent mesh at 5:00 am. It is chilly, dark and the birds are faintly chirping at a distance. Splash some water on your face, sip some tea and tied your laces. An armed ranger and your guide greet you in high spirits. Jambo! So are you ready? Perhaps you have a cue on what to expect, but none can say anything before you get into the bush….
Leave the fear behind.
By now you know that you are in safe hands. Two or more knowledgeable bush natives walking with you full of experience and a passion for nature. If you ask, “what if we meet some hungry lions or a herd of elephants”, the rhetorical response would be, “Stay calm and don’t run”. That’s the number one advice for your wildlife safaris in Africa. If you behave like a prey, you become prey. The main idea of a walking safari is to let lose, get close to nature and feel what it is to live in the wild.
Will I see the big 5?
The charm of an African bush walk is to experience the wilderness at a close-up. While the Big 5 are admirable at a distance, during your walking safari, your guide will take you for a walk through safe areas, slightly away from the dangers of the large animals. You will get to spot a lion’s footprint, gaze at the elephant scratching a baobab tree or giraffes enjoying their morning crunch. But the real thrill of this kind of an activity is to spit animal footprints, get closer, enjoy bird watching and botanical observations, all sensed closely with your hear, sound and smell sensory, fully alert.
Walking for endless hours?
Most walking safaris are ideal for short hours in the morning or just before dusk. Depending on the age group, you can enjoy gentle strolls up to two hours, half day or full day excursions. Walking safaris are ideal during early morning when wildlife is active or during sunset when it is less tiring and the landscape views are stunning. The main idea is not to feel exhausted but to connect with nature and understand the African surrounding from a close-up.
Another aspect of walking safaris
In Tanzania, bush excursions also bring you closer to the local tribes that have been living close to nature since time immemorial. Visiting the Hadza tribe near Lake Eyasi, encounters with the Selous Bushmen or Masai in the northern Tanzania bring you closer to the culture and traditions that are deep-rooted in the natural wilderness. Going for a walking excursion with one of these tribes gives you a deeper and an enlightening perspective of life in the bush; traditional medicines, hunting and living in the wild are some interesting aspects to learn during these visits.
Not really. You are well nourished with fruits, biscuits, sandwiches, hot and cold beverages especially during the morning time. It could be an eat and walk session or setting up a small bush breakfast setting while you enjoy the admirable views. Evening sundowners end well with wine, champagne and beer accompanied by some nibbles. This way walking safaris are less cumbersome and light snacks add some fuel to your seeking spirit.
Where to go for a walking safari in Tanzania – our top picks
Selous Game Reserve – The largest of its kind in Africa, you can walk around with a naturalist guides to track lion, hyena and leopards footprints, meet traditional healers, explore medicinal plants and dig in about the bush life of Africa.
Ruaha National Park- With the mighty baobab and vast golden grassland adorning the largest national park of Tanzania, this safari park makes for a rewarding walking safari destination. Greet up to 50 elephants, active game watching by the great Ruaha River, spot the kuds, sables, waterbucks and the smaller dik diks. Ruaha National Park makes for a private treat in the popular African wilderness.
Lake Manyara National Park- Where pink flamingos and tree climbing lioness thrive, what joy it is to admire nature from so close. This littler park close to the safari capital of Tanzania is a delight to visit. Walk with the arm ranger close to the lake and get to experience spectacular birdlife and close wildlife encounters in all safety.
Ngorongoro Crater Rim- Covered in thick foliage and home to thousands of wild animals, walking safaris around the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are remarkable. Bush walks start early morning when wildlife is most active and can last till half a day. Here there are chances to see the giants to the closest.
Are you feeling excited for a walking safari already? Why not include this adventure to your East African wildlife experience. Share with us your interests and we will plan an exciting holiday for you.