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6 of the Best Destinations for Walking Safaris in Africa

Matthys van Aswegen

Author: Matthys van Aswegen - 16 February 2024

Last Update: 14 July 2023

Part of the African Safari Collection

Walking safaris are completely different to game drives. The original form of safari, it’s just you, the wilderness, and a highly trained and knowledgeable guide there to point out the secrets of the bush and track down game.

Encountering animals on their terms and as a participant instead of a spectator is extra rewarding and an experience you’ll never forget.

Walking safari.
Walking safari.

Walking safaris vary from short walks from a base camp to multi-day long treks where you walk from fully outfitted camp to camp. Your safari guide will usually identify tracks, point out interesting insects, share their knowledge of fascinating plants, and discuss the interesting ecosystem in general.

Here’s our list of the 6 best destinations for walking safaris in Africa.

Zambia

Zambia is where the walking safari originated, and it’s no surprise that the country offers some of the best trails, guides, and operators on the continent. Go straight to South Luangwa for an incredible walking safari experience.

Elephant herd in Zambia.
Elephant herd in Zambia.

This national park is famous for its plentiful wildlife, and you’ll get to see a variety of mammals and big game including elephants and leopards, as well as 400 bird species.

Popular destinations: South Luangwa, North Luangwa, Lower Zambezi National Park, Kafue National Park

When to go: May to October 

Tanzania

Tanzania’s mixed terrain is perfect for a walking safari, and its parks and reserves are favorites for some of the continent’s best guides.

Although the Serengeti is very popular when it comes to 4×4 safaris, the best destinations for a walking safari in Tanzania are the lesser-visited and smaller reserves.

Walking safari in Tanzania.
Walking safari in Tanzania.

Ruaha National Park, famous for lion and leopard sightings on its riverbanks and floodplains, and Selous Game Reserve, a lush landscape filled with elephants and hippos.

Popular destinations: Ruaha National Park, Katavi National Park, Tarangire National Park, Selous Game Reserve, Serengeti National Park

When to go: July to October 

Botswana

Looking for a true adventure in a one-of-a-kind wilderness area brimming with wildlife? Look no further than Botswana for the perfect walking safari destination. The Okavango Delta serves as the ideal base.

Walking safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.
Walking safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana.

Unique islands, floodplains, and waterways are a paradise for the Big Five, as well as crocodiles, wildebeest, zebras, giraffes, wild dogs and many other amazing creatures. The Delta is a wild place like no other.

Popular destinations: The Okavango Delta, Selinda Reserve 

When to go: May to September

South Africa

Featuring a wide variety of comfortable camps, an array of multi-day itineraries to suit every traveler, and the chance to explore some of the most incredible national parks on Earth, South Africa as a walking safari destination offers everything you could ever ask for in one place.

Observing an elephant on a walking safari in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.
Observing an elephant on a walking safari in the Kruger National Park, South Africa.

Kruger National Park plays host to the Big Five, as well as rare species like the cheetah and wild dog, and is an excellent choice for amazing wildlife viewing.

Popular destinations: Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands Reserve, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal reserves such as Hluhluwe Game Reserve and Mkuze Game Reserve

When to go: May to October

Kenya

Walking safaris aren’t allowed in most of Kenya’s national parks and reserves, but are becoming more and more popular in certain private conservancies. The number of camps is tightly controlled in conservancies, making Kenya an ideal walking safari destination to avoid tourist crowds and for an immersive and intimate experience

Walking safari in Kenya.
Walking safari in Kenya.

In Kenya’s Laikipia region, the terrain is rich with elephants, big cats, other large predators, and endangered species like African wild dogs and the Highland Hartebeest. 

Popular destinations: Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Private Conservancies in the Laikipia Region

When to go: June to October

Zimbabwe

Thanks to exceptionally high guiding standards and a rigorous training program, walking safaris in Zimbabwe are led by safari guides who are some of the finest in Africa. Zimbabwe enjoys wildly varied landscapes featuring everything from deserts and mountains to bushland, and wildlife on display includes the Big Five.

Walking safari in Zimbabwe.
Walking safari in Zimbabwe.

In Hwange National Park, you can expect to find massive herds of elephants, ample populations of gemsbok and hyenas, and the rare and endangered African wild dog.

Popular destinations: Chizarira National Park and Hwange National Park

When to go: May to October

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Copyright © Discover Africa Safaris | 6 of the Best Destinations for Walking Safaris in Africa | Last Updated: 16 February 2024