The best way to explore the bush on safari in Zimbabwe is on foot. The word safari comes from a Swahili word safara meaning a journey or travel. To travel on foot brings one back to the basics, down to earth, and being one with nature.
One can either undertake a walking safari by walking each day, or one can alternate between canoeing along the mighty Zambezi River and walking on the various different islands.
Walking does not have to be a route march - it is about stopping and listening to nature. Some walking safaris can even be done by journeying between tented camps, where a crew move ahead setting up a different camp each night.
Camping (and walking) safaris are becoming more and more popular, as visitors realise that they can walk off the delicious meals that are served on safari. Of course it would be rude not to eat the decadent chocolate cake served for tea and finish that last stray piece of flaky pastry – how do they do this over a camp fire is the eternal question? Ah well I’ll walk it off tomorrow.
Walking is one of our favourite modes of transport. One is entirely silent with no noise or vehicle pollution. The pace is much slower as your guide stops and identifies the tracks in front of you, checks the direction of the wind, explains the vital role of the dung beetle and the termites to you.
On a walking safari a whole new experience is unravelled that one simply is not always possible to understand when travelling across the plains in a noisy 4x4 vehicle.
Seek out nature using all your senses – scan the plains for sight of larger animals or vultures overhead, they may lead you to a kill and tracking lions on foot certainly may lead to a little adrenalin shot!; touch the grasses and feel the paper bark trees; listen for the cackle of guinea fowl or the sharp chattering of tree squirrels as they warn the world that danger is around; smell the pure earthy scent of fresh elephant dung or wild jasmine and gardenia – its intoxicating; and taste the sour coating covering baobab seeds.
Zimbabwe offers some of the finest walking safaris, both in the private concessions surrounding Hwange as well as in the magnificently beautiful Mana Pools region.
But Mana Pools is big game territory, renowned for its large elephant herds, its fabulous wild dog population and its lions amongst many other creatures. Being riverine, it also means that it has a good concentration of leopard.
You will take over a private camp that is erected on an island, having exclusive use. You will also have Zimbabwe’s finest walking safari and canoeing guide, James.
James not only has safety and security at the forefront of his mind, but his knowledge transforms your safari. Learn not only about the smaller things that support this fragile eco system, but about the bird life, the plants, the trees and their medicinal properties.
Being on foot, one is far more in tune with ones surroundings and it is a fabulous way to explore Africa!
By Marcela Kunova - 20th April 2017
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