My thoughts on walking safaris in Africa
I have been hooked since I did my first walking safari in Krüger National Park 2009.
A walking safari for me is the ultimate way to not only meet the wildlife, but also to start appreciate all the small things that you will find when you are on foot. You will most definitely see and experience more on foot than in a vehicle.
Walking safaris is not everyone’s game, but it gives me as a photographer another aspect and that is to be on the same level as the wildlife. When you sit in a vehicle you often take photos towards the subject that is below you making the ground the background. Sadly that often means cluttered backgrounds making the photos less interesting in my meaning. When you are on a walking safari then you can work with the background and that is a great benefit.
Show respect when you enter their world
The most important thing to have in mind when you are on a walking safari is of course to respect the wildlife. Don’t push boundaries because you are the visitor and how would you react if someone trespassed on your turf? You probably would strike out and the same thing appliance in the wild.
Animals and humans basically behave the same. Animals will give you warnings as you come too close to their comfort zone. If you don´t understand the warning then you might be in trouble and the same appliance if you accidentally frighten an animal.
A good guide trained to conduct walking safaris is worth every penny as they will help you interpret the signals and help you understand and read the signs during the walking safari. It also gives you an extra pair of eyes, ears and a nose that is tuned to the wild.
Use common sense
These are some short guidelines I always try to follow
- Don’t walk alone, but keep the group size small
- Respect the animals. They will tell you “Here I am – don´t come any closer”
- Use caution and common sense like avoiding tall grass and thick bush
- Walk slowly and quietly
- Make sure you are seen if you are around dangerous game. It is important not to startle them
- Use all your senses. Stop, listen and smell from time to time to be aware of what’s around you
- Remember that mother’s always protect their young
- Always stay calm and back off slowly if you unexpectedly come too close to an animal
If you have an interest to participate in a walking safari then check out my and Zane Engelbrechts trip to Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe in August. During this trip we will have one local guide from Zimbabwe and they are among the best in the world. Zane is not only a photographer, but also a trained guide which means you will have two trained guides and two photographers to learn from during the seven days we stay in Mana Pools National Park.
This is a unique opportunity for everyone and something I don’t think you should pass if you are interested in learning more about both photography and the African wild.