Africa’s best safari destinations
There is no experience quite like an African safari. Home to endless landscapes and incredible creatures, the continent will provide you with unforgettable experiences and many, many memories. There are hundreds of national parks, reserves and protected areas, offering the best of the natural world. Accommodation and activities are offered to suit a range of budgets and tastes. Camp out under a sky of stars in the wilderness, or listen to the lions roar from the comfort of a 5-star suite. Go on Big 5 game drives or explore the wilderness from a canoe, on foot, or on horseback.
If any one destination embodies the wilderness of Africa, it is the Kruger. This legendary safari hotspot in South Africa is made up of the iconic Kruger National Park, as well as several surrounding private reserves and concessions, including the renowned Sabi Sands Game Reserve. The Kruger is one of the most abundant wildife sanctuaries in the world. At two million hectares, it is larger than the entire country of Wales, and is home to 147 mammal species, 507 bird species, 336 tree species, and 114 reptile species. Visitors can choose from a multitude of accommodation options in the park, ranging from rustic campsites to ultra-luxury safari lodges.
The Sabi Sands Game Reserve consists of 65 000 hectares of open plains, savannah woodland, thornveld and rocky outcrops. This world-renowned reserve is found in South Africa‘s Kruger Lowveld region and borders the Kruger National Park. There is no fence between the two, allowing for wildlife to move easily between reserves. The game viewing in the reserve in therefore superb, with the biggest drawcard being the leopards. These notoriously evasive creatures are the Sabi‘s specialty. The birdlife in the reserve is also excellent.
The Masai Mara in Kenya is one of the most distinguished safari destinations in Africa. It is made up of open grasslands dotted with patches of woodland. It is here that the yearly spectacle of the Great Migration takes place: an awe inspiring migration of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle moving in the thousands across the plains to and from the Serengeti in Tanzania, closely pursued by predators such as leopards, lions and cheetah. Although the Migration only takes places from July to October, the game viewing is exceptional throughout the rest of the year. A number of classic safari lodges and camps provide accommodation in the park.
Serengeti National Park in Tanzania is perhaps the most famous safari destination in Africa. This legendary 15000 square kilometer expanse of savannah plains and open grasslands are home to thriving populations of wildlife. The phenomenal Great Migration also takes places in the Serengeti from December to July, when massive herds of zebra. wildebeest and gazzelle set off across the plains, chased by predators that include cheetah, leopards and lions. The rest of the year also promises excellent game-viewing. Visit one of the many safari lodges or camps in the park for an essential African safari experience.
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is one of Africa’s must-visit safari destinations. The delta is formed inland, where the Okavango River flows into the Kalahari Desert. This has resulted in a region of open water, wetlands, grasslands and savannah woodlands that host an incredible range of wildlife species. The best way to explore this wilderness is on a traditional “mokoro” canoe safari, a thrilling experience. Look out for the famous Big 5, have a go at fishing for the renowned Tigerfish, and marvel at the spectacular birdlife of the delta.
South Luangwa National Park is located in the Luangwa Valley of Zambia. It is a region with one of the highest levels of biodiversity in the world. The park is made up of 90500 hectares of open and savannah woodland, bushveld, ebony groves, and riverine habitat. These ecosystems are home to a multitude of species, including four of the Big 5. Hippos and leopards are particularly prominent, and the mighty tree-lined Luangwa River adds a striking dimension to the landscape. There are a range of camps and lodges in the park, suitable for a variety of budgets.
Mana Pools National Park is located in Zimbabwe. A region of stunning natural beauty, it is not difficult to see why it is one of the country’s most popular parks. The park is situated inland of the Zambezi River, and is home to four large ox-bow lakes that were carved out by the river. These lakes are home to populations of crocodiles and hippos, and attract herds of elephants to their shores to drink. The birdlife in the park is superb, and the large predators, including lions, cheetah and leopards, are also found here.