5 ways to do African safari differently

“Run! Run!!” yelled our safari guide, a look of impending danger in his bloodshot eyes. And boy did we run. Fraught with the thought of being mown down by a rampaging Cape buffalo or mauled by an incensed male lion, I’d have given Usain Bolt a challenge to the tape, and left Forrest Gump trailing in a cloud of my savannah dust.

It transpired to be nothing more than a couple of tsetse flies – although, saying that, these blood-sucking vectors can cause blindness, so a touch of haste wasn’t without cause.

This ‘incident’ was a very brief scene from a two-day walking safari on Chief Island in the Okavango Delta, but one that will stay with me. There is something about the insanity of being on foot with a number of predators and beasts that genuinely pose a threat to your well-being that conjures adrenaline like nothing else on Earth.

In a vehicle you are bound by well-worn roads and mapped routes, guarded by metallic walls and plenty of speed to out-run trouble should the need arise. On foot, you are thrust into the animals’ environs, to their level; free to cut your own path and roam as you deem appropriate and safe – following the trusted steps of your guide of course.

Seeing game in Africa’s hinterlands is special whatever your means of movement, but for that extra spark, why not leave the 4×4 behind and add a twist…

Here are 5 of the best alternative safari trips:

CANOEING
THE SELINDA SPILLWAY – BOTSWANA

canoe

An opportunity to view game up close, from the shallow waters of the Selinda Spillway. The route begins downstream from Selinda Camp, northeast of the Okavango Delta, in the 320,000-acre Selinda Reserve. Guests follow the Spillway east in their 18 foot Canadian canoes, passing through riverine forests, floodplains and open savannah facing wildlife along the banks as well as going ashore to walk and track. Swimming on a daily basis is a highlight as well. All equipment is carried by canoe, so the rustic camp is made up of 3x3m dome tents are furnished with comfortable bedrolls and quality linen and towels and accommodate two guests.

WALKING
ZAMBIA

Walking across the Mupamadzi

Explore South Luangwa and its big game on foot with this fantastic walking safari led by some of Zambia’s best guides. It’s an experience never forgotten to enjoy peaceful walks and see big game on foot under the watchful eye of your professional guide. Stay overnight in luxurious lodges along the way, as well as dining and sleeping out under the African stars.

(Photograph: Robin Pope Safaris)

For more information, click here.

HELICOPTER
NORTHERN KENYA

sirikoi-kenya-mt-kenya-helicopter-flight

Stay at Sirikoi in Laikipia, Kenya, and be flown by Willie Roberts (renowned guide and owner of Sirikoi) up to Turkana, one of Kenya’s most remote and unexplored destinations. Once there you will fly camp under the stars, exploring areas very rarely visited. Sirikoi is located in the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Northern Kenya and has nine traditional colonial safari style luxury tents, a private house and one two-bedroom cottage. It is surrounded by an acacia grove and overlooks a natural waterhole fed by a spring.

For more information, click here.

PARA TRIKE
NORTHERN KENYA

para-trike

Take inspiration from Flying For Heroes 2014, which saw wounded servicemen fly across Northern Kenya on Para Trikes, and take to the skies yourself. The Luxury Safari Company has teamed up with Alex Ledger and his expert team of servicemen to provide bespoke Para Trike aerial safaris across Kenya.

For more information, click here.

QUAD BIKING
NORTHERN KENYA

quad

Led by brothers Amory and JJ Macleod, who act as great hosts and very experienced guides, you will use quads and buggies to explore some of the most unspoiled wilderness in Africa. There’s a fully staffed private camp, which can either move with you or stay in one place depending on how long your trip is. Add a luxury lodge or camp to the end of your trip for an extra special experience.

For more information, click here.

By Patrick Tillard

Further Reading