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Top African Safari Destinations

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Africa's top safari destinations include wildlife parks in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Gabon. If you're looking for the best safari where you're almost guaranteed to see the "Big Five" you can't go wrong with these choices.

More About:

Best Time to Go on Safari
Top 10 Animals to See on Safari
Safari Planner
The Great Annual Migration
Safari Packing List
Is Going on Safari Dangerous?

If you have further questions about planning your safari, you can see all my safari articles here. If you are interested in booking a bespoke luxury safari in Africa you can also contact me to discuss your options.

1. Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)

Balloon safari Masai Mara, Kenya
Kenya is Africa's most popular safari destination and the Masai Mara Reserve is the most popular wildlife park in Kenya. From July - October you can witness the incredible migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra. The Maasai tribesman also offer cultural tours which will enhance your experience.

2. Chobe National Park (Botswana)

Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana
Getty Images/Theo Allofs

Chobe National park lies in Botswana's Okavango Delta and covers four distinct Eco-systems. The Savuti marsh in particular offers some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa year round. Chobe boasts around 120,000 elephants, you're unlikely to miss them when you enjoy a safari here.

The best time to visit Chobe is between April and October, the dry, cooler winter months. Herds of zebra, eland, buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest congregate around the Savuti marsh this time of year. Chobe is accessible by car which makes it a little less expensive than some other Botswana Parks. There's a wide variety of accommodation available to suit all budgets, you can even rent a houseboat.

More about Chobe National Park...

3. Kruger National Park (South Africa)

Kruger National Park, South Africa
© South Africa Tourism
Kruger National Park in South Africa boasts the highest variety of wildlife in Africa which includes the Big Five, hippos, crocodiles, cheetah and more. Kruger is one of the best maintained parks in Africa which means it's ideal for a self-drive safari.

4. South Luangwa National Park (Zambia)

Hippos, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Getty Images/Ben Cranke

Home of the "walking safari" South Luangwa National Park in Zambia offers a true African experience. There's plenty of wildlife and over 400 species of birds. The Luangwa river is filled to the brim with hippos and if you're lucky you'll spot prides of over 30 lions at a time. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species living in the National Park.

South Luangwa offers both budget and luxury safari lodging. The best time to visit is during the dry season from April to October. Near the end of the dry season, the animals really concentrate around the remaining waterholes, which makes for a great safari.

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5. Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)

View from tent, Nyumu Camp, Southern Serengeti, Ndutu Area, Tanzania
© Erika Bloom
The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania offers the absolute classic African safari setting. The grasslands make the Serengeti fantastic for spotting lion kills because you can see the whole spectacle clearly. The migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra starts here and because it's much larger than the Mara (see above), it is also less touristy.

More about the Serengeti and Tanzania's Northern Parks...

A Tanzanian safari in pictures...

 

6. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Mountain Gorillas census drc
http://gorilla.cd/blog/
Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda is home to almost half of the world's population of mountain gorillas. Besides offering a wonderful backdrop to Gorilla tracking, you can also see chimpanzees, and many other mammals. Bwindi has been designated a World Heritage Site.

7. Etosha Natonal Park (Namibia)

A tree at Etosha National Park, Namibia
Charles Roffey

Etosha National Park is Namibia's top wildlife destination. Etosha is home to Africa's tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, and 91 other species of mammal. Etosha is especially popular with photographers in the dry season who flock to the waterholes (along with the wildlife). Most visitors to Etosha will see plenty of giraffe, elephant, lion, rhino and have a very good chance of seeing cheetah and leopard, along with a huge variety of birdlife. Etosha National Park doesn't offer scheduled game drives, it's a self-drive safari experience. But there are several excellent upmarket lodges and camps available just outside the park boundaries in private reserves, where guided safaris are part of the package.

8. Okavango Delta (Botswana)

Okavango Delta lion, Botswana
Getty Images/Daryl Balfour
The Okavango River cuts through the center of Botswana's Kalahari Desert, creating a unique inland water system that gives life to a huge variety of birds and mammals. The Okavango is a unique safari destination because you can view much of the wildlife from a traditional canoe, a mokoro. Every year the delta floods covering over 16,000 km's. The best time to view wildlife is during the peak of the flood, in the dry season from May to October. The wildlife is more concentrated on islands at this time, and it's therefore easier to see therm. as the flooding recedes, new grass springs up and the wildlife scatters to feed. There are numerous lodges dotted around as well as luxury safari camps, many of them offer walking safaris.

9. Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania)

Elephant grazing in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
© Erika Bloom
The Ngorongoro Conservation area in Tanzania includes the world's largest crater which acts as a natural enclosure for almost every species of wildlife found in East Africa. The Maasai still live within the conservation area, and it's also home to Olduvai where some of man's earliest remains have been found.

10. Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)

Elephants at Hwange, Zimbabwe
Getty Images/Sue Flood
Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe is a personal favorite of mine because of its abundance of giraffes, elephants, and lions as well as 105 other mammal species. Hwange also has one of the largest populations of wild dogs left in Africa. There are several comfortable lodges to stay at for reasonable prices. The park is close to one of the world's greatest natural wonders -- the Victoria Falls.
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