The highlight of any stay in Zambia's famed wilderness area along the Luangwa River is always the walking safari. Escorted by rangers, the safari is safe and the walking easy. Without the roar of a safari vehicle's diesel engine and the exhaust fumes, the African bush comes alive with sights, sounds, smells, textures, colours and feelings.
And to top it all, camping out costs less and is way more authentic than a night at a luxury lodge.
Often you hear the hooves of retreating antelope before you see them; the ripping of grass or the breaking of a branch signals elephants nearby; the tracker points out prints in the sand and you follow on the path looking for plains game and predators alike. No cars, no planes, no telephones - just the constant babble of birds and the wind ruffling the trees - the tranquility is tactile.
As you walk into camp around lunch time, the small dome tents form a semi-circle around the campfire before a splendid view of the African bush - later to become a splendid view of the African sunset.
The night, filled with natural sounds, is a peaceful rejuvenation: don't worry about the animals, they pose no threat - certainly not with your armed ranger at the alert and the embers of the fire. It is a known fact that the animals - all the dangerous ones at least - keep their distance from these strange and powerful creatures called humans and while exciting, you are at all times completely safe.
The whole experience is one long wildlife activity. Even your dinner - masterfully prepared over an open fire - is served to the soothing sounds of the bush: cicadas, night jars, crickets, owls and a chorus of frogs.
The morning walk from Wildlife Camp takes you to Bush Camp for lunch and relaxing doze in the shade. After a light tea you set off for an evening walk that returns just before sunset for the gala show of the evening.
The walking safari puts you in nature in a safe and enjoyable way. The armed rangers have perfect safety records and have all passed stringent training methods. Your day depends on the tracks you see and where the path takes you; in the evening you relax around the fire; in the morning, you enjoy the perfect calm of dawn in Africa before the day's walk back to civilization begins.