Top 5 destinations to go on Safari in Africa
It’s time to live out your very own African wildlife documentary! If you think “wildlife documentary” the soothing voice of Sir David Attenborough is bound to come to mind. Ever since his debut series Zoo Quest hit the screen back in ‘54, this staunch conservationist has influenced a generation of documentary filmmakers and intrepid travellers.
Today Attenborough is hailed as the “father of the modern nature documentary”. His wildlife adventures have taken the world from the icy tips of the Arctic to Malaysia, Australia, and beyond. But there’s one place he holds dearest: AFRICA! His critically acclaimed series, Africa spent four years in the making and takes viewers on an awe-inspiring journey through the continent’s most diverse destinations & vast contrasting landscapes.
Now in his 90s, his love of the natural world shows no sign of abating. So if, in more than a half-century of broadcasting, he has inspired you to live out your own wildlife documentary then here are the top 5 destinations to go on safari in Africa to follow in his footsteps.
#1 Kenya: The Origin of Safari
- Best time to travel: June to October
Avid travellers and wildlife enthusiasts looking to combine adventure, travel, and once-in-a-lifetime experiences in one of the world’s most pristine safari destinations, with phenomenal game viewing, vast unspoiled landscapes, the magic of the African bushveld, beautiful beaches, bucket-list worthy experiences and so much more, the magnificent East African country of Kenya is a one-of-a-kind African safari destination. Kenya, more than any other destination in Africa, is known as the land of safaris.
Embarking on an African safari in the vast and diverse country of Kenya, the place where safari travel originated, promises to be an unbelievable experience that’s bound to exceed your wildest expectations. From the moment you arrive it will feel like you’ve escaped to a whole new world entirely – That’s the magic of Kenya and why it should be at the top of every traveller’s bucket-list!
The best Kenya safaris include thrilling Big 5 sightings & up-close encounters – Kenya is deemed one of the best places in Africa to witness the iconic African Big 5 after all – unparalleled game viewing, including a pristine predator population as well as sightings of rare and remarkable birdlife and wildlife species that can only be found in this part of the world, the incredible natural beauty of the Kenyan wilderness, extensive variety of exhilarating adventure experiences, and authentic cultural encounters entirely unique to Kenya.
However, with over 40 National Parks and reserves in Kenya, picking just one to explore is no easy task. But no matter where you go, you’re bound to have a spectacular African wildlife & safari experience.
In addition to Kenya being one of the most highly acclaimed & sought-after destinations in Africa, it is also one of the world’s most exceptional African safari and wildlife destinations. In fact, very few countries can compare / measure up to Kenya’s remarkable, diverse, and abundant concentration of wildlife & birdlife, vast unspoiled and varied landscapes, remarkable conservation initiatives, seasonal highlights, and not-to-be-missed wildlife spectacles. If that’s not enough, Kenya is widely renowned for its exceptional year-round game-viewing, superb Big 5 encounters & famous Great Wildebeest Migration – One of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
The safari bucket list for Kenya includes seeing the Great Migration in the legendary Masai Mara National Reserve – Kenya’s top & most highly acclaimed National Reserves. By far one of Kenya’s biggest & most highly-sought after attractions is the natural movement of mega-herds – wildebeest, zebra, and gazelle – following the summer rains and sweet grasses in an annual pilgrimage called the Great Migration. Depending on when your Kenya safari takes place, you may witness the life-and-death struggles of the Mara River crossings or dramatic encounters with Africa’s top predators on the open plains.
On the other hand, Amboseli National Park is a haven to over a thousand elephants – including some of Africa’s largest tuskers. The park is brimming with dramatic landscapes ranging from expanses of dry savannah to delta-type swamps, as well as the snow-capped peaks of the mighty and magnificent Mount Kilimanjaro. Not to mention you have Samburu’s beyond spectacular leopard sightings to look forward to. Beyond these extraordinary and exciting wildlife and safari adventures, you will also have the privilege of encountering fascinating cultures in authentic Masai villages and taste the flavours of Africa, India, and Europe in the melting pot that is Swahili culture.
The Masai Mara National Reserve and Amboseli National Park are deemed Kenya’s two most popular and highly sought-after reserves. However, chances are you’ll have to overnight in Nairobi at some point on your African overland tour. If this is the case then be sure to check out the country’s bustling capital city and its nearby game park. Nairobi is a hip and edgy city, buzzing with culture, art, and development. At the doorstep of this cosmopolitan city is Nairobi National Park, best known for its significant black rhino sanctuary.
With so much to offer, Kenya undoubtedly has an unforgettable wildlife and safari holiday experience for every type of traveller. From unforgettable Kenya family safaris that offer child-friendly activities and services, to exclusive hideaways for romantics – ranging from adventurous honeymoons to small groups of friends and family celebrating a milestone anniversary. Whatever type of traveller you are, there’s not much that beats a Kenyan safari holiday – the standards of service are high with Kenya’s top destinations offering an array of luxury accommodation ranging from lavish, colonial-style lodges to trendy boutique hotels and amenity-packed resorts.
Kenya combines easily with Tanzania and Rwanda, which means you can add gorilla trekking to your Kenyan safari. You’ll also find a wide range of safari and beach combination tours to make the most of Kenya’s Out of Africa scenic beauty and wildlife, rounded off with some well-deserved R&R on a tropical island.
Top parks & reserves in Kenya for safari goers
Kenya has a total of 26 different wildlife parks and reserves. The top safari destinations include:
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Amboseli National Park
- Lake Nakuru National Park
- Tsavo National Park
- Samburu National Park
- Buffalo Springs National Reserve
- Aberdare National Park
- Ol Pejeta Conservancy (Laikipia)
- Lewa Wildlife Conservancy (Laikipia)
- Mount Kenya & Aberdares Mountains
- Hell’s Gate National Park
- Rift Valley Lakes
- Nairobi National Park
- Laikipia Plateau & Conservancy
Best Time to travel to Kenya
Kenya is a top-rated year-round beach getaway and African safari destination, boasting superb game viewing, wildlife encounters, and safari experiences 365 days of the year, irrespective of its diverse geography and variable climate.
Despite being one of the most pristine, must-visit, year-round destinations in Africa, Kenya has two distinct seasons:
- Dry Season (Winter): June to October
- Wet Season (Summer): November to May
Regarded by many as the ultimate safari destination, home to some of the best national parks, and wildlife reserves in Africa, a vast range of thriving, complex, and diverse landscapes, and one of the most remarkable and distinct wildlife populations, visiting Kenya any time of the year promises to be an exceptional and exciting experience all-around. However, each season in Kenya offers visitors an entirely unique experience as it pertains to wildlife and birdlife sightings, overall climate, park conditions, surrounding scenery and vegetation, seasonal highlights, and wildlife spectacles.
As most people (both local and international) travel to Kenya to witness its incredible diversity of wildlife and experience the bucket-list worthy wildlife spectacle and phenomenon – The Masai Mara Great Wildebeest Migration – in full force and in all its wilderness glory, Kenya’s dry season (from June – October) is considered the best time to visit Kenya.
#2 South Africa
“South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth. Admittedly, I am biased but when you combine the natural beauty, and the fact that the region is a haven for Africa’s most splendid wildlife, then I think we have been blessed with a truly wonderful land.” – Nelson Mandela
Are you ready for the safari experience of a lifetime? We bet you are! Beyond South Africa’s top safari status as one of the most popular and highly sought-after safari destinations in Africa amongst wildlife enthusiasts and avid safari-goers around the world, South Africa has also been deemed the country / safari destination of choice for first time safari goers as well as frequent visitors to Africa thanks to its sheer abundance of incredible safari lodges, National Parks, game reserves, conservation areas, and exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities. Not to mention its vast diversity of contrasting landscapes and wilderness destinations – there truly is nothing quite like it!
South Africa’s Top National Parks, Game Reserves & Wildlife Conservation Areas
In addition to all of South Africa’s safari praise, one of its biggest draws as one of Africa’s top wildlife and safari destinations is its vast diversity of National Parks, game reserves, nature and wildlife conservation areas, and top-tier safari destinations it has to offer. Home to more than 600 parks and game reserves, South Africa gives wildlife lovers and eager safari-goers – irrespective if you’re a safari first-timer or a self-proclaimed African safari aficionado – the incredible opportunity to explore and experience some of Africa’s (as well as the world’s) most pristine safari and wildlife parks, reserves, destinations, and national treasures first-hand – Trust us, it’s an unbelievable once-in-a-lifetime experience you’ll never forget!
Big 5 in South Africa
That’s not all – not by a long shot! South Africa is also deemed one of the world’s finest Big 5 and wildlife safari destinations. In fact, it is one of the very few places in the world where you are able to see every member of the African Big 5, elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard, in one place in their natural habitat. South Africa’s pristine Big 5 safari status is largely owed to its outstanding conservation areas and National Parks, some of which include the world-renowned Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, and Phinda Private Game Reserve, to mention merely a few.
Kruger National Park
The renowned Kruger National Park is without a doubt South Africa’s most iconic game-viewing destination for a Big 5 safari – hands sown! Deemed one of the greatest National Parks in the world, the Kruger National Park is not only the second largest park in Africa, but South Africa’s flagship National Park. The pristine wilderness within the Kruger Park is spread across an impressive 2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld. As the oldest, largest, and most established park, the Kruger National Park is home to the highest population density of Big 5 in South Africa. The Kruger National Park’s superior Big 5 status has undoubtedly made it a staple destination on any safari-goer’s bucket-list, whether they’re a beginner or a seasoned traveller to Africa.
Besides the highly sought-after African Big 5, the Kruger National Park is also known for its vast diversity of wildlife and birdlife species as well as its spectacular sightings of several endangered or ‘rarely seen’ wildlife, including the sable, roan antelope, cheetah, and African wild dog. In fact, the Kruger Park’s African wild dogs are one of the few populations of this endangered species left in the world. Its unfenced neighbour, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, shares the park’s prolific abundance of wildlife as well as a 50km/30mi unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, allowing animals to roam freely between the reserves. This ensures an unforgettable and unmatched African safari and wildlife experience. Its no wonder South Africa is the destination of choice amongst both local and global safari-goers looking to experience the best of the best!
Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Boasting one of the richest game populations in the country, Sabi Sand Game Reserve is home to some of the most diverse and unique wildlife species in Africa. While the remarkable Sabi Sands is regarded as one of the top reserves to witness up-close sightings of the renowned African Big 5 in their natural habitat, it isn’t deemed the most extraordinary ‘Leopard-Rich Lands’ in Africa for nothing. One could say its claim to Big 5 fame, drawing wildlife enthusiasts from all around the world, is the fact that the iconic Sabi Sands Game Reserve not only boasts the most magnificent leopard sightings and encounters in the country, but is home to the highest concentration of leopards in both South Africa and Africa as a whole. Famously known as the most elusive member of the African Big 5, lucky for you, in this revered Greater Kruger National Park reserve, you’ll find that they are not all that elusive at all – in fact, they are seemingly everywhere and are often seen in plain view and have even been known to hunt in the presence of safari vehicles – even jumping right on top of these vehicles from time to time. It truly has to be seen to be believed! Besides its world-renowned leopard sightings as well as enjoying glorious up-close encounters of the iconic African Big 5, safari-goers can also look forward to seeing a vast diversity of other game when exploring the varied landscapes of the Sabi Sands.
Madikwe Game Reserve
Despite its obvious appeal, you’d be remiss for thinking the Greater Kruger Area is the only place to enjoy a Big 5 safari in South Africa. From a low-yield cattle farm to a flourishing conservation area, Madikwe Game Reserve is a land of wild unapologetic natural beauty, bushveld, grassland, sloping mountains, and rocky outcrops. Brushing against Botswana’s border and the tip of the Kalahari Desert, Madikwe Game Reserve boasts an extensive wildlife population with sightings of the iconic African Big5 almost assured on any visit. In addition, the reserve not only provides a haven for all wildlife species, including the Big5, but it has also been a fierce proponent of community upliftment initiatives.
Phinda Private Game Reserve
Then of course you have your lesser-known reserves, all of which are equally as impressive and absolutely deserve a prime spot on your South African safari bucket list. Phinda Private Game Reserve is a great choice for animal conservationists, or travelers wishing to contribute more to South Africa’s vast array of conservation efforts and initiatives.
There are of course many more destinations within South Africa to discover, explore, and experience, and we’d be lying if we didn’t say Cape Town is a huge drawcard for this destination! Although it is a city, many travelers add a stopover in Cape Town to their South African safari adventure – with great reason too! If you’re planning to include a stop-over in Cape Town to your bucket-list worthy South African safari getaway, ensure to allow for at least a few days in the city, plus a few days in the Cape Winelands if you’re not short on time. Boasting such a glorious diversity of beautiful and vibrant destinations to discover, sights to see, landmarks to marvel at, natural wonders to explore, beaches to visit, sunsets to admire, and once-in-a-lifetime adventures to experience, no amount of time in Cape Town is long enough – You just wait & see! Not to mention, in addition to baring witness to some of the most spectacular sightings of Africa’s iconic Big 5 while on safari in South Africa, a trip to Cape Town will give you the extraordinary opportunity of seeing the renowned Marine Big 5, namely, Cape Fur Seals, African Penguins, Southern Right Whales, Mola Mola Sunfish, and dolphins along its vast and glorious coastlines.
Adventures & Experiences
And, when it comes to outdoor adventures, you won’t be left wanting either. Think, zip-lining through the verdant canopy of the Tsitsikamma forest, abseiling from the iconic Table Mountain, and bungee jumping from a 216 m bridge. South Africa’s ever-changing scenery is the perfect canvas on which to paint a truly unforgettable activity-packed African safari adventure unlike any other.
Top parks & reserves in South Africa for safari goers
South Africa boasts an endless array of some of the most highly renowned & top National Parks, games reserves, and wildlife and conservation areas in Africa (perhaps even the world). Here you will find the most famous, remarkable, and not-to-be-missed parks and reserves in South Africa by province:
Besides boasting the crowning jewel of South Africa’s National Parks, the renowned Kruger National Park, the province of Limpopo gives all avid safari-goers the opportunity to discover, explore, and experience the wild side of South Africa in the best possible way. Thanks to its magnificent bushveld and vast diversity of landscapes and wilderness regions, it gives you the opportunity to experience some of the top parks and reserves in both South Africa and Africa, such as:
- Kruger National Park
- Marakele National Park
- Thornybush Game Reserve
- Mapungubwe National Park: go find the incredible sandstone formations
- Entabeni Game Reserve
A series of private game reserves boarding the western side of the famed Kruger National Park. There are no fences between these parks and game reserves and the Kruger National Park. Here are some of the best parks and reserves to spot the Big 5:
- Sabi Sand Game Reserve
- MalaMala game reserve
- Timbavati Private Nature Reserve
- Mjejane Private gam reserve
#North West Province:
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Pilanesberg National Park
- Magaliesberg biosphere Reserve
- Barberspan bird Sanctuary
- Mafikent Game Reserve
In KwaZulu Natal you will find some of the best game parks and reserves in South Africa. As it is a coastal region, you can easily combine your wildlife safari with some exciting coastal * ocean adventures such as surfing, snorkeling, diving, fishing, and so much more. Here are two of the best parks in KwaZulu Natal:
- iSimangaliso Wetland Park
- Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park has the largest population of white rhino’s
- Phinda Private Game Reserve
You can find the iconic African Big 5, along with a vast diversity of other wildlife and birdlife species, in most, if not all, of Eastern Cape’s top parks and game reserves. If you’re eager to embark on a South African safari adventure near Cape Town, these reserves and parks are a great choice:
- Addo Elephant Park: Perfect for first-timers | Easy to navigate roads and malaria-free.
- Mountain Zebra National Park
- Camdeboo National Park
- Shamwari Game Reserve
- Amakhala Game Reserve
Thanks to the unique climate of the Northern Cape, wildlife enthusiasts and eager safari-goers will not only have the opportunity to explore some pristine game reserves and parks, but also have the added bonus of discovering truly unique flora and fauna present in this area. Plus, if you’re looking for something quite thrilling and unexpected to do on your trip to the Northern Cape, you can even opt to combine your safari adventure with some diamond digging – we did say unexpected! Here are some of the best parks and reserves to visit in the Northern Cape of South Africa:
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: situated in the Kalahari Desert
- Augrabies Falls National Park | Combine a safari with a roadtrip along South Africa’s West Coast and discover picturesque fishing villages and enjoy the best restaurants in the world in Paternoster
- Mokala National Park: Great park to spot rhino’s
- Richtersveld National Park
You haven’t been to South Africa without visiting one of South Africa’s most highly sought-after travel destinations – AKA: The beautiful and vibrant Cape Town – and the amazing national parks and reserves surrounding this magnificent city, including:
- Table Mountain National Park: this includes Table Mountain, Cape of Good Hope, The Boulders.
- West Coast National Park: Small wildlife, waterbirds, and scenic views over the ocean.
- Agulhas National Park
- Karoo National Park
These game parks and reserves in South Africa can easily be combined with your roadtrip along the stunning Garden Route. Most of these reserves and parks are malaria free and great if you’re looking to go on a safari near Cape Town.
- Gondwana Private Game Reserve: find the big fee and stay in luxury lodges
- Garden Route Game Reserve
- Robberg Nature Reserve: See great white sharks in the wild
- Birds of Eden
Here you will find wide open spaces and the raw untamed beauty of the South African bushveld. You can choose to stay in the capital city of Bloemfontein and visit the parks from there or opt to stay in one of many lodges – it’s up to you.
- Golden Gate Highlands National Park: You won’t find the Big 5 here, but you might see caracal, silver fox, or other wild African cats.
- Gariep Dam Nature Reserve
- Sterkfontein Dam Reserve
- Maria Moroka Game Reserve: This game park is perfect for hikers as they have many hiking trails.
- Lion and Rhino Park
- De Wildt Cheetah Research Station
- Hartbeespoort Dam
- Tswaing Nature Reserve: Go to the immense crater, caused by the impact of a meteor
- Dinokeng Game Reserve
- The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Augrabies Falls National Park
- Witsand Nature Reserve
- Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
Top 5 Big 5 safari destinations, National Parks & reserves in South Africa
- Kruger National Park: Home of Africa’s Big 5
- Sabi Sands Game Reserve: Extraordinary leopard-rich lands
- Madikwe Game Reserve
- Timbavat Game Reserve
- Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park: The Gateway to Natal’s wild wonders
Best Time to travel to South Africa
The South African climate is pleasant throughout the year, making it an incredible year-round wildlife and safari destination. However, the best time to travel to South Africa is during the months of May to September, particularly in the Kruger National Park. As these months are especially dry (the dry season), a high concentration of wildlife will gather at the various waterholes and array of water sources in large numbers. Thereby providing visitors & safari-goers with some incredible and rewarding game viewing opportunities & beyond spectacular wildlife and Big 5 sightings and encounters. This period is therefore regarded as the best time to travel to South Africa.
Tanzania in East Africa has long been a sought-after safari destination for both first time safari goers and safari connoisseurs. Regarded as one of the most captivating and diverse safari destinations in Africa, Tanzania boasts one of the highest concentrations of game as well as a remarkable array of Africa’s top National Parks and game reserves, ranging from the expansive and world-renowned Serengeti National Park to the wild and secluded hidden wilderness gem of Katavi National Park – Tanzania has it all. In fact, few destinations in Africa can rival Tanzania’s sheer diversity and abundance of wildlife and vast and varied landscapes. From the classic savannah destinations of the Serengeti, Tarangire, and Ngorongoro Crater to the stunning beaches and coral reefs of Zanzibar, a Tanzanian safari offers travellers an endless variety of destinations to explore, safari adventures to experience, and wildlife species to see.
The Serengeti National Park is arguably one of the finest National Parks in Africa. Home to one of the world’s greatest concentrations of wildlife and vast open grasslands, the Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s flagship conservation area and a must-do for first-time and returning safari goers alike. Meaning “endless plains” in the Maasai language, the Serengeti National Park is considered one of the most celebrated wilderness areas in the world. Besides being declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is also Tanzania’s oldest game reserve. It boasts one of the oldest ecosystems on earth with a thriving vegetation that has remained largely untouched for millions of years. The Serengeti National Park covers an immense 14 800 km² (5 700 square miles) on Tanzania’s northern border with Kenya, encompassing up to 50% of the wider Serengeti–Mara ecosystem – Making the Serengeti the most famous protected wilderness area in all of Africa.
Witness one of the ‘seventh New Wonders of the World’: The Annual Great Wildebeest Migration
While the Serengeti is renowned for its diverse and abundant wildlife and superb year-round game viewing, it is best known as the site of the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration. The Great Wildebeest Migration in Africa – also known as the Gnu Migration, Serengeti Migration and Masai Mara Migration – is one of the last mass terrestrial wildlife movements left on the planet. Regarded as the ‘Seventh New Wonder of the World’, the Annual Great Wildebeest Migration is one of the most breathtaking and extraordinary wildlife spectacles in all of Africa. Deemed to be one of the most remarkable wildlife and natural phenomena to ever exist in the natural world, getting the unbelievable opportunity to witness and experience Africa’s Annual Great Wildebeest Migration up-close, in action, and first-hand is the chief reason why so many travelers, tourists, and avid nature and wildlife enthusiasts venture to Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve.
The Great Migration is a never-ending movement which includes millions of wildebeest, accompanied by large numbers of zebra, and smaller numbers of Grant’s gazelle, Thomson’s gazelle, eland, and impala – migrate to Kenya’s Masai Mara Game Reserve. Described as one of the most magnificent spectacles in the natural world, the migration follows the seasonal rains, spending the dry season in the woodlands of north western Kenya and the wet season on the south eastern plains of Tanzania. Predictably, this large concentration of wildlife attracts huge numbers of predators, and the whole spectacle is considered to be one of the greatest wonders of the natural world.
Tanzania Wildlife & Birdlife
Deemed one of the most sought-after and wildly diverse safari and wildlife destinations in Africa, people travel from all corners of the globe to experience Tanzania’s extraordinary wildlife sightings and encounters firsthand. Renowned for its exceptional year-round game-viewing, superb Big5 sightings, which are easily spotted and highly prevalent, and famous Great Wildebeest Migration, Tanzania, along with the Greater Serengeti Ecosystem and its neighbours, offer some of the country’s best wildlife encounters and opportunities. In addition to its big game and being a stronghold for predators, Tanzania is renowned for its vast and wonderful variety of endangered and rarely seen wildlife species, some of which include the critically endangered African wild dog, black rhino, chimpanzees, African white-bellied Pangolin, Lesser Kudu, and Thomson’s Gazelle, to mention a few.
The critically endangered East African black rhinos of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire National Park in northern Tanzania, and abundant flamingos that visit Lake Manyara seasonally round out a wildlife experience in Tanzania unlike any other.
Tanzania Circuits & National Parks
Tanzania has three main safari circuits: The popular Northern Safari Circuit (Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Mount Kilimanjaro, Lake Manyara and Tarangire); The Southern Safari Circuit (Ruaha and Selous Game Reserve); The Western Safari Circut (Mahale Mountains National Park which is home to some of the last remaining wild chimpanzees in Africa and the Katavi National Park where safari goers have the opportunity to see the rare roan and sable antelope species).
In addition to enjoying sensational wildlife sightings & witnessing the world-renowned Annual Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park, Tanzania is also home to the incredible Mount Kilimanjaro which is a major draw for avid adventurers and active travelers wishing to seek out their adrenaline fix on the mountain. Regarded as one of the most phenomenal natural wonders and breathtaking mountains in all of Africa, the famed and wildly acclaimed Mount Kilimanjaro is also the highest mountain in Africa, standing tall at a staggering +/- 5,895 meters / 19,341 feet above sea level. Mount Kilimanjaro is also the largest free-standing mountain rise in the world. This means that Kilimanjaro does not form part of a mountain range, but instead, stands entirely alone. There is absolutely no denying that the breathtaking natural beauty of the one and only Mount Kilimanjaro along with its snow-capped peaks, lush forests, and sweeping views are simply unparalleled. There truly is nothing quite like it – and we dare you to prove us otherwise!
**Interesting Fact: In 1973, the mountain and its six surrounding forest corridors were named Kilimanjaro National Park in order to protect its unique environment. The park was declared a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) World Heritage site in 1987. The area surrounding the mountain is also home various wildlife, including the blue monkey, elephants, buffaloes, and leopards (to mention merely a few).
Adventures & Experiences
If you want to complement your African safari experience with endless natural wonders, Tanzania is hard to beat. This country is paradise for adventurous travellers who might want to climb Mount Kilimanjaro or meet chimpanzees in the Mahale Mountains, in addition to seeing spectacular wildlife and witnessing the famous river crossings of the Great Migration.
Tanzania also features several incredible off-the-beaten-path destinations where tourist numbers are lower and encounters with game are more exclusive – This is great for safari goers who are eager to break away from the large crowds.
**Added Bonus: Situated a short way away from amazing Zanzibar, Tanzania is the perfect place to combine the bush with the beach.
Another favorite choice for our clients is to stay a couple of nights at the ethereal Ngorongoro Crater, an ancient caldera. The landscape in this part of Tanzania is unlike anything else you will see across Africa.
Top parks & reserves in Tanzania for safari goers
Tanzania has a total of 13 different wildlife parks and reserves. The top safari destinations include:
- Serengeti National Park
- Ngorongoro Crater
- Ruaha National Park
- Katavi National Park
- Lake Manyara National Park
- Tarangire National Park
- Selous Game Reserve
- Gombe National Park
- Mahale Mountains National Park
Best Time to travel to Tanzania
Most safari areas in Tanzania enjoy a relatively constant year-round tropical climate. However, as Tanzania is made up of such a large diversity of landscapes, each one vastly different from the next, you can expect an equally diverse climate from every distinct landscape or wilderness area.
Despite many safari areas within Tanzania enjoying a wonderful year-round tropical climate, other regions do not share the same fortune. Temperatures are known to drop far below freezing on the famous Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru, whereas, in complete contrast, Tanzania’s Indian Ocean coast and lakeside regions are notorious for their exceptionally hot and humid conditions.
*Tanzania has two distinct seasons:
- Dry Season (Winter): June to October
- Wet Season (Summer): November to May | Tanzania’s wet / rainy season can be further divided into two categories, the ‘long rainy season (long rains)’ which takes place from April to May, and the ‘short rainy season (short rains)’ during November and December.
Generally, Tanzania’s main rainy season (the long rains) produces tropical downpours in the afternoons and many safari camps and lodges close down as a result. The short rainy season on the other hand is known for its occasional brief showers, allowing several safari camps and lodges to stay open. Not to mention the game viewing is absolutely incredible during this time.
Despite Tanzania being one of the top, and undoubtedly the most thrilling, year-round African safari and wilderness destinations, each season offers visitors, travelers, and enthusiastic explorers something unique, extraordinary, and exciting to experience.
That begs the question, when exactly is the best time to go to Tanzania?
The answer is largely dependent on what you’re most eager to experience on your bucket-list trip to Tanzania.
With that being said, the best time to go to Tanzania and embark on an exhilarating Tanzanian safari depends on where in Tanzania you would like to go, what you’d like to explore, experience, and discover while you’re there, as well as what adventures, safari activities, and off-the-beaten-track pursuits you’d like to enjoy on your trip.
**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.
Reasons To Visit Tanzania During the Dry Season:
- Prime time for wildlife sightings as game viewing is at its peak.
- June & July are the prime months & heart of the Serengeti Great Wildebeest Migration in the Western Corridor | The BEST months to see the magnificent wildebeest migration.
- Optimal visibility for wildlife sightings due to sparse vegetation.
- Wildlife are far easier to spot as they congregate around water sources, waterholes, and rivers.
- Clear skies with mild-moderate day-time temperatures & minimal rain.
- August & September are the best months to see the spectacular wildebeest river crossings in the northern Serengeti.
- Fewer mosquitos due to the low rainfall & the risk of malaria is at its lowest.
- The Great Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park is at its best during the dry season.
Reasons To Visit Tanzania During the Wet Season:
- Lush greenery & surrounding scenery due to high rainfall.
- Tanzania & its surrounding parks & national reserves are filled with new-born wildlife.
- Bird watching is at its best as migrant birds are present & in breeding.
- Prime time for predator action & sightings due to the wildebeest calving & abundance of new-born wildlife.
- Despite wildlife being easier to spot in the dry season, Tanzania’s wet season boasts equally remarkable wildlife sightings, especially in the northern circuit parks.
- Tanzania’s wet season coincides with its low season, meaning lower rates all around and less crowded parks, resulting in optimal crowd-free wildlife and birdlife sightings.
- January & February is the best time to see the wildebeest calving in the Southern Serengeti, making it a very special time & a truly remarkable sight to see.
- Except for March, April & May, rains are mostly short afternoon showers & seldom interfere with your trip and safari experiences.
- Best time to travel: June to October
If you think that traveling in Namibia will have nothing to offer then think again! While Namibia may not be the first destination that comes to mind when you think about going on an African safari, be prepared to be beyond surprised as it exceeds every possible expectation you may have. Although it is often referred to as “Africa for beginners”; make no mistake, Namibia is by far one of the best safari destinations in Africa – There is so much more to this southern African country than people would expect. Its safe to say that Namibia is one of Africa’s most underrated safari destinations, but one you absolutely can NOT afford to miss! Famous for its majestic dessert landscape, gigantic sand dunes, and dramatic scenery, Namibia is unlike anything you’ve seen or experienced before!
Exclusive Game Lodges & exceptional Safari Destinations
Beyond the enormous sand dunes that dominate the 55-million-year-old Namib Desert, Namibia is home to an incredible diversity of contrasting landscapes and exciting destinations to discover and explore. Besides its vast diversity of destinations, safari-goers will also have the opportunity to enjoy some of the most exceptional game lodges and safari destinations, all of which are tucked away in the most magnificent remote regions, offering intrepid travellers the most glorious, serene, and tranquil havens and exclusive escapes.
Wildlife & Birdlife in Namibia
When it comes to wildlife, Namibia certainly doesn’t disappoint! Did you know that Namibia is home to the famous African Big 5 as well as 40% of Africa’s free-roaming cheetah population? Or that between 100 000 and 210 000 Cape fur seals reside at Cape Cross? In addition to the iconic Big 5, nature and wildlife lovers will also have the opportunity to spot and witness a wealth of lesser known but equally fascinating animals. From the fork-tailed drongo with its talent for mimicry to the critically endangered golden catfish lurking in Dragon’s Breath Cave, there is plenty to explore. And that’s merely scratching the surface of what this premier African wildlife destination has to offer.
Namibia’s wildly untamed and well-watered answer to the Okavango Delta – the Caprivi Strip (newly renamed as the Zambezi Region) – on the other hand boasts incredible bird watching opportunities as well as diverse wildlife reserves which is home to an incredible population of wildlife.
Etosha National Park
The renowned Etosha National Park – which is brimming with life & exuberance – is one of Namibia’s top National Parks. It not only offers avid travellers, nature & safari enthusiasts, and head-over heels wildlife lovers excellent game-viewing opportunities, but is famous for its animal-packed waterholes and abundant predator sightings. With more than 40 waterholes at Etosha National Park, patient visitors will undoubtedly be well rewarded for their persistence with easy and extraordinary up-close wildlife sightings & encounters, as well as thrilling predator-prey interactions.
Exciting Wildlife & Safari Experiences
A Namibian safari holiday is ideal for wildlife enthusiasts as well as first-time safari goers. Besides offering an incredible diversity of destinations, National Parks, and nature reserves to explore, its easy-to-access destinations makes it easy to embark on self-drive safari adventures as well as guided safari experiences. Plus, there’s nothing quite as thrilling as experiencing a one-of-a-kind game drive and safari adventure in this sandy oasis.
Top parks & reserves in Namibia for safari goers
- Namib Desert & Sossusvlei
- Etosha National Park
- Skeleton Coast
- Hoanib Valley
Southern Africa’s Premier Wildlife Destination
Botswana is not only regarded as one of Africa’s premier wildlife-watching & safari destinations, but one of the most remarkable wilderness areas on earth. Beyond being one of Africa’s most renowned and highly sought-after African safari destinations, Botswana offers travellers, tourists, and avid nature and wildlife enthusiasts the very best combination of unapologetic natural beauty, adventure, and exclusivity, paired with phenomenal game viewing, vast unspoiled landscapes, expansive lush green surroundings, wide-open plains domed by starlit skies and teeming with wildlife, sunsets that will leave you swooning, an endless array of exceptional destinations, attractions, game reserves, conservancies, and National Parks to discover and explore, as well as several unforgettable safari experiences and adventures you won’t find anywhere else than right here in Botswana. There is absolutely no denying that Botswana is hard to top and should undoubtedly be at the top of everyone’s African safari travel bucket-lists!
Diverse landscapes & destinations to explore
In Botswana, the landscapes are equally as diverse and prolific as the wildlife itself. The evergreen jewel of the Okavango Delta is at the heart of Botswana’s safari attractions, flanked in the east by the rolling savannah of the Savute and the sought-after elephant paradise of the Chobe National Park. South of the Delta you will find the far-flung stretches of the Makgadikgadi saltpans and the semi-desert grasslands of the Kalahari. Boasting such a vast diversity of landscapes and destinations to discover, explore, and experience, Botswana is undoubtedly one of the best countries for wildlife lovers who are eager to go on the ultimate safari experience in Africa.
Wildlife in Botswana
Besides its vast wilderness, Botswana’s commitment to safeguarding its wildlife heritage is truly unparalleled in Africa. It is blessed with some of the most dramatic wilderness areas, largely consisting of National Parks and wildlife reserves, with approximately 40% of Botswana’s landscapes falling within a wildlife-protected area.
These protected areas act as sanctuaries for Botswana’s glorious diversity of wildlife, birdlife, and other animal species, as well as the world’s largest concentration of African Elephants, with the highest concentration found in the iconic Chobe National Park. It also creates a natural stronghold for other endangered large mammals such as the black rhinoceros, African wild dog, and cheetah.
Home to some of the most prolific wildlife on the African continent, very few countries can compare to Botswana’s sheer diversity and abundance of wildlife species, not to mention its extraordinary up-close sightings of the magnificent African Big 5. In fact, a visit to this premium African wildlife and safari destination will almost guarantee sightings of these famous mammals.
Here is a quick guide for the best chance of spotting the Big Five in Botswana:
- Chobe National Park for the highest concentration of elephants.
- Savuti region for excellent lion sightings and encounters.
- Northern Okavango to see the large Cape buffalo.
- Moremi Game Reserve will offer excellent rhino sightings.
- Mashatu Game Reserve plays host to the elusive leopard.
The Okavango Delta truly is a water wonderland in every way – this undoubtedly makes exploring the Delta by traditional Mokoro safari the very best way to discover and experience everything it has to offer. Going on a Mokoro safari is an absolute MUST-DO experience for anyone and everyone who travels to the Okavango Delta.
**Quick insight: A Mokoro is essentially a traditional dug-out canoe which is used to traverse and explore the narrow waterways and complex, yet thriving, channels of the Okavango Delta, as well as discover hidden islands that are inaccessible throughout the rest of the year.
Enjoying a Mokoro safari journey through the Delta is not only a unique safari adventure that is entirely exclusive to the Okavango Delta, it is also one of the top and most exciting things you can only do in Africa. Going on a traditional Mokoro safari in the glorious Okavango Delta gives you the opportunity to see, discover, encounter, and explore hidden gems, secret spots, as well as witness diverse and rare wildlife and birdlife sightings you might not otherwise have spotted or seen on a traditional game drive.
Nowhere else in the world can you experience the sublime serenity of being poled along in a traditional dugout canoe as birds like jacanas and herons walk among the lilies, elephants arrive to feed on the soft grass, and sitatunga antelope retreat shyly into the reeds.
Authentic & immersive African Wilderness Experiences
Botswana offers wildlife enthusiasts and safari goers a more rugged and real wildlife and safari experience compared to other countries. So, if gong off the beaten track and seeing as much wildlife as possible sounds like the perfect African safari adventure, then Botswana is the perfect safari destination for you! Botswana’s wild unapologetic natural beauty and pristine unfenced surroundings further allows for a truly authentic and immersive African wilderness experience. It’s no surprise that Botswana is known to attract adventurous travellers from around the world who are passionate about nature and wildlife.
Top parks & reserves in Botswana for safari goers
Botswana has a total of 14 different wildlife parks and reserves. The top safari destinations to visit include:
- Okavango Delta
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Chobe National Park
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
- Makgadikgadi Pan National Park & The Nxai Pan National Park
- The Linyanti
Best Time to travel to Botswana
If you’re looking to experience a wild Botswana safari adventure that’ll make your heart sing, then the best time to visit this extraordinary and exciting African safari destination is during its dry winter season which takes place from June to October.
By far one of the top reasons why the dry season is deemed as the prime time to visit Botswana, including the untouched freshwater wetland of the Okavango Delta, rolling savannah of the Savuti, Africa’s elephant paradise of Chobe National Park, the Makgadikgadi saltpans and the semi-desert grasslands of the Kalahari, is because of the sheer abundance and glorious diversity of birdlife and wildlife present during this period. This is when the animals truly come out to play, putting on a show that will without a doubt leave you wanting more – This is what return visits are for!
**To find out everything you need to know about Botswana check out our ‘Why travel to Botswana’ blog, ‘Chobe National Park: Botswana’s Elephant Paradise’ blog, ‘Botswana: 5 must-explore National Parks and game reserves’ blog, ‘Top 10 tourist attractions in Botswana’ blog, & ‘Best time to go to Botswana’ blog.
#BONUS: Uganda & Rwanda
Uganda and Rwanda are world-famous for being two of only three destinations world-wide where you can see endangered mountain gorillas in the wild. If you’re a head-over-heels adventure seeker that has gorilla trekking right at the top of your adventure safari bucket-list, visiting these two African countries is an absolute must!
Being one of only two of Africa’s most accessible gorilla trekking destinations is undoubtedly the main draw card of a Rwandan safari. While Kigali is Rwanda’s capital city, the legendary Volcanoes National Park (which is only a few hours’ drive away), is where you will find the habituated, but still wild gorilla families that call Rwanda their home. Besides exploring the unique and diverse landscapes of Rwanda, small groups of privileged visitors have the remarkable opportunity to experience one of the most memorable wildlife encounters on earth – gorilla trekking through the pristine Virungas rainforest. This is one exceptional and exhilarating experience that should undoubtedly be at the top of every adventurer’s bucket-list.
Besides being one of the top African countries for gorilla trekking, there is so much more to this incredible African country than meets the eye. Rwanda is also home to the primate-filled Nyungwe Forest National Park which boasts incredible bird-watching opportunities as well as ample chimpanzees. On the other hand, Akagera National Park, another one of Rwanda’s pristine national parks, boasts exceptional big game viewing opportunities in a diverse savannah setting. In addition to these exceptional wildlife destinations, Rwanda boasts a variety of must-see landscapes and parks, including Lake Kivu and so much more. Making a safari trip to Rwanda well worth it in every way.
Channel your inner explorer and discover the unapologetic & untamed natural beauty of Uganda. Known as The Pearl of Africa, this beautiful country has emerged from the shadows of a harrowing history and has since transformed into a true nature lover’s paradise. Although small in size, you better believe Uganda packs a lot into one small country and blow all your expectations out of the water.
If seeing and getting up-close-and-personal with mountain gorillas in their natural rainforest habitat is on your African safari bucket-list, then going on an African safari in Uganda is right up your alley. Boasting a 90% success rate at finding habituated gorilla family groups in the extraordinary Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, gorilla trekking in Uganda has become one of Africa’s most sought-after safari experiences among locals and travellers alike.
But don’t you dare for a minute think that a Uganda safari is only about gorillas in rainforests – OH NO! Uganda is not only home to an exceptional array of diverse must-visit National Parks, The pearl of Africa is abounding with postcard-worthy scenery and cultural gems just waiting for you to explore. If you’re incredibly keen to experience Uganda’s classic big game viewing, sought-after chimpanzee and gorilla trekking and river cruises, be sure to head to Murchison Falls and Queen Elizabeth National Park. Murchison Falls beckons with the roaring cascades of the Nile River, while Kampala’s Kasubi Tombs give a glimpse into the lives of former Ugandan kings.
With so much to offer, discover, and explore how could you possibly pass on the opportunity to experience EVERYTHING this top African safari destination has to offer? Don’t waste another second – your Ugandan adventure awaits!