Walking among the wildlife in Zambia and Zimbabwe

By Geri Spieler
This article appears on page 34 of the November 2016 issue.
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Kennedy whispered, “Watch where you step. Try to avoid twigs, and move slowly toward the tree ahead.” 

We watched the ground carefully, avoiding any brush or twigs that might alert the elephant herd ahead. We approached the tree single file, standing directly behind our guide. Then, moving behind us, silently he put his hands on my shoulders and positioned me just left of the tree but still somewhat covered by it. Similarly, he placed my husband, Rick, on the other side. 

The elephants didn’t seem to know we were only about 100 meters away! 

This was the first of many highlights on our July 2016 walking safaris in Zambia and Zimbabwe. 

Making plans

We had taken jeep safaris at Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa and at the Shinde and Tubu Tree camps in the Okavango Delta in Botswana four years earlier. After reading about walking safaris in International Travel News, we knew that this would be a different experience. 

We had worked very successfully with Rothschild Safaris (Denver, CO; 800/405-9463, rothschildsafaris.
) for our last trip, so, without hesitation, we contacted them again to arrange this new adventure. Leora Rothschild and her staff were very knowledgeable about the walking safari experience and agreed that the countries to go to were Zambia and Zimbabwe. Knowing about our travel preferences from the earlier trip we had taken with them helped make this planning process very efficient. 

Our tour would begin in Lusaka, Zambia, and end in Harare, Zimbabwe. The price for the two of us, including four nights at each of the four camps on our itinerary plus key transfers, was $26,886 plus $2,570 for the flights from camp to camp. 

Getting there

We used frequent-flyer miles to get us from San Jose, California, to London and on to Johannesburg. We then flew South African Airways from Joburg to Lusaka and, on our return journey, from Harare to Joburg for $420 each. We again used frequent-flyer miles to get from Joburg to Prague, then we flew (and enjoyed) Norwegian’s LowFare option from Prague back to Oakland, in the San Francisco Bay Area, for $659 each. 

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