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What’s the Best Country to Take an African Safari

Planning an African safari? Most likely you are spoilt for choice with the many safari options, wildlife viewing and diversity of landscapes. Each African destination has its own charm, best time to go and pick of safari adventure. Both Tanzania and Botswana follow the ecologically low-impact, low-density tourism model, with limited but quality upmarket safari adventures. While Kenya is the universal safari destination for every safari enthusiast, Zambia offers a more immersive and rustic experience.

So take a look at our curated list of the best countries to take an African safari, and have an adventure of a lifetime!

Tanzania

African Safari
Dazzle of zebras, Serengeti National Park

Tanzania wins hands down, for its choice of three safari circuits, offering you the best and widest of safari adventure options. Plan your Tanzania trip during the dry season of July to October to make the most of wildlife sightings and open-air adventures, or November to June to witness the Serengeti Migration.

The Northern Circuit is the most popular for the legendary Serengeti experience and the dramatic landscape of the Ngorongoro Crater. Witness the natural event where thousands of herds of wildebeest, zebra and antelope migrate for courting, mating and birthing. The  Ngorongoro hosts countless wildlife species, including the Big Five, tusker elephants, and huge flocks of flamingos.

Safaris in Southern and Western Circuits offer remote wilderness. The Ruaha is known for its beautiful landscapes dotted with baobab trees. It is home to prides of lion, massive elephant and buffalo herds, so perfect for the safari enthusiast.  The Selous Game Reserve offers sunset boat cruises and walking safaris, a great destination for honeymooning and family travellers.

Why Tanzania?

  • Tanzania offers some of the best game viewing in Africa.
  • You can choose the location to suit your safari preference – classic game drives and mobile camp safaris in the Northern Circuit, or walking and boating safari in the Southern and Western Tanzania.
  • Tanzania safari lodges have the widest range – value accommodation, luxury lodges, mobile camps /glamping.
  • Be witness to the legendary Serengeti Migration, for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
  • A variety of safari options – hot air balloon safari, chasing the migration with mobile camps, night camps, boat safaris, traditional vehicle safari, walking safaris, fly camps, night game drives.
  • A range of activities – scuba diving, snorkelling or swimming at the many beaches; trekking the Mahale Mountains, and more.

Botswana

African Safari
Hippos up-close at a mokoro safari, Chobe National Park

Repeat safari enthusiasts favour Botswana for its beauty, abundant wildlife and personalised safari in the most luxurious settings. A Botswana safari is the most expensive safari during April to October months when the delta is flooded and the region lush with flora and fauna. Alternatively, you can plan your safari between November and March, for affordable options.

The Okavango Delta is a unique ecosystem offering safari adventures on mokoro canoes to get up-close with the wildlife. The Chobe National Park offers dense sightings of elephant herds, antelopes, hippos, crocodiles, lions, cheetahs and amazing birding experience. Mashatu Game Reserve is the Land of the Giants to see elephants, giraffes, the Big Five, and ostriches. The Central Kalahari Game Reserve offers great game drives for the more adventurous game enthusiasts.

Why Botswana?

  • Botswana presents an overall top quality safari experience – best game driving in all of Africa, luxury camps, personalised safaris, expert guides for an immersive adventure.
  • The dynamic deltaic ecosystem of the Okavango offers pristine natural beauty with spectacular sunsets, and a rich biodiversity endemic to the region.
  • The private concession system allows exclusive access to thousands of acres for off-the-cuff customised safaris that most national parks do not allow.
  • A wide choice of off-road game drives, night drives, walking safaris, horse safaris, speed boat/mokoro/canoe safaris.
  • Appeal of upscale luxury in the wilderness.

Kenya

African Safari
Wildebeest migration, Mara River

Kenya continues to be a popular wildlife destination, especially for first-time safari goers who want to experience the Big Five. July to October is the best time for a Kenya safari, as you can observe the en masse migration of animals across the Mara River.

The Masai Mara is the ultimate safari destination. It is home to the big cats, elephants, giraffes and rare black rhinos. It is also the setting for the annual wildebeest migration of 1800 miles over to Tanzania. Visit the marshes and dry beds of Amboseli to see abundant wildlife, including large herds of elephants. Encounter some unique species like the reticulated giraffe and Somali ostrich at the Samburu.

Looking for an R&R? Then head out to the coasts. Some of Kenya’s great beaches are the Diani beach for a relaxed stay, the Watamu beach for sea turtles and whale sharks, Malindi for water sports, or the Lamu for the quintessential sunset dhow cruises.

Why Kenya?

  • Classic safari adventure, ideal for the first-timer or regular safari enthusiast, with guaranteed big cat viewing.
  • Witness an unforgettable natural wonder, the annual migration of wildlife, up-close or from the air.
  • A range of activities to choose from – trekking (Mt. Kenya, Rift Valley), horseback riding, biking, swimming, snorkelling, diving, water-sports.
  • Incredible natural beauty and most diverse landscape, from the Mt. Kenya to rolling desert savannas, Rift Valley lakes, forests and palm fringed coasts.

Zambia

African Safari
Lion and lioness at South Luangwa National Park

Zambia is the best safari country for the diehard safari enthusiast looking for a complete raw and action packed safari adventure. Game drives in open 4WD vehicles and walking safaris are the main highlights. The best time to go for a Zambia safari is during the dry season from June to October, when temperatures are pleasant and animals gather around waterholes.

All parks can be accessed by light aircraft, and most camps are small and owner-run. The South Luangwa National Park offers the best of big-game safaris as well as walking safaris. It is a prime wildlife destination with plenty of game in a beautiful habitat. The Lower Zambezi National Park is for the big game enthusiasts. There is plenty of wildlife viewing with both, day and night drives, canoeing, walking safaris, and tiger fishing at the tiny safari camps on the riverbank.

Why Zambia?

  • Zambia initiated the walking safari and still remains the top destination for walking safaris in the world, with highly trained guides and great game.
  • It is far from the crowded destinations like Kenya and Kruger in South Africa.
  • It offers many options, with night drives, walking safaris, boat safaris and elephant back safaris.
  • There are plenty of activities for the adventure traveller; swimming and snorkelling at the spectacular Lake Malawi, and adrenaline thrillers like bungee jumps, gorge swings, lion walks and white water rafting at the Victoria Falls site.
  • Not the least, the opportunity to see up-close the famous Victoria Falls with barely a detour.