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Water – based Safaris in Southern Africa – Where to Go
There are many types of safaris to experience in Africa, one of which is the water-based safari. Visitors to Africa can choose to combine both land and water for the safari experience of a lifetime, or simply stick to staying in lodges on private islands to indulge in the ultimate water-based safari activities. You’ll find that most lodges within reserves scattered across southern Africa have access to views of waterholes, meandering rivers and glimmering pans. Guests will clamber into a game viewer and head down to these well-known wildlife havens, or enjoy sundowners on the banks of a river. However great these views are, they don’t quite constitute a “water safari”. For us, a water safari takes place on some kind of vessel in the water, be it a traditional mokoro, canoe, boat or simply staying in area completely surrounded by water. It’s a water-based safari when your day-to-day activities are centred around water.
These are our top regions (from experience) for water-based safaris in southern Africa .
Chobe River – Botswana
The Chobe River forms the northern boundary of the Chobe National Park, and is known for its high concentration of elephants. As such, the region earned a reputation for being the “Land of Giants”.The Chobe River originates in the Angolan highlands, and is a broad mass of water dotted with islands and swamplands. During the dry season, herds numbering in their hundreds lumber down to the river to bathe and soak up gallons of water. Chobe River is paradise for game viewing and is most certainly ideal for a water safari.
There are game viewing and specific bird-watching cruises on the Chobe River, and there’s even an option to enjoy overnight stays on a houseboats. You can expect to see the typical aquatic animals while out on the water, but we suggest you keep your eyes peeled for predators filtering down to the water’s edge to replenish their thirst.
We recommend staying in one of the many lodges dispersed along the Chobe River. Most of these lodges offer sunset cruises, game viewing cruises and boating activities. Nestled on the banks of the mighty Chobe River and neighbouring Chobe National Park is the luxurious Chobe Safari Lodge . This lodge offers a number of sunset cruises, and even private cruises tailored to your game viewing needs. There are even fishing expeditions available for the keen fisherman. Equipment and guide is provided with each fishing trip, and guests will cast their line off close to the banks of the river.
Another premier lodge is C hobe Game Lodge , one of the few safari options located within the borders of the Chobe National Park. It is a large lodge, well located on the banks of the Chobe River. It offers game drives and boating safari activities.
Okavango Delta – Botswana
The Okavango Delta is the premier water safari destination in Africa. The area truly is a wonderland dotted with private islands, secret channels, open waters, tributaries and the predator rich Moremi National Park. The Delta is a vast swampy inland river system with a fascinating biome.
The region offers a year-round water safari experience, with the water levels rising and flooding the grasslands during the wet season. The area is so waterlogged, which means the best means of reaching the Delta is via a small plane that lands on a private airstrip. The Okavango Delta is raw, wild and remote !
Getting to your Okavango Delta accommodation generally requires a quick boat ride to your private island, unless you’re staying in a lodge on the mainland that sits on the shores of the Delta. Whatever your choice of accommodation, you’ll be at the heart of the water safari.
A unique way to explore the narrow channels Okavango Delta is via a traditional dug out canoe called a mokoro. The wooden dugouts lie low in the water, and experienced polers navigate the channels while you observe life beneath the surface. In the wide open waters, where the hippos dwell, motorised boats are used to cruise the waters. Hippos don’t generally congregate in the narrow channels, so it’s safe to mokoro in the papyrus-lined channels.
Chief’s Island is probably the most popular island within the Okavango Delta, and a popular lodge in the area is – among many others – Oddballs Enclave . Oddballs’ Enclave is situated on the edge of Chief’s Island, deep in the heart of the Okavango Delta and is accessible by light aircraft only.
Zambezi River – Victoria Falls
The Victoria Falls is one of the world’s seven natural wonders, and straddles the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia. The falls tumble into the mighty Zambezi River , home to many adventure activities. The falls comprise 5 small waterfalls that plunge an estimated 110 m into a gorge. The curtain of water is over 1 km wide and is fondly referred to as the Smoke that Thunders.
There are normally early morning, lunch and evening cruises down the Zambezi River. There are river safaris, boat cruises, fishing safaris and canoe safaris offered at most of the hotels at Victoria Falls.
Our choice of hotel in Victoria Falls would have to be the Stanley and Livingstone hotel , a classic old world hotel.
Queen Elizabeth National Park – Uganda
Uganda is a premier gorilla and chimp trekking destination. The country is laden with jungles, craters, national parks, Lake Victoria and the mind-blowing Murchason Falls; and certainly lives up to its name as the “Pearl of Africa”. Queen Elizabeth National Park is the go-to destination for an African safari, with many safari-goers flocking to the park to see the famous tree-climbing lions of the area.
Queen Elizabeth National Park also happens to be home to two large bodies of water – Lake Edward and Lake George. The two lakes are connected by the Kazinga channel, a waterlogged area home to a sheer diversity of game. The channel is one of the main features of the park, and boasts the world’s largest concentration of hippos and Nile crocodiles. It’s the perfect place for a boat safari and sundowner cruise. We advise staying at Mweya Lodge in the Queen Elizabeth National Park , set on the banks of the lake.
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Our favourite African water safaris
At present, the Quirimba Islands are closed for tourism but we will keep you updated as soon as anything changes.
When you think of an African safari, you might imagine roaming across rolling savannahs and lush green hills in a trusty Land Rover… But there is another way to see and experience this great continent: by water! From floating along Botswana’s waterways in a mokoro, wrestling one of Africa’s most fearsome fish in Zambia , and discovering the source of the Nile in Uganda , there are a myriad of water-based adventures right at your fingertips. Read on to find out what we think are the best African water safaris out there…
Float through Botswana’s waterways
Starting with a classic, how could we not include a mokoro trip through Botswana’s Okavango Delta ? Arguably the most iconic of all African water safari experiences, you can hardly visit the area without hopping into one of these traditional boats and floating along the Delta channels . This is the way to add a twist to a classic safari experience: from the water you will almost certainly spot the quintessential safari animals (everything from lion and hippo to hyena), but also a variety of smaller creatures, most notably the local bird life. Our writer Paul took an epic adventure in a mokoro last year, camping out under the stars and listening to the wildlife chattering away around him – read about his trip here .
Combine this epic escape with another classic watery location, Victoria Falls , with our ‘Vic Falls & Okavango Delta Explorer’ trip.
Spot a myriad of wildlife along the Elephant Coast
South Africa has such an abundance of wildlife and so many scenic spots that it’s sometimes hard to know where to visit. The Elephant Coast can sometimes be overlooked in favour of the ever-popular Cape Town , Kruger and Garden Route , but if you want to enjoy a water safari in the country, it could be your best choice. If hippos are on your must-see list, there are few better places to visit than the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Here, you can cruise the water in search of the gigantic beasts and watch them wallow in their natural habitat. Then, venture along the coastline and you’ll find an entirely different type of watery safari: the coast is also known as one of the best diving and snorkelling spots in Africa and its coral reefs are home to over 1,200 species of fish. Expect to swim alongside manta ray, tiger rockcod, potato bass and even the famous gentle giants of the sea, whale sharks.
Get under the skin of the entire region with our ‘Explore Kwa-Zulu Natal’ trip. Combine your aqueous escape with visits to famous battlefields and incredible hikes in the Drakensberg .
Wrestle with river monsters in the Lower Zambezi
If game fishing is your thing, then the Lower Zambezi might already be on your radar. Weighing in at up to a massive 15kg, the famous tiger fish attract keen anglers from all around the world. It’s not just the size of these river monsters that make them such a cherished prize and they’re also known for their fearsome nature and razor sharp teeth. Catching (and releasing) one of these formidable beasts is no walk in the park! It’s not just these behemoths that draw visitors to the area, however, the Lower Zambezi National Park has an abundance of wildlife. If you visit (and we hope you do!) you can also enjoy a canoeing water safari down the Zambezi river, keeping your eyes peeled for elephant, buffalo, zebra, hippo, crocodile and maybe even a big cat or two.
Zambia is one of our favourite African destinations for a reason and whilst you’re here, you might as well see it all. Travel the length and breadth of the country with our ‘Zambia’s Classic Safari Destinations’ trip.
Hop from island to island in Mozambique
Just because we’re talking water safaris, it doesn’t mean it has to be all about the wildlife. Why not enjoy a little tropical R&R lazing on a traditional dhow boat, sailing from island to island in The Quirimbas ? Don’t limit yourself to just one powdery-sand-turquoise-water beach either – instead, float from one onto another in what (we think) might be one of the most stunning Robinson Crusoe-esque destinations going. You’ll travel with a professional team who will man the boat (when you stop at each haven, they’ll get to work setting up camp and transforming your chosen spot into an island paradise) so you really can just sit back and relax as you float along.
Plan your own tailor-made sailing trip through paradise with our ‘Quirimbas Mobile Dhow Safari’ .
Discover the source of the Nile in Uganda
Mention the Nile and most people will automatically think of Egypt, but have you ever wondered where that mighty river actually starts? Well, wonder no longer! In 1862, British explorer John Hanning Speke proclaimed the source of the Nile to be in the very unassuming Ugandan town of Jinja – and he was indeed correct. Though the town might be small, it has become the self-proclaimed adventure capital of East Africa and you won’t find yourself short of aqueous pastimes here. Daredevils can tumble down white water rapids on a raft or hurl themselves from great heights on a bungee rope but for something a little more sedate, take a gentle horse ride along the Nile’s banks.
Our ‘Discover the source of the Nile’ trip is the perfect way to explore this area. Not only will you get a chance to put your derring-do to the test, but it will also take you further afield to one of the world’s most powerful waterfalls, Murchison Falls . Here you can watch in awe as the Nile squeezes through a seven-metre gap in the Albertine Rift Escarpment creating a roaring cascade. Thrilling!
Come face to face with an apex predator in South Africa
Many water safaris offer a prime opportunity to some of the continent’s greatest land mammals like big cats, elephant and giraffe, but what if you could get up close and personal with one of the greatest predators in the seven seas, the great white shark? Made famous by Spielberg’s ‘Jaws’, we think these mighty creatures have received a bad rep over the years. Visiting South Africa ? Take a trip off the country’s southern coast with a team of experts and learn more about this majestic fish. You can watch them from the boat, or, if you’re feeling really brave, get in the water (in a cage of course!) and have a look at them up close.
Enjoy a cage-diving experience as part of your South African adventure, we think it can be perfectly combined with a Garden Route getaway .
Tap into Tanzania’s wildlife in the Selous
Now we’re ending with a more traditional water safari and drifting through Tanzania’s Selous Game Reserve by boat. This watery wonderland is a game-spotting heaven as a result of its incredibly diverse landscapes and right at the heart of it is the Rufiji river, the life-force of the Selous and the scene of one of the best water safaris in Africa. Here, you’ll follow the river as it meanders through vast valleys and floodplains, spotting zebra, buffalo, crocodile and even the famous Selous lion as you go – although you’ll have to crane your neck to see the giraffe! Make sure to pack your boat with a cool box and as the sun sets over this African paradise, crack open a drink and enjoy the views.
Our ‘Off-the-beaten-track in Southern Tanzania’ trip is our favourite way to explore this special country, water safaris and all.
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Top 10 Best African Safari Parks and Destinations of 2024
Anita is a data researcher and content manager at SafariBookings with a background in editing and translation.
Africa has some incredible places to go looking for animals, but which safari park do travelers rate the highest? After an exhaustive analysis of 2,494 reviews written by safari travelers and experts, we are pleased to announce that, for the fourth consecutive time, Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park has won top spot in our list of the Top 10 Best African Safari Parks and Destinations of 2024.
Its overall rating of 4.87 out of 5 put this world-renowned wildlife park out in front of 199 other parks and reserves across East and southern Africa, as well as Ethiopia and Madagascar. Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve in South Africa continued its rise through the rankings this year, reaching second place, with Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park coming in third.
Top 10 African Safari Parks and Destinations
Top 11 to 50 african safari parks and destinations, how we created this list, interesting insights, demographics of the reviewers (all parks).
4.52 /5 Classic safaris, giraffe, cheetah, antelope species, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
4.51 /5 Boat and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino), abundant elephant
4.50 /5 Classic dry-country safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino), adjoins Buffalo Springs National Reserve
4.50 /5 Classic safaris, private reserve, Big Five present
4.49 /5 Classic safaris, private reserve, Big Five present, chimpanzee refuge, stunning scenery
4.48 /5 Canoe, boat, walking and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
4.47 /5 Classic safaris, great abundance of all major safari animals including the Big Five
4.45 /5 Walking and classic safaris, Victoria Falls and small wildlife park, white rhino, elephant and giraffe, no big cats
4.44 /5 Walking, boat and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino), healthy population of wild dog
4.43 /5 Boat safaris, sublime scenery, wonderful birding, rhino tracking
4.37 /5 Classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no buffalo), abundant wildlife during the Dry season
4.36 /5 Boat and classic safaris, waterfall, abundant wildlife, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
4.36 /5 Classic safaris, great elephant viewing, famous for its views of Mt Kilimanjaro
4.32 /5 Classic safaris, zebra migration in the Wet season, all big cats present
4.29 /5 Classic safaris, adjoins Tsavo West National Park, good for elephants and big cats
4.28 /5 Boat and classic safaris, abundant wildlife, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
4.27 /5 Walking, canoe and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino) and wild dog present
4.23 /5 Walking and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino), lots of elephants in the Dry season
4.22 /5 Classic safaris, adjoins Tsavo East National Park, Big Five present, low wildlife density, varied scenery
4.17 /5 Classic safaris, private reserve, Big Five present
4.15 /5 Exceptional granite landscapes, prehistoric rock art, limited wildlife includes rhino
4.12 /5 Classic safaris, private reserve, Big Five present
4.05 /5 Big Five, lovely scenery, top birding, night drives and boat trips
4.05 /5 Classic safaris, black and white rhino, lion and leopard, no elephant, family-friendly
3.98 /5 Classic safaris, zebra migration in the Wet season, all big cats present
3.96 /5 Hiking, small antelope species and primates, birding hot spot
3.96 /5 Classic safaris, Big Five present
3.88 /5 Walking safaris, forest elephants and tree hotels
3.88 /5 Classic safaris, private reserve, Big Five present
3.87 /5 Cycling, walking and climbing, with mainly buffalo and antelope species
3.81 /5 Boat, walking and classic safaris, mainly antelope species, lion present but rare
3.79 /5 Classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no elephant), city skyscrapers as backdrop
3.72 /5 Classic, walking and canoe safaris, treetop walkway, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
3.70 /5 Classic safaris, hiking, mainly antelope species, buffalo, giraffe and Kilimanjaro colobus
3.65 /5 Walking and classic safaris, four of the Big Five (no rhino)
3.56 /5 Classic safaris, Cape mountain zebra, cheetah, lion, black rhino and antelope
3.45 /5 Classic safaris, Big Five present, but only elephant are regularly seen
3.44 /5 Classic safaris, Big Five present, famous for its rhino population
2.84 /5 Scenery, hiking, animals scarce, mainly antelope species, none of the Big Five
1.95 /5 Classic safaris, wildlife scarce except after summer rains, all big cats present
- We analyzed 2,494 park reviews on the SafariBookings.com website, which included 1,380 contributions by safari tourists from 107 countries, as well as 1,114 reviews written by our international team of safari experts.
- In total 200 parks from 15 countries, consisting of Botswana, Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe, were included in the study.
- Only parks recognized for classic wildlife-viewing safaris were considered. Parks mostly known for scenery or gorilla/chimp tracking (and not other wildlife) were not included.
- Parks with less than 10 reviews were excluded from the Top 50.
- Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was the clear winner with a 4.87 overall rating. This was the fourth time running that the Serengeti has come out on top, after placing first in 2015, 2018 and 2019. Driving the Serengeti’s popularity is the park’s spectacular wildlife (including the abundance of predators and the wildebeest migration), for which it was ranked highly by travelers and experts alike.
- South Africa’s Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve came in second with an overall rating of 4.71 out of 5. Ranked ninth in 2019, it jumped all the way to second place this year, roaring into the top three. Confirmation that Sabi Sands belongs in such elite company comes from the fact that both travelers and experts gave it 5 out of 5 for wildlife, and a higher overall ranking than they did in the previous survey.
- Coming in third was South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, rising from a respectable seventh last time around. It may receive fewer visitors than other, better-known parks, but it gets top marks from both travelers and safari experts.
- Tanzania had the highest number of entries in the Top 10, with three parks: Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Ruaha National Park. Botswana was close behind with two and a half parks: Okavango Delta, Moremi Game Reserve and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (which Botswana shares with South Africa).
- Kenya may have only one entry, Masai Mara National Reserve, in the Top 10, but it had more parks and reserves in the Top 50 (12) than any other country. South Africa had the second most entries with 11, down from 14 in the last survey. Tanzania (eight), Botswana (six) and Uganda (four) were next. For the first time in 2024, Malawi had an entry in the Top 50 with Liwonde National Park at number 20.
- Birders have clearly taken a liking to Kenya’s Kakamega Forest National Reserve: both safari travelers and experts ranked Kakamega in first place for bird watching.
- One of the biggest surprises was Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. Ranked second in 2019, it fell dramatically to 27th. But safari travelers have remained loyal to the park, giving it the maximum score of 5 out of 5 in the categories of wildlife, bush vibe and birding.
- Travelers aged between 20 and 35 decided that their favorite park was Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, followed closely by Tanzania’s Serengeti. For more mature age groups, the top ranking went to Namibia’s Etosha National Park (ages 35 to 50) and South Africa’s Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve (ages 50 to 65).
- Botswana’s Chobe National Park and Uganda’s Murchison Falls National Park ranked highly for safari travelers who have been on more than one safari. And when it comes to wilderness, Botswana’s Okavango Delta deservedly came out on top in the bush vibe category for those who have been on five or more safaris.
User reviews: 1,380 Expert reviews: 1,114 Nationalities: 107
Percentage of Reviews by Country All user reviews. Move your cursor over a country to get the number.
Age and Gender (Percentage) All people who wrote user reviews. Move your cursor over the chart for more details.
Safari Experience Level (Percentage) All people who wrote user reviews. Move your cursor over the chart for more details.
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8-Day Amboseli, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara
$2,602 pp (USD)
Kenya: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp
You Visit: Nairobi (Start) , Amboseli NP, Lake Nakuru NP, Masai Mara NR, Nairobi (End)
Mamu Travels and Safaris Kenya
5.0 /5 – 14 Reviews
3-Day Masai Mara Midrange Private Jeep Safari
$880 to $1,375 pp (USD)
Kenya: Private tour Mid-range Tented Camp
You Visit: Nairobi (Start) , Masai Mara NR, Nairobi (End)
4.9 /5 – 238 Reviews
4-Day Tarangire, Serengeti and Ngorongoro Mid-Range Tour
$1,582 pp (USD)
Tanzania: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp
You Visit: Arusha (Start) , Tarangire NP, Serengeti NP, Ngorongoro Crater, Arusha (End)
Full Package Adventures
5.0 /5 – 49 Reviews
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Westpalmbeach.com official guide to west palm beach, florida, lion country safari.
Lion Country Safari opened in 1967, in rural Palm Beach County just west of West Palm Beach. At the time it was the first drive through safari park in the United States and introduced a new concept to animal lovers, The Cageless Zoo . Lion Country Safari was originally developed by a group of South African and British entrepreneurs who wanted to bring the experience of an African game park, then and now an expensive and time-consuming trip, to South Florida families who would otherwise not be able to experience an African safari.
After visiting the four-mile drive-through safari, explore the Safari World Amusement Park.
WestPalmBeach.com : The Essential Guide to West Palm Beach, Florida!
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The Top 10 Best African Safari Wildlife Parks To Visit in 2024
Discover the best african safari wildlife park..
With some of the most incredible wildlife on the planet, lush tropical beaches, and the challenging climb of Mt. Kilimanjaro , an African safari is a perfect vacation for any adventure enthusiast.
Immerse yourself in the lands you’ve only dreamed of and experience the majesty of the Great Migration when millions of animals make their yearly trek across the plains.
You will be amazed at all the things you can see and do while visiting an African safari wildlife park. But how do you know which one to visit?
Read on to learn the particulars of each park so you can make the best decision for your group.
1. The Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most beautiful regions in Africa. It is filled with volcanic craters and all manner of wildlife.
This area is home to the highest concentration of big five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and the cape buffalo) wildlife and a wide variety of predators ensuring you have an exciting day.
For bird enthusiasts, the crater is a must-see, as it is home to more than 400 different species of birds. Two of the most exciting birds you will see include the ostrich and the flamingo.
2. The Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Serengeti is a rugged savanna full of rhinoceros and elephants, like many of the parks on this list. But what sets it apart is the sheer volume of animals that you will see. This park has been voted as the best African safari wildlife park in 2018
The park is large, spreading over 5,700 square miles and serves as home to more than 430 different species. The area is divided into three quadrants to make referencing easy.
The Northern Serengeti
The northern Serengeti is a region of rolling hills and woodlands. There you can find many giraffes and elephants.
The Serengeti Plains
The Serengeti plains are what come to mind when you hear the word. They are the Lion King-like plains that go on endlessly towards the horizon. On the plains, you will find large herds of animals roaming and migrating and with so few trees, you will have an excellent view.
The Western Corridor
At the heart of the savanna lies the Western Corridor. This area is home to crocodiles, hippos, and monkies. It features the Grumeti River which provides life-giving water for a variety of species.
3. Massai Mara Game Reserve, Kenya
Massai Mara is home to the Great Migration, the term for the movement of millions of animals across Africa each year. The spectacle is a can’t-miss sight for many tourists.
The best place to see the Great Migration is in Kenya between July and October. Over a million wildebeest travel together across the plains in the largest migration herd in the world. These animals are members of the antelope family and can weigh as much as 600 lbs.
The route the animals travel is filled with predators and the wildebeest travel through many rivers, many with hungry crocodiles. Seeing nature at play will be a spectacle you won’t soon forget.
4. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
If you’re in this for the elephants, you have to head to Tarangire National Park . They have the largest concentration of elephants in the world with some herds consisting of more than three hundred elephants. This is especially true during the dry season when the park swells in population.
If you visit Tarangire, make sure you don’t miss the views of the Maasai Steppe. It truly is breathtaking. You will also want to spend lots of time near the Tarangire River, the river that gives the park its name. It is the main source of water for many animals during the dry season so it is a great place to spot all manner of wildlife.
The most iconic part of Tarangire National Park would have to be the baobab trees that dot its landscape. These ancient trees are hundreds of years old and provide homes for birds and small animals in the ecosystem.
5. Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Ruaha National Park is home to the largest population of elephants in Tanzania, making it a great place to spot these large animals.
The park is also home to herds of buffalo, antelope, gazelles, wild dogs, and ostriches.
It is known for its wild topography formed by the Great Ruaha River that runs through the park and gives it its name. The river is home to crocodiles, hippos, and many different species of wading birds.
You will also enjoy views of mountains in the south and west reaching for the sky.
6. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park is located in South Africa and is the largest natural game reserve in the country. It is home to more than 500 different types of species and remains an excellent place to go to spot all manner of wildlife.
You will also enjoy the granite hills that pepper the south and create a unique landscape. Much of the park is covered in tropical forests that play home to a majority of the species in the area.
It’s important to note that Kruger National Park is a very popular place for people to safari and so it is sometimes very crowded. People like it because it has a large network of roads making most of the area accessible for exploration.
If you are concerned about the crowds, then you can consider visiting one of the many beautiful private game reserves in the same area.
7. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a great place to go tracking gorillas. The passes to go on excursions in this area are cheaper than in surrounding countries.
Although expensive, gorilla trekking is worth the money and you should see the price you pay as your tax for helping support the continued care of the land that the gorillas live on.
The forest is protected as a world heritage site to help keep the area preserved but it is easy to see the areas where land has been destroyed.
This forest will make you more aware of the necessity for conservation efforts and grateful that you got to experience this gem before it disappears from the planet.
8. Etosha National Park, Namibia
Etosha National Park is unique because it is a giant salt pan that can be seen from space with abundant wildlife.
This park is one of the more accessible parks in Africa and can be accessed in a regular sedan.
You will enjoy the unrestricted way in which the animals more and the lack of human interference that the park enjoys. This park is home to some of the largest elephants in Africa since its land is so nutritious.
9. Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania
Mahale Mountains National Park is one of the best places to spot chimpanzees. It is nestled alongside the shoreline of Lake Tanganyikan in western Tanzania.
You will love the mist-covered mountain of Nkungwe that rises in the background and the incredibly clear waters of the lake that lap at the white sand coves.
This is one of the most remote and alluring parks in Africa and is home to about 1700 chimpanzees. The best time of year to visit is in the dry season from June to October. This is when the undergrowth in the forest is less overgrown and the chimps will venture down to the main lodge area to find food.
10. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve rests on the Okavango Delta’s eastern side and has permanent water as well as drier areas. This Delta is the world’s largest inland and is an exotic feature to behold. The water that reaches the delta evaporates and doesn’t flow out to any sea or ocean.
In January-February the delta drains each year before filing again over the next four months from March-June.
It is one of the best places to experience bird watching since it has lovely lagoons and thickly wooded areas that are home to a wide variety of species.
The park covers almost 2,000 square miles and has wild dogs as well as leopards.
The diversity of animals at this park is truly incredible and includes:
- African Bush Elephants
- African Buffalo
- Blue Wildebeest
- Nile Crocodile
- Brown Hyena
- Spotted Hyena
- Sable ANtelope
- Black Rhinoceros
- And many more!
Explore an African Safari Wildlife Park
Now that you have an introduction to each major African safari wildlife park, it’s time to make your decision. Do you want to relax on the beaches of Zanzibar, or does your adventurous spirit long to make it to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro?
No matter who you are, there is an African safari adventure for your group.
Check out our tours today or create your own adventure!
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Top 10 Safari Parks in Africa
C an't decide where do you want to start your next (or first) safari in Africa? We collected the top 10 safari parks in Africa places to see wild African animals in their natural habitat. If you want to know what to be on the lookout for, read our article on the top 10 safari animals you can spot on your travels!
There's always more to explore so feel free to check out our article on the top 10 countires for safaris! For some Safari fun you can check our blog post on how a Family Safari completely errupted into chaos!
Read ahead or jump to any section that interests you:
A safari (Swahili: journey) in one of Africa's national parks is an exciting thing: many people can observe a larger number of wild animals and even have the oppurtunity to see the famous Big 5 of africa.
The focus is on the savannah and bush landscapes, where savannah elephants , lions , buffalos , and other well-known wild animals feel at home.
Whether it's Africa for the first time or safari connoisseurs, there should be something for everyone. And it attracts attention: There is no best destination in Africa, but there are the best destinations.
So, where should the next safari lead?
10th place: Amboseli National Park, Kenya
Where else can wild animals be observed in front of one of the most famous mountains on earth? The Amboseli National Park at the foot of Kilimanjaro in Tanzania serves both as a postcard motif for Africa and as a photographic object. Giraffes, elephants and all sorts of other wild animals strut in front of the snow-covered summit of the "Kili" and give great photo motives.
Ancient elephants still live in the park. This allows visitors to observe the almost intact social behavior of the pachyderms in their herds.
The Kilimanjaro usually wraps itself in thick clouds during the day. The chances of seeing it are best in the morning and evening.
9th place: Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa
Number 9 on the top 10 safari parks in Africa is Addo. Known for, as the name suggests, its elephants, the Addo is more than a convenient destination near South Africa's Garden Route. The park is home to lions again after a resettlement program; black rhinos and leopards are also found here. Due to the extension to the south, the coast with its sharks and whales is also part of the park, which now advertises with the "Big 7".
In conclusion, the park is ideal for exploring with your own (rental) car. Please make sure to ask in advance what you have to consider for the self-drive safari.
In addition, holidaymakers in their cars should ensure they do not run over pill turners (African dung beetles), hundreds of which run across the roads depending on the weather.
8th Place: Etosha National Park, Namibia
Namibia's most important park is home to countless wildlife, including the white and black rhino who are critically endangered, something you can read more about in one of our other articles about these ancient and disappearing creatures. There are also several predatory cat species and many antelopes. "Etosha" means "big white square," which describes the landscape well. The vegetation is extremely sparse; in the dry season, many animals gather at artificial waterholes.
In the dry season, many animals can easily be observed at the park water holes and camps. 114 different species of mammals live in the park.
Every coin has two sides: The park is completely fenced in and cuts the animals off their original routes in search of water in the Kuene region. The waterholes are not comparable to the actual environment and natural migration behavior for true lovers.
7th place: Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
The Tarangire National Park is one of the most underestimated parts of the continent. Many visitors only make a short stop at the Serengeti or do not ebaobabven include the national park in their travel plans. But the park is home to large herds of elephants and many other species in a remarkable landscape of boabab trees.
The park is known for its elephant herds, which run through a prehistoric landscape along the Tarangire River.
The park is home to the tsetse fly, which transmits sleeping sickness. Visitors should urgently pay attention to consistent protection.
6th place: Chobe National Park, Botswana
"Land of the Giants" is written on the sign at the park entrance and already announces the park's main attraction: Elephants, one of the savannah's most social creatures . Between 80,000 and 100,000 pachyderms are estimated to live in the park and adjacent areas, where they migrate depending on the season.
Botswana pursues an exemplary animal and species conservation policy and no longer kills elephants if they become too numerous for the ecosystem. Instead, fences were dismantled to create more space for the animals. Kaffir buffalos and warthogs are also common. As a result, always check the weather forecast before you go.
A safari with the boat on the Chobe river belongs to the experiences, which holiday-makers surely do not forget so fast.
During the high season the Chobe River can be very narrow.
5th place: South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
On the Luangwa River, the wilderness awaits: no fences, no radios to communicate with the rangers. Those who travel to the South Luangwa National Park will experience the bush unadorned, without much traffic and wild. It is not uncommon for your own jeep to be the only one at a spectacular sighting, giving visitors more time and peace to enjoy the encounter with the animals. Night safaris and bushwalks, i.e. safaris on foot, are allowed in the national park.
Pure wilderness. The park is known for its hippos and leopards . Many camps are not fenced and often wild animals run through the lodges. The park is also home to numerous endemic species and subspecies, i.e. animals that can only be found here. Sometimes you can even see the endangered Pangolins and the even more threatened Rhinos . Two species of Animals we explore in more detail in another article.
These include the Cookson gnu, the Crawshay zebra and the Thorneycroft giraffe.
The season plays an important role in the South Luangwa National Park. While in the dry season many large wild animals gather at the water and are so easy to discover, during the rainy season bird lovers get their money's worth.
4th place: Kruger National Park, South Africa
For most vacationers the Kruger National Park is the first safari experience in the African bush . It is one of the largest national parks on the continent and is home to a wide variety of wildlife. In contrast to the open savannahs in East Africa, the landscape is bushy and the animals are harder to spot.
This may be described as the best South African Safari.
In the Kruger National Park live some very rare animal species like wild dogs. Another animal worth further exploration in another one of our articles.
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The good infrastructure, the developed roads and the fences around the national park make it clear that the park is used and marketed commercially.
This partly causes a lot of traffic in the park and has at some corners only little to do with the real wilderness feeling.
3rd place: Ngorongoro Nature Reserve, Tanzania
While driving over the edge of the burglary crater into the nature reserve, visitors can rarely suppress the "wow" that involuntarily comes over their lips. The view can take your breath away. The safari through the crater, which has the highest predator density in Africa, becomes the photographic highlight of many Africa journeys.
The wildlife hike through Masai Mara and Serengeti also touches on the protection of the wildlife.
Overall, the high density of animals naturally attracts many visitors and some have the feeling of driving through an open-air zoo.
Some of the jeeps obstruct the way of the animals or hinder cats of prey during the hunt. Tell your driver that you don't approve of such behaviour.
2nd place: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Hardly any other national park in Africa is as famous as the Serengeti. This is of course due to the diverse fauna and one of the largest animal migrations in the world .
On the other hand, the Serengeti is almost always threatened: Many people have an interest in the place and in the fertile savannah, on which millions of wild animals cavort and planned large-scale projects would probably mean the end of the national park. The battle for the Serengeti has been fought for decades and culminated in the documentary "Serengeti must not die" by Michael Grzimek and his father Bernhard in the 1950s.
Really one of the Top 10 Safari Parks in Africa.
The migration of wild animals, where millions of wildebeests, zebras and antelopes travel in a large circle through the Serengeti and the adjoining Masai Mara in Kenya during the course of the year. This is known also as one of the great wilderbeast migration , a topic you can do further reading on with another one of our articles .
The Serengeti is exposed to constant threats. The plans to build a highway through the area are not over yet. There are also frequent conflicts between wildlife and humans.
In addition, organizations are now warning that too many tourists are coming to the park. It is best to drive in the low season and avoid facilities that require a lot of water (swimming pools etc.).
1st Place: Masai Mara Nature reserve, Kenya
Number one on the top 10 safari parks in africa list! When tears shoot into the eyes of the viewers of a lion documentary because the pictures are so overwhelming, the reportage is mostly shot in the Masai Mara (or Maasai Mara).
Wide landscape with green hills as far as the eye can see. The view is interrupted only by Wildebeest , zebras, giraffes, Elephants ,, antelopes , lions , hyenas… The Masai Mara could pass for an African cliché if it were not real.
Word has got around of course that the Masai Mara is a paradise on earth. It is therefore frequently overcrowded and the many cars already have influence on the behavior of the wild animals. Some cars leave the tracks in search of the best view. If this happens to you, it's best to tell the driver that you don't want them to.
The park also serves as a Rhino sanctuary and is home to some 60 white and black rhinos, who are guarded around the clock by armed rangers. An absolute must for rhino fans, who are almost guaranteed to meet some of the animals here.
The impressive Murchison waterfall, where the Victoria Nile plunges over 43 metres into the depths, is also a must see. The park is home to the endangered Rothschild Giraffes (also Uganda giraffe or Nubian giraffe). To the south of the park is the Budongo chimpanzee forest.
The park is in some places tsetse fly high area. Be sure to take care to protect yourself against insects.
When to go on a Safari
The best time is always present, but if you are looking for the most enjoyment from your trip, the best time to go is from July through October, when the animals are easy to find and in substantial numbers. However, deciding when to go on a safari depends on what country you want to visit and when you can plan your trip. As well as the type of wildlife you hope to encounter.
The best months for an African safari are therefore varied.
What to pack/ best luggage for African safari
Some of the most recommended basics:Here's the "must-haves" to pack for your safari :
- T-shirt, shirt or blouse – long sleeves and collars help to protect from the sun and mosquitoes
- Fleece or warm jacket.
- A pair of safari trousers – those that zip off at the knees are very handy, too.
- Comfortable walking shoes (or boots) and socks.
Above and beyond the comfortable basics, there are niche items which could enhance your experience on safari. We've researched the best of these items to take with you.
Best insect repellent for African safari: Natrapel 8 Hour insect repthatellent: this is a CDC recommended product based on 20% Picaridin formula and is DEET FREE. It is safe to spray on your skin and clothing.
Best binoculars for African safari : Celestron 71347 Outland x | 10×25 | Best compact Binoculars for Travel.
Best camera for African safari : Best -buy cameras for safari in Africa: At Canon, it would be the Canon EOS Rebel series. Often you can get a kit ( camera + lenses + accessories). Best for travelling and easy shots.
Best shoes for African safari : light trail shoes and hybrid shoe /sandals (Keen, Teva, Merrel, North Face, HiTec, Garmont, Salomon etc) are adequate for regular travel and normal safari conditions. Even fly-camping trips and walking trails on fairly rough terrain don't warrant hiking boots when conditions are dry.
It is important to find out what you need for specific areas as well as administrative documents and permits.
Summary on Top 10 Safari Parks in Africa
The landscape is very bushy and visitors often only see the animals when they are standing directly in front of or next to the car. Slow driving is therefore all the more important.
How did you like the article on the top 10 safari parks in africa? In conclusion, we hope to give you some ideas and inspirations on the best african safari tours, animal encounters and holiday trips.
- Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya – Overcrowded but abundant wildlife, including rhinos.
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania – Famous for the great wildebeest migration.
- Ngorongoro Nature Reserve, Tanzania – High predator density, popular tourist destination.
- Kruger National Park, South Africa – Large park with diverse wildlife, commercialized.
- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia – Unspoiled wilderness, known for hippos and leopards.
- Chobe National Park, Botswana – Land of the Giants, home to a large elephant population.
- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania – Underrated park with large elephant herds and baobab trees.
- Etosha National Park, Namibia – Sparse vegetation, artificial waterholes attract many animals.
- Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa – Known for elephants, self-drive safari recommended.
- Amboseli National Park, Kenya – Elephants near Mount Kilimanjaro, observe intact social behavior.
Tips for Safari:
- Best time to go is from July to October for high animal sightings.
- Pack essentials like long-sleeved shirts, hat, fleece, comfortable shoes, insect repellent.
- Recommended binoculars: Celestron 71347 Outland x | 10×25.
- Canon EOS Rebel series for safari photography.
- Check specific requirements, permits, and administrative documents for each park.
Be advised that those are subjective ideas and of course every safari park, whether big or small can be beautiful and present you with awesome wildlife.
There's always more to explore so feel free to check out our article on the top 10 countires for safaris!
Frequently Asked Queastions (FAQs)
Safari experiences are generally safe, but it's important to follow guidelines and instructions provided by your guides or tour operators. Wildlife should be observed from a safe distance and never approached or provoked. It's also recommended to stay within designated areas and camps, especially during night hours. Adhering to these precautions ensures a safe and enjoyable safari experience.
Many safari operators and lodges prioritize sustainability and conservation efforts. They work to minimize the ecological impact by implementing responsible practices such as supporting local communities, conserving natural resources, and participating in wildlife conservation initiatives. When choosing a safari operator, it's advisable to opt for those with strong environmental ethics and credentials.
Interacting with or touching wildlife is strongly discouraged and, in most cases, prohibited during safaris. The well-being of the animals and the safety of visitors are of utmost importance. Safaris promote responsible wildlife viewing, which involves observing animals from a safe distance and respecting their natural behaviors. Touching or disturbing the wildlife can cause stress or potentially dangerous situations for both humans and animals.
Several ways to contribute to conservation efforts during a safari include supporting eco-friendly lodges or tour operators that actively participate in conservation initiatives. Additionally, you can choose to visit parks and reserves that allocate a portion of the entrance fees to conservation projects. It's also encouraged to learn about and respect local customs, traditions, and wildlife protection regulations while engaging in responsible tourism practic
The post Top 10 Safari Parks in Africa appeared first on Animals Around The Globe .
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African safari: everything you need to know.
| Published: January 3, 2024
There is no place like Africa when it comes to safaris. From breathtaking landscapes to close, but safe, encounters with wildlife, African safaris offer a unique blend of adventure and natural beauty. Whether you’re a seasoned traveler or a first-time safari-goer, and whether you’re drawn to the iconic Big Five, cultural interactions with local communities or the thrill of walking safaris, here’s everything you need to know to make the most of your African safari.
What is the best place for an African safari?
Africa’s diverse ecosystems provide a variety of wildlife and landscapes, but most national parks are concentrated in East Africa and Southern Africa. The choice of location depends on the type of wildlife you want to encounter, the landscapes you want to witness and the cultural experiences you seek. While there are many options to choose from, the continent’s safari crown jewels include:
- Serengeti National Park and Maasai Mara Reserve in Tanzania and Kenya respectively, where the annual Great Migration unfolds — a spectacle of millions of wildebeest and zebras on the move. If you visit Tanzania, make sure to also visit the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Kruger National Park in South Africa, and Okavango Delta in Botswana, provide a home to the famed Big Five and an array of other fascinating species.
- Sossusvlei, Etosha National Park or Damaraland in Namibia, which offer dramatic landscapes and dunes, along with a wide variety of wildlife.
- Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda or the Bwindi Impenetrable National Forest in Uganda, which offer unique gorilla trekking opportunities.
“I am in the midst of planning an African safari for my 50th birthday. The most important thing to me is that both I and the animals I encounter — and I want to encounter as many as possible — are kept safe. That said, it’s also important to me that where we stay at night has indoor plumbing. I can deal with a lot, but I want some of my creature comforts!” — Michelle Price, Honest and Truly
When is the best time to visit?
July to September is your best bet for an African safari. However, understanding the distinct seasons of each destination ensures a safari experience that aligns with the natural rhythms of the landscape and its inhabitants.
For instance, if you plan to visit the Serengeti or the Maasai Mara, the best time is during the annual Great Migration, when millions of wildebeest and zebras move in search of greener pastures. This migration typically occurs from July to October, offering a front-row seat to the dramatic river crossings and the circle of life in its rawest form.
If you’re venturing to South Africa, Botswana or Namibia, the dry season from May to October is ideal. As water sources dwindle, wildlife congregates around remaining waterholes, making it easier to spot them. The Okavango Delta, in particular, becomes a haven for birdwatchers during this time. For a more intimate gorilla trekking adventure, June to September and December to February provide favorable conditions for trekking in the lush forests.
How do you pick a tour operator and accommodations?
Selecting the right tour operator and accommodations is pivotal for a rewarding African safari experience. The best way to pick an operator is by researching reputable tour operators with a proven track record for ethical practices, knowledgeable guides and a commitment to sustainable tourism. Reading reviews can provide valuable insights into the reliability and quality of a tour operator’s services, as well as their experience in that specific region.
There are typically three levels: budget, mid-range and luxury, each offering a unique experience. Budget safaris run from $500 a day, while luxury ones can go as high as $2000. To get the best bang for your buck, identify your priorities — whether it’s proximity to wildlife hotspots, eco-friendly practices or cultural immersion — and choose accommodations that align with your preferences. You should also consider contributions to local communities and wildlife conservation efforts, amenities, safety standards and reviews from previous guests.
What activities can you do as part of an African safari?
When people think of a safari in Africa, they’re thinking of a classic game drive, where you can witness the majesty of lions and elephants in their natural habitats from a safe vehicle. But it can be much more than that. Whether it’s birdwatching, bush walks or simply enjoying the tranquility of the savannah, an African safari can offer many activities for a personalized and memorable safari experience.
For a closer connection with nature, consider a guided walking safari, where trained guides will lead you through the wilderness, unveiling the wonders of local flora and fauna. Engage with the local communities through cultural interactions, visiting villages and experiencing traditional customs, music and dance. If you want an out-of-the-box experience, consider a hot air balloon safari, a specialized photography safari, a canoe safari or a night safari.
What do you need to pack for an African safari?
Most safari operators will also provide lists as a starting point, but a good rule of thumb is to focus on comfort and practicality for your specific destination. Bring lightweight, long-sleeved shirts and pants for sun protection, especially during game drives, and clothes that layer since the nights can be chilly. Sturdy hiking boots are essential for bush walks, while a wide-brimmed hat, sunglasses, and a swimsuit for relaxation round out your clothing needs. Don’t forget a compact rain jacket for unexpected weather changes.
Accessorize wisely with binoculars for wildlife observation and a camera or smartphone with a zoom lens to capture memorable moments. Sunscreen, insect repellent and a basic first aid kit are crucial for health and personal care. Carry a reusable water bottle to stay hydrated, and consider a daypack for excursions. Ensure you have the necessary travel documents and personal identification, and pack a multi-tool or knife for convenience. Keep your luggage lightweight and durable, and don’t forget travel adapters for electronic devices.
What are some good budgeting tips to follow?
Research and compare tour operators, accommodations and transportation options to find the best value for your budget. Traveling during off-peak seasons can mean lower prices for both tours and accommodations, providing a double benefit of cost savings and a more intimate safari experience. Group travel can also be a budget-friendly option.
Mid-range accommodations strike a balance between comfort and affordability, ensuring a pleasant stay without the expense of luxury lodges. Flexibility with travel dates, prioritizing must-see activities and monitoring currency exchange rates are all practical measures to optimize your budget. Finally, planning and booking well in advance can secure lower prices and availability, especially during peak seasons.
Embarking on an African safari is a unique and unforgettable adventure, and with the right knowledge, it can be both fulfilling and budget-friendly. Pick a good destination and time to visit, research your safari operator and accommodations, figure out what activities are on your must-do list, and pack wisely. But most importantly, don’t forget to pack your sense of wonder because an African safari promises not just a journey but a lifetime of memories.
Shruthi Baskaran-Makanju is a food and travel writer and a global food systems expert based in Seattle. She has lived in or traveled extensively to over 60 countries, and shares stories and recipes inspired by those travels on Rainy City Life .
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Local News | African Safari Wildlife Park offering 50% off…
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Local News | African Safari Wildlife Park offering 50% off admission with amusement park or water park ticket
Now through Oct. 30, African Safari Wildlife Park , 267 S. Lightner Road in Port Clinton, is offering 50% off general admission to guests who show proof of admission to amusement parks and water parks in the Lake Erie Shores & Islands region, including Cedar Point, Kalahari and Great Wolf Lodge, according to a news release.
With this discount, general admission to the park is $12.98 on Saturdays and Sundays, and $11.48 on weekdays, the release said.
General park admission includes unlimited trips through the Drive-Thru Safari, home to zebras, bison, deer, camels, alpacas, exotic cattle breeds and emus, as well as Dinosaur Takeover, which features over 20 moving, roaring, lif-sized dinosaurs, the release said.
“This is a terrific time to visit the Park since most of our animals love the autumn weather and are much more active this time of year than they are in the summer,” said keeper supervisor Makayla Kopriver in the release. “If you’re in the area for some fall fun, you’ll definitely want to take a trip to see us!”
Acceptable proof of admission to an amusement park or water park includes digital or printed tickets or receipts, according to the release.
This offer may not be combined with any other promotions or discounts, the release said.
African Safari Wildlife Park has been delighting families for over 50 years. The free-range Drive-Thru Safari features giraffe, bison, alpacas and deer.
The Walk-Thru Safari, open seasonally, features kangaroos, porcupines, birds and educational animal programs.
More information is available at www.africansafariwildlifepark.com .
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