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Active Safaris: How to Stay Fit on Your African Safari

By David Tett | Jun 03

Bushtracks' Founder & Owner is a sixth-generation Southern African, born and raised in Harare, Zimbabwe, later earning a Bachelor of Science degree in DNA technology from the University of Cape Town, South Africa. He founded Bushtracks Expeditions in 1989 and has been traveling extensively throughout Africa for more than 45 years. Combining his interest in ecosystems and the varied ecology of Africa with photographic safaris, he develops educational programs that include traditional cultures and wildlife. He is keenly interested in how nature tourism affects rural African communities and has worked with several projects that successfully integrate communities, the environment, and wildlife viewing.

walking-safari-Zebra-Plains-South-Luwanga-National-Park-Zambia_(14)

A safari is unquestionably an outdoor experience. But, in Africa as elsewhere, just being outdoors does not always imply high activity. Mornings you’ll set out in your open vehicle accompanied by a guide to seek wildlife. Later, as animals retreat for a mid-day rest, you may take a nap or relax with a book. In the afternoon, you’ll embark on a second game drive often in a vehicle. Although every safari is an adventure, it is not necessarily high exertion, unless, of course, you design it that way.

Lake_Manyara_Serena_Mountain_Biking_Safaris_2Mountain Biking in Tanzania near Lake Manyara, Serena

Many of our guests, particularly those traveling with teenagers, ask how they can incorporate their active interests into their safari. We’re more than happy to answer them, as Carolyn and I are cyclists and horse enthusiasts ourselves, and we have ridden mountain bikes on elephant trails, been on horseback amongst herds of giraffe, and even trail run with Maasai. The camps and lodges we recommend are inherently the best for pursuing a more active agenda, as many of them are located
in private reserves which encourage guided excursions outside of a vehicle.

Canoeing. Powerboating. Bushwalks. Game Drives & Night Drives

canoe-mokoro-Chongwe-River-Camp-Lower-Zambezi-National-Park-Zambia_(61)
Canoeing on the Chongwe River, Camp Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

The Lower Zambezi River is an excellent place for a multi-sport game viewing safari. It is, in fact, the only place where you can canoe, powerboat, go on bush walks, and take game drives and night drives. Its proximity to Victoria Falls is also a plus, if you want to take things to the next level with white-water rafting, kayaking, bungee jumping and other adrenaline activities.

horseback-riding-Limpopo-Valley-Horse-Safaris-Mashatu-Game-Reserve-Botswana
Horseback riding at Limpopo Valley, Mashatu Game, Reserve Botswana

If horse riding or mountain biking is of interest, Mashatu Private Game Reserve in Botswana offers guided cycling and horseback safaris as ways to explore this diverse habitat, home to elephant, buffalo, lion, giraffe and eland. To see how all of these experiences are incorporated in a single safari, discover our Adventure Safari in Botswana and Zambia.

GORILLA OR CHIMPANZEE TREKKING

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Gorilla Trekking, Bwindi Forest, Uganda

Another clear exception to sedentary safaris is gorilla or chimpanzee trekking in Eastern Africa, because you have to hike to the action through dense forest. The effort is indescribably rewarding when you spend an hour in the company of primates, charmed by their complex social interactions and behaviors. These programs are typically limited, however, to ages 15 and older.The beauty of custom safaris, however, is that it doesn’t have to be all or nothing. We can add a day of cycling to your safari, or we can build an entire trip around your interests.

We can recommend safari camps where some in your party explore on foot, while others relax poolside. The important thing is that your safari reflects your interests, and if they run to the sporting variety, Africa will not disappoint.

 

 

Topics: Zambia, walking safaris, Botswana, Adventure Safaris

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