Going on safari is not a new concept. We are all familiar with the vast plains waiting to be explored by the 4×4 van or Land Rover. The numerous antelopes, wilder beasts and zebras grazing the savannah, giving us encouragement to keep a lookout for the other camouflaged animals. It can get repetitive and dull. Once you have been on one safari, you have been on all of them. Is this truly the case?
No, and here is why.
Just as there are many cultures and traditions across Africa, there are different ways of doing the traditional safari. Sure, the main attraction, the wildlife, is generally consistent in most locations. However, the new trend is trying to get as close as possible to the wildlife and fully immerse in a life-changing experience.
Zambia is capitalizing on this need to have a different experience while on safari to further its tourism industry. It is one of the few locations where tourists can go on a guided walking safari. Yes, it said walking safari.
Now, if you are anything like me, the moment I saw walking I was intrigued and already heading to close the tab. There was no way in my mind I was signing up to practice my running skills against any of the big cats. However, at the same time, it would be nice to be that close to wildlife. Without the barriers of windows or fences, you truly get to admire wildlife in its fullest form and up close and personal. It doesn’t get any more life-changing than that.
A walking safari gets very intimate, the wildlife is not frightened by the sound of an oncoming vehicle, thus is not frightened. Seeing intimate moments between large groups which would be interrupted by the sound of a vehicle. I can imagine witnessing a pack hyena feeding or coming close to an elephant. Imagine the freedom that brings!
This is exactly what Zambia’s South Luangwa is offering. Of course, there are some prerequisites to ensure your safety while on a walking safari. ALL troops are accompanied by an armed guard who is familiar with the landscape and all the wildlife in the region. On a personal level, ensuring that your physical fitness is good enough to keep up with a team, as it can be straining to cover large distances for a period of a week. Lastly, and most important a sense of adventure and an open mind. The different experiences offered by a walking safari can range from great to risky, and spotting certain wildlife is not guaranteed but it is worth it.