Best Safaris in Africa
Declared one of the best safari destinations in the world, an authentic African safari should be at the top of every traveler, avid adventurer, and nature and wildlife enthusiast’s travel bucket list.
Here are some of the top safari destinations in Africa.
Botswana has evolved into one of Africa’s most exclusive and sought-after safari destinations. Home to some of the most prolific wildlife on the African continent, very few countries can compare to its sheer diversity and wealth of wildlife.
As approximately 40% of Botswana’s vast unspoiled wilderness falls within a wildlife-protected area, it has become a true wildlife haven. These protected areas serve as a sanctuary for the world’s largest concentration of elephants, countless big game, the iconic African Big 5, various plains game, and several endangered species such as the black rhino, African wild dog, and cheetah.
With a substantial portion of Botswana’s landscape dedicated to conservation, it’s no surprise that several of its protected areas, including the Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta and the Moremi Game Reserve, rank among Africa’s best game viewing destinations.
Botswana is blessed with the most dramatic wilderness regions, largely consisting of national parks, conservancies, and wildlife reserves. Known for its wild unapologetic natural beauty and pristine unfenced surroundings, it boasts a diverse array of landscapes and ecosystems, From the largest inland deltas and freshwater wetland of the Okavango Delta, rolling savannahs of Savute and the Chobe National Park, to the far-flung stretches of the Makgadikgadi saltpans and the semi-desert grasslands of the Kalahari – Botswana’s natural landscapes are awe-inspiring.
Botswana’s Best National Parks & Game Reserves
- The Okavango Delta
- Chobe National Park
- Nxai Pan National Park
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Makgadikgadi Salt Pans
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Tuli Block
- Tsodilo Hills
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Khama Rhino Sanctuary
Best Time Of Year To Go To Botswana
If you’re eager to experience Botswana’s vast diversity of remarkable wildlife, the best time to go is during its dry season which takes place between May and October.
As a bonus tip, May to September is deemed the best time to visit the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park, and Moremi Game Reserve, while the months of March and May should be reserved for Botswana’s other drier parks.
Botswana’s Wildlife, Wilderness & Seasonal Highlights
Known as ‘Africa’s Last Eden’, the vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland that is the Okavango Delta is one of the largest inland deltas in the world. Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site and voted one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in 2013, the Okavango Delta is one of the best safari destinations in Africa.
The Delta owes a great deal of its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River which cuts through the center of the Kalahari Desert, creating a unique inland water system, giving life to a vast diversity of wildlife and birdlife as well as the Delta’s dynamic ecosystem.
The Okavango Delta is affected by seasonal flooding. The Delta’s peak flood season takes place during May – October with water levels being at its highest during June – August. Its peak flood season coincides with Botswana’s dry season, which in turn coincides with the great migrations of plains game from the dry hinterland. During the dry season around 260,000 mammals are estimated to congregate around the delta, resulting in spectacular wildlife sightings and encounters.
The Okavango Delta is also known as a world-famous stronghold for predators and an exceptional birding destination, home to approximately 530 bird species.
*Insider Tip: Besides enjoying an authentic guided 4×4 African safari, by far one of the top and most thrilling things to do in Botswana, especially in the Okavango Delta, is go on a mokoro trip through the Delta wetlands. A mokoro is a traditional dug-out canoe which is used to traverse and explore the waterways and channels of the Okavango Delta.
Going on a mokoro journey through the Delta is not only a bucket-list worthy adventure, but an opportunity to see the Okavango Delta from a whole new perspective and experience and discover hidden gems, secret spots, and rare sightings you’d otherwise miss while on a traditional 4×4 game drive.
Chobe National Park
Botswana is home to the world’s largest population of African elephants, with the highest concentration, more than120,000 African elephants to be exact, found in Chobe National Park. This makes Chobe one of the top safari destinations on earth to witness these gentle giants up-close in their natural environment.
The best time of year to enjoy spectacular sightings of these remarkable members of the African Big 5 is during Botswana’s dry season (May to October) when enormous herds congregate on the banks of the Chobe River.
The Chobe River is also known to draw an unmatched diversity of both birdlife and wildlife, including a multitude of buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, lions, and countless bird species. The endangered and beloved African wild dog, jackals, leopards, and various predators can also be frequently spotted in the Chobe National Park.
The Savuti region of the Chobe National Park is notorious for its brutal clashes between lions and hyenas as well as where powerful prides famously take down Africa’s biggest game, such as buffalo, giraffe and even elephants.
The Savuti Marsh in particular offers some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa all year round.
*Insider Tip: Besides going on an action-packed guided 4×4 open vehicle safari adventure, one of the best and most exhilarating ways to explore and experience Chobe National Park is on a boat trip.
Have a look at our ‘Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Botswana’ blog for everything you need to know about Botswana’s most sought-after attractions and must-visit National Parks.
Home to some of the best – if not the best –National Parks, conservation areas, and wildlife reserves in Africa, Kenya has established itself as one of the most well-known and acclaimed safari destinations in Africa. Due to its superior safari status, avid travelers, globe trotters, keen adventurers, and eager wildlife and nature enthusiasts travel from all corners of the world to experience all of Kenya’s wilderness wonders and safari ventures first-hand – Kenyan safaris are famous for their adventure after all.
Renowned for its pristine array of national parks and reserves, conservation initiatives, thriving concentration of wildlife and birdlife, and profound seasonal highlights and wildlife spectacles, Kenya is undoubtedly in a league of its own – When you think of the ultimate African safari, you think Kenya!
Beyond Kenya’s wonderful wildlife, wilderness, and wild and untamed natural beauty, it features landscapes and ecosystems that are equally as diverse and complex as Kenya itself. From its abundant acacia trees, endless stretches of savannah, and vast deserts to snow-capped mountains, thick jungle terrains, and stunning coastlines and beautiful beaches, Kenya is one African safari destination that has it all.
Kenya’s Best National Parks & Game Reserves
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Amboseli National Park
- Samburu National Reserve
- Lake Nakuru National Park
- Tsavo East National Park
- Laikipia Plateau & Conservancy
- Nairobi National Park
- Aberdare National Park
- Great Rift Valley Lakes
Kenya’s Top Mountains
- Mount Kenya
- Mount Longonot
- Mount Elgon
Best Time To Go To Kenya
Kenya is a top-rated year-round African safari destination, boasting superb game viewing and safari experiences 365 days of the year, irrespective of its diverse geography and variable climate.
However, if your top priority is to witness its pristine diversity of wildlife and birdlife, as well as experience the bucket-list worthy wildlife spectacle – The Masai Mara Great Wildebeest Migration – in full force, the best time to go to Kenya is during its dry season from June to October.
For more information – Have a look at our ‘Best time to go to Kenya’ blog.
Kenya’s Wildlife, Wilderness & Seasonal Highlights
Kenya is deemed one of the best places in Africa to witness the iconic African Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino), vast and varied wildlife and birdlife, several endangered species such as African wild dog and the endangered black rhino, as well as rare and remarkable species that can only be found in this part of the world.
By far one of Kenya’s top wildlife spectacles and attractions is the magnificent Great Migration which takes place in the extraordinary Masai Mara National Reserve. The annual Great Migration is when millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala move across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem, migrating from the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park from June – October.
The annual Great Migration is a continuous year-round cycle, triggered by and dependant on East Africa’s annual rainfall patterns and the growth of new grass.
*Insider tip: The Great Migration can often be seen right throughout the year in Tanzania, you just need to know where to look. However, the migrating herds enter Kenya for a much shorter period of time, roughly from July or August until October. Recent years have seen some changes with major arrivals as early as June, and late stayers in the Maasai Mara region until November or even later.
Have a look at our ‘Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Kenya’ blog for everything you need to know about Kenya’s most sought-after attractions and must-visit National Parks.
Along with being East Africa’s second largest country, Tanzania is one of the best and most captivating African safari destinations in the world. Boasting an array of national parks and game reserves, ranging from the world-renowned Serengeti National Park to the wild and secluded hidden wilderness gem of Katavi National Park, Tanzania has something for every traveler and safari enthusiast to explore.
There are very few destinations in Africa that can rival Tanzania’s sheer diversity of wildlife and vast and varied landscapes. From the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, the natural phenomenon of the Ngorongoro Crater, and the classic savannah plains of the Serengeti and Tarangire National Park to the stunning beaches and coral reefs of Zanzibar, a Tanzanian safari is known to deliver one unforgettable experience after another.
Tanzania is also highly renowned for its incredible range of off-the-beaten-path gems, including chimpanzee trekking in the untouched rainforests of the Mahale Mountains National Park and Rubondo Island National Park, as well as crowd-free game viewing among the wild landscapes of Nyerere (previously Selous Game Reserve) and Ruaha National Park.
Offering an endless and exciting variety of destinations and landscapes to explore, wildlife and birdlife to see, and safari experiences to tick off your bucket list – The safari adventure never ends in Tanzania!
Tanzania’s Best National Parks, Game Reserves & Attractions
- Serengeti National Park
- Tarangire National Park
- Selous Game Reserve
- Ruaha National Park
- Ngorongoro Crater
- Lake Manyara National Park
- Nyerere National Park
- Gombe National Park / Gombe Stream National Park
- Katavi National Park
- Mount Kilimanjaro
- Kilimanjaro National Park
- Mahale Mountains National Park
- Arusha National Park
- Mikumi National Park
- Mkomazi National Park
- Saadani National Park
- Olduvai Gorge
- Udzungwa Mountains National Park
- Rubondo Island National Park
- Lake Tanganyika
- Zanzibar: The Zanzibar Archipelago consists of over 50 islands, with the best known and most popular island being Unguja or Zanzibar
Best Time To Go To Tanzania
While many of Tanzania’s safari destinations, reserves, and wilderness areas are renowned for their year-round tropical climate, other regions are not as fortunate.
As Tanzania boasts one of the most diverse landscapes in Africa, each one vastly different from the next, visitors can expect an equally diverse climate, surrounding conditions, vegetation, and ecosystem from every distinct wilderness area and Tanzanian safari circuit / region. For example, temperatures are known to drop far below freezing on the famous Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, whereas Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast and lakeside regions are notorious for their exceptionally hot and humid conditions.
In light of the above, the best time to go to Tanzania is highly dependent on where in Tanzania you would like to go, what you’d like to experience, as well as the adventures, safari activities, and off-the-beaten-track pursuits you’d like to enjoy on your trip.
*Insider tip: For first-time safari goers, the best time to go to Tanzania is typically during its dry season, June – October, as wildlife are far easier to track and spot, resulting in exceptional wildlife sightings and encounters.
For more information – Have a look at our ‘Best time to go to Tanzania’ blog.
Tanzania’s Wildlife, Wilderness & Seasonal Highlights
Deemed one of the top wildlife destinations in the world, Tanzania boasts a remarkable diversity of wildlife and birdlife. Home to over 20% of Africa’s largest mammals, it is one of the most superb Big 5 safari destinations, featuring exceptional up-close Big 5 sightings (especially huge herds of elephants and buffalos).
Other prominent wildlife and popular plains game roaming the reserve’s open plains, savannahs, riverbanks, and woodlands include giraffe, hippo, cheetah, hyena, jackals, various antelope, and tons of zebra, wildebeest, and gazelle on their annual trip / Great Migration around the Serengeti National Park into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.
Tanzania is also renowned for its endangered and rarely seen wildlife, including the critically endangered African wild dog, black rhino, chimpanzees, African white-bellied Pangolin, and Lesser Kudu.
The critically endangered East African black rhinos of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, abundant flamingos that visit Lake Manyara seasonally, famous tree-climbing lions, and masses of migratory birds present during Tanzania’s wet season (November – May), round out an extraordinary Tanzanian wildlife experience.
Have a look at our ‘Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Tanzania’ blog for everything you need to know about Tanzania’s most sought-after attractions and must-visit National Parks.
Zimbabwe has long been regarded a wildlife wonder of a safari destination and a favourite among locals and tourists alike. Boasting incredible national parks and reserves, vast and vibrant landscapes, an abundant diversity of wildlife and birdlife, and the glorious Victoria Falls, a trip to Zimbabwe should be on every African travel bucket list.
There are few destinations in Africa that can compete with the renowned Victoria Falls for sheer visual drama and unapologetic natural beauty. At its full, roaring peak, the ‘Smoke that Thunders’ is one of the continent’s most mesmerising sights, leaving visitors lightly soaked and absolutely exhilarated at the same time. As the Victoria Falls is located on the mighty Zambezi river, you can witness this natural wonder from both Zimbabwe and Zambia; however, the best on-foot views are experienced from Zimbabwe’s side.
Beyond the Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe is one of Southern Africa’s most rewarding big game safari destinations. Authentic, untamed, and rugged, it offers visitors, avid adventurers, and eager nature and wildlife enthusiasts an off-the-beaten-track African safari experience. In addition to delivering superb game viewing and exceptional Big 5 sightings, witnessing the wildlife of the Zambezi River – hippos, crocodiles, and shy water buck – are a real treat.
Zimbabwe is known for its bucket-list worthy safari adventures and experiences – Hike the thrilling network of trekking trails, enjoy adrenalin fuelled activities at the Victoria Falls, or go on action-packed game drives, exhilarating canoe adventures and exciting guided walking safaris.
Zimbabwe’s Best National Parks, Game Reserves & Attractions
- Hwange National Park
- Victoria Falls
- Mana Pools National Park
- Matoba National Park
- Nyanga National Park
- South Gonarezhou National Park
- Lake Kariba
- Chimanimani National Park
- Chinhoyi Caves
- Matusadona National Park
- Great Zimbabwe National Monument & Masvingo
Best Time To Go To Zimbabwe
The best time to go to Zimbabwe is during its dry season from April to October. May to September is a particularly great time to plan a trip to Zimbabwe – Not only is wildlife viewing excellent, with large herds of wildlife congregating around rivers and waterholes, but the Victoria Falls is considered to be the most impressive during this period as the Zambezi River calms down.
Zimbabwe’s Wildlife, Wilderness & Seasonal Highlights
Home to a number of game-rich wilderness areas, northern Zimbabwe is regarded as the top region for wildlife safaris. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s flagship reserve, conserves one of Africa’s largest elephant populations (an estimated 40 000 elephants), including the other 4 members of the African Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, and buffalo).
It is home to one of Africa’s biggest endangered African wild dog populations, masses of hippos, crocodiles, zebra, giraffe, impala, cheetah, several rare and unusual antelope such as roan and sable antelope (a Hwange special), plenty of plains game, African wildcat, serval, honey badgers, civet and spotted hyaenas, to mention merely a few. Hyena, bat-eared fox, and springhare, typically inhabit the Kalahari sands of the region.
The shores of Lake Kariba are a haven for herds of elephants, rhinos, and a thriving lion population; Whereas the far-flung remote wilderness of neighboring Gonarezhou National Park and Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve offers travelers an immensely rewarding African safari and wildlife experience, featuring big-tusker elephants, all the big cats and nearly 400 bird species. This is merely scratching the surface of the sensational wildlife and birdlife Zimbabwe has to offer.
Have a look at our ‘Top 10 Tourist Attractions in Zimbabwe’ blog for everything you need to know about Zimbabwe’s most sought-after attractions and must-visit National Parks.