Top 10 African Safari Destinations
1. Maasai Mara National Reserve – Kenya
Kenya is no doubt Africa’s most popular safari destination and Maasai Mara is one of the top reasons why. The Maasai Mara is a natural wildlife park where Africa’s Big Five; Lion, Cheetah, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino can all be spotted. The park is also famous for its annual wildebeest migration in June- July which involves millions of wildebeest and zebra crossing the river between Kenya and Tanzania. Another key attraction of the Mara are the cultural tours offered by the indigenous Maasai people whose traditional way of life is still preserved.
2. Serengeti National Park – Tanzania
The Serengeti is notable for its vast Savannah grassland that provides a feeling of being in nature and is granted less touristy. The great yearly wildebeest migration into the Mara in Kenya starts at the Serengeti National Park. What would make for an exciting safari would be to catch the start of the migration then hop over to Kenya to witness the wildebeests’ entry into the Mara. This park is great especially for safari drives and its bare grassland ensures that you don’t miss any action. Serengeti is popular for spotting lion kills owing to its nature of vegetation.
3. Bwindi Forest – Uganda
A UNESCO World Heritage Centre, the Bwindi Impenetrable Rain Forest hosts almost half of the world’s remaining population of mountain gorillas. It has an exceptional biodiversity with more than 160 species of trees and many types of birds and butterflies. A typical safari at this forest would entail gorilla trekking during which one is accompanied by a tracker. If lucky it will not take more than to hours to spot the gorilla. Other primates can also be spotted at Bwindi such chimpanzees. Uganda’s climate makes Bwindi a travel destination throughout the year.
4. Chobe National Park – Bostwana
This park lies in Bostwana’s Okavango Delta and is fantastic for its high concentration of elephants. The Okavango Delta makes it possible to view wildlife either on land or on water. The traditional canoes, mokoro, are a must-try when on safari here. There are about 120,000 elephants at the park. Bostwana experiences four distinct seasons and the best time to visit Chobe would be between April and October, the dry and cool winter season. The animals to be spotted during these months are mostly zebra, eland, giraffe, buffalo and wildebeest.
5. Etosha National Park – Namibia
Etosha is notable for its unique animals. It is home to Africa’s tallest elephants and the endangered black rhino. The park offers a self-drive safari experience and is therefore accessible and cheaper than other safari destinations. The best time to visit this park is during the dry months when the animals gather at the waterholes. The most prominent wildlife at Etosha include giraffes, elephants, rhinos and several bird species. Chances of spotting cheetahs and leopards are also really high.
6. Mundulea Nature Reserve – Namibia
This private reserve was once four cattle farms with extensive internal fencing. Now it stands as rugged hills and sparse plains covered in bush. It was converted to a reserve to conserve its wildlife and botany and at present that goal is achieved. Herds of zebra and eland in the reserve roam free and the place is also home to over a hundred black faced impala. This animal is endangered with only about a thousand of the indigenous species left. Other wildlife such as leopards and rhino also have a home in Mundelea Reserve.
7. The Zambezi Valley – Zambia
The Zambezi valley is a wilderness through which the Zambezi river flows. The valley is made up of grassy floodplains and lush riverine forests on its escarpments. The wildlife to be spotted in the valley comprises mammals such as elephants and lions to reptiles such as crocodiles. There is a great migration of butterflies from Zambezi Valley to East Africa that is usually picturesque, an attraction for photographers. A safari here offers amazing activities such as walking in the morning (with armed guards), angling for tigerfish, canoeing, boating and spotting nocturnal creatures.
8. Kruger National Park – South Africa
Just as in the East African Mara and Serengeti parks, Kruger is home to Africa’s Big Five. The park is acclaimed to be home to the largest variety of wildlife and other animals in Kruger include hippos and crocodiles. The park is ideal for self-drive with minimum chances of danger as it is especially maintained. The park offers accommodation by way of a camp area in the park that has thatch-covered tented rooms, all of which look onto the Luvuvhu river, and are joined to the dining area and other communal facilities by raised walkways.
9. Hwange National Park – Zimbabwe
This park has over a hundred mammal species including giraffes, elephants and lions. An interesting and unique feature of this park is that it is home to wild dogs and in fact it has the largest population of wild dogs in Africa. Hwange is also close to one of the world’s greatest natural wonders, the Victoria Falls. Victoria Falls offers a spectacular inspiring sight and activities such bungee jumping as are available at the glorious waterfall.
10. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve
Although not popular, the aesthetics of a desert safari lie in the vast blue skies, gold grass, bold acacia trees spotting the terrain and for wildlife, birds such as the goshawk prominent on the acacia. Other creatures such as the desert beetle, snakes, the springbok hare, the jackal, the brown hyena and ostriches are present in the Kalahari. At night the black mane Kalahari lion roams and if fortunate one may spot it while on safari. Although different from most savannah safaris, safari in the Kalahari Desert is worth a try.