Footsteps Across the Delta – walking safari

It’s all in the name – Footsteps Across the Delta, the only permanent camp dedicated to walking safaris in the Okavango. This itinerary sees you exploring a beautiful and game lively private concession in the eastern Okavango on foot. Staying in an authentic bush camp with a down to earth and friendly atmosphere this is a return to the safaris of old. The occasional game drive and mokoro trip is offered to complete your Okavango experience. One for the more adventurous traveller and safari purists – this is one of the most authentic and economical safaris in the Okavango.

This three night itinerary is based at Footsteps Camp, set on the private Shinde concession, an area well regarded for its resident game and varied wildlife. This is a simple but comfortable camp, mobile in style though in practise the camp never moves. It perfectly captures the authentic back to basics style of safari where the focus is on the wilderness around you. With just three tents this is a friendly and intimate camp. The guiding is excellent, as you would expect with a walking safari.

Walking is at the heart of this camp, though game drives are also offered as a chance to approach predators more closely and to explore deeper into the concession. Mokoro excursions are also offered, so as to over a more complete Okavango experience. These additional activities are usually offered for the shorter afternoon activity, with walking always the focus of the morning activity.

The below provides a taste of what you can expect from a walking safari at Footsteps though the precise day to day schedule will depend on the conditions at the time as judged by your guide.

Footsteps is closed for December, January and February and therefore this itinerary is only available from March-November.

Note there is a min age of 16 years to do this safari. For younger families the camp can be booked exclusively as Young Explorers.

Day 1 - Arrival at Footsteps Camp

On arrival in Maun you will be met by a representative and assisted onto your flight to the Shinde private concession. The flight is approximately 25 minutes a spectacular introduction to the Okavango Delta. Landing at the bush airstrip you are met by your personal guide and continue to camp in an open safari vehicle. A drive game drive of about 30 minutes. The adventure begins on landing, as the drive allows you to acclimatise to the bush, while your guide gives you tips on how to spot game animals and birds in the wilderness. On arrival at camp, a refreshing drink and snacks await.

Having been introduced to the team your guide will then give you a brief on safety. Then it is time to settle into camp and freshen up from the long journey before setting off on your first walk. This will be a short walk, lasting so long as the light safely allows, time at least for your guide to introduce you to the area, the wildlife movements taking place on the concession at the moment and to become comfortable with walking in the African bush.

You return to camp where a hot bucket shower awaits. You then gather around the fire for drinks and aperitifs before dinner under the stars. Over the dinner you discuss the first lessons of the day, you will already have learnt much about the area and this is a chance for your guide to expand on this with stories of Botswana, its history, people and the complex eco-systems of the Okavango Delta.

Retire to bed where the gentle chorus of the African wilderness sends you to sleep.

Day 2 - Footsteps Camp

The day begins before sunrise with a gentle wakeup call at your tent. Meeting around the fire for piping hot coffee/tea and a light breakfast you will then head out on foot to explore the bush.

The mornings are the best time for game viewing – before the heat of the day sends the animals (and you!) to the shade of the trees. The early morning sees most animals moving into the sun to warm up, and predators are usually still active in the early hours. The bushveld is waking up, this is the perfect time for walking. These are your longest walks, usually for around 4 hours, depending on your sightings.

You begin by tracing the water’s edge which offers lovely views of curious hippos which will have retreated to the cool waters. The birds around here are wonderful, and often include many migratory visitors. As you continue your journey you will see many plains game which abound here- giraffe, zebra, tsessebe, impala, wildebeest and herds of lechwe graze on the open flood plains.

Along the way your guide will be reading the ‘news’ of the bush – tracking animals and interpreting what he sees along the way for you. You are always learning on these walks. You return to camp walking along the fringe of the forest, a favourite spot for the bachelor elephants, particularly the old bulls, who enjoy dozing in the shade and cooling off in the lagoon as the day heats up.

A well-earned lunch awaits as you arrive in camp. Afterwards you will have a few hours to yourself to rest in your tent or in camp – take a book to your hammock or simple relax and watch the animals across the water come and go.

Later in the afternoon, as the day cools you will meet for tea and refreshments before heading out again. Water levels permitting you will have a chance to enjoy a mokoro ride. This is an incredibly peaceful activity, a chance to glide soundlessly along the lily peppered waters and enjoy a unique vantage point of the animals. We keep our eyes out for the sitatunga, a semi- aquatic antelope, and one of the world’s most unusual and secretive species mainly found in the Okavango Delta.

Day 3 - Footsteps Camp

By now you will have become accustomed to the rhythm of the African bush- you wake early and following a light breakfast you set off on your morning walking. By now you will be familiar with the sights, sounds and smells that make up the language of these unique lands.

Setting off in a new direction, tracking animals through the thick Kalahari sands. Your guide will explain the animals movements by reading the prints in the sands. This area is home to a number of predators. Lion, leopard, cheetah and wild dog are all found in this area and can be viewed safely from a sensible distance – certainly leaving you with memories for life. Every one of your senses will be alert on these walks, the modern world a distance memory!

Returning for lunch a rest in the heat of the day in camp. The afternoon is time to take it easy after the long morning walk. There is the option to try your hand at fishing, Okavango style, either along the banks of lagoons and channels or, for the more adventurous from the mokoro! Alternatively you may wish to take a game drive to explore further into the concession.

Spirits are always high over the final dinner under the stars, toasting new friends, recalling your unique experiences shared together. Finally retiring for your final night in your tent, drifting off to sleep with the ever-present chorus of the hippos and the tinkle of the reed frogs.

Day 4 - Departure

The morning schedule will depend on your departure time. If time allows you will have one final walk before setting off for the airstrip with your guide. Or you may prefer to take a longer game drive before your flight. All this will be discussed with your guide the night before once you have your flight times established.

Map View

Footsteps Across the Delta

Footsteps Across the Delta

Footsteps Across the Delta

Footsteps Across the Delta

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