An African safari often evokes images of long journeys in large 4x4s. While game drives are certainly a quintessential feature to most safaris, they don’t have to be the only feature. Many game parks allow for walks or hikes, provided they are with a safari ranger. These can be an excellent way to not only get some exercise, but to also to get out and explore the environment. It is true that after a long day in a safari vehicle, watching the wildlife from a safe distance, one begins to feel a bit removed from nature. A walk is a great way to do this and is highly recommended in areas that allow it. It doesn’t just stop at hikes; it’s also possible to do your wildlife viewing from a boat or canoe.
It’s important to let your tour operator know, at the time of booking, that you are seeking a high level of activity on your safari. If they have proper notice, they can work on incorporating activities into your daily game drives. In Tanzania, for example, it’s possible to schedule a half-day or a day of hunting with local tribesmen. Night hikes up active volcanoes are also a possibility. The walk is steep and strenuous and is done at night as the glowing lava is more dramatic. It’s also planned so that guests reach the summit an hour or so before sunrise and are able to witness a gorgeous African sunrise from an amazing vantage point.
Game drives aren’t applicable for some parks and require you to trek in. Those wishing to see primates, for example, will need to bring sturdy shoes and be prepared to trek for hours to see these magnificent creatures. These treks can be strenuous in nature and often will be on moderate to steep inclines. Trekking safaris are perfect for those wishing to get up close to the local fauna and flora. Other countries, such as Namibia and Botswana, offer ample hiking opportunities in many of their parks.
Active safari add-ons
Adding on a few days of adventure to your safari is also an option. It is not uncommon to see an itinerary with 5-7 days of game driving flanked by a day of golf or mountain biking. For parks nearer to the coast, it’s also common to see SCUBA and snorkeling packages that can be purchased in addition to the game viewing. A very popular and adventurous addition is a climb on Kilimanjaro. The vast majority of safari companies operating in Tanzania will offer a Kilimanjaro climb addendum. It is recommended that visitors do the climb before the safari, so that they enough energy to summit.
There are a wide range of options for those wishing to do more than enjoy a game drive. It’s important to choose your safari company carefully and, once you have chosen them, to communicate clearly your activity-level expectations