Wildlife walking holidays: 8 best trekking safaris worldwide

Dec 06, 2023 BY Paul McWilliams

Wildlife walking holidays give you the opportunity to see some of nature’s greatest creatures up close and under your own steam. Want to hike somewhere impressive and see interesting flora and fauna? Then check out the best trekking safaris worldwide.

Pantanal in Brazil one of the best trekking safaris worldwide Flickr CC image by Maria Grazia Montagnari

Top 8 Wildlife Treks Worldwide

Wildlife walking holidays

The traditional safari involves driving to your destination, looking at animals and then being taken to camp. Often people never even exit the vehicles let alone get a fully immersive experience of hiking. On foot get to explore the trail, soak up the surroundings and feel like more than just a tourist.

Wildlife walking holidays help you get a sense of these animals’ environment. On the best trekking safaris worldwide you’ll learn how the creatures travel, where they eat and sleep, and how to follow their tracks.

Rather than simply being shown animals from the comfort of a 4×4, on a walking safari you’ll put the hard yards in to get to them. But your experience will be much more satisfying for the effort.

Best trekking safaris worldwide

Below are eight of the best trekking safaris worldwide. They span continents, and give you access to some of the rarest and most elusive animals on the planet. And you’ll be doing it all under your own leg power.

Wildlife walking holidays: 8 best trekking safaris worldwide flickr CC image by Phillipe Teuwen

Gorilla trekking safaris: Rwanda and Uganda

There are a small number of habituated gorilla families living in the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda and the Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda. Only a small number of people are allowed to visit each day, with groups being divided into eight at the start of each trek.

The gorillas live at high altitude so the trek to get there involves covering a large distance through thick vegetation. The terrain is tough, often wet and muddy, but anyone with a reasonable level of fitness should be able to manage.

Guides lead you to the most likely sighting spots and tell how to (and not to!) behave around these magnificent animals. Viewing time is limited to one hour. But that is ample time for a truly unique encounter with some of our closest living relatives.

Inca Trail, Peru

One of the most famous trekking routes in the world, the iconic Inca trail takes in some of the most spectacular scenery in South America. You’ll walk through tropical jungle, stunning cloud forest and amongst majestic mountains on your way to the stunning Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu in Peru Flickr CC image by Maria Grazia Montagnari

Along the route you’ll be passing through the Machu Picchu Sanctuary where you can discover 250 species of orchid and some of the most diverse bird life on the planet. Keep your eyes peeled for the many hummingbird species and elusive Andean condor. Even better join one of the guided wildlife walking holidays with Naturetrek and they’ll help you spot everything that’s worth seeing.

Imfolozi Wilderness Trail, South Africa

Located in the hills of the KwaZulu-Natal, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve is one of the only places on the planet where you can still find the endangered white rhino. Having retreated here after being mercilessly hunted elsewhere, these two-tonne beasts are fairly easy to spot. However, you do need to watch out for their more aggressive cousins, the black rhino.

As well as these endangered animals, there is plenty of big game around. The whole reserve offers a raw wilderness experience that is hard to match anywhere in the world. The trails start from the Mpila Camp, a three-hour drive from Durban and last for two nights.

The Pantanal, Brazil

Think trekking in Brazil and you probably automatically go to the Amazon. The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal probably doesn’t seem like a great place to go walking. But, this marshy expanse covers an area of around 180,000 square kilometres and is one of the most biologically diverse on the planet.

Ocelot in Pantanal, BrazilWildlife walking holidays: 8 best trekking safaris worldwide Flickr CC image by Ana_Cotta

There’s an estimated 1000 bird species, 300 mammals and 900 invertebrates. And, during the dry season when water levels are lower, it’s possible to explore vast stretches on foot.

You might need to take a boat over some parts of the trek. But with the chance of seeing a puma, jaguar, tapirs or an ocelot it’s worth cheating a little bit to experience one of the best trekking safaris worldwide.

Tok Tokkie Trails, Namibia

On foot adventure safaris in the Namibia desert, might not seem like an ideal place for a walking safari. But this three-day trek through the NamibRand Nature Reserve is pretty extraordinary. As well as the gravel plains, red dunes and towering mountains when night sets in you’ll be treated to an incredible display of stars.

In addition, unlike some other trekking safaris, you’ll be treated to a little luxury during your adventure. Hot water and three course meals means you won’t have to rough it. Plus you might get to see gemsbok, springbok, kudu, zebra, giraffe, hyena, leopard and the recently reintroduced cheetah.

wildlife walking holidays in Tok Tokkie Trails, Namibia Flickr CC image by markos

Kamchatka, Russia

*Please note that trips to Russia are currently unavailable due to the Ukraine war**

This peninsula dangling off the far eastern side of Russia is one of the most remote places on the planet. Although it’s larger than the state of California there are no roads connecting it to the rest of the country. So, just to get to the trekking routes you’ll be taking a helicopter, snowmobile or 4×4.

But it’s all worthwhile. The region is very geologically active, making this a world where fire meets ice. Discover vast volcanoes and active geysers and hot springs on the trail. But the real star of the show is the wildlife, including the Kamchatka brown bear, wolves, lynx, arctic fox and reindeer.

Selous Fly Camp, Tanzania

The vast Selous game reserve located in the south of Tanzania is twice the size of the Serengeti in the north. There are various trekking safari options including the Sand River Camp. Up to six guests camp out at various fly camps, with accommodation consisting of nothing more than a mosquito net under the stars.

Each day you’ll make the trek to another campsite, cooking dinner on an open fire and getting up close and personal with Africa’s wild side. There are strong populations of hippo, buffalo, wildebeest, impala, waterbuck, giraffe and elephants. Plus the predators that feed on them such as lions, leopards and crocodiles.

Hippos in Selous, Tanzania one of the best trekking safaris worldwide Flickr CC image by Pakus Futuro Bloguero

Yellowstone National Park, USA

A serious contender for the most famous national park in the world, Yellowstone is as incredible as you might imagine. And while it might not have the exotic appeal of an African safari, this is your chance to see animals suck as American bison, moose, elk, bear, bobcat, lynx and coyote in their natural environment.

For safety reasons, wildlife walking holidays in Yellowstone require a guide for the full backcountry experience. There are plenty of bears around and you need expert guides to help you avoid getting too close. Popular treks include Bunsen Peak, Canyon of the Yellowstone and Mystic Falls Loop.

If the 8 best trekking safaris worldwide has you inspired to book wildlife walking holidays, then be sure to check out our safari holidays worldwide as you could save a packet!


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