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Shenton Safaris Walking Safaris 10 - Gir

SAfari on foot?

Take on south Luangwa

National park with zambian ground handlers

Simply the best safari experience in Africa.


Quite a statement eh? Indeed it is and at Zambian Ground Handlers, they are more than happy to stand behind it.  South Luangwa National Park lies within the Luangwa Valley in Eastern Zambia which is actually the farthest tip of the famed Great East African Rift. 

It is teeming with wildlife and has been heralded as one of Africa’s last un-spolit wildernesses.  Once home to the world’s largest populations of both Elephant and Black Rhino the Valley has always been regarded as a sanctuary for wildlife, a place where humans are the visitors and that is as true today as it has even been.

The safari industry has lauded the Luangwa Valley as prime game-viewing territory since the 1940’s when hunter turned conservationist Norman Carr first started taking people into the bush with cameras rather than guns and the photographic safari was first conceived. 


Today there is a cluster of camps around the main entrance of the National Park and a good number of small intimate bush-camps, most with only 4 rooms, spread out across the Valley floor. Most of the game-viewing is carried out from open 4x4 safari vehicles but there is still a lot of emphasis placed on the more traditional style of tracking and viewing game on foot.  All visitors to this National Park will be encouraged to go out on foot and, the Zambian Ground Handlers team endorses that trend wholeheartedly.  “From a vehicle you see Africa.  On foot you feel, hear and smell Africa”.

vehicle giraffe puku.jpg

It is probably true that you won’t see as many animals on a walking safari as you would from a vehicle and almost certain that you won’t get as close to them.  This said, there’s nothing that can compare with the thrill of glimpsing a lion through the trees, 50 meters away, when you have been tracking him for the past hour.  That brief moment when you watch him, unaware of your presence, is reward enough.  And then, when a gust of breeze takes your scent to him, he sniffs, then snorts and growls and turns on his heel, disappearing in an instant, leaving your thumping heart as the only proof of what has passed.  Now that is an experience that will live with you for a lifetime.


And it’s an experience that is rare in this modern, sanitized world.  In most safari destinations of Southern and East Africa, guests will be offered a tamed-down version of a walking safari where the smaller things are brought to life. Termite mounds will be discussed at length and the life-cycle of an ant-lion will be broken down. 


All very interesting, don’t get me wrong but one goes to the bush to see big game and there is no more exciting way of seeing it than on foot.

The South Luangwa is easily accessed from Zambia’s capital Lusaka (a direct flight on Emirates Airlines from Dubai if coming in from the Middle East). The flight time is an hour and there are several scheduled flights each day.  Once there all tastes, styles and budgets are catered for, the larger and more reasonably priced camps tend to be close to the Park entrance with smaller, typically more high-end bush-camps, hidden in remote corners of the Park.  But a restricted budget should never preclude one from experiencing the best of what the South Luangwa has to offer. 


Zambian Ground Handlers are able to tailor an itinerary to suit the demands and expectations of all clients, whether you have just a couple of days to spare or are looking for two weeks immersed in some really remote wilderness. So if the African savannah beckons, believe us when we tell you, the South Luangwa will provide you with experiences and memories to cherish, and Zambian Ground Handlers can very well be your trusted partner in making your next safari on foot a reality!

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