If you’re looking for a truly life-changing experience then a safari in Africa is one activity that everyone should get to do at least once in a lifetime. Africa is a huge continent with an incredibly diverse landscape and wildlife. Those who have experienced the wilderness of Africa, invariably return for more. You will encounter sunrises and sunsets to die for, skies so big and dark that you’ll see a million stars. Captivating, exhilarating and unlike anywhere else in the world – here are some of the best safari trips on offer in Africa:
#1 Kruger National Park, South Africa
This is a great place to start as it’s South Africa’s most famous game reserve. Sitting in the northeast on the border with Mozambique, this is the place to come for elephants, rhino, lions, cheetahs, wild dogs and other small cat species. There are options ranging from camping all the way up to luxury safari lodges and if you desire the big skies and still mornings of Africa, then this is the ideal spot. The park is also home to over 200 migrant bird species between October and March. With an easy road network, this park is great for safari newcomers and self-driving trips.
#2 Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Probably one of Africa’s most iconic national parks, the Masai Mara is situated in the far southwest on the border with Tanzania. This is the place that people imagine when they hear the word ‘safari’. It covers a massive 580 square miles and is the perfect place to spot the Big Five – the African elephant, African lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard. It’s not just the wildlife that fascinates here as you can also experience life in a traditional Masai village. The Great Migration also occurs here, where around two million zebra, antelope and wildebeest make the journey across the Mara River every year.
#3 Okavango Delta, Botswana
This area offers a unique water system to many wildlife species as the Okavango River travels through the heart of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. You’ll experience both land and water creatures and you can do so by foot, jeep or canoe. Each year the area floods which forces the animals to remain on the islands created by the water. This happens between May and September and makes it far easier to spot the wildlife. Hippos, crocs and elephants can all be found here.
#4 Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
The landscape here has been shaped by a volcanic crater with the huge depression acting as a natural bowl for countless animal species, including the African Big Five. You’ll find some of the continent’s largest elephants here, alongside flocks of stunning pink flamingo. A visit here must include the Olduvai Gorge, an ancient site that has provided much information on human evolution.
#5 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
For anyone who’s ever seen the movie Gorillas in the mist, this is the destination for your very own movie moment. This reserve is the home of nearly half of the world’s mountain gorillas and the place to come for tracking these magnificent creatures. Yes, there’s mist and volcanoes, waterfalls and valleys of staggering beauty. A visit to the remote Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp is a must, surrounded by the stunning natural wonders of the Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site.
#6 Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
With a backdrop ranging from desert to grassy highlands with lakes, this park is the largest in the country. If it’s elephants you love, then Hwange has the world’s biggest population. The area is also home to the rushing Zambezi River and the popular Victoria Falls. Unique experiences include night time game drives and accommodation in solar-powered luxury tents with a pool overlooking the wildlife below.
#7 Serengeti National Park
Possibly the most iconic safari destination on the planet, the Serengeti offers vast, wild beauty and huge numbers of animals. Every year the park witnesses the migration of over one million wildebeest and half a million zebras! There is a very healthy lion population here, with more than 3000 of the magnificent creatures prowling the plains. Watch out for the Nile crocs too, some of the biggest crocodiles in the world. Your safari experience can be as basic as you like with camping that incorporates a ‘back of nature’ vibe or go for a luxurious camp complete with Persian rugs and locally carved rocking chairs.