Picture the scene- you are on your first African safari, driving calmly through the Serengeti, the plains are flat and empty as far as the eye can see. Flat, empty and beautiful.
All of a sudden, your driver takes off as fast as the landcruiser and bumpy roads will allow. The adrenaline kicks in. His inside knowledge and experience is your only guarantee that this detour is worth it, but it is. You turn a corner and suddenly there are wildebeest and zebras as far as the eye can see. The Great Migration. One of nature’s greatest wonders, and a reminder of why taking time to wonder at the magic of wildlife in their natural environment is always a worthwhile pursuit.
How to choose your African safari destination:
Choosing where to go on an African safari may seem like an overwhelming task. Thankfully, there are an abundance of National Parks and reserves to choose from, whatever corner of Africa you happen to be in. It’s worth weighing up your priorities. Do you want to see lions hunting? The Great Migration? Or are you after a great landscape with walking safaris? The beauty of Africa is in it’s diversity and African safari destinations are no different. Here are some of the most well known, and with good reason! These destinations were picked by experienced travellers in Africa as unmissable destinations for an African safari.
Where to go:
Kruger National Park, South Africa
via Cali at Cali on the Go
Aside from the sheer population density of the wildlife inside the park, Kruger is one of the few African National Parks that allows for you to explore in your own vehicle. This allows you to save money on expensive game drives and a guide; however, the guides do have an innate ability to spot animals that the average traveler may totally miss. Kruger also provides a great opportunity to spot rhinos which has become increasingly difficult throughout Africa due to poaching. Kruger has put measures into place to protect them.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
via Dawn at 5 Lost Together
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda
via Wiebke at Miss Abroad
The Queen Elizabeth National Park is located in the Western Region of Uganda, about 5-6 hours away from the capital, Kampala. It is the country’s most popular savanna reserve and has the widest variety of wildlife. It’s diverse ecosystem which includes grassland savanna, humid forests, lakes and wetlands, make it the ideal habitat for classic big game (four of the Big five are present and regularly seen), ten primate species including chimpanzees and over 600 species of birds. It also offers great opportunity for boat tours on the Kazinga Channel with its banks lined with hippos, buffalo and elephants.
Masai Mara, Kenya
via Hannah at Getting Stamped.
My first safari was a 42 day overland camping safari from Nairobi, Kenya to Cape Town, South Africa. I loved it so much that I returned a year later for a 68-day overland safari. I have spent 110 nights on safari in Africa and would go back in a heartbeat. My first game drive was in Masai Mara National Park, where we spotted the big 5 in the first 24 hours. This is why the Masai Mara is my favorite place for a safari in Africa. I love laying in my tent at night hearing the lions roaring in the distance. Some may find it frightening, I find it soothing. On my safari packing list I always suggest ear plugs!
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Perhaps not as well known as the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater is my top choice for an African Safari. The landscape alone is worth the drive and entrance fee. Some compare the crater to a zoo, given the high density of animals and, in high season, of tourists. However, this also means that your chances of seeing lions are very high! On my last visit, I watched in awe as a pride of 16 lions used my vehicle for shade while they stalked a herd of zebras. Go at sunrise for the best chance of seeing lions on the hunt. It will also give you relatively solitary viewing, as most tourists begin to arrive around 8am.
Read more: Circle of Life: Ngorongoro Crater