walking safari recommendations

Jan 21st, 2004, 02:43 PM
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walking safari recommendations

Can anyone recommend a walking safari in southern Africa? Can you compare/contrast the experience of a walking safari with a standard safari?
Drebby is offline  
Jan 21st, 2004, 04:28 PM
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Sorry, I cannot tell you the name of a company that offers walking safaris. However, I can share my thoughts about a walking safari verus a standard safari (by which I assume you mean a driving safari, perhaps supplemented by opportunities to get out of the vehicle at certain lookout points, e.g., a spot overlooking a watering hole or something like that).

My opinion is that, while it would be good to do both kinds of safaris, it would be desirable to include a good, long hike through the bush at some point during one's itinerary.

The reasons are the same as the reasons for walking as opposed to driving in any other part of the world.

Take the Rocky Mountains near Calgary, for example. The Icefields Parkway between Lake Louise and Jasper is very scenic, no doubt about it. Driving it is wonderful. But one cannot compare that with doing the quite long uphill hike through the forest to the Ink Pots near Castle Mountain and emerging from the forest into an alpine meadow. After the effort of the hike one appreciates the reward of reaching the meadow in a way that just wouldn't be possible if one had been able to drive there. And on foot one notices a million and one details that one necessarily would miss if one were driving.

I would also say that, for a newcomer to Africa to get a lot out of a walking safari, it would be necessary to have a guide who was intimately familiar with the bush. There is something about walking through the bush with someone who really understands what's going on, someone who not only can point out a leopard spoor (footprint) but also show you how you can tell whether it's the spoor of a male or female leopard, how fast the leopard was travelling, how long ago the leopard had passed that spot, etc.

I used to walk through the bush with my dad like that when I was a kid, but I did not know then that what we were doing one day would be referred to as a walking safari.
Judy_in_Calgary is offline  
Jan 21st, 2004, 06:23 PM
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Drebby: If you mean a true walking safari, where you walk for miles between locations and camp is set up to meet you each afternoon, then one of the best for that kind of travel in East Africa is Tropical Ice, owned and operated by Ian Allen. Good luck with your search and let us know what/where you decide to go.
SusanLynne is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:19 AM
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Drebby - you can also a combine vehicle safari with a walking safari, as most camps/lodges do provide walking safaris for those who wish this experience. Instead of going out on a vehicle drive you can instead arrange to do a walking safari. Just ask for it.

And since there is often downtime after an early morning game drive till lunch (about 1pm) you can arrange a walking safari from after breakfast for the few hours till lunchtime.

There are options on how you can accomplish what you are looking for.
Jan 22nd, 2004, 01:08 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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We stayed at several of Robin Pope's camps in Zambia..while we prefered some of the other safari camps we visited (Sausage Tree in the lower Zambezi valley) we did greatly enjoy the opportunities to walk in the bush with the guide and a chap carrying a gun to protect us!
Most importantly we did meet people at the camps who had done a 3/4 night walking safari through Robin Pope that they raved about.
welltraveledbrit is offline  
Jan 22nd, 2004, 05:34 PM
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You should really consider South Luangwa. I stayed at Kafunta River Lodge, but if you do not mind splurging a little, there is an incredible looking camp that just opened:


While more expensive than Kafunta, I still believe that it is less expensive than Robin Pope's camps.

You would be very well served to spend perhaps four nights here and possibly three nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp (www.luangwa.com), where you will really enjoy game walks and isolation from the other lodges in South Luangwa. Expect to pay no more than $200 per person per night, full board (excluding alcoholic beverages) at Kafunta and if you go in June, before it gets too busy you can possibly get last minute rates of $125 per person per night.

The Star of Africa lodge, Puku Ridge, would be perfect for game drives and then the Kafunta Island Bush Camp, which is about a three hour drive away from Puku Ridge, would be perfect for game walks.

Game drives and game walks are entirely different experiences. Game drives will allow you to see more animals and get within close proximity, but game walks will really allow you to see things that you would never see on a game drive. Plus the view from the ground is entirely different from the view from a Land Rover or Land Cruiser. When the bush grows to four feet tall and you have no idea what is even 25' in front of you at times, it makes for a very exciting experience.

I would suggest perhaps two nights at Puku Ridge, followed by three nights at Kafunta Island Bush Camp, and then finish up with two more nights at Puku Ridge. While I liked Kafunta River Lodge, it was time consuming (about 20 minutes each way) to get in and out of the park since it lies outside the park. Puku Ridge, on the other hand, is inside the national park and night game drives are permitted.

Even just speaking about South Luangwa makes me want to return in the worst way. Most other nice places in Southern Africa, and even Eastern Africa are SO EXPENSIVE, but even the best places in South Luangwa are available at bargain rates.

If you care to see my photo album, including a few photos from South Luangwa (and others from South African and Zimbabwean game parks), here is the link:


If that doesn't work, try this link:


I don't think you could go wrong with South Luangwa. Although it is a hassle to get to South Luangwa, once you are there, you are in for an incredible time. You can either fly in from Johannesburg, or there are a couple weekly flights directly from London into Lusaka. Another gateway would be from Malawi, although I don't know the city name offhand.

Lastly, I did post a review on www.epinons.com on South Luangwa and here is the link:

Good luck.
Roccco is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 04:24 AM
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Well Roccco - I was wondering how long before we would see your response to Drebby. Just knew you'd have the perfect information regarding her request. Have you been on another holiday that we didn't know about? LOL!

Good information, as usual.

Believe there is another post specifically asking about Zambia within the past few days. Look for it, as I know the poster would be glad to hear from you.
Jan 23rd, 2004, 11:31 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 5,553

I am just rotting away here in Los Angeles, wanting to go somewhere, anywhere!!! First my November trip to New York fell through...next my February vacation to India hit a dead end...Tanzania in June was a no-go and now I am settling for Vienna to run the Vienna Marathon, followed by six nights in some undetermined cities (possibly Salzburg, Munich and Zermatt???, or Budapest and Prague) followed by a 12 night guided tour of Italy.

I am pretty sure that the Vienna, Budapest, Prague, Italy thing is going to happen and I am already beginning my training for the Vienna Marathon so I don't flake out as I did for the NYC Marathon.

If you want a good laugh, I am hoping to get in good enough shape by June, 2005 to somehow run the Comrades Marathon in Durban, South Africa, which is really like running back to back marathons plus an additional 3 miles...55 miles in all. I would then go to Phinda for three nights, possibly Rocktail Bay (a Wilderness Safari property for three nights) and then make my way up to the Serengeti, Tarangire and Ngorongoro Crater. That is the dream for now.

But, for the next 16 weeks I am stuck here, not having been anywhere since last August for my four night trip to Quebec City. I have just about reached my limit and will probably try to get away, for of all things, a 3 day fishing trip to the Sea of Cortez in Mexico. Why not???
Roccco is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 07:49 PM
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Judy, We've hiked in the Canadian Rockies several times and I understand exatly what you're saying and completely agree. Hikes off the Icefields Parkway are awesome when the weather and visibility is good.

Rocco, I looked at all your links and photos. You've done some great traveling and taken great photos. Could you (or anyone else) compare/contrast Singita, Sabi Sands with South Luangwa National Park? We're planning our first trip to Africa. We are fairly adventuresome travelers and are looking for the best value for our time and money (that doesn't mean cheapest, but we don't need the most luxurious either). We want about a one week safari along with a week in Cape Town.
Drebby is offline  
Jan 23rd, 2004, 09:06 PM
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I second the recommendations about South Luangwa in Zambia. I love the Robin Pope camps, especially Tena Tena and Nsefu. They can do lots of walks from the camp. Or you can sign up for one of their walking safaris. I also heard lots of raves from the people on their full walking itineraries. I believe Wilderness Travel (in Berkeley California) offers some fixed departures (max 8 people, I think) for Zambia walking safaris that are all managed by Robin Pope Safaris, so absolutely excellent...and I think the prices were a bit more favorable this way. A friend did this one and had a raving good time...including seeing lions very close on one of their camp to camp walks. Unbelievable photos! If you add a some days at a camp or camps in South Luangwa to this walking itinerary you would have an absolutely excellent holiday.
Zambia is a great destination...
tashak is offline  

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