The sound of wild animals creaking in the background, the peaceful misty mornings you’ll spend admiring the way the savanna comes to life as the sun rises, and the bewitching mystery of the untamed wild spread across epic landscapes. There really isn’t anything that can quite match up to the allure of going on a safari in Africa.
The word “safari” translates into “long journey” in Swahili. Long gone are the days of seemingly never-ending treks through the African bush as related in Karen Blixen’s Out of Africa. Today, indulging in the wayfaring thrill of an African safari is easier than it ever was.
Be it exploring the endless plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania, tailing wild mountain gorillas on foot inside the misty jungles of Uganda, or paddling your way to spot crocs in Botswana, we’ve put together a list of the best places for an African safari, all of which evoke the feeling of the romantic Hemingway-era of the 1930’s.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Blending beaming landscapes, rugged coastlines, and unparalleled game-viewing opportunities, Namibia’s sweeping scenery make it a dream destination for safari-goers.
Wielding the spotlight is Etosha National Park, where game-viewing is out of this world thanks to the many water holes where wildlife congregates to give Etosha’s visitors a glimpse of everyday life in the park.
Etosha biggest charm lies in the Etosha Pan, a saline desert so vast that it can be seen from space. During the dry season, elephants, the endangered black rhinos, and even leopards gather amid the soothing white tones of the Pan created by dry clay.
During the rainy season, you’re in for a treat. Rain fills up the desert, converting it into a mirage lagoon where migrating birds like pink flamingos and pelicans come to hang out in amid lush green vegetation.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Situated within the Okavango Delta, Chobe National Park has become a mecca for safari-goers who want to add unequaled luxury into the mix. Chobe is renowned for being the haunt to some of the densest herds of African elephants, who are never shy enough to avoid getting up-close to peek into the safari lodges that fringe the delta. Chobe is an interesting place to camp inside the park or, sleep on a houseboat that provides 4 star accommodation!
Amboseli National Park, Kenya
It’s no secret that the African continent is the home of some of the world’s most iconic landscapes, and Amboseli just happens to house the most dramatic of them all.
Set on the border with Tanzania, Amboseli boasts the best views of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro. Hundreds of big-tusked African elephants congregate at Amboseli, which makes elephant-sighting a guaranteed treat that visitors will get to wallow in with stunning vistas of África’s highest peak musing over the landscape.
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Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve, Uganda
If unyielding nature is what you’re after, you’ll find the wildest of off-grid places at Bwindi.
The scenery makes for a safari in Africa unlike you’d normally imagine. Set on the foothills of volcanoes, the impenetrable forest of Bwindi encompasses an almost absurd diversity of flora and fauna. The stars here, however, are wild mountain gorillas. With less than 900 mountain gorillas left in the world, there is hardly any activity that can match the allure of trekking amid the misty forests of Uganda to see these gentle giants up-close in their natural habitat.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Along with Kenya’s Maasai Mara, the Serengeti is undoubtedly the king of African safari destinations. Basking the ever-sought-after Big Five and endless plains of untouched savanna, the Serengeti is one of the most bewitching wildlife-viewing destinations in África.
Home to the world-renowned Wildebeest migration and the dwelling of thousands of stalking prides of lions that mesmerize visitors, the Serengeti boasts incredibly melodramatic vistas that have captivated adventure-seekers for centuries. While at it, you can enjoy the scenery from every angle with a hot air balloon ride or when trekking up to Tanzania’s five best mountains.
Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe
Perched on the shore of Lake Kariba, Matusadona National Park is for those who’d like to head a bit further down the offbeat path.
This Zimbabwean gem is the dwelling of endangered black rhinos, enormous Nile crocodiles, and the ever-classic Big Five. Matusadona possesses a unique twist that makes it one of a kind: Lined by eerie trees that look almost skeleton-like and cast an uncanny ambiance to the enigmatic scene, Zimbabwe’s less-visited park is a favorite for thrill-seekers that don’t mind getting off-the-beaten-path.
Note: Regardless of which top safari destination in Africa you pick, flights to this continent are one of the most expensive around. Africa is worth opening up your wallet for, but there are a few tricks on how to find insanely cheap flights if needed.