“Closer to the Wilderness: The 7 Best Places to Safari in Africa
Can you imagine: seeing elephants for the first time and sleeping while listening to hyenas at close range?
If you want to experience any of these first-person experiences, in this post I’ll tell you about the best national parks in Africa to go in search of the big five: lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhino and enjoy an unforgettable adventure.
The best safaris in Africa
Here’s my list with the 7 best safaris in Africa so you can choose the one that best suits your tastes as a traveler.
If you ask me what is the best country in Africa to go on safari for the first time, my answer is Kenya or Tanzania, without hesitation. These are destinations that have been welcoming travelers for years and specialize in organized safaris; therefore, they are ideal for starting your first such trip.
1. Safari in the Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kenya
Kenya was the place I chose for my first safari in Africa, and the Masai Mara is one of Kenya’s best national parks for safaris.
If you’re going on a safari to Kenya, there are some masthead things you can’t miss.
Take a sunrise hot air balloon ride in the Masai Mara, watching giraffes, elephants and zebras from the air. Visit a Maasai village and learn firsthand about its customs and traditions.
Take photos of rhinos and flamingos at Lake Nakuru (and if you’re lucky, see endangered white rhinos).
Enjoy the best views of Kilimanjaro from Amboseli National Park, which is also home to the largest number of Kenyan elephants.
The best time to go on safari in Kenya is from May to October, during the dry season.
2. Safari in Kruger National Park, South Africa
There are many places to go on safari in South Africa, but undoubtedly Kruger is the best. Kruger National Park is one of the largest in the country by area and is perfect for a free safari. This park allows you to enter in your own vehicle and travel around on your own without a guide, giving you a lot of freedom in organizing your itinerary and choosing your lodging. Keep in mind, if you drive your own car, you can’t get off the marked roads.
The scenery is very different from the Masai Mara in Kenya, but you can see the big five. This is one of the best parks in Africa to see a leopard.
The Kruger has many rooms for all kinds of travelers. You can book rooms in a typical safari lodge or stay in traditional lodges. Kruger also has really unique and chic accommodations like Lion Sands Narina Lodge and Lion Sands River Lodge with all the amenities you can imagine.
The best time to go on safari in South Africa is from May to August.
3. Safari in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
If you are looking for a less typical and less crowded safari destination in Africa or already know countries like Kenya or Tanzanib, I recommend you choose Zambia.
One of the best places to go on safari in Zambia is South Luangwa National Park in the southeast of the country:
– You can swim among the hippos on the Luangwa River and watch hundreds of animals approach the watering hole.
– Can you imagine getting out of your car and taking a safari on foot? Follow in the footsteps of the Lions and head into the park in search of zebras or impalas, accompanied by an experienced guide.
– This is one of the best places to see wild dogs (lycaons) and the highest concentration of leopards in Africa. You will also be able to see the giraffe Thornycroft, which is only found in the Luangwa Valley.
– You will enjoy one of the best sunsets in Zambia, on the banks of the Luangwa River.
The best time to go on safari in Zambia is from June to November, and it’s one of the best places to travel in September.
4. Safari in the Serengeti, Tanzania
Tanzania is another one of the ideal places to enjoy a safari in Africa. The country is also very well organized for this leisure activity, and it is a good place to go on safari with children. The littlest ones will fully enjoy one of their biggest adventures.
Before you go on a safari with children, check with your travel agent or the lodging you choose during your trip for the minimum age limit. As a general rule, the minimum age allowed is usually between 4 and 6 years old.
Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Manyara or Arusha are some of the best places in Tanzania to enjoy animals in the wild. But one of the Great African and Tanzanian National Parks is the Serengeti National Park.
The Serengeti has a great migration, and the gnu and zebras cross the Mara River until they reach the Masai Mara (Kenya); so if you are thinking about a safari in Tanzania, this could be a great opportunity to see one of nature’s greatest spectacles.
The best time to go on safari in Tanzania is from April to June, when the gnu and zebras are still in the park, before the great migration.
5. Safari in Bwindi Forest, Uganda to see gorillas
Seeing mountain gorillas in Uganda is the dream of many. This is one of those once-in-a-lifetime dream trips. It must be so exciting to go deep into the jungle and be so close to gorillas that just thinking about it makes my hair stand on end. Does something like that happen to you?
In Uganda, several gorilla families live in the impenetrable Bwindi Forest in the southwest of the country. Unfortunately, the gorillas are in danger of extinction.
Without a doubt, this safari is one of the most expensive, but it’s worth it because not only will you experience some unforgettable hours, but you will also protect the mountain gorillas as the money is reinvested in the local population.
The best times to go on safari in Uganda are from June to September, January and February.
6. Safari in Etosha, Namibia
Namibia is another one of the best countries for safari in Africa. Yes, it is a country dominated by desert landscapes, but in Etosha National Park you can enjoy the spectacle of nature.
You will be surprised because there is almost no vegetation here and the park is covered with a huge white mantle of salt. It is home to the largest population of black rhinos in all of Africa.
The best time to go on safari in Namibia is from June to September.
7. Safari in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta, just north of Botswana, flows inland into the Kalahari Desert and is a haven for wildlife such as crocodiles, hippos, elephants, lions and hundreds of birds.
Can you imagine sailing a Mokoro (a typical canoe) or flying a plane? And that’s what a safari in Botswana’s Okavango Delta is very different from other African safaris. The water makes it special, and its sunsets will not leave you indifferent.