Going on a safari is an experience that everyone has to have at least once in their lives. The continent of Africa is a majestic place on earth and it’s the only place to go if you want to see the big five in one place: elephants, buffaloes, lions, leopards and rhinos. However, you might be wondering where the best places to visit are. Africa is, after all, an enormous continent with plenty of places to visit and tourist traps to avoid. Fortunately, even most of the tourist traps are worth your time because they’ll give you plenty of luxury and amenities that you won’t get anywhere else.
If you’re raring to go on a trip to Africa, then here are 10 of the top African safari destinations that you simply cannot miss.
1. Chobe National Park, Botswana
Located close to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, Chobe National Park has four diverse and distinct eco-systems that give it a wonderful array of beautiful wildlife. It’s one of Africa’s most densely populated National Parks and is perfect for anyone that wants to lay their eyes on majestic African wildlife. It’s perfect for visitors all year-round (although the best time is usually during the dry season between April and October) and it’s particularly famous for its elephants. There are an estimated 120,000 of these behemoth mammals living within Chobe National Park, so you’re sure to see plenty.
2. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Located in eastern Zambia, South Luangwa National Park is known for its walking safaris. This gives you a much more intimate experience as opposed to sitting on a private deck or truck. South Luangwa sets itself apart from other safaris in Africa due to its riverine species. If you want to spot enormous hippos, then this is the place to visit! There are also well over 400 species of bird, so it’s perfect for bird spotting too.
3. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Located in the southwest of Kenya on the border of Tanzania, Maasai Mara National Reserve is perhaps Kenya’s most popular safari location. It’s a fantastic location for anyone who has an interest in wildlife. There are the big five, lots of big cats and also plenty of lions. There are many special experiences to be had here. Such as visiting Maasai villages and the annual migration of over two million wildebeests, zebras and antelopes.
4. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
In northern Tanzania, Serengeti National Park stands adjacent to the Maasai Mara National Reserve (also featured on this list). It’s the classic African landscape of grasslands, acacia trees and hoards of wildlife grazing. Since there’s such a high concentration of herbivores here, it’s common to spot many predators such as lions and cheetahs. In fact, it’s not uncommon to see them hunting while you’re on your safari.
5. Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, South Africa
Tswalu Kalahari is the largest private game reserve in the whole of South Africa. It covers roughly 247,000 acres and was built for the sake of conservation. They focus on protecting the land, which is why there are only 30 guests allowed in the entire reserve at a single time. There are a couple of places to stay here, but it’s an experience that you simply can’t miss if you want the best. It’s also completely free from Malaria, which is a concern that you should keep in your mind when you visit Africa.
6. Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Located in the northwest of South Africa close to Botswana, Madikwe Game Reserve is just a 3.5-hour drive from Johannesburg. It’s a well-known location to spot the big five and there’s a large population of wild dogs to spot here. There are quite a lot of camps and lodges, and it’s one of the many malaria-free zones in South Africa.
7. Kruger National Park, South Africa
In the northeast of South Africa lies Kruger National Park. It’s perhaps one of the most famous game reserves in the whole of South Africa. It is home to the big five as well as several different varieties of cats. This is one of the best locations to visit if you’re new to safaris because there is plenty of accommodation. It’s easy to navigate and it’s great the whole year round.
8. Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango River goes through the middle of Botswana’s Kalahari Desert which gives it a unique inland source of water that allows for more variety in mammals and birds. You can view wildlife here from both land and water. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a tour on one of the traditional canoes as well. If you want to visit this paradise, then you’ll want to come when there’s an annual flood (which actually takes place during the dry season) because the delta’s wildlife will be stranded on islands created by the flood. This makes them easy to spot and you’ll get plenty of picture opportunities.
9. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is located to the southwest of Uganda. It’s a dense rainforest that houses almost half of the world’s population of mountain gorillas. These are considered to be critically endangered, so this is one of the few destinations in the world where you’ll get to spot this rare mammal. You can track the gorillas on foot with the specialized guides, and this will allow you to get up close to them. The forest also has plenty of chimpanzees and baboons, giving it a diverse range of wildlife.
10 .Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, South Africa
In the Eastern Cape Province, you’ll find Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, another malaria-free zone. It’s a small private wilderness area, but it’s one of the more popular big five destinations and also home to many black and white rhinos. There’s also the Great Fish River, a source of water that gives Kwandwe a diverse range of wildlife sightings. There are only a handful of accommodation locations here, so make sure you book early if you want to explore this excellent game reserve.
My name is Justin Mewse and my passion in life is travel which is fueled by being able to work for Africa Sky that allows me to visit and write about African Safari destinations including Kenya, Botswana, South Africa and more eg https://www.africaskysafari.com/south-africa-safaris. In addition, I post extensively on social media covering Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, YouTube, Pinterest and on-site blogs both in personal capacity and for work.