Robin Pope Safaris walking safari

Robin Pope Safaris walking safari: Our full report

Traveller's rating
Excellent (97%) From 15 reviews
Open
June to mid-October

Robin Pope Safaris offer the only real mobile camping option in the South Luangwa National Park. Their mobile walking safari gives you the opportunity to immerse yourself into the wilderness, whilst getting in touch with nature and sleeping out in their simple, but comfortable, mobile camps.

Many of our favourite spots in the South Luangwa are small, rustic bushcamps that concentrate on walking safaris. Some walking trips base themselves at one camp, while others walk from camp to sister camp, staying at several in turn.

Robin Pope Safaris has taken walking safaris a step further by running a mobile walking safari camp along the Mupamadzi River, in the far north of the South Luangwa National Park.

A typical safari lasts seven nights, with a night at Nkwali, one of Robin Pope’s permanent camps, to start. You’ll then be driven nearly 100km into the bush to start the walking safari.

Five nights are spent in mobile tented camps, and during the days, in a group of up to a maximum of six people, you’ll walk along with experienced guides, armed spotters and a 'tea-bearer' – a member of the camp's staff who acts as another experienced pair of eyes, whilst carrying vital supplies of tea, coffee, cold drinks and delicious cakes for refreshment stops along the way. The rest of the staff will move on ahead to set the camp up for your arrival.

The mobile camps used are simple but comfortable, with walk-in tents, bucket showers (with hot water available) and long-drop toilets. Meals will be taken under the stars,
There are no fences around the camp, so you can expect to hear animals in camp at night - there will be a national park scout on watch throughout.

For your final night, you will head back towards another of the RPS camps in the game-rich Nsefu sector, Tena Tena for a final game drive to end the trip.

Walking Safaris

Walking in the bush is totally different to game viewing from a vehicle – and it’s not for everyone. If you want to 'tick off' big-game animals, photograph them from close quarters and swiftly go from one large herd of game to the other, then walking is not for you.

You cannot approach animals as closely, or as easily, on foot as you can in a vehicle – but we guarantee you will learn more. You may start off a little sleepy from your early start, but you'll quickly wake. There are no noises except you and the wildlife, so everything you hear must be an animal, a bird, or an insect. With time, patience and a good guide, you can learn to interpret the sounds and secrets of the bush. You'll smell the presence of elephants, perhaps follow the honey-guide bird and learn about animals from their spoor.

It’s a myth that walking safaris in Zambia are all about strength, speed and endurance - a morning's walk could be anything from 3km to 10km: it will be more like a nature ramble than a strenuous hike. Plus, your luggage will be transported ahead of you, so you need only carry your camera and binoculars. The guide might lead you to follow fresh tracks, or to sit under a tree to watch elephants bathing – deciding with the group at the time what looks most promising. With such small groups, these walks are always flexible - there are seldom pre-arranged routes or fixed plans.

If you find the prospect of walking in the bush a little daunting, that's a good sign. A healthy respect for wildlife is vital. Animals can be unpredictable and, occasionally, dangerous. However, the expert level of guiding on all these trips should reassure you. The Luangwa has become the centre for walking safaris because of its stringent tests for guides, and the park rules that dictate that an armed game scout and a guide must accompany every group. It's one of the safest places to walk in Africa.

A walking safari highlights the African bush at its best: a live, sharp, spine-tingling experience that's hard to beat and very addictive. Be careful though: watching game from a vehicle may never be the same again!

If you like the idea of the fly-camping, but want a much shorter experience of this kind of trip, then look carefully at the idea of slotting a night or two at an RPS fly-camp into your itinerary.

Our view

Joining an RPS walking safari is a brilliant way to immerse yourself into the wilderness of the South Luangwa.
Purely walking safaris don’t suit everyone, so if luxury and four walls are a priority then it might be worth looking at some of our permanent tented camps in the park. However, if you are looking for adventure in remote, untouched areas of the national park, sleeping out under the stars, with no vehicles in sight - we would highly recommend the experience.

Geographics

Location: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Ideal length of stay: Note that these trips run on set date departures. See our Robin Pope Walking Safari departure dates and prices for more details.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Independent / Owner Run

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Outdoor Dining

Drinks included: Yes - soft drinks, house wine and local spirits are included in the rates. Note that fine wines, champagne and imported spirits and liqueurs, are charged as extras.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Robin Pope Safaris’ walking safaris are the top tip for our single travellers to Zambia; they are an extraordinary experience and they’re very social also. With busy days, small groups and no single-person supplements, these trips are perfect for solo travellers.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Zambia

Birdwatching: South Luangwas birding is varied and the Robin Pope Safari guides are generally very knowledgeable about the species.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Zambia

Children

Infrastructure

Power supply: None

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

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