Five best walking safaris
Forego the comforts of hotel and 4x4, and take a walk on Africa's wild side, says Mike Unwin
Saturday 02 May 2009
Imfolozi Wilderness Trail, South Africa
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, nestled among the hills of northern KwaZulu-Natal, is where the white rhino found refuge from extinction. Trailists are guaranteed close encounters with this two-tonne tank of a herbivore – and possible nerve-jangling brushes with its smaller-but-stroppier cousin, the black rhino. The emphasis is not on big game – though there's plenty of it about – but on the raw wilderness experience.
Trails start from Mpila Camp, a three-hour drive from Durban. All-inclusive prices begin at £147 per person for a two-night trail ( kznwildlife.com)
Selous fly camp, Tanzania
The Selous (pronounced se-loo) Game Reserve in southern Tanzania is twice the size of the Serengeti and, unlike its northern cousin, offers excellent walking safaris. Sand Rivers Camp offers a "walking mobile" trip, in which up to six guests camp out at simple fly camps. Tents are mere cubes of mosquito netting and campfire meals are cooked beneath the stars to the chorus of Africa's noisy nightlife.
Seven-night all-inclusive Sand Rivers safari, including four-night walking mobile, from £3,820 per person sharing ( expertafrica.com)
Mwaleshi Camp, Zambia
Zambia's Luangwa Valley is undisputed capital of the on-foot big game experience. Mwaleshi Camp, perched on the banks of the Mwaleshi River, is one of just three camps in the park. It offers rustic comfort for a maximum of eight guests.
Eight-night, all-inclusive Luangwa Valley safari, with four nights at Mwaleshi, from £3,618 per person ( imagineafrica.co.uk)
Footsteps Camp, Botswana
Located on Shindi Island in the Okavango Delta, Footsteps is a simple, rustic camp specialising in walking, with expert guides leading small groups in search of the local flora and fauna. Family groups can hire out the whole camp, complete with personal guide and dedicated.
Nine-night all-inclusive Okavango Delta safari, including three nights at Footsteps, from £3,730 per person ( aardvark safaris.co.uk)
Tok Tokkie Trails, Namibia
This is a walking safari with a difference: it's in a desert. The three-day, two-night trail follows a circular route through the private NamibRand Nature Reserve and its gravel plains, towering red sand dunes and rugged mountains. At night, your bed-roll and washbasin are simply arranged on the sand, with a mind-boggling canopy of stars as your roof. But with hot water and three-course dinners, you won't go without creature comforts.
Tok Tokkie Farmhouse is six hours from Windhoek and is easily included within a self-drive Namibia tour. Rates are £189 per person per night, all-inclusive ( toktokkietrails.com)
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