“From a vehicle you see Africa. On foot you feel, hear and smell Africa.”
~ Said Every Safari Guide Ever
Step 1: Vary your vantage point
Stepping out of the vehicle is incredibly liberating, and allows you to experience animals very differently than on a game drive where there is a level of detachment. When you’re walking through the bush, you experience a sense of intimacy and connection with the animals, where each of your senses is exquisitely heightened: you hear each careful crunch of your footsteps, crackle of dry grass and the richly diverse symphonic drama of bird song, lion growl and elephants trumpeting. Incredible details, hidden on a game drive, reveal themselves with every step you take.
By literally stepping into the animals’ own world, you are more able to grasp just how vast the visceral vulnerability of their existence is, and how magnificently each species plays its role in the circle of life.
Step 2: Zoom into Zoology
With an expertly experienced guide, your knowledge about Africa as an eco-system is enriched beyond the ‘fast facts’ and embroidered with unbelievable details and stories about, for example, what happens when an elephant dies, how trees and seeds play a much more fascinating role than you ever imagined and how to recognise the unique song of specific birds which can be drowned out by the thrum of game drive’s engine.
Step 3: From Macro to Micro
Game drives are perfect for delivering you into the heart of Africa’s ‘big picture’ where you are exposed to the lay of the land as a ‘canvas’ on which you paint where exactly the lions hunt, elephants bathe and leopards lurk. A walking safari takes this a step further, embellishing the broad strokes of your safari canvas with extraordinarily unexpected details! Also, your own body’s biological response to being so close to nature causes your senses to be dramatically intensified, with your brain‘s function – enhanced by the rush of adrenaline – enables your memory to embed the experience that much more deeply.
Step 4: Digital Detox
Because we can’t take our smart (dumb?) devices on a walking safari, the digital disconnection is wonderfully calming and restorative, allowing us to press the reset button on our perspectives about life’s often unnecessary ‘priorities’.
Step 5: Tracking 101
Your guide’s tracker will no doubt be eager to teach you all about what he does, which is a unique combination of intuitive and informational skills he has no doubt diligently applied himself over many years to learn and master.
Imagine being able to walk away from your safari having learned to decipher between different tracks in the sand and how the surrounding grasses and shrubs have been moved to identify which animal passed through the area and when?
One of our favorite walking safari specialists is The Bushcamp Company located in Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park, the historic home of the walking safari, pioneered in the 1950s, and where The Bushcamp Company operates six exclusive bushcamps in the remote south of the park, as well as the award-winning Mfuwe Lodge.
Set out from any of these secluded, intimate camps and you will be guaranteed an unrivalled wildlife experience in one of the last unspoilt wilderness regions of Africa, where striding out on your own two feet, led by expert local guides, is the only way to truly connect with and deeply understand the wilderness. The intoxicating mix of emotion – excitement, adrenaline, vulnerability, respect and awe – can be said to almost be soul-altering in its wild purity.
This particular region of the park is renowned for its prolific game – giraffe, hippos, buffalo, antelope, and crocodile are constant visitors to Mfuwe Lodge’s lagoon, whilst in November the local elephants regularly wander right through the lobby, lured by a the intoxicating scent of the nearby wild mango tree!
Contact us for more information on how to add this treasure to your next African safari tour!