Walking safaris and trekking in Africa

Walkers and trekkers seeking adventure are spoilt for choice in Africa with its expansive deserts, towering mountains, tropical forest and vast plains. If you are on the look-out for your next peak to conquer Kilimanjaro, Mount Kenya and Mount Meru are all tempting challenges.

Walking Safari (2) Kilimanjaro Cottar's - Bush Walk - Michael Poliza Photography

Immerse yourself in the wilderness of Africa by walking its lands. All of our walking safaris and trekking holidays are fully supported by highly qualified and fully vetted staff on the ground. Whilst any walking or trekking can be challenging, most should be achievable with reasonable fitness. Please share any concerns or questions with our Travel Experts regarding any physical activities you wish to participate in.

Zambia

Zambia is known as the home of the walking safari. Pioneered by Norman Carr in the 1960's as part of his conservation vision, Carr wanted to move visitors to shooting the wildlife with cameras, not guns. Walking safaris allow you to experience Zambia at its most authentic and the South Luangwa National Park is the best place for it. Step into the shoes of Stanley and Livingstone as you explore Africa and get closer to nature than ever before. Watching big game while on foot is always exhilarating and the South Luangwa doesn't disappoint with huge herds of buffalo and elephant common sights. This area also boasts one of the largest hippo populations in Africa.

Once you experience a walking safari, it will become the only way you will want to view game.

Tanzania

At a breath taking 19,343 feet, Mount Kilimanjaro is both the tallest mountain in Africa and the tallest free standing mountain in the world. Sitting on the border of Kenya and Tanzania, its famous snow-capped peak rises over the plains of Africa and can be seen from hundreds of miles away. As one of the Seven Summits (the tallest mountain on each continent) it is a popular mountain for climbers. As climbs are guided, no previous experience or technical ability is needed to reach the summit, but it does require months of training and preparation. Kilimanjaro is a perfect challenge for those who enjoy high-altitude climbing, as well as being the adventure of a lifetime.

Choose from four routes, the classic Marangu route, the scenic Lemosho route, the more challenging Machame route or the unusual Rongai route. Upon summiting, watch the sunrise from the roof of Africa.

Whilst very much an experience on its own, a climb of Tanzania's second highest mountain, Mount Meru is also a great way to get acclimatised for Kilimanjaro. Mount Meru (4566m) is a horseshoe-shaped volcanic crater with a spectacularly narrow ridge and superb all round views of Kilimanjaro, and of the Meru crater itself. As part of Arusha National Park the lower slopes of the mountain shelter a variety of wildlife including buffalo, warthogs, monkeys, giraffe, elephant and a variety of birdlife.

Walks and hikes are possible across Tanzania but most famously at Lake Natron, in West Kilimanjaro, and at Ol Donyo Lengai. Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve and Ruaha National Park offer superb walking safaris and if you fancy a hike alongside wild chimpanzees then head to the Mahale Mountains National Park.

South Africa

South Africa is an outstanding destination for walking and trekking holidays offering well-marked trails through its deserts, mountains, rolling grasslands, wildlife parks, huge dune-fields and sweeping beach-fringed coastlines.

One of the best known and most popular of the hiking trails in South Africa is known as the Otter Trail and ranks alongside the best trails in the world. It follows the beautiful Eastern Cape coastline from Storms River Mouth to Natures Valley in the Tsitsikamma National Park. For years it has been a very popular option for couples looking for an active honeymoon.

With South Africa offering practically year-round walking and trekking visitors can enjoy the diversity of the country with walks in the Cape Winelands area, walking safaris in the Kruger National Park, hikes among the cliffs and canyons of the Sabie Valley, coastal hiking at Kosi Bay or along the Wild Coast, more challenging trekking in the majestic Drakensberg range or walks with a specialist guide to explore the nation's Anglo-Zulu War battlefields. There is also the ascent of Cape Town's Table Mountain which is always an interesting challenge or the Cedarberg Mountains, noted for their dramatic rock formations and challenging and exciting day hikes.

Kenya

Whist Kenya is most famous for luxury safari, the country boasts a draw for trekkers too, Mount Kenya. The highest mountain in Kenya is a three million year old extinct volcano and second-highest in Africa (after Kilimanjaro in Tanzania). Despite lying just south of the equator it is completely covered by a thick ice cap.

The climbers' peaks are the twin peaks of Batian (5199m) and Nelion (5,188m) and trekkers head to the no less dramatic peak at Lenana (4,985m). The trek up Mount Kenya demands a degree of fitness and altitude smarts, but the rough terrain and height of the mountain mean that it is one that serious trekkers just have to conquer.

Kenya's private wildlife conservancies also offer opportunities for walking safaris to get you up close and personal with the Big 5 and other wildlife.

Rwanda and Uganda

Rwanda and Uganda offer the opportunity to trek through the lush equatorial forests of central Africa to get up close and personal with gorillas and chimpanzees.

Uganda also offers trekking in the Rwenzori Mountains National Park, a World Heritage Site. The scenery is truly spectacular and the plant life varies from heavy tropical rainforest, bamboo forests, montane cloud forests to alpine vegetation. Above 4,500 metres the snow and glaciers add that special dimension to the wondrous views throughout this pristine mountain range.

Namibia

With the massive sand monoliths in Sesriem, the extraordinary rock formations of Damaraland, the vast Skeleton Coast, the salt pans and wilderness of Etosha National Park, Namibia is an adventurer's dream. There are plenty of excellent day walks on good trails and several challenging longer treks.

One of the most famous hikes in Southern Africa and one of Africa's toughest is the Fish River Hiking Trail which is an 86km hike through the Fish River Canyon. Only offered in the winter months (April to Sept) it takes 5 days with absolutely no facilities and can only be undertaken by physically fit people. Hikers are required to carry everything and find whatever water they can in semi-permanent pools.

Other shorter day and half day hikes are offered by several surrounding lodges to various parts of the canyon.

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