Africa is a vast and varied continent, with a whole host of safari experiences on offer. So much so, that it’s very difficult to say for sure which is ‘best’! While you should consider exactly what the priorities for your trip are (specific animals, group type, safety, climate, etc) before making a decision, we’ve detailed nine destinations you might like to consider for inspiration, if safari is your thing:
1.Etosha National Park, Namibia: Of course, being based in beautiful Namibia, we’d be inclined to tell you that Etosha is the best place in Africa for safari, but it truly is something else, and we implore you to come and see it for yourself! The largely dried-out salt pan and surrounding grassland is home to: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, giraffe, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, both mountain and plains zebra, springbok, kudu, gemsbok, eland and more, and guests who’ve done safaris elsewhere tell us it’s a much more authentic, unspoiled experience than they’ve had in some of the more well-known parks. With Namibia being the second least densely populated countries on planet earth, you’re likely to see more animals than you are people!
2.The Okavango Delta, Botswana: Another destination we visit on our trips, and another real gem. The winding waterways and the surrounding land are home to: elephant, buffalo, hippopotamus, blue wildebeest, giraffe, Nile crocodile, lion, cheetah, leopard, brown hyena, spotted hyena, rhino and antelopes including: lechwe, tsessebe, sitatunga, springbok, kudu and sable antelope. There’s nothing quite like settling down into a mokoro canoo-like boat and traversing the waterways to spot these majestic animals, or enjoying a sundowner overlooking the tranquil Delta with the soundtrack provided by hippos and elephants.
3.Chobe National Park, Botswana: Another Wild Dog favourite! We love this place because you can enjoy safari on land and water, with access to the Chobe river (which forms the border between Namibia and Botswana) as well as the National Park. Whether you’re on a boat or in a four-wheel-drive, you’ll have the chance to spot: elephants, buffalo, puku antelope, lion, jackal, hippo, African fish eagle, hyena, crocodile, sable antelope, greater kudu, bushbucks and more. In fact, if you don’t spot an elephant in Chobe you’ll have had some rotten luck, as it’s thought that the park has the highest concentration of eles in Africa!
4.The Kalahari Desert, Namibia / Botswana / South Africa: You’d be forgiven for not leaping straight to a desert when thinking about safaris in Africa, but then the Kalahari is not your usual desert; it receives between 5 and 10 inches of rain each year, allowing plants to grow and, in turn, animals to survive. It’s really something spotting animals you’re used to seeing on typical African grassland, rambling around the striking, red earth of the Kalahari and, again, many of our trips visit this part of Namibia. Animals and birds you might spot here include: the Kalahari lion, meerkat, giraffe, brown hyena, jackal, chacma baboon, emu, warthog and antelope species including: eland, gemsbok,springbok, hartebeest, steenbok, kudu, and duiker.
5. The Bwindi Forest National Park, Uganda and The Virunga National Park, Rwanda: Destinations for those seeking a very specific type of safari, either Uganda or Rwanda is a must-visit place for gorilla lovers. Both are home to the beautiful mountain gorilla, though the terrain is a little different in each place and so your experience is likely to differ. In Bwindi, you might also see: common chimpanzee, L’Hoest’s monkey, African elephant, black and white colobus monkey, red-tailed monkey, vervet monkey, giant forest hog, side-striped jackal, African golden cat and African civet. In Virunga, you also could see: eastern lowland Grauer’s gorilla, chimpanzees, okapi, hippo, forest and savanna elephant, lion and more.
6. The Masai Mara, Kenya and The Serengeti, Tanzania: These destinations are the set for a unique and undoubtedly epic experience; the great migration which sees hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, often joined by zebra and gazelle, travel to and from the region every July to October. All year round they are great spots for seeking out wildlife, though given their popularity, you’ll be amongst many humans in doing so. Animals you can see here include: Masai lion, leopard, cheetah, wildebeest, topi, elephant, cape buffalo, black rhinoceros, hippopotami, crocodile, hyena, jackal, bat-eared fox, giraffe and much more.
7. The Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe: The largest game reserve in Zimbabwe is situated just a few hours’ drive from Victoria Falls and so is perfect for those who like the idea of seeing incedible wildlife, as well as one of the world’s most stunning waterfalls, in one trip. Some of our trips end in Victoris Falls town and so would be the perfect prelude to time in Hwange National Park, where you might spot: gemsbok, brown hyena, African wild dog, lion, leopard, cheetah, elephant, zebra, rhino and more.
8. Kruger National Park, South Africa: Kruger is probably the most well known safari spot in the world and is one of Africa’s largest game reserves, with more species of large mammal than anywhere else in Africa (147 if you wondered!). As you’d expect, the set-up and facilities are very well-established, and it’s thought that about 950,000 tourists head to the park each year to see: elephant, African wild dog, buffalo, black and white rhino, Burchell’s zebra, bushbuck, cheetah, eland, giraffe, kudu, hippopotamus, lion, leopard, spotted hyena, waterbuck, blue wildebeest, impala and more.
9. Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique: Last, but by no means least, in our round-up is ‘the Serengeti of the South’; locals joke that instead of wildebeest, Gorongosa has waterbuck! Despite a history wrought with war and fighting which saw much of the animal population wiped out, animal numbers today are flourishing anf it’s home to: lion, warthogs, bushbuck, elephant, crocodile, hippo, antelopes including the sable, Crawshay’s zebra and the Mount Gorongosa pygmy chameleon, and lots more.
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