GUIDE TO THE BEST SAFARI IN AFRICA
Go on the ultimate adventure by choosing the best safari in Africa. Amidst a plethora of awe-inspiring safari destinations like Kenya, South Africa, and Rwanda, a select few stand out as unparalleled experiences that will forever be etched in your memory. Imagine tracking the iconic Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinos – set against the backdrop of breathtaking landscapes. Picture the awe-inspiring spectacle of the Great Migration, as a sea of wildebeests charges across vast plains in search of greener pastures. Experience the heart-pounding thrill of close encounters with an array of wildlife, from playful zebras to elusive cheetahs. These extraordinary moments await you in Africa’s most exceptional safari destinations, where reality seamlessly blends with the pages of a captivating adventure story, and the wonders of the animal kingdom unfold right before your eyes.
The List Of The Best Safari In Africa
1) Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Where is Serengeti National Park?
Serengeti National Park thrives at the core of Africa, spanning northern Tanzania. This untamed haven hosts diverse wildlife against stunning landscapes, promising an authentic African adventure beneath its expansive skies. Making it one of best safari in Africa.
Map of Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park Animals
Serengeti National Park teems with iconic wildlife. The Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinos – command attention. Alongside, famous birds like ostriches, vultures, and marabou storks punctuate the skies. A vibrant ecosystem where nature’s raw drama unfolds across the vast African plains.
Hotels In Serengeti National Park
- hotels in serengeti national park
- Osero Serengeti Tented Camp
- Serengeti Sametu Camp
best time to visit serengeti national park?
Long story short. Any damn time! However, for prime visits, aim for the dry seasons: late June to September and January to February. Wildlife congregates around water sources, offering ideal game-viewing opportunities. The Great Migration, a spectacle in July and August, adds allure. These times promise optimal Serengeti experiences with fewer crowds and clear skies.
2) Kruger National Park, South Africa
Where is kruger national park?
Kruger National Park spans northeastern South Africa. This easily accessible park offers a diverse array of wildlife in their natural habitat. Plan for the dry winter months (May to September) for better animal sightings. Research accommodations, book safaris, and adhere to park guidelines for a successful first-time exploration. The park has been voted as one of the best safari in Africa.
Map of Kruger National Park
Animals in kruger national park
Kruger National Park hosts abundant wildlife. The Big Five – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinos – dominate. However, unique wild dogs roam too. Among others are zebras, giraffes, and hippos. A diverse ecosystem showcases Africa’s raw beauty, offering an unfiltered encounter with nature’s finest
Read more on all the animals in the park here
Hotels in Kruger National Park
- Crocodile Bridge Safari Lodge
- Inyati Game Lodge
- The Outpost
best time to go to kruger national park south africa?
Honestly, All year long! Although the Ideal time to visit Kruger National Park is the dry winter months (May to September). Animals gather around water sources, ensuring better sightings. This season promises a rewarding safari experience with comfortable weather and unobstructed views of the park’s remarkable wildlife.
3) Etosha National Park, Namibia
Where is Etosha National Park?
Etosha National Park? It’s in northern Namibia, plain and simple. A vast salt pan defines the landscape, surrounded by arid terrain. Animals thrive around waterholes, providing some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing. So, if Namibia’s on your radar, don’t miss this unique spot for an authentic safari adventure.
Map of Etosha National Park
Animals in Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park’s a wild mix of creatures. Massive elephants and graceful giraffes share space with fast cheetahs and elusive leopards. Lions rule, while rhinos stand their ground. Herbivores graze – zebras, antelopes, you name it. It’s a raw, untamed ecosystem where Africa’s beauty and brutality play out every day.
Hotels in Etosha National Park
- Toshari Lodge
- Onguma The Fort
- Onguma Bush Camp
4) Laikipia Plateau, Kenya
where is Laikipia Plateau?
The Laikipia Plateau is located in central Kenya, East Africa. It stretches across approximately 9,500 square kilometers and is situated to the northwest of Mount Kenya. The plateau is known for its diverse wildlife, including various species of mammals and birds, and its importance as a conservation area and wildlife habitat
Map Of laikipia plateau
Animal in Laikipia Plateau
The Laikipia Plateau is home to the majority of Kenya’s endangered species, with almost half of the country’s black rhino population residing here. The region boasts a rich array of wildlife, including lions and various rare species. Laikipia’s rigorous conservation initiatives actively protect these animals and their habitats, making a significant contribution to preserving Kenya’s biodiversity and making it one of the best safari in Africa.
Hotels in Laikipia
- Falcon Heights Hotel
- Fairmont Mount Kenya Safari Club
- Jambo Mutara Camp, Laikipia
Best time to visit Laikipia Plateau?
The ideal time to visit the Laikipia Plateau if you’re looking for the best safari in Africa is during the dry seasons, which are generally from June to October and from January to February. These months offer favorable weather conditions for wildlife viewing and outdoor activities. The dry periods ensure clearer skies, better accessibility to different areas, and a higher chance of encountering wildlife as they gather around water sources.
5) Okavango Delta, Botswana
Where is Okavango Delta?
The Okavango Delta is located in northern Botswana, Africa. It is one of the world’s largest inland deltas (making it one of the best safari in Africa for tourists) and is formed by the Okavango River as it flows into the Kalahari Desert. The delta’s intricate network of waterways, lagoons, and islands creates a diverse and vibrant ecosystem, making it a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular destination for wildlife viewing and ecotourism.
Map Of The Okavango Delta
Animals in Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is home to a remarkable variety of wildlife. The delta’s unique ecosystem supports a rich diversity of animals, including elephants, hippos, crocodiles, lions, leopards, cheetahs, buffalo, various antelope species, and an abundance of birdlife. The seasonal flooding and extensive waterways create a haven for aquatic species such as fish and amphibians. The delta’s thriving ecosystem makes it one of Africa’s prime destinations for safari and wildlife enthusiasts.
Best time to visit Okavango Delta
The best time to visit the Okavango Delta depends on your interests and what you hope to experience. The general guideline is as follows:
- Dry Season (May to October): This is the peak tourist season. The weather is cooler and drier, making wildlife easier to spot as animals congregate around water sources. Game viewing is excellent, but it can get quite crowded and rates are higher.
- Wet Season (November to April): This is the rainy season. While it might rain, the landscape is lush and beautiful, and birdlife is abundant. This is also the time when many animals give birth, so you might witness newborns. However, some areas might be inaccessible due to flooding, and mosquitoes can be more prevalent.
For the best combination of good wildlife viewing and fewer crowds, the months of May to September are often recommended. However, if you’re interested in birdwatching and experiencing the lushness of the delta, the wetter months can be rewarding as well.
The Okavango Delta has been voted as one of the best safari in Africa due to the reasons above.
6) Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Where is Maasai Mara?
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is located in southwestern Kenya, East Africa. It is situated in the Great Rift Valley and shares a border with Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. The Maasai Mara is renowned for its exceptional wildlife populations, especially during the annual wildebeest migration, making it a popular destination for safari enthusiasts and photographers.
Editors Pick as the best safari in Africa.
Map of the Maasai Mara
Animals In The Maasai Mara
The Maasai Mara National Reserve is a wildlife haven, hosting an impressive array of animals within its diverse ecosystems. Here, you’ll encounter the iconic African “Big Five” – lions, elephants, buffaloes, leopards, and rhinoceros – along with cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, and various antelope species, making it one of the best safari in Africa. However, the Maasai Mara is perhaps most renowned for the Great Migration, an awe-inspiring natural spectacle where millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles traverse the Mara-Serengeti ecosystem in search of fresh grazing lands. This annual migration, one of nature’s grandest events, occurs between July and October, as these animals brave crocodile-infested rivers and open savannahs, offering visitors an unparalleled wildlife spectacle and a true testament to the untamed beauty of the natural world
Hotels in The maasai mara
- Angama Mara
- JW marriott
- Mahali Mzuri
Best time to visit The maasai mara
The best time to visit the Maasai Mara depends on your interests and what you’d like to experience:
- Great Migration (July to October): This is the most popular time to visit. The wildebeest migration usually reaches the Maasai Mara during these months, providing incredible wildlife viewing opportunities as well as dramatic river crossings. However, it’s also the peak tourist season, so accommodations might be more expensive, and the park can be quite crowded.
- Dry Season (June to October): This period offers excellent wildlife viewing as animals gather around water sources, making them easier to spot. The weather is generally dry and cooler, which can enhance your overall experience. It’s a good time to see predators in action as they hunt weakened prey.
- Green Season (November to May): This is the wetter period, and while some areas might be less accessible due to mud, the landscape is lush and vibrant. Birdwatching is particularly rewarding during this time. Accommodations might offer lower rates, and there are fewer tourists, but wildlife can be more dispersed.
Ultimately, your choice of when to visit should align with your preferences – whether you’re after the Great Migration spectacle, optimal game viewing, or a quieter experience amidst lush scenery.
7) South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Where is South Luangwa National Park?
South Luangwa National Park is located in eastern Zambia, in the southern part of the African continent. It is situated in the Luangwa Valley, bordered by the Luangwa River to the east. One of the best safari in Africa in the South.
Map of south luangwa national park
Animals in South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is teeming with a wide range of wildlife, making it a prime safari destination. The park is home to elephants, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, various species of antelope, buffalo, and lions. One of the park’s highlights is its impressive population of leopards, which are often spotted here due to the park’s suitable habitat. Additionally, visitors can observe wild dogs, hyenas, zebras, and an abundance of bird species, making South Luangwa a haven for both animal enthusiasts and birdwatchers.
Best time to visit South Luangwa National Park
The best time to visit South Luangwa National Par in Zambia depends on your interests and what you want to experience:
- Dry Season (May to October): This is considered the peak safari season. The weather is dry, wildlife is concentrated around water sources, and vegetation is less dense, providing excellent game viewing opportunities. The months of June to August are particularly popular as they offer cooler temperatures.
- Emerald Season (November to April): This is the wet season, characterized by lush green landscapes and vibrant vegetation. While wildlife can be more dispersed, birdwatching is exceptional during this time. The landscape is beautifully transformed, but some lodges and camps might close due to the rainy conditions.
For a balance between optimal game viewing and fewer crowds, the dry season, especially from June to August, is recommended. However, if you’re interested in the lush scenery and unique birdlife of the wet season, visiting during the “emerald” months can be a rewarding experience.
8) Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
Where is Queen Elizabeth National Park?
Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in southwestern Uganda, East Africa. It is situated near the border with the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda. The park is known for its diverse ecosystems, including savannahs, forests, wetlands, and lakes. Queen Elizabeth National Park is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lions, leopards, hippos, crocodiles, and numerous bird species, making it a popular destination for safari enthusiasts and nature lovers.
Although Uganda is not the typical country for Safari, we still put it on the list of best safari in Africa based on personal experiences.
Map of queen Elizabeth national park
Animals in Queen Elizabeth National Park
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda boasts an impressive array of wildlife. The park is home to a diverse range of animals, including elephants, lions, leopards, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, and various antelope species. The Ishasha sector of the park is particularly famous for its tree-climbing lions. Additionally, Queen Elizabeth National Park is renowned for its exceptional birdlife, with over 600 species recorded, making it a paradise for birdwatchers as well. The park’s diverse ecosystems, including savannah, forests, wetlands, and lakes, create a thriving habitat for these animals.
Hotels in Queen Elizabeth National Park
- Tembo Safari Lodge
- Engiri Game lodge and campsite
- Queen Elizabeth park view tourist lodge
Best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park?
The best time to visit Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda depends on your preferences and what you’d like to experience:
- Dry Season (June to September, December to February): These are the peak tourist seasons. The weather is dry, and wildlife congregates around water sources, making it easier to spot animals. Game viewing is excellent during these months. The months of July and August and the period of December to January are particularly popular.
- Wet Season (March to May, October to November): This is the rainy season. The landscape is lush and green, and birdlife is abundant. While some areas might be muddy and certain roads might be impassable, the scenery is vibrant. Fewer tourists might be present during this time, allowing for a more intimate experience.
For optimal game viewing, the dry seasons are recommended. However, if you’re interested in birdwatching, lush landscapes, and a quieter atmosphere, visiting during the wet seasons can provide a unique and rewarding experience.
9) Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve), Tanzania
Where is Nyerere National Park?
Nyerere National Park, formerly known as Selous Game Reserve, is located in southeastern Tanzania, East Africa. It covers a vast area and is one of the largest protected areas in Africa. The park is situated to the south of Dar es Salaam, and it spans across a diverse range of landscapes, including woodlands, savannahs, wetlands, and the Rufiji River. Nyerere National Park is renowned for its untouched wilderness, diverse wildlife, and status as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Map of Nyerere national park
Animals in Nyerere National Park
Nyerere National Park is rich in biodiversity and hosts a wide variety of wildlife species. Among the notable animals that inhabit the park are elephants, lions, leopards, African wild dogs, buffaloes, hippos, crocodiles, giraffes, zebras, and various species of antelope. The Rufiji River, which flows through the park, is home to a plethora of aquatic life, including fish and water birds. The park’s diverse ecosystems, ranging from riverine forests to open grasslands, support a thriving population of both iconic and lesser-known African species, making it a captivating destination for safari enthusiasts and conservationists alike.
Hotels In Nyerere National Park
- One Nature Nyaruswiga
- Nyerere Tented camp
- Nsya lodge & camp
Best time to visit Nyerere National Park?
The best time to visit Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) in Tanzania depends on your preferences and the experiences you seek:
- Dry Season (June to October): This is the peak tourist season. The weather is dry and cooler, and wildlife gathers around water sources, making them easier to spot. Game viewing is excellent during this time. Keep in mind that it can get quite hot in September and October.
- Wet Season (November to May): This is the rainy season. The landscape becomes lush and vibrant, and birdlife is abundant. This period also corresponds with the calving season, so you might witness baby animals. While some roads might be impassable, and wildlife might be more dispersed, the wet season offers unique opportunities for photography and birdwatching.
Nyerere National Park offers a more remote and less crowded safari experience compared to some other parks in Tanzania. For optimal game viewing, the dry season is recommended. However, if you’re interested in the lush landscapes and unique experiences of the wet season, visiting during that time can be rewarding.
Honorable mentions for the best safari in Africa
Types of Safaris
1) Game Drive Safaris:
What is a safari game drive?
A safari game drive is a guided excursion into a natural wildlife habitat, typically within a national park, game reserve, or conservation area. The primary purpose of a safari game drive is to observe and appreciate wild animals and their natural behaviors in their native environment. Visitors are transported in specialized vehicles, such as open-top jeeps or 4×4 vehicles, that provide good visibility for spotting wildlife.
During a safari game drive, a trained guide or ranger accompanies visitors, sharing information about the animals, plants, and ecosystems encountered
Do this if you’re looking for the best safari in Africa
How long is a safari game drive?
The duration of a safari game drive can vary based on several factors, including the destination, the specific itinerary of the safari, and the preferences of the participants. On average, a typical safari game drive usually lasts around 2 to 3 hours.
What to wear on a safari game drive?
When going on a safari game drive, wear neutral-colored, lightweight, and breathable clothing like long-sleeved shirts, pants, and a wide-brimmed hat. Closed-toe shoes, sunglasses, and sunscreen are essential. Pack a light jacket, rain gear, and insect repellent. Don’t forget a camera and binoculars. Check with your tour operator for any specific recommendations based on the destination and climate.
2) Walking Safaris:
Are walking safaris safe?
Walking safaris can be safe when conducted by experienced and trained guides within established and well-managed safari destinations. Walking safaris offer a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in nature and observe wildlife from a different perspective. However, safety considerations are crucial, as you are in close proximity to potentially dangerous animals.
Walking safari zambia
Nairobi safari walk
The Nairobi Safari Walk is a conservation-based attraction located within the Nairobi National Park in Kenya. It offers visitors the opportunity to observe a variety of Kenyan wildlife in a recreated natural habitat, showcasing the country’s diverse ecosystems and animal species. The raised wooden boardwalks wind through different environments, including wetlands, savannah, and forest, allowing visitors to see animals like lions, cheetahs, giraffes, rhinos, and a wide range of bird species up close. The Nairobi Safari Walk serves both as an educational experience and a way to appreciate Kenya’s wildlife without venturing deep into the wilderness.
3) Balloon Safaris:
Are balloon safaris safe?
Yes, balloon safaris are generally safe when operated by licensed companies with well trained pilots and well-maintained equipment. Choose good operators, follow pilot instructions, and consider weather conditions. It’s a unique way to experience wildlife and landscapes from above, offering breathtaking views while adhering to safety standards.
Hot air balloon safari
Hot air balloon safaris provide safe and unique animal experiences. Reputable operators, experienced pilots, and well-maintained equipment ensure safety. Enjoy breathtaking views and observe wildlife from above, adhering to established safety standards
Hot air balloon safari Maasai Mara
Hot air balloon safaris in the Maasai Mara offer a breathtaking perspective of its wildlife and landscapes. Good operators and skilled pilots ensure safety as you soar above the savannah. Experience an unforgettable sunrise flight, spotting animals below, and enjoy an extraordinary adventure in one of Africa’s iconic safari destinations, but don’t forget to carry your camera.
4) Primate Safaris
Primate safaris Rwanda
Safaris in Rwanda provide unique wildlife encounters. With experienced guides, explore the lush rainforests to observe primates like mountain gorillas and the golden monkeys. These responsible and respectful tours offer an unforgettable and ethically conscious experience, contributing to conservation efforts in the region.
Primate safaris Uganda
Primate safaris in Uganda offer exceptional wildlife encounters. Accompanied by knowledgeable guides, venture into the forests to observe primates like mountain gorillas and chimpanzees. These immersive experiences contribute to conservation efforts while providing unforgettable memories of Uganda’s diverse and fascinating primate species.
Nyungwe forest Primate safari
A Nyungwe Forest primate safari offers captivating experiences with diverse primate species. Guided by experts, explore the lush forest to spot chimpanzees, colobus monkeys, and more. The Nyungwe experience combines nature, adventure, and conservation, providing an unforgettable journey through Rwanda’s rich primate habitats.
In the grand narrative of African exploration, the best safari in Africa emerges as a vivid and breathtaking chapter. It’s where the pulse of nature quickens your own, where the raw drama of the wilderness unfolds in harmony with your heartbeat.
This is the best safari in Africa—where lions’ roars punctuate the air, elephants parade across the savannah, and the land itself seems to whisper ancient secrets. It’s not just a journey; it’s an odyssey of the senses, a discovery of the primal connection that binds us to this extraordinary continent. The best safari in Africa becomes an unforgettable tale woven into the fabric of your soul.