10 of the best: wildlife encounters - 6. Walking with lions
The encounter: For sheer adrenalin, track lions on walking safaris or walk and work alongside them on volunteering projects.
What’s involved: Walk with lions at Zimbabwe’s Antelope Park Private Game Reserve, where a lion rehabilitation project aims to return them to the wild. Walking safaris with armed guides give close-up views on foot, while several projects allow you to help look after lions.
Do it: Acacia Africa’s seven-day Rediscover Zimbabwe trip, from £641, incorporates a stay at Antelope Park. Classic Retreats offers walking safaris on Remote Africa Safaris’s Chikoko Walking Trails as part of a seven-day trip, from $3,655. Norman Carr Safaris has walking safaris on its eight-night Luwi River Trail, privately-guided trip to Zambia’s South Luangwa, from $3,960. Under BUNAC’s Wildlife Conservation South Africa programme, volunteers can look after lions and cubs at a South African wildlife reserve for 18 or 32 days, from £1,099, while i-to-i offers volunteering with lion research work in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, from £1,199 for two to six weeks.