Bush camps are uniquely Zambian having been pioneered in the Luangwa Valley. They go hand-in-hand with walking safaris which will often move from camp to camp. Often seasonal due to their remote location there are a range of options available. Here we give our run down on why a stay in one is a must on any visit to Zambia. Bush camps have become as integral to the Zambian safari experience as walking safaris, and the two combine perfectly for a really adventurous trip. They range in style dramatically from a fly camp erected each night for the most dedicated enthusiasts, to seasonal rustic shelters to luxurious chalets that it is hard to believe can be created in such remote locations. Highlights of a stay in them include:
Guide to Walking Safaris in Zambia
The home of the walking safari, Zambia and the South Luangwa in particular is the perfect place to get out and explore the bush on foot. Having been pioneered by Norman Carr in the 1950s in the Luangwa Valley, walking safaris allow you to get back to basics and experience the bush in an in-depth and multifaceted way, whilst leaving a much smaller carbon footprint. Here we give our top five reasons for recommending your next safari to Africa is a walking safari in Zambia…
1. It is a safari experience like no other…
There can be few more intimate safari experiences than being out in the wilds of the bush with just your expert guide and armed scout for company. Not only will you often have your surroundings all to yourself, but walking guides are amongst the most highly qualified on the continent. Even when you’re not encountering big game it is an exciting and unpredictable experience and you will come home with a wealth of knowledge under your belt.
2. You don’t even need to be as fit as a fiddle or consider yourself a walker…
The biggest physical challenge that you’re likely to face on a walking safari is the heat which is at its worst from September-November, which is also considered the best time to go. Walking safaris will be tailored to your fitness, ability and interests and you will always walk at the speed of the slowest person in the group. You don’t need to worry about carrying your worldly possessions either – a camera and/or binoculars will suffice with a porter usually dispatched to carry refreshments. If you are on a walking trail and moving from camp to camp your bags will be taken by vehicle. The guides are not just experts on all things flora and fauna, they are also masters of shortcuts so if you are struggling they will soon have to back on your feet.
3. It’s not just about the big stuff…
Of course lots of first safaris are all about spotting the big five and there are plenty of impressive wildlife sightings to be had in Zambia, and you will often encounter big game when out on foot. One of the greatest joys of a walking safari, however, is that you can learn about the smallest species too, as well as the life-giving properties of plants and survival skills. This is an all-encompassing experience which allows you to live and breathe the bush in the company of a highly-qualified guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of their ‘office’.
4. You can get off the beaten track and truly return to the wild…
A walking safari opens up the bush to exploration that just wouldn’t be possible when confined to a vehicle. Although game drives may sometimes be involved in a walking safari to reduce distances or for night drives to observe nocturnal wildlife, being out on foot means that there are few barriers. Walking safari camps tend to be in the most remote areas of the national parks and offer an exclusive experience which you will share with few others. If you do stumble across an elephant or track lions on foot you are likely to have it all to yourselves, making for one of the most intimate safari experiences imaginable.
5. You have less impact on the environment…
Hopefully the only foot prints that you will be leaving behind will be from your walking boots. When you’re only travelling at walking pace you can be much more aware of your surroundings and take care to not negatively impact on them. Although you will generate a carbon footprint from travelling to Zambia you can limit how much you add to this on the ground by staying in carbon-neutral, solar-powered camps that are often made of natural materials.
So what are you waiting for? Safari Wakale!
If you can’t wait to get out on foot on a walking safari in Zambia, then check out our top 3 itineraries:
Walk on the Wild Side - a wonderful walking safari in the remote southern sector of the South Luangwa walking from bush camp to bush camp, all of which have spectacular locations!
Luwi River Trail - following Norman Carr’s aim of safari wakale, this is a traditional walking trail led by some of the best guides that the South Luangwa has to offer, with the chance to return to the wild with a river bed sleepout!
Zambia and Malawi Adventure - perfect for those who are new to the concept of walking safaris and after more variety, this itinerary offers both walking as well as traditional game drives, with the bonus of being able to relax on the beach on Lake Malawi afterwards!
Do you want to get off-the-beaten-track or visit some of Zambia’s most renowned places?
Call us on 020 3141 2810 or email us to get the ball rolling with a tailor-made itinerary.
*Many thanks to The Bushcamp Company for allowing us to use their walking safari images.