Best safari experiences in Africa
If a safari in Africa is in you travel plans, then you’re setting yourself up for a trip of a lifetime. We’ve made a careful selection of our best safari experiences in Africa to give you a superb range of game viewing in some of the most breathtaking locations in Africa, ensuring the memories will last forever.
Game drives are one of the best ways to get close to big game and enjoy spectacular landscapes. Game drive vehicles can cater for between 4 and 10 guests, some reserves keep it to a maximum of 6 guests per vehicle. To avoid the heat, game drives take place in the early mornings and late afternoons. Guides are experienced and usually take you to the best spots, but for the more adventurous, night drives are often possible and provide a great opportunity to see nocturnal species which you are unlikely to see during the day.
Hot-air balloon safari
Safari by hot air balloon provides a truly unique experience in Africa; the open air flight allows passengers to view the landscape and game animals from a safe distance. This safari experience is a favourite for many; it can provide the feeling of security by being above the wildlife, whilst disturbing it less than the usual safari.
Areas such as the Serengeti National Park and the Masai Mara can be best observed by hot air balloon and it’s the perfect option to view the great migration.
The endangered mountain and lowland Gorillas in Africa are now numbering fewer than 700 and are a must-see in game viewing. Only found in a handful of locations such as Rwanda and Uganda, these magnificent creatures are not to be missed. The treks are led by knowledgeable Rangers who are very experienced in tracking gorillas. They will first locate a gorilla family and this then gives those trekking a significant amount of time to interact with them, as well as watching them in their natural environment. The trek can provide rewarding and unforgettable views of parents playing with their young, and of course the honour of being one of the few in the world to have seen the endangered species.
Explore more: The Quick Start Guide to Gorilla Trekking Holidays,
South Africa offers unrivalled viewing when it comes to watching one of the world’s largest mammals. The southern right, humpback whales and enormous pods of dolphins can be seen year-round. Whilst they can be viewed from the shoreline, the limited boat trips offer a unique and spectacular close up view as the whales breach and frolic in the water.
Where? South Africa
Explore more: Why South Africa is Perfect for Whale Watching
The photographic safari is open to photographers of all backgrounds and experience, whether you’re just beginning or have been doing it for years. The tours are led by an experienced photographer who has set out the tour route themselves to ensure the optimal viewing and photography points are covered throughout the safari. The tour guide will then impart their knowledge for those who wish, on how to take the best photos in this new terrain. Everything from the intensity of the sun, size and shape of the animal and dustiness of the plains can make a difference with photograph on a safari, so the guide will be there to teach the best methods no matter the circumstance.
Where? Kulala Desert Lodge is one of our most popular destinations for photographic safaris; located in Sossusvlei the accommodation offers dune drives, game safaris, hot air balloon rides and a larger variety of animals to be seen.
The Londolozi Piorneer Camp, Sabi Sands in South Africa you'll have computers to edit your images and dedicated staff to offer assistance. At the Mobile Walking Safari, South Luangwa National Park in Zambia offer increadible photographic experiences for those looking to truly immerse themselves in the wilderness without compromising on comfort.
The great migration
Africa is full of amazing wildlife experiences but one of the most spectacular to witness is the great migration. Over a million wildebeests, zebras and antelopes traverse the plains of the Serengeti and the Masai Mara in a continuous search for fresh grass while braving predators and perilous river crossings. To see a plain covered with animals or to witness a river crossing in all its bellowing, thunderous intensity is something that is on many a safari-goers wish list.
Where? The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara in Kenya. Amongst the wilderness of the Serengeti national park the Four Seasons Safari Lodge offers a unique look across the park with extensive game trails and Hot Air Balloon safaris available. For the Masai Mara Sanctuary Olonana provides front row seats to the migration as it happens along with visual access to so many other animal species.
When? The migration is a year round phenomenon. As the movement of the animals is determined by rainfall and grass growth and the herds split up and spread out it is hard to predict exactly where they might be at any one time. Read our guide to how the migration progresses throughout the year.
Guided bush walk safari
If there’s one way to improve upon a safari, it’s being able to do the safari by foot. Guided bush walk safaris add a whole new element to the safari experience. With no vehicle, or hot air balloon to be cooped up in, you’re able to experience the wildlife up close and personal. In a vehicle there’s a high chance of scaring certain animals away with noise, however walking towards them makes far less noise and poses even less of a threat making for a more fruitful safari.
Being on foot also creates a new experience for the senses, whilst in a vehicle you are confined to one area and have to see the sights from a distance, with a guided bush tour you can fully immerse yourself and become one with nature.
Another unique option for safari, and definitely suited to those looking to enjoy the wildlife both on land in in the water. A canoeing safari allows you to see a variety of different animals that couldn’t be seen on a land safari and can also offer closer views of those seen before, as well as it offers a fantastic photography opportunities.
Canoeing peacefully along the Zambezi enjoying the wildlife both on land in in the water, past countless hippos and herd of elephants, spot herons and sparrowhawks and admire the magnificent views.
The classic Botswana safari tour package offers a variety of safari experiences including the canoeing safari, ideal for those wanting to experience the wildlife from all angles.
Okavango Delta is the perfect location for canoeing safari with both wet and dry plains allowing you to get the best of both worlds and experience a safari on the water or back on dry land, all in one camp.
You can also have a trilling experience through the heart of Mana Pools and along the Zambezi's shoreline.
When it comes to bird watching you may be a bit too spoilt for choice when choosing where to go in Africa, the serengetti national park is home to over 500 species of bird alone! Sanctuary Kusini is located in the south of the park, the more secluded area where the wild birds enjoy the peace and quiet making it the perfect spot for twitching. A real variety of birds can be found in the park from Ostritches to vultures.
The &Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge, famous for being the only lodge located within the Lake Manyara National Park, offers it’s own bird safari tour. The park is bursting with exotic and rare birds making it a bird watchers dream.
The North Island resort of Seychelles is a popular resort for honeymoons but also makes a fantastic location for bird watching with over 100 species of bird recorded in previous years, in recent years more and more rare birds have been flocking to the peaceful island to settle.
Safari on Horseback
Safari on horseback is a popular choice amongst animal enthusiasts, with many viewing it as an authentic way to view the wildlife. The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest in land river systems and one of its most incredible wildlife sanctuaries and it has been the main area for horseback safaris in Botswana. The Ants Nest lodge in South Africa specialises in Horseback safaris, with over 90 horses on site there is plenty to choose from no matter your horse riding experience. You can expect great game viewing in a truly remote wilderness setting, a real riding adventure of a lifetime.
Microlighting over Victoria Falls
Take an ultralight flight over the falls, it is an amazing experience and something we would definitely recommend. There are many different ways to visit landmark areas of Africa, but to get a really close look at Victoria Falls your best bet will be microlighting.
The lightweight air travel allows an open air look at the falls at a height, offering a unique view. Destinations such as Toka Leya Camp provide both microlighting and helicopter rides around the falls with tours that offer a view from a variety of different angles and a history of the falls with interesting facts and stories.
Inspired by our suggestions? Call our Africa Travel experts on 020 7843 3500 who will help you to plan your perfect safari in Africa.