What Safari Activities Can I Do?

If you have not been on a safari before, you may assume that they are done in 4×4 jeeps with a driver and a guide talking you through the wildlife sightings. This is correct, however there are so many other safari activities that are on offer across the different destinations and parks.

In this article, we aim to introduce some of the best ways to see wildlife in Africa – be it from a car, a horse, a helicopter, or even on foot. Not all of the activities below will be offered in your chosen safari destination but if you are keen to do a particular activity, get in touch and we can run through the best locations that offer it.

Game drive in Serengeti National Park
Game drive in Kenya

Game Drives

This is the most popular way to experience a safari and for most of the safari destinations across Africa. Depending on what type of trip you book will depend on how many people accompany you on a game drive. If you are doing a driving itinerary, then you will have your own private driver/guide and vehicle throughout the trip. If you are doing a flying safari, you will do your game drives on a shared basis, with other guests from that camp. This is usually a maximum of either four people, or six depending on the vehicle size.

Although most are Toyota Land cruisers, there are a few variations in the safari vehicle itself. Some are closed vehicles which means that all of the doors and windows are in place but the roof top can be popped open to view the animals. The other type of vehicle is an open-sided vehicle. In this case, the doors and windows are all off and it is more exposed.

The safari industry has started to introduce more electric vehicles. Although it is an excellent step forward in sustainability, there are still a few teething problems with the practicality of the electric vehicle on safari (as there are few charging points).

Walking safari with a baobab tree
Walking safari in Tanzania

Walking Safaris

This is, in our opinion, one of the most exhilarating safari activities offered. A walking safari is an opportunity to experience wildlife on foot. Of course, without the protection and comfort of the vehicle you may feel more vulnerable but, the qualified guides and rangers are with you at every moment to ensure your safety and wellbeing.

A bush walk can differ in time. Some are much more casual – an hour or so walking slowly through the bush, analysing the smaller things like footprints, the fauna and flora. These are particularly common in the Masai Mara conservancies.

Other walking safaris are much more serious and for the real safari enthusiasts. These walks can be anywhere between 4-5 hours and can sometimes last a few days where you walk between camps across a national park. This is what the South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is famous for.

Pioneers like Norman Carr, John Coppinger and Robin Pope put Zambia at the forefront of walking safaris. The wildlife here has become more accustomed to seeing humans on foot. As a result, you can get relatively close to the game, sometimes even seeing lion prides or leopard on foot!

Mokoro boat ride inOkavango Delta Botswana
Boat safari in Chobe Park, Botswana

Boat Safaris

This activity is enjoyable for those looking to enjoy a slower safari. Of course, a boat safari is only available as an activity in destinations where there is water. The best game-viewing areas in the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania are around the Rufiji River. Here you can enjoy an afternoon on a boat safari, spotting elephant swimming, crocodiles basking in the sunshine on the shores, and antelope and buffalo coming to drink from the river bank.

Chobe National Park in-between Botswana and Nambia offers some exceptional boat safaris and cruises. Some of the boat cruises offer overnight accommodation, such as the Zambezi Queen. Cruise along the Chobe River watching elephants, hippos and birds, and then fall asleep in a floating boutique hotel.

Horse riding safari in Kenya, Elewana
Camel safari in Kenya, Elewana

Horse and Camel Riding

For those looking for more of an active and adventurous safari, why not experience a safari from a horse or camel ride? Horse riding is offered to all levels – from beginners to experienced riders. There are even some lodges which specialize in longer horseback safaris. For example, Offbeat Safaris are a local company based in Kenya who cater for experienced riders and safari enthusiasts. With four different camp locations, you are able to horse ride from one side of the Masai Mara to the other, covering over 250 kilometers.

Sunset in Africa
Night safari under an acacia tree

Night Safaris

Night safaris are incredibly exhilarating. These are done either before or after your evening meal when the sun has set. You head out in the safari vehicle with your driver and guide, listening to the sounds and movements of the bush. The guides will have the car’s headlights on, as well as using a long-distance range spotlight to look for animals.

Once they have heard or found something, they will point the light away from the animal so that it does not shine in their eyes, but still gives guests the opportunity to see what’s happening. The big cats all hunt during night so this is a great chance to see the nocturnal animals active.

Other safari activities, which are more specialist to particular areas include kayaking and canoeing, tiger fishing, fly camping and mountain biking.

Start Planning Your Safari

Hopefully this article has inspired you to head out on safari and try a couple of different safari activities. However, if you still have questions, please do get in touch with our safari specialists Elaine and Gemma. Either drop us an email, give us a call on +44 208 004 2345 , or book a video consultation to find out more and start planning your safari adventure.