By Srinivas Krishnan
There is an old jungle saying: “The tourist who walks deep into the bush understands the heart of Africa best.”
Apologies to Lee Falk and his famous comic creation, the Phantom, but we guess you understand the sentiment behind that ‘old jungle saying’. Because if you want to absorb the real wild Africa, you have to immerse yourself and be a part of the jungle, like our ancestors did for thousands of years. The only difference is that you can do it in great comfort and safety, with a dash of luxury.
It’s a different experience altogether compared to watching the bush unfold from the back of a vehicle. In a mobile walking safari, you are one with the vast sky, the distant horizons, the teeming wildlife, the lush flora, the untamed waters, the unpolluted air and the breath-taking sunsets. All your five senses are on a refined state of alertness, allowing you to take in the bush in its real state, where even seemingly insignificant sounds, smells and sights get highlighted. The flutter of a bird’s wing, the cry of an animal, the rustle in the grass, the distant sounds of water gushing, the smell of the earth… It’s like being inside a David Attenborough documentary! Sounds like an adventure, right?
The mobile walking safari in the unspoiled South Luangwa National Park in the beautiful, blessed and peaceful country of Zambia is a unique African adventure. The Park is unsullied and offers you Africa in its primal, natural form. The magic is because of the seasonal flooding that, with its ebbs and flows, makes it inaccessible by road. Consequently, there is a terrific concentration of game in this Park and it hosts some of the most varied collections of wildlife on this planet.
Centred in and around the Luangwa River, there are over 400 species of bird, large pods of hippos, as well as lion, leopard, elephant, unique zebra and giraffe species as well as the extremely endangered African wild dog. Now imagine walking through it, accompanied by a campsite that moves along with you. Of course, you will be accompanied by an experienced naturalist who will ensure you know and understand more than what you’d get by watching a documentary on the telly. You will be taught how to spot clues, hone your skills as well as use your senses to the fullest to truly discover the African bush. From tiny ants to humongous elephants, from understanding the intricacies of a bird’s nest to tracking a lion, you will experience the rawness of wild Africa the way it’s meant to be.
You must be thinking that’s fine during the day, but many of these animals are nocturnal. True. Which is why you can go on a drive in a specially customized vehicle which is equipped with a powerful spotlight – so you can witness the mighty cats and other animals in the darkness too.
Starting your trip at the ideally situated Nkwali Camp which has an excellent view of the Luangwa River, you begin your orientation of the African jungle. Your walking experience starts soon after, along the Mupamadzi river (which is a major tributary of the Luangwa), through remote parts of the park. The camps will be set and ready to welcome you from your walks through the bush. They are well-equipped with walk-in tents, with a shower under a tree while the toilet is a wooden throne with a long drop. Camping out in the open in the true African wilderness is an unmissable experience, especially at night with the vast sky and the countless stars to look up to… with the inimitable noises of the jungle providing the scene with a soundtrack!
Will the walks through the bush be strenuous? Well, if you are moderately fit, you should be able to accomplish the adventure with not much effort. Want to test it out rather easily? Try running for about 50 metres; if you can do it, then you are on! The walking safari, on the varied ground, averages about 10 km daily, but you have a staggering four hours to accomplish it. So it’s a decent pace, which allows you more time to observe and watch the real African bush.
But the walking safari is not only about giving your shoes a good work out. You get to relax and rest your weary legs at some very good spots. For instance, the Tena Tena camp, which is located in a remote section of the National Park, sits atop a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River. From the comfort of the camp, you can watch elephants, hippos and antelopes pretend as if you are not there. You will also get to spend some time at the Nsefu game camp, which was the first one to be set up in Zambia way back in the early 1950s. This one overlooks a waterhole, where you can observe game during the day and leopards in the night.
Sounds good? Come with us for the Walking Safari in Zambia – you can be our Guest Who Walks, who makes old jungle sayings come true!
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Check out our package on Zambia : Zambia Package