Walking safaris

Walking Safaris are one of the most authentic African safari experiences available without doubt. As a qualified trails guide, field guide and as a qualified teacher/educator in my past, I, Timothy Jackson am passionate about walking in the bush. We know the prime walking safari locations and camps available within Africa. An important part for us is the walking guide available to you, who meets the standards we expect. The guides are responsible in ‘opening’ the door for you, to have your walking holiday experience, be your holiday of a lifetime.  We will define for you what to expect, in your walking safari experience.

We wish to highlight in the coming notes some historical points of interest and give recognition to people for their personal contributions to the world of walking safaris. Through consulting with us, we will match you with the most fitting experience, suitable to you, as individuals. We carefully select camps and guides, that complement your individual interests, tastes, and personal requirements. To this end, we will give you our absolute best suggestion, given our consultation process we undertake with you. We work very closely with clients, educating, leading, and encouraging you, to find the best fit for you. Putting the proper time in, is rewarded in a successful safari.  That requires a commitment from both you and us.

History of Walking Safaris

Before the advent of cars, walking in the bush in Africa was the only choice, other than horse and cart as time progressed and roads or rather ‘tracks’ became established. This is where the roots of today’s walking safaris in Africa were born.

We feel a classic example, of a true vintage epic journey, was the first ever Cape to Cairo traverse of the African continent by Grogan, in whose stories are recounted in a novel by Edward Paice called ‘Lost Lion of Empire’. This book is a must read for anyone who really enjoys reading about the era of early exploration and settlement in Africa by Western nations. A walking safari greater than any other without doubt.  Encountering local people who had never seen a European before must have been an amazing experience.  Remember, this was not so long ago in the big picture.

Another historical account of personal interest and fascination to us is that of Sir Stewart Gore-Brown, who brought many of his personal valuables from England, from a large family estate, to where he endeavored to successfully build, in a remote corner of now Northern Zambia, his dream English mansion; Shiwa Ngandu. This is a location I enjoy visiting, and staying, with guests. The point here been, that these Victorian paintings, fine china and furniture, along with many family possessions, had to be carried by foot, across virgin Africa, literally in the footsteps of Livingstone. Livingstone had made notes to himself, about this very spot where Gore-Brown built his estate.  Gore-Brown went to find this spot, having read Livingstone’s notes, and found the location. These are truly walking safaris in the raw, and to which we now hark back, to the good old days, wishing to re-create these times, as if they were all glorious.  I guess it’s true we do remember the good ol’ days? Our ability to create a fantasy journey, out of what must have been a harsh and dangerous exercise at the time, is a joy to us now, and we enjoy creating for you.

Walking Safaris and Tourism

Norman Carr first started operating walking safaris in the Luangwa Valley, Zambia, in the 1940’s.  Ideally combining 2-3 bush camps with walking, creating a individualized expedition through one of Africa’s most un-spoilt and game rich National Parks; South Luangwa National Park, or for those wanting an even more wild area North Luangwa National Park.

The concept of the walking safari was primarily lead by the late Norman Carr. To not require the use of vehicles on your safari, is indeed a great step forward, in the concept of eco-tourism. Jackson’s African Safaris are taking every step to support this style of safari.  One of the biggest questions we are asked is – Is it safe?  See further below.  Walking safaris do not have to be strenuous and are conducted at a pace determined by our guests, usually lasting up to 3 to 4 hours. They are led by fully qualified guides and armed game scouts.

Here are the categories available for Hiking and Walking in Africa:

  1. Traditional Walking Safaris – Take place in National Parks and conservancies with a wildlife, landscape, and photographic focus, where walking is the central means of transport/activity for the safari, or for at least one portion of the overall tour. This might be walks based out of one camp, where sometimes a vehicle is used to move to different areas to explore by foot, or in other cases walking from one bush camp to another, where your luggage is taken for you by vehicle.
  2. Soft walks can be combined into any safari.  e.g. One or two walks for an hour or two throughout a one or two week safari experience with a local guide or scout.
  3. Hiking Expeditions – Experience and live the great Mountains of Africa: Mt Kilimanjaro, Mt Kenya, The Drakensburg Mountains and more… Many weekly trips depart for these destinations at various prices and with numerous options for support. Ask us for details.  Designed to be right for you.

Are Walking Safaris Safe?

This is a question we at Jackson’s African Safaris are asked every week.  Our answer is simple:  Most days we get into our cars and drive somewhere.  We take the risk of getting hit by another car at high speeds and face the reality of losing our lives.  The risk of a walking safari is no greater than getting into your car.  The risk of a walking safari is no greater than flying in a plane to Africa.

We can reduce the risk, as we do with driving and flying, by ensuring we use the absolute best of guides trained for the purpose of taking this responsibility.  It is a risk you must calculate, just as you do each day you step into your car, or board a plane.  In our opinion it is the only way of truly experiencing the African bush.  We discuss in detail the options available to you for walking depending on your needs and vision for your safari experience.

Please contact us to discuss exploring the African bush by foot.

Kind Regards,
Timothy Jackson