Driving on a safari is truly a wonderful experience. There is so much to see and our western sensibilities make us want to do it all. But, as with the rest of life, the rush to get it all means we have to give up something. The give-up is the seemingly never-ending parade of animals. The take-up is in the fine detail. When going on safari the cure is to ensure you pre-book a walking safari, and book you must. Most places you will go are in national parks, and, with lions, Cape buffalo and other nasty critters you need a very experienced guide. Not all guides can conduct a walking safari, and they have to be accredited, licensed, knowledgeable and armed for your safety.
Now that I have scared off the less adventurous, we can begin.
Be prepared to walk five steps and look at tracks, two more steps give a lecture on termites, or a particular bird. Single file you carefully walk through the bush. Perhaps on a hippo path, maybe just through the grass but always aware of where you put your feet (the thorn bushes are CRAZY) and where the guide is. You do see animals, and try not to scare them. Try to get within 50 meters of some warthogs without them high tailing it away. The guide will keep you far away from a nasty looking Cape buffalo. See the birds, and reptiles, and grasses and trees and your entire viewpoint of the safari experience is changed and enhanced.
I went on three walking safaris this time around and was privileged to see three entirely different worlds. In central Serengeti we saw the detail of the bush through the eyes of a seasoned tracker. In the south Serengeti with an endangered tribe of hunter gatherers, and again with a safari guide. Each ended with the satisfaction of having learned something new and exciting. In the case of the last group, we ended our safari with the surprise of brunch in a treehouse. Ok we are not entirely roughing it here, after all, this is a Civilized Adventure.
P.S. Don’t forget the bug spray.