Travel & conservation company, since 1991
See how we earn 5 starsTrustpilot - 5 stars
×
SEARCH OUR STORIES
OR
SEARCH OUR SAFARIS
AND / OR
Africa Geographic Travel

A few days ago Iain Allan wrote this piece regarding his guiding experience during our Walking with Giants travel expedition to Tsavo National Park:

River-crossing-resized

“I’ve just returned from my fifth consecutive walking safari in Tsavo of the 2014 season, and I still have two more to go. I find at this point of the summer I’m at my fittest, and hindrances such as knee, ankle and toe aches have been reduced to mere irritations unworthy of thought.

Of far more importance to me now is an awareness that my senses have become more tuned to where I am. I am noticing things which didn’t come naturally four months ago in early June when our season began. This natural ‘involvement’ doesn’t only manifest itself in seeing, hearing or smelling better rather, it’s about feeling more. It’s hard to explain but I now know that an elephant or lion is behind the trees and bushes ahead of us minutes before I’ve seen, heard or smelt it.

DSCF1524

Past clients on this walk have commented upon this feeling, that as each day unfolds they experience a heightening of the senses. I revel in it, fully in the knowledge that it’s perhaps the most basic instinct that our animal has lost since we lived in caves, hunting daily for a living.

REST by the Galana

The last walk we did was unbelievably productive. On the fourth day our group of seven emerged from the thick brush and forests of the Tsavo River. We’d caught occasional glimpses of elephant, buffalo, kudu, but everyone was ready to see more game in closer proximity. Now the spectacular Galana river, home to the biggest elephant herds in Africa, with its palm draped banks and wide, open sandy beaches, lay welcoming ahead.

river-walk

We had a week on foot to experience Tsavo East and it didn’t let us down. During the ensuing six days we hiked the length of the Galana, through a veritable elephant paradise, and exciting wildlife moments just kept on coming: the enormous sleeping crocodile that we silently walked to within thirty feet of, basking on the bank with a striped hyena in its mouth; the elephant ‘retirement group’ of seven magnificent bulls crossing the river fifty feet away, oblivious to our existence; the maneless lions on the beach; the elephant family crossing the river beside us, making their way towards two families numbering upwards of thirty on the opposite shore; and finally, the lioness and her cubs…

Bath-time

We’d left our camp early for the final day’s hike. The previous two walks had produced little during this final day owing to unseasonal rain showers, but this time it was a blue-sky-day. It felt good.

tsavo

By mid-morning we’d had excellent sightings of elephant, warthog, lesser kudu, spotted hyena, and a massive herd of Cape buffalo on the far shore. It was beginning to warm up when our tracker, Lajori, noticed a sleeping lion in a gully close to the river about 150 yards away. The wind was in our favour, and I could see through my binoculars that she was lying facing the opposite direction towards the river. I judged that if the group could walk quietly it was just possible that we might move in close enough to really see her well. We made our way carefully through the salt bush, and managed to reach a point where we could all look down on her from the edge of the gully. She was about sixty feet away, we had an unrestricted view, and she was still sleeping soundly. Lying close to her was the partially eaten carcass of an oryx. There was movement beside her, when suddenly the heads of two cubs appeared, sat up, and looked straight at us. One bared his teeth, emitted a cat-like hiss, and mother raised herself into a crouching position before us. The cubs disappeared round the corner of the gully behind her, as she confronted us, and growling, made for her kill.

lion

We all watched spellbound as the air reverberated to her growls and client camera shutter clicks. She lay by her kill, mouth firmly clamped upon it, and it was obvious to us that she wasn’t giving an inch. Our group backed away in the direction we’d come from, sure in the belief that it was time to leave her alone.

When we’d reached the end of our walk, we had listed eighteen different species of wildlife that day – including a perfect striped hyena, this one bounding joyfully along the beach, not the unsuspecting meal of the crocodile we’d seen earlier upriver.

walking_safari6

It was then that someone said… “well, what would you expect? This isn’t the quite good walk of Africa, it’s the Great Walk of Africa.”

walking_safari5

To comment on this story please DOWNLOAD OUR APP. See details below.


HOW TO GET THE MOST OUT OF AFRICA GEOGRAPHIC:

  • Download our APP (mobile phone and desktop) to receive significant benefits including the best prices at Africa's top lodges, ready-made safari packages and networking with others like you. Find out more here.
  • Subscribe to our weekly newsletter to enjoy more stories like this. Subscribe here.
  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

AG Logo
About

We're the Africa Geographic editorial team – a diverse set of writers, editors, designers and social media natives, all united by our passion for this addictive continent.

Africa Geographic Travel