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The Ultimate Guide to Planning an African Safari
By June 26, 2023 No Comments

The Ultimate Guide to Planning an African Safari

A safari adventure is a beautiful way to see wild animals such as Cape buffalo, elephants, and perhaps other fascinating yet dangerous animals, in their natural habitat.

Nowhere else is more synonymous with wildlife viewing than Africa. There are countless opportunities for a safari holiday all around the continent, especially Kenya, Madagascar, and Tanzania in East Africa and South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana in Southern Africa.

Wildlife experiences can be a hugely rewarding experience, where you can head to remote locations and spot stunning creatures, but also indulge in the local cultures of the local communities. Most safaris focus on an authentic experience that involves minimal impact on the animals. Tour operators are also careful not to disturb them in their natural habitat.

Let’s explore the many national parks, game viewing options, and outdoor activities you can do whilst at these safari locations.

What is an African Safari?

African safaris involve heading off the beaten path to see wild animals in their natural environment. Although you can go on safaris in many places around the world, safaris are rooted in Africa.

A traditional safari in Africa is considered the ultimate activity when visiting the continent and often involves heading to a national park for a game drive. These safaris are accompanied by tour operators that know plenty about the wildlife. 

Safari tours don’t necessarily have to involve a safari vehicle either, as there are walking safari options as well as self-driving tours, riverboat tours, and quad bike tours.

In comparison to going to zoos, safari trips are a socially and environmentally responsible activity that helps the African economy and protection of wildlife.

What types of African safaris are there?

The idea of the African safari has now evolved from just a quick safari trip to view African wildlife, to a comprehensive journey. There are a variety of “types” of safaris, including the overland safari, traditional game drives, river safaris, and more. A safari might also include or be able to be paired with certain activities, including:

  • A safari camp
  • A beach vacation
  • A stay in a luxury tent
  • Wine tasting
  • Volunteering
  • Outdoor activities
  • Sightseeing and visiting historical attractions
  • Cultural activities and tours

Popular Safari Locations in East Africa

Botswana

Although there is an abundance of private game reserves in Botswana, Chobe National Park is the most popular destination in the country. It is renowned for its elephants, its unspoilt natural beauty, and having one of the highest game densities in the country.

The park boasts the ever-so-blue Chobe River and the four areas: the Ngwenzumba Pans, Linyanti, Savute and the Chobe Riverfront.

After a typical day out on a safari trip, you can retreat to one of the stunning Chobe National Park lodges at three different price points. Whether you’re interested in simple lodging or en suite bathrooms, there’s something for everyone.

Kenya

Masai Mara is Kenya’s most epic safari adventure. The national reserve boasts rugged landscapes, an abundance of fun activities such as ATV and hot air balloon rides, and some of the most luxurious safari lodges around.

It is most known around the world for hosting the Great Migration, where 1.5 million wildebeests storm the savannahs from July to October every year.

Popular Safari locations in Southern Africa

Tanzania

Like Masai Mara in Kenya, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park is also home to the Great Migration. Additionally, it has 4000 lions, 500 bird species, and a whole host of other wildlife you can see on a safari journey. This World Heritage Site is a precious place, with a raw and wild atmosphere that can’t be forgotten.

Tanzania also has the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which houses the Ngorongoro Crater. It is most known for its highland plains and savannah woodlands, but also for its global importance in biodiversity conservation. You might even be able to spot globally threatened species such as the black rhino.

South Africa

Most travel to South Africa to visit Cape Town and the Cape Winelands, but many don’t realize that wine tasting or a city break can be easily combined with a wildlife safari. For example, at the Garden Route Safari Cape – a beautiful paradise teeming with flora and fauna. You can book an African wellness retreat and wake up on early mornings for guided bush walking safaris or go later in the day for a sundowner game drive.

Zambia

The dramatic South Luangwa Park is a safari staple in Zambia. Combining open, grassy plains and stunning woodlands, it sets the scene for the Luangwa River, Muchinga Escarpment, and the rich animal life. It is one of the best places in Africa for walking safaris.

For an overnight stay, you get to choose between tented camps with open-air facilities and an up-close-and-personal time with the wildlife, or a luxurious lodge with all the fixings.

Namibia

Looking for something a little different? The Namib Desert is the perfect place to admire desert wildlife including springbok, bat-eared foxes, and Hartmann’s mountain zebra – endemic to the region. In addition to safari tours, you can zoom across the Namib dunes on a quad bike, go hiking, and go stargazing.

Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls is located near plenty of national parks in the continent, making it a fantastic place to start a safari. After a visit to the falls, you can head to the rugged Mana Pools National Park. Elephants, buffalo, and waterbuck roam the green floodplains and travel to the four large pools in the middle of the park (which the park is named after). Don’t miss the bird watching and the sight of predators from time to time. 

Popular here are traditional game drives and walking safaris, but also river safaris in a boat or kayak.

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