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Walking Safari in Tanzania: Everything You Need to Know

We like to push travelers on Extraordinary Journeys to the edge of their comfort zone since that’s where we think the real magic happens. We advise you to get out of the Land Cruiser at least once and enjoy the excitement of exploring the savannah on foot, even though we know that game drives are among the most exciting parts of a Tanzanian safari.

What is a walking safari?

An immersive and genuine approach to seeing Tanzania’s wildlife is through walking safaris. The wilderness is something you actively participate in, which makes it an exciting journey. Short-day hikes and mobile camping, which moves your tent for you and prioritizes nature immersion and the great outdoors over comfort, are among the available options. Trekking entails camping every night in various locales while backpacking.

One way to think of walking safaris is as an escorted ramble through the bush. Guided by a tracker, a guide, and sometimes a local or Masai guide, paths vary from fully guided navigation to game or cattle herders’ marked pathways. Walking safaris are a longer excursion through the wilderness than bush walks, which usually meander close to camp and last approximately an hour. In their most basic form, walking safaris—whether they be temporary, mobile, or permanent installations—return to camp every night.

What makes a walking safari special?

On foot, your senses sharpen. Your primal instincts react to the sights, sounds, and scents of the wild right away. When one slows down, the supporting characters of the savannah come to the fore. You’ll see laborious insects and fragile blooms without a thundering engine, and you’ll immediately pay close attention to the direction of the wind.

Up-close with wildlife: When you are walking among animals, you become a part of their world and can observe them from a different angle than when you are driving by. Walking allows you to have up-close experiences and the opportunity to see tiny species that are difficult to see from a car.

Remote Access: There is no greater sense of independence, seclusion, or immersion in nature than when you stroll through remote locations that are inaccessible by car. Game drives cannot match the intimate wildlife encounters and off-the-beaten-path exploration made possible by this special connection.

Who will enjoy a walking safari?

Both seasoned safari travelers and newbies find enjoyment in walking safaris. Stretching your legs while taking a walk on the wild side is what makes the experience for everyone so great. Two daily game-watching drives are the main focus of traditional safari days, which means you’ll be sitting in a 4×4 for a considerable amount of travel time. The chance to truly veer off the usual path affords you the chance to experience spontaneous moments amidst pristine surroundings. The breadth of information your guide will impart, from identifying plants and tracks to deciphering bush signals, will also be well appreciated.

Walking safaris in the style of an expedition, lasting seven to ten days and weaving across a variety of landscapes, are ideal for people with a wild side. You will hike nine to fifteen kilometers a day on these epics, and when you arrive at a fully equipped fly camp, amenities like hot meals and warm bucket showers await you.

Are walking safaris strenuous?

Walking safaris don’t require a lot of gear, and you only need to bring a daypack with water to drink. Even though the terrain is uneven and the distances covered are moderate, your guides will take advantage of any curiosity to pause. In order to avoid the heat of the day, you’re probably going to leave early in the morning and get to camp by midday.

Are African walking safaris safe?

It is quite normal to be skeptical about the notion of strolling into a big game habitat without the protection of a car. Although there is some risk involved with a walking safari, you are in good hands with knowledgeable, highly trained guides. Furthermore, there will always be an armed member of the group. Before leaving, tour guides will give a safety briefing. It is crucial to abide by regulations (such as walking in a single file) and carefully follow directions from guides. Consider the elements as well. Drink plenty of water, wear UV protection, and dress accordingly. Walking safaris are not suitable for small children.

Rules for Walking Safaris in Tanzania National Parks

Tanzanian National Park Authorities, or TANAPA, have strict restrictions for walks in their parks. These are in place to make sure that walking is as safe as possible. No more than six guests may walk at a time, and those who do must be accompanied by a minimum of one armed ranger with TANAPA certification and follow certain walking paths. However, as Tanzania’s national parks are not yet familiar with these restrictions, we would only suggest walking safaris from lodges that we are certain have a history of offering consistently excellent walking safaris with reputable guides.

Should I book a walking safari in Tanzania? What can I expect?

 You can essentially anticipate a one-of-a-kind experience in the great outdoors surrounded by wild animals: you alone strolling through the habitats of African icons, such as zebras, giraffes, wildebeests, gazelles, buffaloes, elephants, cheetahs, lions, hippos, rhinos, and more. You are now a participant in a wilderness where you must use all of your senses in order to survive and enjoy yourself, rather than just an observer from a safari truck.

Professional guides with extensive training will take you on walking safaris that last two to four hours or longer. They are aware of the hazards in their area, know how to act appropriately in an emergency, and know their surroundings. Generally speaking, though, the guides are more familiar with the animal behavior than the visitors. They can only rely on you to adhere to their directives.

The makeup of the participant groups can vary greatly. Important information, such as allergies to wasp stings, should not be withheld. The guides gain a sense of their visitors in addition to the group’s impressions, such as age and level of fitness, and adjust the walking safari to suit the needs of the group as needed.

Big-game encounters are not always guaranteed. There are frequently few opportunities to watch wild creatures in action. Part of the journey is getting to experience them. The other aspect involves being present to oneself and giving yourself over to experiences that are just not possible when driving a safari vehicle.

What should I bring for a walking safari in Tanzania?

You’re right if you believe that a walking safari is not the appropriate place to wear a suit or a Sunday dress. Here are some additional pointers to help you get even more out of the walking safari: Put on relaxed, tasteful attire. In addition to offering considerable sun protection, long sleeves and long pants also shield the wearer from thorns and shrubs’ sharp edges. In addition, you want to pack a rain jacket and a thick sweater for any extended walks you may take. Walking over hills and valleys is made possible by hiking shoes. Ideally, ankle-high to provide added stability and defense against venomous snakes. Also, being “waterproof” increases your independence from the time of year and the state of the track.

Though there are variations depending on the region, the dry season, which lasts from June to October, is the ideal time of year for walking safaris nationwide.

Permethrin or another insect repellent can be impregnated into garments if you are extremely sensitive to insect bites or know you will be walking in an insect-rich area.

Wear a shaded hat on your head and sunscreen on your skin to ensure you are getting enough sun protection.