The Best Countries for An Authentic Safari Experience
What better way to appreciate an authentic safari and wildlife experience than Africa? This secluded continent comprises several countries with postcard-like nature experiences. They can guarantee unique and memorable vacation spots all-year long.
A safari tour is one of Africa’s most common tourist attractions. This country features wildlife viewing and authentic safari tours for all the adventurous gals out there. But when choosing one, it’s also important to stay on top of your A game. The following key items are what you must look after when deciding:
- what you want, particularly your wildlife interests
- the landmarks you desire to check out
- other outstanding and exclusive activities you won’t be able to experience elsewhere
Choosing the best safaris in Africa can be overwhelming, especially when there’s a lot of options. That’s why doing your fair share of research can significantly help you arrive at the best decision for the perfect safari experience. Some of the best African countries to visit for a remarkable safari tour include:
- South Africa
This guide talks about unique safari experiences in each African country so you know what to expect. Plus, we’ll also give you tips on how you can get started when booking a safari tour. Let’s also talk about the differences between national parks, reserves, and private concessions.
Northern Botswana is the best overall safari in Africa, as scientists and wildlife enthusiasts claimed. You can witness beautiful wilderness, nationally-protected reserves and parks, and secluded private concessions. Botswana features a low-density tourism model, so you can expect fewer crowds. This makes your safari tours more relaxing and peaceful.
The low-density model paved the way for camps to offer high-end safari destinations like the Okavango Delta Region. It’s also currently the most expensive safari tour from July to October. But you can still enjoy beautiful safari views throughout the year.
Aside from the upscale Okavango Delta Region, tourists also enjoy elephant viewing in Chobe National Park. We recommend visiting this national park from August to October. This period allows larger game viewing.
Moreover, if you want to save more during your vacation, visit Botswana during the Green Season, from November to March. Prices are cheaper by 50%, and the crowds aren’t as much as in the peak season.
We know that Botswana is Africa’s best overall safari country. But did you know that Kenya was the first to open its doors for tourists to experience wildlife viewing? This country ensures guests can enjoy traditional safari tours. We recommend the Masai Mara Game Reserve because it features stunning game viewing. The Great Migration also provides beautiful views of resident wildlife. We recommend visting The Great Migration from June to November.
Kenya boasts diversity because of the variety of outdoor activities you can try. Plus, its vibrant culture will make you want to discover more of the country’s local experience. Experience biking, quality walking, and horseback riding. Next, let’s talk about the Conservancies in Kenya. These areas border the Masai Mara, offering a limited camping experience for tourists. And because it’s limited, you can expect the Conservancy areas to be less crowded. This means you can better enjoy night drives, off-road driving, and walking.
Another outstanding safari experience in Central Kenya is the Laikipia Plateau. It features stunning game viewing spots where you can see unique African species, including the following:
- Grevy’s zebra
- African wild dog
- Reticulated giraffe.
You can also enjoy diverse activities, including sightseeing, horseback riding, and hiking. If you want to spot elephants, the Amboseli National Park should definitely be a part of your bucket list.
Mozambique is more than a safari experience. It’s a famous tourist destination to appreciate the island paradise. People are free to try out scuba diving and view beautiful sunsets by the beaches. Mozambique is known for delivering stunning views of deserted and pristine islands with fewer people. This gives you the peace and comfort you desire on vacation.
Mozambique also takes you on impressive snorkeling and diving activities. These water sports activities allow you to catch diverse coral reef ecosystems underwater. With its coastline of over 1500 miles, it’s common for tourists to book beachfront hotels and admire sunrise and sunset views.
Northern Mozambique features the Quirimbas Archipelago. While Southern Mozambique is home to the Bazaruto Archipelago. But for a unique safari experience, mainland Mozambique is the way to go. It boasts low-density tourism. This makes it an off-beaten path to an African safari destination.
For the best safari tours, we recommend The Niassa Reserve. Located in the far northern part of the country, the reserve features a large protected area packed with large wildlife species. Mozambique also features Gorongosa National Park. This park is famous for its fascinating recovery after suffering from the war.
Namibia is a more secluded African country with dramatic sceneries. You can pretty much find The Namib Desert, the world’s oldest and historical desert. It comprises The Skeleton Coast, which is the world’s more remote and desolate place. You can find scenic areas at Sossusvlei, where you’ll find beautiful red sand dunes. But if you wish to see the traditional safari wildlife, we recommend visiting Etosha National Park.
The most famous wildlife species in Namibia are desert-adapted elephants and black rhino. This country also gives you an authentic experience in getting to know the diverse African culture as it. You can freely interact with with the locals. You can also take a side trip to Namibia after visiting South Africa and Botsawana. This unique adventure gives you complete game viewing.
If Kenya is famous for giraffes, Rwanda is famous for mountain gorilla trekking. Tourists love visiting this country and staying for a few nights for a gorilla adventure. Being one of Africa’s most progressive countries, visitors are fond of the locals’ friendliness and diversity. Everyone is welcoming and approachable, making this country suitable even for solo backpackers.
What sets Rwanda unique is its national pride in recovering from a genocide history. The locals decided not to shrink this part of their culture. Instead, they decided to use it to educate the tourists and even the African kids. This also paved the way for an established genocide museum, recounting the genocidal events around the world.
Kigali, Rwanda’s capital city, is a must-visit destination. It’s where you’ll see the Genocide Museum while exploring a city tour around the area. After knowing about the city’s culture, you can travel to the mountains and experience gorilla trekking. This can roughly take around 2 to 3 hours of driving. You’ll be mesmerized with the stunning and scenic mountain areas while driving. You can also visit small villages to learn more about the locals’ cultural experiences.
Aside from gorilla trekking, tourists can also visit Nyungwe National Park. It’s an ecologically important forest filled with primates and other African wildlife. The national park also features Central Africa’s preserved montane rainforest. Additionally, you can also visit Akagera National Park, Rwanda’s exclusive general safari experience. After several renovations and extensive investments, it features at least five viewing opportunities.
Dubbed “A World within a Nation, ” you can see anything in South Africa. These include cities, beaches, Winelands, mountains, safari areas, and the country’s unique culture. South Africa resembles any European or USA country, giving you a different experience.
Timbavati and Sabi Sand Reserves feature different safari tours in South Africa. These are found next to the Kruger National Park. We don’t recommend visiting the park it gets pretty crowded.
On the contrary, visiting the private reserves grants you access to less congested and more peaceful guided tours.
It’s also easier to locate the Big Five species in South Africa. These species include the lion, elephant, rhino, leopard, and buffalo. If you’re lucky, you’ll be able to see all of them in just a day! Tourists don’t have to fear leopards and lions. South Africa ensures they are peacefully managed to feel tamer and less wild.
South Africa features upscale lodges with permanent chalets and accommodations. You’ll rarely find tented camps. But each safari lodge has unique amenities, including spas, internet, and fitness centers. There are also remote resorts and hotels with beautiful wildlife viewing. You can experience a relaxing vacation in this country without sacrificing your work.
South Africa is also famous for families because kids can join wildlife activities. There are also shorter safaris you can try with your kids, so viewing the beautiful scenery is easier.
After witnessing unique safari tours, you can also check out Cape Town. This region features scenic Table Mountain, an attractive cosmopolitan flair, and stunning Winelands. If you want authentic and world-class fine dining, visit the Winelands. Cape Town also features the Garden Route, coastal drives, and charming hamlets. It’s why it’s known to be one of the best cities worldwide, next to Sydney and San Francisco.
The perfect honeymoon destination means combining a safari tour and a visit in Cape Town. Beyond this beautiful region are other places in South Africa to witness the following:
- historic battlefields
- luxurious trains
- warm water beaches, and more.
Another African country with the classic safari experience is Tanzania, in East Africa. The experience is pretty straightforward. You stay under tented canvas as you traverse wide deserts to capture wildlife sceneries. Some of Tanzania’s most worth-visiting safari destinations include:
- Mount Kilimanjaro
- Ngorongoro Crater.
Tanzania also boasts three national parks: Ruaha, Mahale, and Katabi. These tourist destinations feature wildlife diversity. The parks pay homage to Tanzania’s largest safari species populations. You’ll find several lions, gazelle, wildebeest, and zebra living in Tanzania’s Serengeti ecosystem.
Tanzania’s Northern Circuit is where you’ll appreciate most of the country’s tourism. Don’t forget to visit Tarangire and Lake Manyara. Something is fascinating about Tanzania all year round, especially with seasonal tented camps. Travelers can also enjoy private vehicles and guided tours in the Northern circuit safari.
The Wild Source Tanzania is one of the country’s government-licensed safari operations. Deo Magoye, the managing director, created customized safari vehicles for tourists. They can enjoy full-ground operations using these personalized vehicles.
Additionally, unique safari experiences are offered both in Southern and Western Tanzania. Visit Mahale National Park at Lake Tanganyika. You’llwitness pristine white sand beaches, chimpanzee-viewing while hiking, and thick jungles. Ruaha and Katabi are also worth visiting, the best-kept secrets in this African country.
Uganda is another African country with gorilla trekking as its main tourist attraction. The Kibale Forest allow tourists to join mountain gorilla and chimpanzee trekking tours. And while you’re at it, take a side trip to Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Queen Elizabeth National Park.
Upgrade your safari tour by visiting Murchison Falls and Kidepo Valley National Park. These are Africa’s best-kept secrets. You can find the park hidden behind Kenya and Sudan within Uganda’s remote corner. If you want to avoid long drives, book flights in-between destinations in Uganda.
Tourists also love this country are the cheap accommodations and activitiy cost. Getting a gorilla trekking permit in Tanzania is more affordable than getting one in Rwanda.
Zambia, “The Real Africa,” gives you an authentic safari experience with its exceptional guides and off-the-path adventures. Tourists can enjoy bush camps. These are small and intimate areas where they can enjoy peacefulness and relaxation. The camps are usually half the size of typical luxury camps in Botswana. They also exude charm and rusticity. This allows tourists to establish deeper connections with the wilderness.
The safari experiences in Zambia have always been compared with the ones in Zimbabwe. And today, more guides have transferred from Zimbabwe to Zambia. The locals have always been proud of the guiding standards in Zambia, the country’s essential strength.
Zambia features a diverse array of activities, including canoeing, hiking, and walking.
First, tourists can try walking safari tours in South Luangwa National Park. While traveling by foot, you can check out habituated animals and provide them with food. On the other hand, the Lower Zambezi National Park is famous for canoeing and power boating.
Game drives are also common, including Liuwa Plains and Kafue National Parks. Beside Victoria Falls is the Livingstone, an excellent addition to anyone’s adventure.
Zimbabwe’s fame has always been because of Victoria Falls. Several tourists love taking a side trip to this country to visit the majestic falls. But what tourists don’t know is that they are missing out on legendary guided safari tours.
What’s interesting about this country is that it suffered during the Robert Mugabe Regime. Thankfully, the country’s safari tourism began to rise over the years. Tours are focused on appreciating wildlife by foot through trekking or hiking. Plus, visiting the Mana Pools National Park should be part of any tourist’s bucket list. They will feel the adrenaline rush as they take on a thrilling canoeing experience on the Zambezi River.
The famous Hwange Park should also not be missed. You can find buffalos and elephants attracted to water holes pumped in a dry environment. Zimbabwe is also famous for its affordable safari tours. You can book one that’s way cheaper than the same tour in Zambia or Botswana.
The Diversity in Safari Area
It’s no surprise that Africa exudes amazing safari experiences in its countries. While each location is worth checking out, there are other relvant factors. These considerations include the following:
- the kind of available wildlife viewing area
- whether the land is publicly or privately owned
- whether it’s a reserve or a famous national park
These factors can help you decide which country to visit for the complete safari tour.
Private concessions or conservancies are exclusive camps that have protective borders. The main advantage of these areas is low tourism density. But tourists can still experience a wide variety of activities. There are boating activities, night drives, off-road game drives, and guided walking tours. Private conservancies also don’t have curfews. There’s no need to rush when appreciating the safari experience. Moreover, having no curfew means tourists can enjoy nocturnal species and predators.
Local communities typically own private concession areas. This means lease fees are derived from lodge or camp operators. Because of these extra fees, tours in private conservancies are more expensive. The most common private concessions include:
- Kwara Private Concession
- Kenya’s Masai Mara
- Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve in South Africa
- Londolozi Private Game Reserve
Reserves and National Parks
National parks feature key wildlife concentrations for the best viewing experiences for tourists. They focus on mass tourism, allowing more infrastructure for increased lodging options. These reserves normally answer the growing demand for tourism in Africa. Plus, they offer more affordable rates, so more tourists prefer visiting these places.
The higher tourism density also enabled national parks to establish rules on road areas for game drives and curfews. But these rules helped safari experiences in national parks have better value. The most common national parks and reserves in Africa include the following:
- Liuwa Plains National Park
- Chobe National Park, particularly in Kasane Town
- Serengeti National Park
- Masai Mara National Reserve
- Kruger National Park
- Moremi Game Reserve