• Craig Howes

The Best African Countries for Safari. (Guide)

Updated: Nov 27

Africa is a big place, each country and even the different national parks within the country offer completely different Safari experiences. So the short answer is, it really depends on what Safari experience you are after. Below we summarise the differences in Safari in Africa. For me, if I was pushed for an answer I would combine a trip to Cape Town with either a Safari in Sabi Sands (Kruger National Park) or with a Safari in Botswana.

Man sitting on Safari vehicle watching elephants in Botswana, african bush camps
Watching the herd of Elephants at Sunset in Botswana. Photo Craig Howes

In this article, we will look at some of the key reasons to visit the various Safari Destinations.

The main Safari Destinations are

Southern Africa (Big 5)

  • South Africa

  • Botswana

  • Zimbabwe

  • Zambia

  • Namibia

Black and White Photograph of Female Leopard taken at Mala Mala Sabi Sands
Female Leopard taken at Mala Mala Sabi Sands Photo Craig Howes

East Africa (Big 5)

  • Kenya

  • Tanzania

Central Africa (Gorilla Trekking)

  • Uganda

  • Rwanda

  • Congo



South Africa - Sabi Sands (Kruger National Park)

  • Sabi Sands is the Best place to see the Big 5 in Africa

  • Renowned for incredible leopard sightings

  • Wide range of lodges to stay at a range in prices.

Luxury Safari Tree House under the stars Lion Sands
Lions Sands Tree House, Bed under the stars

  • Sabi Sands has private concessions, which means no crowding of vehicles at sightings.

  • Sabi Sands allows for night drives

  • You can do limited off-road driving (this results in much better sightings)

  • Unfenced borders with Kruger – so animals can move freely between the areas, but only guests staying at the lodges in the Sabi Sands can do their drives in the Sabi Sands (no self-drive options – only guided in vehicles from the lodges)

  • Good for first-time safari goers as the chances of seeing the Big 5 are very good

Female Leopard, Sabi Sands Kruger national parl
Female Leopard Captured in Sabi Sands. Photo Craig Howes

Botswana

  • Botswana offers some of the most exclusive safaris in Africa

  • Botswana gives you the feeling that you are in the middle of the wild.

  • Thrilling plane rides into remote airfields.

  • Botswana is known for its wide range of activities on offer, especially on the private concessions – walking safaris, day and night game drives, sleep-outs, mokoros, and boating.

Mokoro Safari In Botswana with African Bush Camps
Mokoro Safari In Botswana with African Bush Camps. Photo Craig Howes

  • Some of the most pristine wilderness in Africa

  • Iconic Okavango Delta is a must-see.

  • Botswana offers Very high-end Luxury accommodation

  • Known for Low impact / High yield tourism model

  • Vast private concessions with very few tourist beds resulting in exclusive safari experiences

  • Botswana has iconic reserves like Chobe, Moremi, Okavango Delta, Nxai Pan, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Makgadikgadi Pans

  • The mix of the Okavango Delta wetlands and arid Makgadikgadi Pans / Nxai Pan / Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana Safari Lodge


Namibia

  • Namibia is known for its Breathtaking landscapes.

  • Explore some of the highest sand dunes in the world in Sossusvlei (Deadvlei)

  • Unusual desert-adapted animals make for unique sightings

  • Great for self-drive safaris

  • Etosha Park is one of the best national parks for a self-drive safari with good road networks.

  • The arid environment means that all animals can be seen in the waterholes.

  • Authentic cultures - Himba tribe

  • Namibia has one of the lowest population densities in the world

See the full guide to Namibia Here!


Zambia

  • Home of the walking safari

Baby RHino in Zambia looking at camera
Rhino Tracking on Foot in Zambia. Photo Craig Howes
  • Lots of Small, owner-run Safari camps

  • Lots to do on a Zambia safari – walking safaris, day and night game drives, canoeing and boating in the Lower Zambezi, sleep-outs

  • Some of the best walking guides in Africa

  • Iconic national parks – South Luangwa, Lower Zambezi, Kafue and Victoria Falls (Livingstone)

  • Visit Victoria falls from the Zambian side

Thorntree River Lodge (African Bush Camps) Photo Craig Howes

Zimbabwe

  • Zimbabwe is known for the Best Safari guides in Africa

  • Varied safari experiences between Mana Pools, Lake Kariba, Hwange and Vic Falls

  • Victoria Falls and all its adventure experiences are incredible.

  • Hwange is known for some of the best elephant viewing in Africa

  • Varied activities – game drives (day only), canoeing and walking in Mana Pools and boating and fishing on Lake Kariba

Big Male Lion. Photo Craig Howes

Kenya

  • Kenya is the home of the original safari

  • Home of the Wildebeast Migration

  • Great conservation success stories in Laikipia where a lot of cattle ranches have been converted to wildlife reserves

  • Kenya has some of the best rhino breeding projects in Africa

  • Kenya has a wide variety of areas and safari tours and experiences



  • Masai Mara and the migration

  • Many privately owned camps and lodges

  • Laikipia ranches are a playground for people wanting to experience some cool stuff – walking safaris, fly-camps, camel safaris, horse riding, conservation safaris, mountain biking, cultural experiences, helicopter safaris

  • Meet the Masai Tribe is an experience you will never forget


Let us know in the comments if there are any other Locations you would like added.

Cheers Craig

Craig@socomunity.com




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