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Walking safaris

© Jennifer Stern© Jennifer Stern You can get wonderful views of game from the back of a safari vehicle but, if you want to really experience the bush, you have to do it on your own two feet. There are fabulous escorted walking safaris in most of the reserves. These are almost always done in the company of an armed, trained ranger who will do everything he or she can to ensure both your safety and that of the animals. So the big gun is really only there as an absolute last resort.

You can do short walks away from the vehicle or from the lodge in most private game reserves and in some national parks, and there are also multi-day wilderness walks. These range from quite basic trips where you carry all your own stuff in a backpack and rough it a bit, to luxury trails where you are burdened only with a day pack, and your luggage magically appears at fabulously comfortable fly camps every night.

Although the walking is secondary to the looking, and distances are not enormous, you need to be reasonably fit and agile, as you may need to manoevre quite rapidly in an emergency. Also - while getting close to animals is one of the main objects, and certainly gives the biggest thrill, it's the all-pervading sense of the peace of the bush that you'll remember long after you've picked all the grass seeds out of your socks.

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