Think of Africa and the immediate connotation is wild spaces. For many, the traditional game drive safari presents enough opportunity for exploration. For others comes the desire to immerse themselves into the place in as many ways as possible.

These days, active travel is often the preferred way to explore new places and many lodges cater for the more adventurous African traveller. At The Safari Store, we recommend partaking in as many activities as possible in your travels to Africa. Many offer the unspeakable pleasure of a vantage point beyond the confines of your game-viewer and lodge - and a different kind of appreciation for the minutiae that tend to go unobserved in the relative rush of game drives. The clothing and gear you pack can make a big difference to the success of your active safari.

We spoke to some experts who run different active safaris around Africa to find out more about what to expect from these different safaris and what to take. From walking in Zimbabwe and Zambia to horse safaris in Tanzania and Kenya and blue safaris in Madagascar, there is something for every kind of traveller. We have also put together a list of the essential items for you to take on each kind of safari to get the most out of your experience.

Woman dressed in safari clothing in the bush on a walking safari in Africa


“From a vehicle, you’re not much more than a spectator whilst, on foot, you’re a participant and this is what makes a walking safari such a rich experience.” – Ant Kaschula, Gonarezhou Bushcamps

Humans have been walking on the continent of Africa for millions of years and, if you get the chance, few experiences stand to move you in quite the same way as putting your footprints down in wild lands. No walk is too short. You will always see something on foot that you otherwise would have missed in the bush and few things are as fulfilling as tracking game from their prints on the ground. On the same level as wildlife, encountering game on foot is both thrilling and intimate – a great primordial equaliser in the spectrum of human experiences.

Read more about walking safaris >

Man and woman dressed in safari shirts, zip-off trousers, and knitwear and with binoculars on a walking safari in Africa


“On horseback, you explore much further and deeper into the savannah than anyone can in a vehicle.” – Jo Westermark, Kaskazi Horse Safaris

Cantering through peaceful, great plains and observing beautiful wildlife on horseback. This could be you. From the time of the earliest western explorers, there have been horses in Africa and horse safaris are a wonderful way to see great expanses of terrain as pioneers to Africa would have generations ago – over the pricked ears of your steed.

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Man and woman dressed in safari fleece and safari gilet fleece on a horse safari in Africa


“Being part of a cycling safari sharpens one’s senses and the subtle signs and minutiae of the bush, not to mention behaviour of dangerous game, become a lot more interesting, important, and enjoyable.” – John Coppinger, Remote Africa.

The number one mode of transport for Africa has to be the bicycle. From following well-worn trails through the bush to making your own path, cycling safaris are gaining popularity amongst cyclists the world over. Avid mountain bikers and newcomers to the sport will enjoy the thrill of traversing single tracks and trails in scenic, unforgettable landscapes. Depending on the lodge, you can enjoy a day trip by bike or extended packages over a few days.

Read more about cycling safaris >

Steve Adams expedition testing safari clothing on a cycle safari in Luangwa, Zambia, and showing elephant prints on the road


“It was so quiet, while nature was watching at all times. At one point, we saw at least 12 hippos gazing at us, with eyes above the water as our mokoro glided smoothly by.” – Mokoro trip client testimonial, Raw Botswana

Across Africa, on rivers and lakes, there are countless water-based activities for you to enjoy both individually and as part of a group. With a guide, embark on day trips or multi-day adventures, exploring Africa's waterways - often past hippos and crocodiles - and frequently observing game on the water's edge. Whether white water rafting, canoeing, kayaking, or poling your own dugout canoe or local craft, nothing is quite as fulfilling as powering your craft to the rhythm of your paddle in the water.

Read more about paddling on safari >

Man on boat checking GPS on Suunto watch while expedition testing safari clothing and gear on the Kafue River, Zambia


“When you are running here it really feels like you are out in the bush. We have made the track just inside the perimeter of the camp, meaning that you don’t have to be escorted as you are still inside the fence while still having the beautiful view and peace.” – Taro Croze, Loisaba Tented Camp

Many runners love the pastime for the unsurpassed sense of freedom they feel on the road or the trail; for the pulse and pace of life the sport opens up. Wait until you run on safari! Going on safari shouldn’t mean you have to break your fitness routine. Although “whatever you do, don’t run” is a premium piece of safari advice when it comes to dangerous game, many lodges will make arrangements for you to run on the airstrip or within fenced areas of the lodge or – if you are lucky – they will offer a running as part of your bush experience in innovative and exciting ways.

Read more about running on safari >

Man in running shoes and running clothing trail running on an active safari in Africa


“Imagine a sea kayak adventure or kitesurfing safari, camping on remote islands, followed by support boats if needed; picking up a motorbike, trail riding through the mountains to be met by a bottle of champagne next to your helicopter for an extraction.” – Time + Tide Miavana

If you love the bush and the beach, the two don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Home to spectacular, diverse coastline, many blue safari destinations provide myriad ways to be active – whether stand-up paddling, hiking, kite-boarding, water skiing, or sea kayaking. From wildlife in coastal vegetation to spectacular marine creatures, on land or on the water, explore paradise in any number of ways.

Read more about bush and beach activities >

Man fishing in outdoor clothing made from technical fabric and a leather hat on a safari for beach and bush lovers
Two men poling a mekoro in the Okavango Delta, expedition testing safari clothing, luggage, and gear on a paddling safari

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