With so much choice it can be challenging to select the best Safari destination for your holiday. To help you we have listed what we believe to be the best five destinations for a Safari holiday in Africa.
Many people refer to Zambia as the ‘real Africa’, probably because it offers some of the wildest safaris in Africa and the unspoilt beauty of Zambia contributes to the authentic safari experience. There are several ‘must-do’ activities associated with Zambia, and these include a walking safari in South Luangwa and a canoe safari down the Lower Zambezi. And of course, it is famous for the spectacular Victoria Falls. Here are three interesting safari options for you:
- 4×4 trips – Zambia offers some fantastic 4×4 destinations, and this is probably the most adventure full experience. Some of these destinations are very remote, and you may find yourself days from the nearest town, so careful planning is We recommend that you undertake a 4×4 trip as a group, and be prepared for any situation. If you enjoy being self-sufficient, this is the safari for you.
- Wildlife safaris – Zambia is known for its many national parks, and the game reserves are home to some of Africa’s most well-known wildlife species such as lion, leopard, elephant, giraffe, buffalo, hippo, a wide range of antelope, and some of the most spectacular birds you will ever see! This is a more traditional safari enjoyed by many.
- Walking safaris – A firm favourite is a walking safari in the South Luangwa National Park. This is one of the best ways to experience the Zambian bush and to find out how things interact at ground level. You can enjoy a day-walk, or for the more energetic, a multi-day walking safari in Zambia.
Botswana is another top African safari destinations. Maun and Kasane are two towns situated on the outskirts of the major wilderness areas of Botswana. These are the two main entry points for visitors to Botswana’s destinations. You will enjoy unspoilt wilderness areas, exceptional wildlife reserves and places of incredible natural beauty. Botswana is best explored on a well-planned safari. Top destinations like Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta, Moremi Wildlife Reserve, Chief’s Island, Savute and the Central Kalahari Game Reserve are all recommended. Other destinations of value are the Makgadikgadi Pans and Nxai Pan National Park situated in the central north-eastern parts of Botswana.
3. Namibia (Etosha National Park)
The most famous National Park in Namibia is Etosha which lies to the north of the country. Due to the unobtrusive scenery and low vegetation, it offers spectacular wildlife encounters on game drives.
Etosha National Park is one of the most accessible game reserves in Namibia and Southern Africa. It has a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. There is abundant wildlife that congregates around the waterholes, giving you almost guaranteed game sightings.
The park is malaria free, with easy access via a regular vehicle and the rest camps provide a range of accommodation as well as restaurants, viewing decks, shops and petrol stations. Luxurious top end camps have recently been added in Etosha’s remote areas.
You will be amazed at the abundance of game in Etosha National Park, which showcases some of the most common and rarest wildlife species. You will find Lions camouflaged in the pale-golden colour of the grasslands and the endangered black rhino and even leopard will make an appearance. You will also see some of the largest elephants in Africa due to the vitamins and nutrients found in the fertile ground. You will also spot giraffes above most of the dry vegetation.
Bird lovers will love the rainy season in Etosha. Firstly, the salt pan fills with water attracting a cloud of flamingos. Secondly, the park is home to more than 340 bird species. The game reserve is also home to the world’s largest bird, the ostrich, and the heaviest flying bird, the kori bustard.
Tanzania is famous for many things, the vast open plains, and Zanzibar, one of several islands off Tanzania’s coast, which was a former spice centre that oozes exotica and scented Persian bath water.
Tanzania offers some of the best wildlife spotting opportunities on the continent, including the most significant, wildest animal populations in the world. Wildebeest, monkey, antelope, lion, cheetah, crocodile, gazelle, flamingo can be found in its famous parks which include the Serengeti and Mt Kilimanjaro, or the incredible crater of Ngorongoro.
Mt Kilimanjaro National Park is an almost perfectly shaped volcano rising from Tanzania’s far north-east plains. Snowcapped and not yet extinct, it’s the highest peak on the continent. The rainforest is home to animals including elephant, buffalo, rhino, leopard and monkey. You may also stumble across herds of eland on the saddle between the summits of Mawenzi and Kibo.
Serengeti National Park is Tanzania’s most famous game park. On the seemingly endless and almost treeless Serengeti plains are literally millions of hoofed animals. They’re always on the move in search of grassland and are watched and preyed upon by a varied parade of predators. It’s one of the most incredible sights you will ever encounter. Serengeti is also famous for its lion, cheetah and giraffe populations.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been compared to Noah’s Ark and the Garden of Eden – but has the added advantage of actually existing. Here you will find lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and many of the plains herbivores such as wildebeest, Thomson’s gazelle, zebra and reedbuck, as well as thousands of flamingo wading in the shallows of Lake Magadi, the soda lake on the floor of the crater. Local Masai tribespeople have grazing rights here, and you may well come across them tending their cattle.
Selous Game Reserve is a little-visited slab of wilderness and is said to be the world’s largest game reserve. Largely untouched by people, estimates suggest it contains the world’s largest concentration of elephant, buffalo, crocodile, hippo and hunting dog, as well as plenty of lion, rhino and antelope and thousands of dazzling bird species. One of the reserve’s main features is the vast Rufiji River. In the northern end of the reserve is the lodge area of Stiegler’s Gorge, which is spanned by a cable car.
There is so much to see in Zimbabwe it’s difficult to know where to start. It’s an area of outstanding natural beauty and phenomenal wildlife. However, it’s most famous area is Manapools National Park which is a world heritage site which is home to a wide range of animals and birds. It’s said you can still find dinosaur spoors!
During the rains, most of the big game animals move away from the river and into the escarpment. They start returning to the river areas from around April, as the pans in the bush dry up. As the year progresses, increasingly large herds of elephants and buffalos are seen, as well as kudu, eland, waterbuck, zebra, impala and many other antelope. The game is very relaxed about people on foot, making Manapools one of Africa’s best national parks for walking safaris
The Park is at the Centre of a network of protected areas in Zimbabwe which stretch from Kariba to the Mozambique border. The park offers unique guided and self-guided walks amongst many wild animals, excellent canoeing and river fishing.
On a safari in Manapools National Park, you are likely to see zebras, kudu, eland, impala, and other antelope species, lion, leopards, hyenas and wild dogs. It is also home to over 16,000 buffalos and more than 12,000 elephants. Many female elephants in the region do not have tusks and are much more aggressive than those with tusks.
More than 350 bird species can be found including Goliath herons, Egyptian and Spurwing geese, cormorants, storks, brilliantly coloured bee-eaters, and kingfishers. Vultures, plovers, Nyasa lovebird, yellow-spotted nicator, white-collared pratincole, Livingstone’s flycatcher, banded snake-eagle, and the cliché symbol of Africa, the black and white fish eagle, haunt the riverine forest and mopane woods.
Mana Pools national park offers a unique unguided walk in the wilderness; it allows experiencing nature at its best. Guided/unguided canoe is one major attraction along Zambezi River.