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Walking Safaris

Summary: Explore spectacular wilderness areas on foot in the company of a Maasai Warrior or Park Ranger Guide

Price: $5 - $15 per person

Duration: One-hour nature walks to longer half-day hikes

Location: Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Mara River in the Northern Serengeti, Mbalageti River in the Western Serengeti, Tarangire National Park and Empakaai Crater

Background: Experience the unique sights, smells, and sounds of Africa unconstrained by a vehicle. Immerse yourself into the subtle yet beautiful details of this wild place. Learn to recognize different animal footprints. See and touch the different plants that form the bottom level of an immense food chain. Watch curiously as a dung beetle recycles waste from the plains or take a minute to watch a butterfly or hummingbird move from flower to flower. Learn about ancient medicinal plants that have been used for thousands of years to cure various ailments. On foot you can really take notice of the little things that are passed quickly by while driving. Walking in the bush could prove to be one of the highlights of your safari as you track animal footprints, game view on foot, and learn about ecology and culture from your Maasai Warrior or Park Ranger Guide.

Mara River: View hippos and crocodiles on a 30-minute walking safari along the banks of the Mara River in the remote reaches of the Northern Serengeti. This is one of our favorite walks and is highly recommended in the dry season. Short but sweet, this walk provides an opportunity for great game viewing on foot while surrounded by one of the most pristine wilderness areas in the Serengeti. With a little luck you might just witness the famous wildebeest crossing. A stay at Migration Tented Lodge, Lobo Wildlife Lodge or Calabash Tented Lodge is required in order to facilitate the Mara River walking safari.

Mbalageti River: Cross the Mbalageti River swing bridge on a 1.5-hour walking safari from Mbalageti Tented Lodge. The walk departs from the lodge and winds down the Mwamnevi Hill to the Dutwa Plains. It’s a short crossing across the Dutwa plains to get to the Mbalageti River, which is enclosed in a thick canopy of gallery forest. Bird life is amazing by the river and it feels like being in a rain forest. After you cross the swing bridge, refreshments are offered before you embark on the return route back to Mbalageti Tented Lodge. This walk is a great experience year round and an overnight stay is required at Mbalageti Tented Lodge.

Olduvai Gorge & Maasai Boma: Walk through the Southern Serengeti Plains near Olduvai Gorge in the company of a Maasai Warrior. This special walking safari takes approximately one hour to complete and culminates with a tour of a local Maasai Boma (village) and an optional visit to the Olduvai Gorge Museum. Take your time on the walk tracking footprints and enjoying the scenery and wildlife. Your Maasai guide will explain many interesting things about the ‘bush’ and his culture. During the dry season, there is a good chance that you will encounter giraffes and Grant’s gazelles. During the green season, the migratory animals may also be seen including wildebeest, zebra, and Thomson’s gazelles.

Tarangire: Encounter big game on foot including giraffes and elephants on one of many walking safaris throughout Tarangire National Park. One of the highlights of any Tarangire walking safari is the opportunity to see the rare and beautiful lesser kudu antelope. Kudus are notoriously shy and will quickly hide at the sound of an approaching vehicle. Walking safaris throughout Tarangire yield frequent sightings of this elegant antelope as one quietly traverses the thick bush habitat where they reside. Walking safaris in Tarangire may be conducted year round from Tarangire Treetops Lodge, Kikoti Tented Lodge or Oliver’s Tented Lodge. Each respective lodge has in house guides that we can arrange to lead a walking safari should you be interested.

Angata Kiti: Walk through a beautiful valley in the remote reaches of the Eastern Serengeti Plains. Angata Kiti is a small valley that cuts through the ancient Gol Mountains. Nasera Rock, a huge granite monolith, marks the entrance to Angata Kiti and makes an ideal starting point for this two to four hour walking safari. The Angata Kiti walk is truly an amazing adventure off the beaten path and is perhaps our favorite walking safari. Wildlife viewing can be spectacular here during the green season and the goal of this walk is to witness the great wildebeest migration of foot. Due to Angata Kiti’s remote location, an overnight stay at the nearby Nasera Rock Private Luxury Camp is required. Please note that these remote eastern plains receive the least amount of rainfall in the entire ecosystem. This small amount of rainfall, combined with a shallow soil base which allows water to dry quickly, can make wildlife viewing unpredictable at times. Angata Kiti is only recommended during the green season.

Okarien Gorge: Hike through a massive cliff gorge that is the primary nesting site of the Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture. These vultures are cliff nesters and breed one chick a year every March when the great wildebeest migration is located in the immediate area. It is fascinating to watch the vultures soaring overhead as you walk through the surreal looking gorge. A walking safari at Olkarien Gorge also provides an opportunity for interactions with the Maasai, who typically bring their cattle to drink at the base of the gorge. Olkarien Gorge rests at the eastern edge of the Gol Mountains and is only recommended during the green season. Due to the remote location, an overnight stay at the nearby Nasera Rock Private Luxury Camp is required.

Empakaai Crater: This adventurous walk is a full day’s hike to the floor of Empakaai Crater, which is nearly 4 miles wide. The steep walls of the caldera soar above the crater floor approximately 1,000 feet. A trail into the crater leads from the eastern rim down through the forest to Empakaai’s floor and the lake, which is sometimes home to flamingos. Be on the look out for buffalo, blue monkeys and the rare bushbuck as you descend down through the lush green forest. Beautiful and colorful birds such as turacos and sunbirds may also be seen in the forest. Two nights at Ngorongoro Sopa are required in order to facilitate this full day hike.