Walking in Zimbabwe – Sam’s Trip Report
There may be no wildebeest migration nor a seasonal flood, but for those who want to escape the maddening crowds and enjoy an authentic safari experience, with exceptional game viewing and the best guides in the business, then look no further. Add to this that the price of a safari in Zimbabwe is often a fraction of the cost of some other Africa destinations and you have the recipe for an unbelievable holiday.
Walking guides in Zimbabwe are very limited, and that is due to the tough nature of their examinations. Yet every camp I stayed at ensured that a walking guide was available for me, should I wish to hop out of the vehicle and stretch my legs. And I certainly took advantage of that.
From watching wild dog pups playing and feeding, lions skulking and buffalo herds drinking, my sightings on foot rivalled any that I have had in the vehicle. We had some extraordinary elephant sightings on foot too, from curious young elephant bulls to the legend that is Boswell. Not only a giant of an elephant with enormous tusks, Boswell has the canny act of standing on his hind legs to reach for a delectable morsel. He has an army of followers does Boswell, and some have even started copying his antics.
Photographers should not fear. With mirrorless technology, the clacking of a camera shutter is no longer a thing to worry about, and being on foot allows you to get those low-angle shots, which are far more satisfying than being raised in the vehicle.
Aside from being on foot, Zimbabwe provided boat safaris (on the Zambezi where nesting carmine bee-eaters were a highlight) as well as vehicle safaris and plenty of hides – be it log hides or underground bunkers – that made for excellent photo opportunities as well as great places to stop for a mid-morning coffee and rusk break. Although a lot of the time, the wildlife came to you. Every camp I visited was blessed with numerous visits by huge families of elephants.
Having visited very late during the dry season, temperatures were high! And after receiving the first rains of the season, it quickly became apparent why Mana Pools shuts from mid-November onwards. That said, Hwange in the green season is not something to be forgotten about. Easily combinable with a trip to Victoria Falls, the value for money is even better at that time of the year, and the game viewing in certain areas (including the abundant migratory bird life) is not to be missed.
It’s time everyone started realising what a true safari gem Zimbabwe is and if you’d like to chat through my trip or anything else, please feel free to schedule a call.