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Luxury walking safaris in Zambia - the ultimate safari experience

Zambia - Luangwa Walking Safaris - Lion

Walking safaris are the finest way to see wildlife in its natural environment in Africa. Most of us are active and nobody wants to be constrained to a vehicle all day every day, and this is where the walking safari comes into its own.

Zambia is home to the best walking safaris in Africa.  These take place in North and South Luangwa reserves. The walking season is June-October.

One can either join a set departure or have a Zambia walking safari tailored around just your party. Spend the first few nights at a comfortable, stylish tented camp in south Luangwa, where the order of the day is game-drives during the day and night.

This is followed by a 5 or 7 night walking safari between four mobile camps, which are set up for you in a completely remote part of the park, where nobody else visits. This is the joy of the walking safari – you won’t see any other humans apart from those on your walk– just animals! There is also the option of a longer 10-day walking safari.

The whole emphasis is on walking. This is no route march – perhaps 10kms maximum will be covered in an entire day over generally flat ground. This is one of the best ways of going on safari as one learns so much – not only about the wildlife, but also the trees, plants, insects and birdlife.

No more than six people are taken walking at a time and one develops a close rapport with one’s guide. The sights, the smells, the sounds – these will all remain with you forever.

The changing of the light each morning and each evening, the sound of lions calling whilst you are safely tucked up in your tent, with people around to protect you – this is what dreams of Africa are made of!

If you would like to take advantage of more game drives, one can either spend two or three nights at a luxury, tented camp in the same area or, you might like to discover a new area, such as the lower Zambezi. You have the finest guides in Zambia guiding you and as each day dawns, it brings new experiences and highlights.

One of my favourite places to stay in the Lower Zambezi area is Old Mondoro bush camp, an intimate camp set in a wonderful area where the wildlife often comes to the camp! From here you can take bush walks with wonderful guides, go canoeing along the Zambezi river, do some catch-and-release angling, or watch wildlife from a hide.

Another option for a south Luangwa walking safari, if one doesn’t want to camp, is to stay at an owner-managed lodge in the south Luangwa, which is renowned for some of the finest guides in Africa.

This is an individual, bespoke safari. Perhaps spend three nights at the beginning in the owner-managed lodge in south Luangwa National Park, where one can enjoy game viewing by vehicle (or foot, if you prefer) and then walk out to their two reed constructed lodges, each offering different views and experiences. This is tailored entirely to your own wishes and timetable.

The south Luangwa National Park is a veritable treasure trove of abundant wildlife which is concentrated around the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons. Its 9025 square kilometres boast one of the highest concentrations of leopard in southern Africa and it is also home to the endemic Thornicroft's giraffe.

The elephant population is healthy, as is the hippo population. The birdlife is equally rewarding, with over 400 species recorded in the area. The walking safaris are conducted by extremely knowledgeable conservationists and guides, with a focus firmly on the wildlife and surrounding environment.

For somebody looking for an authentic walking safari, where one can walk from one private, mobile tented camp to another, then this is the only safari that exists of its kind.

Sleeping in a tent is simply wonderful, as the night sounds are so much closer and clearer through the gauze windows. Secondly, the breeze wafts gently through and the smells of the plants and wild herbs with the morning dew really make you feel alive.

This is one of the best walking safaris in Africa, especially if one wants to combine other parts of the country with the Luangwa.

Click here to find out more about walking safaris in Africa >

Images courtesy of Chiawa camp and Old Mondoro.