Even Prince William and Kate Middleton roughed it when they got engaged on an African safari. But you don’t have to pay like a king on safari. These new, no-frills safaris are more affordable and authentic way to safari – if you dare.Forget luxury lodges and comfy jeep tours, these hard-core safaris let you see the game from the ground – up close and personal. Plus, they’re often more affordable. Here’s a sampling of walking, mountain-bike, motorcycle, boat-based, self-guided driving and horseback riding safaris. Which do you think will give you the best bragging rights?
Walking Safari, South Africa
The year-and-a-half old Shindzela Bush Camp in the private reserves abutting Krueger National Park in South Africa offers bare-bones walking/riding safaris (each day has a ranger-led walk with an open, Land Rover ride at night, pictured above). Guests stay in rustic, unfenced tented camp with no electricity. The safari is more authentic but also more affordable: It runs about $600 for three days, which is the day rate for most lodge safaris. And by walking, guests can get closer to animals than they would in a jeep.
Canoeing Safari, Botswana
Safari Adventure Company, an ecotourism and conservation safari outfitter opened the new Banoka Bush Camp in the Okavango Delta in Botswana in August. Guests can go on game-viewing trips by boat in traditional mokoro carved-out wooden canoes to view the wildlife in the world’s largest inland delta.
Motorcycle Safari, Tanzania
Motorcycle through Tanzania with Fredlink Tours which also focuses on scenery like Mt. Kilimanjaro in addition to wildlife viewing and interaction with tribal people such as the Masai. A tented camp is set up for guests along the nine-day itinerary.
Self-Driving Safari, Namibia
The Safari Company can coordinate guided, self-drive safaris through Namibia’s national parks and deserts. It may sound like an oxymoron but you drive your own 4×4 while a guide leads in a separate vehicle. This gives visitors the experience of driving through the bush without the fear of getting lost or running short on supplies.
Horseback Riding Safari, Zambia
Ride through a private reserve bordering Kafue National Park in Zambia looking for big game. Guide Steven Rufus is one of the few fully qualified horse safari guides in Southern Africa.