Best Safaris in Africa

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When driving through the scenic savanna landscape, tall grass and pristine acacia trees dot the horizon. The abundance of animals is overwhelming. These creatures have been roaming these lands for centuries.  At first glance you will rush to your camera to take a photo of the grazing animals; giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, impala, waterbuck, and oryx.  But what most people are really on a safari for is the Big Five; elephants, rhinos, buffalo, leopards and of course lions.

 

We had some really crazy experiences on some of our safaris.  On the way back to our camp at dusk in Moremi Game Reserve a leopard strolled within arms length of our car. We were able to follow it for 15 minutes.  That same night wild dogs chasing prey were so close to our tent that we could feel them brushing the rain fly. Right next to Chobe, the roads are shared by elephants, and one mock charged us while we were in the middle of town! At Murchison Falls, an enormous hippo grazed for hours throughout the night right beside our tent. At Etosha, we had another encounter with an elephant charging to our car scaring us half to death.  While on our gorilla trek in Bwindi a silverback showed his dominance by growling at us that sent us flying back at least four feet. The adrenaline rush of seeing two cheetahs kill a small gazelle was definitely our highlight of Masai Mara. In the end seeing animals in their natural environment make these experiences unforgettable. Here are our top picks for best safaris in Africa …

The Pearl of Arica, Uganda, Sipi Falls, Mount Elgon, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Fort Portal, Murchison Falls National Park, Red Chili, Enjojo, Bwindi Backpackers, Mountain Gorilla Trek, Kigali, Kampala

The Stare, Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

 

Best Safaris in Africa 2016:

Best Safaris in Africa 2016, Masai Mara, Kenya, Safari, Africa, Lion, Cheetah, Great Migration, Leopard

The Great Migration, Masai Mara

Masai Mara National Park, Kenya

What to Expect:

This iconic park, when one thinks of safari, rolling savannas filled with animal life unlike any other, the Masai Mara fits the bill. Popular for decades as the premier park in Africa, the action here cannot be beat. Within minutes you can see lions, rhinos, a leopard, and some cheetahs. The big 5 are all in this park and you have a good chance of seeing all of them, possibly even in one day. Come during the Wildebeest migration between July and early September for the most action and the famous river crossing, with the best time to come in early September.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is required.

  • Park Entry cost is $80 per day.

  • Camping is available from $7 – $15 per person outside the park gates.

 

Ngorongoro Crater, Masai Mara, Kenya, Safari, Africa, Lion, Cheetah, Great Migration, Leopard

Elephant in Norongoro Crater

Norongoro Crater National Park, Tanzania

What to Expect:

The Norongoro Crater is the Worlds largest inactive and unfilled caldera, with the floor itself over 100 square miles (260 sq km). There is an abundance of wildlife that live year round in the bottom of the crater, including elephants, buffalo, giraffe, and lions. It is known that elephants travel for hundreds of kilometers to the Norongoro Crater to spend the last days of their lives. The views are stunning with crater walls fully surrounding the flat plains, and the wildlife is dense considering the size of the crater. Nearby Serengeti, many make this a side excursion for a day from their Serengeti safari.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is required.

  • Park Entry cost is $60 per day plus 18% VAT and $40 per day for the vehicle.

  • Camping costs $30 per night per person.

 

Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Masai Mara, Kenya, Safari, Africa, Lion, Cheetah, Great Migration, Leopard

Serengeti Tree Climbing Lion

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

What to Expect:

When most think of big game parks and some of the most iconic parks in Africa, Serengeti is often the first to roll off their tongue. This famous park in Tanzania borders Masai Mara to the South and is an enormous park. Hosting over 3,000 lions and 1,000 leopards, Serengeti is home to what most say is the largest population of big cats in Africa. There are also over 2 million wildebeests, of which over 1.5 million annually migrate North into Masai Mara as part of the Great Migration. Come during the migration between July and early September for the most action and the famous river crossings, with the best time to come in early September.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is required.

  • Park Entry cost is $60 per day plus 18% VAT and $40 per day for the vehicle.

  • Camping costs $30 per night per person.

 

Best Safaris in Africa 2016, Masai Mara, Kenya, Safari, Africa, Lion, Cheetah, Great Migration, Leopard

Rhino in Etosha

Etosha National Park, Namibia

What to Expect:

This gem of a park in Namibia, not far from the scenic Namib sand dunes, is one of the top parks in Africa. It is a very large park with a central salt plan that floods during the rainy season. The park has excellent drives along the salt pan and savanna, as well as through the forest. Many natural and man-made watering holes help the animals congregate, especially during dry season. There are three main camping areas with watering holes for night viewing. The park is filled with lions, cheetahs, leopards, rhinos, wildebeests, zebras, giraffes, antelope, and elephants. The best time to visit is from May through October during the dry season.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is not needed.

  • Park Entry cost is $6 per day plus $2 per car per day.

  • Campsites up to 8 people cost $18 per night.

  • For more information, check our the full article on Etosha National Park.

 

How to Pick a Gorilla Trek in Africa, Mountain Gorilla's, Mgahinga Gorilla Park, Bwindi, Virunga, Volcano's, Trek, Hike, Uganda, Rwanda, Congo, Democratic Republic of Congo

Male Silverback in Bwindi

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

What to Expect:

Mountain gorillas can only be found in four National Parks all bordering the Virunga Mountains. You can visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Virunga National Park in Congo, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda, and Mgahinga National Park in Uganda. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest has the most Mountain Gorillas of all the parks, nearly 400 of the 900 mountain gorillas currently alive. Viewings are daily, and you often can track large families with several large male Silverbacks as well as young gorillas. This is unique to most African safaris, that you are in search of only one species and it is entirely on foot, but the memories of this may beat all of the rest. Please read the full article on How to Pick a Gorilla Trek in Africa for more information.

  • The best time to visit is from May to September when it is not rainy season, however prices are cut during low season.

  • Bwindi mountain trekking costs $600 per person during the main season and $450 during the low season (April, May and November).

  • Camping is $5 per person in the national park and $7 -$10 at rest camps outside of the park.

 

The Pearl of Arica, Uganda, Sipi Falls, Mount Elgon, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Fort Portal, Murchison Falls National Park, Red Chili, Enjojo, Bwindi Backpackers, Mountain Gorilla Trek, Kigali, Kampala

The Hunt

Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

What to Expect:

This highly underrated park is possibly the most diverse of these parks. It hosts the Nile Rivers greatest waterfall, Murchison Falls, along with excellent game drives and Nile River scenic boat cruises. The delta here next to Lake Albert provides for excellent hippo and bird viewing. The savanna is stunning with rolling hills, an abundance of green and littered with palm trees. The park is loaded with giraffes, hippos, exotic birds, lions, antelope, buffalo, crocodiles and the occasional leopard. There also is chimpanzee treks available. The best time to visit is from May to September.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is not needed.

  • Park Entry cost is $40 per day.

  • Camping is $8 per person at Red Chili Rest Camp.

  • Read more about Murchison here.

 

Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve, Elephants, Makoro Experience, Zebra, Leopard, Buffalo, Flight, Botswana

Leopard in Moremi

Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

What to Expect:

Moremi Game Reserve in northwest Botswana sits next to the Okavango Delta, worth a visit in itself when going to Moremi. This park is the ultimate Safari for self-drive enthusiasts. Thick sand roads make for fun but tough driving conditions through forests and smaller open plains. You can drive in for a couple days, or make the longer trek through Moremi onward to Chobe for a 5 to 7 day Safari. Wildlife is very dense with elephants, giraffes, wildebeests, antelope, lions, leopards, hyenas, and the rare wild dogs. The best time to visit is from June through September during dry season but when floodwaters are at its highest in the Okavango River Delta.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is required.

  • Park Entry cost is $11 per day plus $5 per day per vehicle.

  • Camping ranges in cost from $15 to $50 per person depending on each campsite.

  • For more information, check our the full article on Moremi Game Reserve and the Okavango Delta.

 

Chobe National Park, Chobe River, Game Drive, River Cruise, Botswana,

Elephant Crossing the Chobe River

Chobe National Park, Botswana

What to Expect:

Chobe National Park is one of the premier parks in Africa and has some of the most dense animal concentrations in Africa. They host the second most elephants in Africa. Animals come for hundreds of miles to make the journey down to the Chobe River. Joined with Moremi, this park is excellent for self-drive enthusiasts. There game drives are excellent, but the real bonus is the Chobe River. Take a sunset boat cruise and watch as elephants cross the river, hundreds of hippos eating, exotic birds, crocodiles laying out, and many other animals including the occasional lion can be spotted on the banks of the river grabbing a drink. The best time to visit is from May to September.

  • Self driving is an option and 4×4 is required.

  • Park Entry cost is $7 per day.

  • Camping ranges in cost from $15 to $50 per person depending on each campsite.

  • For more information, check our the full article on Chobe National Park.

 

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The Best Safaris of 2016 in Africa

 

Check out more information for some of the above parks in the full articles below:

Chobe National Park and Victoria Falls

 

Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve

 

Etosha National Park Self Guided on a Budget

 

The Pearl of Africa

 

How to Pick a Gorilla Trek in Africa

 

 

 

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We visited these parks between March 2016 and September 2016.

 

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