Tettindra guiding us through the dry riverbed in the Matusadona National Park, next to Lake Kariba

Bush Walk at Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

In Africa, En-Route, Our Journeys, Trip-Types, World Travel, Zimbabwe by JanisLeave a Comment

Not your average morning stroll...

This morning we chose a different type of adventure, yes, we’re going on a walking safari. We’ve decided to walk away from the security of the truck, into the safe hands of Mark and Tatendah.

An early rise, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

An early rise

Up and ready for a 6am start, I didn’t think I would say this, but I’m now becoming slightly used to getting up and at’em at 5:15 now.

Although, when you know you’re waking up to the view across Lake Kariba rather than a London commute, it is slightly easier.

Quick Links

Follow the tracks

Quick brekkie and we’re off, we jump in the truck and head to the spot where we saw the cheetah from our morning safari drive the previous day. Today we’re also joined by a lovely Italian family.

Heading out on the truck, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Heading out on the truck

Off across the plain, bouncing through the scrubland, it isn’t long before we spot our first elephant of the day, fish eagles and of course, the immaculately turned out Impala.

Suprised young elephant, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Suprised young elephant

Our guides notice hyena tracks, but apparently, they are from the evening before. We return to the cheetah spot, but no sign other than yesterday’s footprints. The landscape here is incredible, it brings back so many memories.

Don’t take it for granted

Some days you’ll see a rare sight and some days maybe not, but hey that’s the fun of a game drive you never know what you’re going to see.

The park landscape, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

The park landscape

A helpful guide

If you're considering an adventure around Zimbabwe, then your in for a holiday of a lifetime. I always find it incredibly useful to plan our trips with the help of a guide book.

Take a look at this informative Bradt guide, it will give you great tips and advice.

Bradt Zimbabwe Cover

A brief from the experts

Just beyond the cheetah spot, we park under a tree that overlooks the plain and jump out ready for our walk. Mark and Tatendah have come prepared with rifles, just in case anything untoward happens. We are all well aware this is an extremely dangerous place; this is not a playground. 

We’re all given a brief on the do’s and don’ts of the bush, yesterday we were told to wear neutral colours as we don’t want to scare off the game.

Tatendah guiding us through the dry riverbed, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Tatendah guiding us through the dry riverbed

We all need to walk in a single file, with Tatendah at the front and Mark at the back. We are also told not to run if we see any animals (hmmm… that might be easier said than done), and the bush walk will be for around 2 hours. 

Mark said more often than not as we are walking; we may not see too much, as the animals can see us before we see them. They will usually move in the opposite direction. 

Don’t Forget!

Make sure you put sun cream on and also wear a hat. You’ll be out for a few hours, and the sun is going to track you down.

Oh, and of course your camera and binoculars.

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Our anticipation builds

After about 10 minutes in, Tatendah spots a herd of buffalo, straight away this is exceeding all expectations. Quietly we wander to a high point which is nearby, and we have this magnificent view of the herd of buffalo below.

Herd of buffalo, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

A herd of buffalo

The older male guys in the herd have obviously spotted us but stand their ground and keep a beady eye on us looking down on them from a slightly higher point behind some trees.

Buffalo keeping their distance, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Buffalo keeping their distance

It is an incredible sight, and Tatendah believes it is a herd of around 100.

Buffalo watching us, watching them, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Buffalo watching us, watching them

As we are on foot, the buffalo do see us as a threat, due to poachers. If we were in a truck, it’s a different matter as they don’t see the truck as danger. Although, you’re still watched closely by the older guys of the group with their weird, grey middle parting.

Onwards 

We decided to move on and head along the dry riverbed, track footprints of animals that have recently sauntered by in the last day or two.

Dry riverbed, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Dry riverbed

Taking a bush walk is an incredible way to enjoy different elements of your African surroundings. Although it’s impressive seeing the larger wildlife, you also get to experience the smaller creatures that live in the bush and gain a greater understanding of the evolution of nature.

Dug by an elephant in search of water, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Dug by an elephant in search of water

Don’t think I’ll eat this mushroom, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Don’t think I’ll eat this mushroom

Mark pointed out deep holes in the riverbed that have been dug out by elephants, as they could smell the minerals of the water underground. 

And a terrapin, finally a creature I recognise from back home in Blighty, well, it looks similar.

Hiding terrapin, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Hiding terrapin

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Fancy heading to Lake Kariba for an unforgettable experience?

Lake Kariba is around 356km (221 miles) from Harare, at present there are no scheduled commercial flights, so your best option is to drive. Allow 5 to 6 hours for your journey, the roads are tarmac, however, can be slightly hectic at times. But don't let this put you off Lake Kariba is a magical experience.

There are also two tolls en-route which are two Zimbabwe Bond each.

Oh my, we saw a lion

Gary and I were quietly chatting with Mark when Tatendah suddenly stopped and signalled to us all to keep silent and move slightly back, he had spotted a female lion sleeping in the shade of a tree.

It wasn’t advisable to take any photos as this lion was not for disturbing, we were about 15 metres away. After looking through the binoculars, we slowly retreated, and Tatendah and Mark were on guard at either end.

We decided to retreat across the riverbed, back through the scrubland opposite and loop around so we could see her from a distance on the opposite bank. We saw a few warthogs scurrying away, they thought better of it too.

Through the trees, we could see the lion she was now around 30 metres away. She had spotted us, we watched each other for a while, but luckily, she was not up for fun and games, so stood up and walked away from us.

Honestly the lion is here, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Honestly the lion is here

We once again headed down to the dry riverbed at a very safe distance to see if we could spot her, but she was nowhere obvious to be seen.

The guides believe she was from a pride of around 11, that have been spotted in the area who have cubs. Probably they were all watching us deep within the trees.

I reckon the female lion must have slipped away from the pride, keen for a peaceful nap away from the boisterous cubs, and then we come along and disturb her. 

A welcome bit of shade, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

A welcome bit of shade

We are all taken aback as we genuinely can’t believe what we have just witnessed on foot. The spoiler alert is that she was too elusive to catch close up on camera, but to be honest, the emotion of seeing a lion in her natural home is a memory and feeling that will stay with me forever.

Is Zimbabwe for you?

Take a peek at our Victoria Falls, our Morning safari & Sundowner Cruise posts and start creating your own adventure for yourself.

We chose British Airways, and it was all done with a few clicks, a brief stopover in Johannesburg, and our luggage was there waiting for us on arrival at our end destination in Harare.

Catch our breath, but not for long

Not satisfied with our sightings so far, we head through the brushland back towards the buffalo.

We learn about some of the flora along the way, though I’m not too sure how many of the names are going to stick with me.

Janis behind the safety of a tree, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Janis behind the safety of a tree

Back in the dry riverbed, we come to a V where two rivers would’ve met and wallowing in a mud pool is a huge hippo. 

As hippos are the biggest killer in Zimbabwe, we decide to be cautious, but looking at the sleepy contentment on its face, this hippo was dreaming of other things. 

Preparing for your safari?

Did you see our post 'Preparing for your African Safari'? It'll have some handy hints 'n' tips for your next safari.

Hippo wallowing in the mud, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Hippo wallowing in the mud

Three of us headed forward with Tatendah, to take a closer look, this hippo was enormous and apparently around 2.5 tons. We retreated away, and it hadn’t moved.

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Heading back

Our walk was nearing an end, in single file we headed back towards the buffalo herd we’d seen a little earlier. It is such an exhilarating feeling wandering across the plains, knowing that you are just a visitor to this piece of Africa. 

Iconic landscape, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

The Iconic landscape

We keep a reasonable distance from the buffalo and decide to go back to the truck and head down to the herd on 4 wheels.

Tatendah keeping an eye out, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Tatendah keeping an eye out

The buffalos, however, were a little more inquisitive and decided to keep an eye on us until they realised, we weren’t a threat.

Buffalo from the truck, Bush Walk, Rhino Safari Camp, Lake Kariba, Zimbabwe

Buffalo from the truck

Time waits for no man and four hours had disappeared, but boy, what a memorable four hours they were, we then to head back to the camp.

Would you like a little more?

We have created a little YouTube video of our Bush Walk - why not check it out?

Why not subscribe to our YouTube channel and get the latest clips as we post them?

Inspired to visit Lake Kariba?

Stay at Rhino Safari Camp and embark on your own bush walk.

I assure you, you won’t regret it, it’s a once in a lifetime experience.

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