If an African safari is not on your top list of things to do in life, add it now. Absolutely nothing beats waking up in the early morning hours, watching the sunrise over a vast savannah, waiting for massive, tranquil animals to make their way to a waterhole or start out on their day’s quest for food. Search for the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino) or gaze in awe at the sheer number of zebra, giraffe, and wildebeest, it doesn’t matter, animals are only the tip of what makes safari so incredible.
Yoga and meditation have nothing on the overwhelming sense of peace you will feel on safari. Being amongst some of the most beautiful creatures of the world, while staring out onto miles and miles of open landscape is one of the most relaxing things you will ever do in your life.
We have put together this list of our top 20 places for African safari to inspire and convince you to book that ticket, plan that trip, and get yourself to Africa, as soon as possible. Happy travels!
Perhaps the most famous destination on our list, the Serengeti definitely lives up to its name. This vast park, full of Africa’s finest animals, will make you feel like just a small part of a much bigger world.
Just downriver from Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park is best known for its majestic elephants. Elephants aren’t the only animals you will find in this park, however. Some of Africa’s best watering holes attract tons of species, including beautiful lions.
Maasai Mara is the most visited reserve in Africa. The great migration between July and October brings millions of wildebeest through the reserve’s grasslands and is a can’t-miss event. The park is also home to the Big Five, including rhinos.
Chobe National Park is situated on the peacock blue river, which is in and of itself worth a visit to this area. Add to this one of the densest populations of animals anywhere in Africa and you have one spectacular safari spot!
Gorillas! Bwindi Forest is THE place to see gorillas! Almost half of all mountain gorillas live in this lush Ugandan forest. Almost anyone who has been to Bwindi Forest will tell you it was one of the top experiences of their life. Seeing gorillas in their natural habitat is truly breathtaking.
Ngorongoro Crater is the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world and another favorite of the region’s animals. A safari here will drive you to the bottom of this volcanic crater, where you are certain to easily spot a boatload of animals, including all of the Big Five.
Kruger National Park is the largest game reserve in South Africa and one of the oldest spots for a terrific safari. Not only is this home to hundreds of species of animals, but tour guides in this park are also well experienced and highly knowledgeable, making for an unforgettable experience.
While the gorillas of Uganda are perhaps the best known in the world, Rwanda also has a large number living in its Volcanoes National Park. Rwanda itself is also definitely worth a trip. This tiny country is incredibly beautiful; the gorillas just make it all the more worthwhile.
Situated on the Luangwa River, South Luangwa National Park is home to nearly 60 different mammal species. However, birdwatchers particularly enjoy this national park, with its tranquil, serene landscapes packed full of almost 400 different types of birds.
The Sabi Sabi Game Reserve is actually part of the greater Kruger National Park, also on our list. This game reserve is a privately owned reserve. The reserve has all of the Big Five. Many come here for a more luxurious experience than what may be offered at some other options on the list.
The Serengeti may be Tanzania’s most famous park, but Ruaha National Park is actually the country’s largest. Ruaha is all about the elephants and birds! The park is believed to have one of the highest populations of elephants in East Africa and has over 500 species of birds.
The story behind Gorongosa National Park is almost as beautiful as the park itself. This national park has been restored from being almost completely depleted of all wildlife and is now home to hippos, elephants, and lions, as well as some stunningly beautiful scenery.
Etosha National Park is situated on a massive salt pan, yet attracts hundreds of animals to its watering holes. Namibia has many diverse habitats and its animals roam free, almost completely unbothered by humans, as the country is one of the least densely populated in the world.
Linyanti’s woodlands and floodplains make for a unique safari experience, different from that found in most other parts of the continent. This is also one of the most remote experiences that you can have and is a bit more off the beaten path than some of the other choices.
By land, air, and sea, animals flock to Mana Pools. Located on the lower Zambezi River, this area floods every rainy season, creating several lakes and swamps (hence the name). The best time to visit is during the dry season when the water starts to recede a bit, giving way to land, and the animals come thirsty from other parts of the region.
The Okavango Delta is one of the most breathtaking places on earth. Here, the Okavango River flows into the Kalahari Desert, creating an incredible wetland ecosystem that is superb for wildlife viewing. That said, a visit to the Okavango Delta is as much for the views as it is for the wildlife.
Moremi Game Reserve, on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta, is a favorite of leopards and African wild dog! Cat lovers may also be able to spot cheetahs rehydrating after a long run at one of the reserve’s permanent bodies of water.
Ol Pejeta is the largest sanctuary for black rhinos in East Africa and is the only place in Kenya to see chimpanzees. Not nearly as popular as the Masai Mara, this conservancy made the list for its outstanding work in protecting some of Africa’s most vulnerable species.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is actually composed of seven distinct ecosystems, meaning it attracts a wide range of different animals. You can find all of the Big Five here, plus cheetahs. With the Indian Ocean only a short distance away, you can easily combine a beach holiday with your safari experience.
The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest wildlife reserve in the world! This massive reserve is also one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. Remotely situated, you will feel as though you have the whole place to yourself. The grasslands of this reserve are a favorite of animals, who come here to graze.
So grab your tickets, organize that time off work and book your trip to one of these incredible African Safari experiences. As always, if you have any suggestions that you’d like us to add to this list, don’t hesitate to send us a message.