The Ultimate Guide to African Safaris

The Ultimate Guide to African Safaris

Written by Deepak Bhagat, In Travel, Published On
January 14, 2021
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In the Swahili language, Safari means “long journey”. Now, safari-goers can bypass the arduous journey through the interior of the country and be in the depths of the African jungle 24 hours from Heathrow. However, that earlier romanticized era of Blixen and Hemingway maintains its fascination. And today, driven by names like Big Cat Diary, we have higher expectations than ever.

So where to start? Should it be the endless plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti or the hidden channels of Botswana’s Okavango? Do you prefer to sit and enjoy the spectacle of wildebeest herds sweeping the open savanna? Or are you, perhaps, the most active type, who dreams of paddling past lazy crocodiles or chasing a herd of lions on foot?

To help you make this difficult decision, we have created a complete guide for an African safari so that we can make your safari so amazing that you have dreamed of.

The Ultimate Guide to African Safaris – The Top 6 Places Of African Wildlife

Kruger National Park, South Africa

When to go?

You can visit Kruger all year round, but be warned that the summer months (December to March) can be intense. This means that many safari-goers opt for winter (June to October) and, due to the popularity of that period, expect prices to be higher.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

If you are after the Big Five, look no further, as you will have the chance to spot elephants, leopards, rhinos, lions, and buffaloes here. Including the endangered African wild dog, Kruger is also home to more than 150 different mammals, 100 breeds of reptiles, and 500 species of birds.

Things to do

There is nothing like camping in the wilderness of an African safari park and this is something you will have the option to do in Kruger. In addition to mind-blowing hunting trips in daylight, you may also want to go out after dark to spot nocturnal animals and perhaps even one or two nocturnal predators.

The Okavango Delta, Botswana

When to go?

The high season here runs from June to October when floodwaters trickle down from the north to create a suitable delta experience. But, that doesn’t mean that you wouldn’t have an incredible time visiting during the dry season too when trips by mokoro (traditional canoe) are exchanged for 4 × 4 tours in search of these elusive felines.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

Any wild animal that is attracted to water, such as hippos, crocodiles, elephants, and buffalo. Not to mention the large number of birds that live in the delta, including eagles and storks. In addition, if you are lucky, you may see a wild dog (only in the dry season).

Things to do

Like Kruger, you can also camp in the Okavango Delta. When traveling by land, you will leave your truck behind, pack your equipment in a mokoro, and spend a night in the jungle. Or if camping is not your thing, why not stay in a houseboat to see the delta from a totally different perspective? You will also have the chance to explore the delta on foot during a safari on foot if you are feeling especially adventurous.

Chobe National Park, Botswana

When to go?

If you are eager to discover Chobe, it doesn’t matter when you are thinking of traveling, because it is a real destination all year round. With that said, wildlife viewing is absolutely best in the dry season (May to October), when animals gather close to the water making them easier to find.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

Known for its impressive herds of elephants and buffalo, Chobe congregates on the banks of the river. Hippos and crocodiles are also a common sight. Due to the popularity of the water, the predators that attack the animals that cool themselves here are also never far away. And like the Okavango Delta, there are plenty of different birds to be seen.

Things to do

In addition to the morning, safaris you can also choose to take a river cruise. This offers an incredible opportunity to see animals resting close to the water up close, and it is not uncommon to see elephants crossing the river here too!

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

When to go?

As with Chobe, you can visit Serengeti at any time. However, some travelers choose to try to avoid heavy rains from March to May, and light rains from November to December.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

Incredibly, it is not unheard of to see the entire Big Five in one day across the Serengeti. But you can also be lucky enough to see giraffes, impalas, hippos, hyenas, wild dogs and more. Cheetah and leopard sightings may also be in the plans, but keep in mind that they are very elusive.

Things to do

In addition to 4 × 4 safaris and land vehicles, you can also choose to embark on a balloon safari. There is something very special about flying high over the savanna and enjoying the views of the park. Camping in non-fenced areas is also a possibility and you can even opt for an upgrade to permanent tent accommodation with private bathrooms.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

When to go?

The high season here covers most of the year (July to March), but when traveling this season, be prepared to share your experience with many other safari travelers. April and May have a much smaller number of visitors due to the rains, but this makes the trip much more pleasant.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

Black rhinos, cheetahs, and lions often use safari vehicles to protect themselves from the scorching sun. For the animals that live here, the crater is a utopia and you will be able to see many of the same species that you would see in Serengeti. It is also not uncommon for cheetahs to jump on the hood of the 4×4!

Things to do

Only 4 × 4 vehicles can enter the crater because of its steep sides, which create problems for larger land vehicles, already contributing to a more intimate safari experience. It is also possible to camp at the top of the crater.

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

When to go?

Many people are interested in visiting the Maasai Mara during the dry season, just when migration (July to October) arrives. The rainy season (April to May) is not so popular because the tall grass and muddy trails make locating animals a little more complicated. However, it is a massive wildlife park with a lot to see, so it is possible to visit it all year round if you cannot go in the high season.

Wildlife

Ultimate African Safari

As in the Kruger National Park, you can find the entire Big Five here, as well as the cheetahs. You can also witness zebras, Thomson’s gazelles, and wildebeests participating in the Great Migration to Tanzania.

Things to do

In addition to daily safaris by reservation, you can also choose to try a balloon safari similar to those offered in Serengeti. Observe ostriches, zebras, wildebeests, giraffes, lions, and more as they roam the pastures. You will also have the option to get to know the tribes that gave the name to this fantastic reserve and learn all about its history and customs. Camping is also offered here.

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