Safari with a difference?
Up the adrenaline for a more Active Safari

Going on safari does not have to be about only sitting in a safari vehicle with binoculars in hand – many destinations offer a variety of activities where you can get more involved and up close for a truly unique safari experience. Check out our suggestions below:

Saddle up!

There are several destinations including South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Kenya that offer Horseback Safari experiences. This unique way of game viewing offers you a chance to get up close and personal with animals, with a slightly more intimate viewing point. Majority of reserves that offer these experiences have a range of horses to cater for most abilities, as well as avoiding areas that are home to dangerous animals or predators. There is something truly amazing about sitting on the horse as Sable antelope graze past you assuming you are part of the herd!

The likes of Ants Collection also offer cycling through their reserve – where you can mountain bike on a selection of trails whilst game spotting!

Or from a slightly more elevated view point – Camel Back safari’s in Central Kenya offer probably the most unique and comical safari experience!

A congregation of crocodiles

Safari is not just about the land, game viewing from the water creates a safari experience with a difference and you get to see a whole heap of animals you could have missed from the jeep. Botswana offers mokoro trips where you can glide down the channels in your dugout canoe, hunting for painted reed frogs and searching the skies for African Fish Eagles.

Or take to a slightly speeder mode of transport by cruising the Chobe River by motorboat – taking in the herds of elephant and buffalo that head down to the water to drink. If the above isn’t active enough for you why not consider Zambia, where you can paddle the Lower Zambezi River in your own canoe, keeping a watchful eye out for crocodiles and hippos.

Lace up your boots!

Leave the comfort of the game vehicle to take to the bush by foot. Walking in the bush brings you face to face to the smaller creatures that you would likely miss in the jeep. Insects, beetles, shrews and tortoises, along with spoor / tracks of large game can be fascinating. You can also learn about grasses, plants and trees – like using Devil Thorn leaves as soap, or the much-needed Toilet Paper Tree!

Namibia offers Black Rhino tracking where you walk along rugged terrain in search of these shy and vulnerable animals. In Tanzania, you can walk to Lake Manyara to spot the flamingos, or trek from camp to camp in Zambia where your luggage arrives before you do!

Most reserves offer game walks as an additional activity – some are charged for, where others have a minimum age of 16+ years.

The Marine Big 5

Conversations always seem to focus on Africa’s Big 5 – but did you know there is also the Marine 5?

South Africa offers boat trips out along the coastline from the Northern Cape down to Gansbaai where you can try and tick off these unique 5 – the African Penguin, Cape Fur Seal, Dolphins, Southern Right Whales and of course the majestic Great White Shark. These trips are seasonal and best time to go is during the winter months from May – October when whale season is in full swing. You can opt to head out by boat, or if you are feeling energised – hire a kayak!

For the real adrenaline junkies – Shark Cage Diving could be one to tick off your bucket list. Seeing a Great White Shark up close is surprisingly peaceful and these graceful beasts are really quite beautiful!

Rev your engine

Namibia is all about adventure! Take to the skies as you fly up the Skeleton Coast or float above the sand dunes in Sossusvlei in an early morning Hot Air Balloon safari. Or if you are feeling the need for speed – you can jump on the back of a quadbike and follow the trails through the desert in hope to spot oryx, springbok or jackal – just make sure you make it back before sunset!

Hook, line and sinker

And finally not a better way to get active than a rod in one hand and a cold beer in the other – fishing is a sport after all!

Catch and release is offered in both Zambia and Tanzania where you can fish for Tiger fish (seasonal) or the less aggressive Catfish. You can enjoy the views of the river, have a go at identifying the various species of kingfishers or other water birds as you cruise the river. Once the hard work is done – sit back and watch the sun dip below the horizon.

Lower Zambezi Fishing Trip

About the author

Amy joined the Bushbaby team in 2018, having worked in travel since 2010. Her specialist area is Africa, having grown up in South Africa and lucky enough to travel around most of Southern and East Africa. Amy enjoys travelling to areas that offer a contrast of adventure and down time with her husband and son. Her favourite place to date is a hard one to pin down – but the Ngorongoro Crater is very high on the list!

Amy Wheeler - Africa Specialist

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