THE 10 BEST Africa Safaris

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1. Union tour Full Day Private tour

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2. 3 Days Desert Tour from Fes to Marrakech via Merzouga

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3. 8 Days Uganda Primates Safari

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4. 2 Days Desert Trip from fes to Merzouga

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5. Full-Day Sani Pass and Lesotho Tour from Durban 4x4 Up The Pass

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6. 2days 4x4 SAFARI from Sousse, Hammamet,Tunis - 4*hotel accommodation

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7. 15 Day Walking Safari from Botswana

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8. Mayotte Grand Comore Adventure 6D/ 5N ( Comfort)

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9. 8 Day Private Botswana Camping Safari with Airport Pickup

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10. 3DAYS 4x4 safari from Sousse/Hammamet/Tunis 100km deep in desert camp

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11. 15 Day Mobile Camping Safari Botswana

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12. 5 Day Elephant Tracking Botswana

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13. 3 days Uganda Gorrilla Trekking-BWINDI IMPENETRABLE FOREST

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14. 5 Day Mobile Camping Safari Tour in Botswana with Guide

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15. 8 Day Elephant Tracking Botswana

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16. 10 Day Elephant Tracking Botswana

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17. 15 Days Namibia to Bostwana and Victoria Falls | Auto Tour

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18. 6 Day Walking Safari Botswana

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19. 11 Day Private Camping Safari in Botswana with Airport Pickup

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20. 14 Day Elephant Tracking Botswana

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21. 5 Days Private Tour in Burundi and discover 10 Top Sites Tourist

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22. 14 Days Private Running Safari in Ugandan Countryside

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12 Top African Safari Tours

Cross this must-do activity off your bucket list.

Top African Safari elephant

Courtesy of Micato Safaris

Spot the big five on your safari adventure.

Safari tours in Africa are just as diverse as the continent itself, though these types of trips typically require a large sum of money. Whether you want to spend a few days gorilla trekking in Uganda or a couple weeks spotting the "big five" – lions, leopards, African elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalos – in South Africa, you'll find an array of tours to best suit your needs. To help you narrow down your options, U.S. News compiled a list of 12 can't-miss African safari tours. Read on to find your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Note: Some of the African countries in this article may require travelers to get an entry visa and certain vaccinations in order to visit. Jump to the list of visa and vaccination requirements by country at the bottom of this page for more information.

&Beyond

African Safari vacation

Courtesy of &Beyond

Visitors who don't want to sacrifice creature comforts while on safari will appreciate &Beyond's offerings. During the tour operator's 10-day Kings of the Jungle safari – which starts at $11,340 per person – travelers will see breathtaking natural wonders like the Ngorongoro Crater and the Maasai Mara savanna. But the highlight of this journey is its four-night stay at Tanzania's Serengeti National Park . After watching animals like wildebeest and zebras partake in the great migration while also spotting lions, giraffes and more, vacationers retreat to high-end tents and lodges with private bathrooms.

[See more of Serengeti National Park: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Wilderness Safaris

African Safari camp vacation

Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

For some of Africa's most jaw-dropping scenery, opt for the seven-night Namibian Adventure Safari tour offered by Wilderness Safaris. This weeklong trip features visits to the Namib Desert's dune-filled Sossusvlei region (which you may recognize from the film "Mad Max: Fury Road") and the mountainous Palmwag Concession – a protected area with springboks, giraffes, black rhinos and more. The package's per person fee starts at $6,725, which covers most meals, park entrance fees, and transfers from Namibia's capital Windhoek and between the safari destinations. It also covers your stay at properties like the fully solar-powered Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and the five-star Little Kulala lodge amid the stunning desert.

Wild Rwanda Safaris

African Safari gorilla in Rwanda

Courtesy of Wild Rwanda Safaris)

Adventurous travelers sticking to a more conservative budget should consider Wild Rwanda Safaris' Bwindi Gorilla Safari. The three-day package features a full day in southwestern Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (a haven for silverback gorillas) and an adjacent Batwa Pygmy community. Wild Rwanda Safaris allows guests to choose between midrange, luxury and super luxury accommodation, which can help keep costs down if necessary. The company's packages include the $700 permit required to visit the gorilla park. The round-trip journey by safari vehicle to and from Kigali, Rwanda, and English-speaking guide services are also covered in all rates. The tour can begin from Kampala, Uganda, as well, although you'll spend longer on the road to the park.

Nomad Tanzania

African Safari in Tanzania

Courtesy of nomad-tanzania.com

Sign up for Nomad Tanzania's Southern Tanzania safari and you're bound to get an up-close look at Tanzania's diverse wildlife. Offering eight days of activities, including game drives and boat trips in Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park, this safari gives you prime opportunities to spot lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants, among other species. What's more, lodging at the company's campsites, select meals, and flights to and from Dar es Salaam are factored into the package's prices. Expect to pay a minimum of $5,700 per person; prices vary depending on the time of year, and the tour isn't offered in April and May.

Micato Safaris

(Courtesy of Micato Safaris)

If you want to explore multiple destinations while on safari with plenty of comfort (but a price tag to match), book the 15-day Micato Grand Safari. This outing by Micato Safaris starts with a two-day visit to Nairobi, Kenya, before continuing to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, and the Amboseli and Serengeti national parks for wildlife-viewing excursions. During your trip, you'll see Mount Kilimanjaro as zebras, gazelles and more roam in the foreground. The package costs at least $22,450 per person (based on double occupancy rates) and includes a hot air balloon ride, a camel tour led by members of the Samburu tribe, and lodging at upscale properties like Serengeti's Four Seasons outpost. The company also offers various extensions allowing you to explore other parts of Africa, from the island paradise of Zanzibar to the deserts of Namibia.

Rothschild Safaris

African safari vacation

Courtesy of Rothschild Safaris

If your ideal safari vacation consists of customizing your trip from start to finish, consider an outing with Rothschild Safaris. The company offers itineraries in locales like Zambia and Madagascar , but if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the big five animals, the Essence of Tanzania safari is a good bet. This nine-day experience, which embarks from Arusha and returns there by plane, includes game-viewing drives in Tarangire National Park and accommodations like canvas tents and farmhouse lodges. Elephants, zebras and lions are just some of the animals you may spot during your journey. You'll also have the opportunity to go on a nighttime safari to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Lion World Travel

African safari vacation

Courtesy of Lion World Travel

As the trip name implies, Lion World Travel's 10-day Best of Cape Town & Botswana vacation package combines sightseeing in Cape Town, South Africa , with a classic safari in Botswana. During the latter half of the itinerary, visitors will explore Botswana's Okavango Delta (home to cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos and more) and Chobe National Park, which is believed to have Africa's largest elephant population. Prices start at $4,299 per person and cover game drives; many of your meals; and stays at luxury hotels, camps and lodges. You'll need to pay an extra charge for the flights within the tour (Cape Town to Botswana as well as Botswana to Johannesburg ).

[See more of Cape Town: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Bearded Heron Safaris

African safari vacation

Neil Heron | Courtesy of Bearded Heron Safaris

Travelers keen on seeing South Africa's Kruger National Park through the eyes of a local naturalist will appreciate the 15-day safari with Bearded Heron Safaris. Led by Neil Heron, a nature guide and wildlife photographer and writer, Bearded Heron Safaris' longest option features small game drives that may include lion, rhino, zebra and leopard sightings throughout all corners of Kruger. Rates are inclusive of in-park cottage accommodations and all breakfasts, dinners, snacks and drinks. Flights and park fees are not included. For a 15-day safari, expect to pay 76,900 South African rand (about $4,500) per person.

[See more of Kruger National Park: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Discover Africa

Black rhinoceros in the african savannah

Getty Images

For an inside-out trip through the natural wonders of Botswana, Discover Africa's nine-day Epic Botswana Adventure is a formidable option. You'll start out at a riverside lodge on the Chobe River – a great location for elephant spotting – before moving onto the marshy Okavango Delta, a wildlife-rich area where you can spot a huge range of animals from leopards to rhinos. The safari ends at the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a good place to admire wildlife like zebras and buffalo on the savanna as well as salt pans from a former lake. You'll stay in upscale lodges and campsites within close reach of the wilderness. All meals and transport along the tour are included in the price tag (which starts at $4,800 per person), but international flights are excluded.

Wild Wings Safaris

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If you're looking to have a broader experience that mixes in some history and beach time, consider Wild Wings Safaris' eight-day Battlefields, Bush and Beach Safari. You'll start off visiting some of South Africa's historic sites from the Boer wars, before moving on to the Phinda Private Game Reserve, which doesn't allow day visitors, so you should be able to look out for the big five without too many crowds. The tour wraps up at Thonga Beach Lodge, where you can snorkel or scuba dive near coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. As far as safaris go, this one is an affordable option, starting at about $2,795 per person with all meals included as well as a rental car; for the cheapest price, you will need to drive yourself between the destinations, but it's possible to pay an additional fee for a driver to guide you instead.

Cuckoo Safaris

Aerial few of the world famous Victoria Falls with a large rainbow over the falls. This is right at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. The mighty Victoria Falls at Zambezi river are one of the most visited touristic places in Africa.

This tour company kicks off its tours from the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, with a host of safaris that range from two days to nine, across Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, including some family-friendly choices. For an affordable option, there's the four-day Discover Victoria Falls, Chobe and Hwange Park safari, which will take you on two full-day tours to Chobe National Park (across the border in Botswana) and to Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park, where you should keep your eyes peeled for lions, elephants and more. This safari also includes a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. The price starts at $900 per person, which includes the tours plus breakfast, lunch and lodging in Victoria Falls; travelers will need to pay for entrance fees to the parks and dinner.

Compass Odyssey

safari desert africa

Courtesy of Compass Odyssey

Explore the savanna and deserts of southwest Africa with Compass Odyssey's eight-day Namibia Wildlife Safari. You'll visit a community-based conservation area in Damaraland – known for its desert-adapted elephants, oryx, giraffes and other wildlife – while staying in the rustic-chic Doro Nawas Camp. You'll also spend two days in Etosha National Park, seeking wildlife at the park's bustling waterholes by day and embarking on an evening game drive as well. Starting at $3,750 per person, the tour includes most meals and all park entry fees, but not flights; the company does allow the tour to be customized on request.

Vaccination and visa requirements for African countries

Some popular safari destinations may require you to have received certain vaccinations in order to enter the country as a tourist. Inoculation requirements can include vaccination against COVID-19 and yellow fever, and you'll need to get these vaccines before departing on your trip. Be sure to bring proof of vaccinations with you. If you are transiting through another country en route to your safari tour, you must check that you also meet immunization requirements for the stopover location.

Note that, outside of what's required, there are a number of other vaccinations that are recommended, so ensure you're up to date and fully protected before you travel. In addition, many safari locations are prone to malaria; you should consult with your doctor to see if you need to bring anti-malaria medication on your trip.

Safari countries have varying visa requirements for travelers from the U.S. – these are detailed below. Depending on your itinerary, you may need a single- or multiple-entry visa, and some visas require you to apply in advance of traveling and/or have a certain number of blank pages in your passport. Regardless of your destination, your passport should be valid for at least six months before you leave for your trip.

Here are the vaccine and visa requirements for major safari destinations as of November 2022:

Botswana: If you have recently visited a country where yellow fever is common, you will need to be vaccinated against this illness. This does not include the U.S. but does include a number of countries in Africa, Central and South America. Consult the World Health Organization's website for a list of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including Kenya and Uganda.

U.S. citizens and nationals can stay in Botswana for 90 days without a visa.

Kenya: Travelers to Kenya must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the last shot administered more than 14 days before arrival in the country. Unvaccinated visitors can enter with a negative PCR test, conducted no more than 72 hours before departure. Proof of COVID-19 tests or vaccines must be uploaded to an online system called Panabios. Kenya is a country where you'll be at risk of yellow fever transmission; it also requires those traveling from other places with yellow fever or cholera outbreaks to be vaccinated against these illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you protect yourself against yellow fever before your trip here.

Americans need an e-visa to enter Kenya. You should apply online at the eVisa government website no more than eight weeks before your trip, as visas are not available upon arrival in Kenya. See more on the U.S. Department of State's website .

Namibia: Those traveling from a country where yellow fever is common need to be vaccinated against it. No visa is required as long as you're staying for 90 days or less.

Rwanda: If you're coming from a country where yellow fever is endemic, a yellow fever vaccination is required before departure.

U.S. citizens and nationals can be issued a 30-day visitor visa on arrival in Rwanda or through the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C. A single-entry visa costs $50, and it's recommended you bring sufficient cash in U.S. dollars to pay for this (although credit card payment may be accepted at Kigali International Airport). Consult the State Department website for more information.

South Africa: A yellow fever vaccination is required if you're traveling from a country with a risk of transmission. No visa is required for stays of 90 days or less.

Tanzania: Travelers must be able to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination with a QR code to enter Tanzania. Unvaccinated travelers must take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure, and the test results should be accessible by QR code. Yellow fever vaccines are mandatory if you're traveling from a location where yellow fever is present – including if you spend more than 12 hours in transit in such a country.

Visas are required for tourism in Tanzania. You can apply for a single-entry, 90-day visa online for $50 – and be sure to print a copy of the approval to bring with you. The processing period takes up to 10 days. You can also obtain a visa on arrival for a $100 fee; it's recommended you bring cash to cover this. Find more Tanzanian visa information on the State Department website .

Uganda: To enter Uganda, you must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or present a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Like Kenya, Uganda is a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. All visitors must show proof of vaccination against yellow fever to enter Uganda, regardless of where you're traveling from.

American visitors to Uganda must apply online for an electronic visa before departure; arriving in Uganda without completing this process could result in your detainment. Visit the State Department website to learn more.

Zambia: Visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must show proof of vaccination but do not need a test to enter Zambia; unvaccinated travelers must undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure. Yellow fever vaccines are only required if you're coming from an area considered at risk.

Visas are required to visit Zambia, but these can be obtained online before your departure or at a port of entry. Check the State Department website for more details.

Zimbabwe: To enter Zimbabwe, travelers must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or must take a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours before your departure. As with other countries on this list, visitors from countries with yellow fever outbreaks also require a vaccine against this illness.

U.S. visitors can obtain a 30-day, single-entry visa upon arrival in Zimbabwe for $30. If you're taking a tour that requires you to leave and reenter Zimbabwe, be sure to get a double-entry visa for $45. You can learn more from the State Department website .

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  • World's Best

The 10 Best Safari Lodges in Africa

The best safari lodges, according to Travel + Leisure readers, go beyond the traditional game drive with a wide range of cultural experiences.

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Note: If you’re looking for our most recent recommendations, check out the 2023 list of our favorite safari lodges in Africa.

For Travel + Leisure readers, the best safari lodges in Africa aren't necessarily traditional safari properties — though plenty of those did make this list. Take, for example, Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge — a luxurious base for tracking mountain gorillas in the cloud forest of Rwanda. It seems that this once-in-a-lifetime experience elevated guests' memories beyond those of Big Five safaris: the word amazing appears repeatedly in Bisate reviews.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Hotels (including safari lodges) were rated on their facilities, location, service, food, and overall value. Properties were classified as city hotel, resort, or safari lodge based on their locations and amenities.

This year's World's Best list reveals a growing interest in nontraditional safaris. In addition to Bisate at the top spot, there's another Rwandan lodge, One&Only Nyungwe House (No. 3), where the highlights are tracking chimpanzees, bird-watching, and visiting a tea plantation. "A gorgeous property in an incredible location," said one voter. And there's a second gorilla-tracking property on the list: Bwindi Lodge (No. 10), in Uganda. "How special to stay at Bwindi Lodge," wrote one guest, "and be so well cared for when setting out to see the magnificent gorillas."

At No. 2, Gibb's Farm is "the most unique lodge of any kind in East Africa," claimed one reader. Overlooking Tanzania's Ngorongoro Crater, a protected area known for its incredible density of wildlife, the 17-cottage property offers activities around its coffee plantation and gardens, as well as bush walks from the property and wildlife drives in the crater. One guest loved that it was "fun for adults and kids." It's "an incredibly beautiful hotel," said another. "The food was amazing, and I loved the farm-to-table philosophy."

Classic safaris are still well represented, with guests favoring wildlife-rich areas such as the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya, and the South African Kruger National Park. As well as wildlife sightings and luxurious rooms, it was the people who made an impact on T+L readers. Of andBeyond Bateleur Camp (No. 6), in Kenya's Masai Mara, one reader said that "the guides are truly spectacular," while another described "warm, welcoming service."

1. Wilderness Safaris Bisate Lodge, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

On the edge of Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, Bisate Lodge has six stylish and cozy villas, each overlooking the surrounding villages, forests, and misty mountain peaks. The main activity there is trekking into the national park to spend some time watching the mountain gorillas, but there are also opportunities to see golden monkeys, go hiking in the mountains, or visit the grave of renowned primatologist Dian Fossey. The staff are "amazing," said one reader, who added the food was "delicious," especially the homegrown vegetables. Another fan said staying at Bisate was "the absolute best...experience we have ever had. The food, service, and rooms were beyond amazing."

Score: 98.29

More information: wilderness-safaris.com

2 Gibb's Farm, Karatu, Tanzania

Score: 96.63

More information: gibbsfarm.com

3. One&Only Nyungwe House, Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Score: 96.36

More information: oneandonlyresorts.com

4. andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Score: 95.80

More information: andbeyond.com

5. Angama Mara, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Score: 94.95

More information: angama.com

6. andBeyond Bateleur Camp, Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Score: 94.88

7. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Score: 94.00

More information: fourseasons.com

8. andBeyond Ngala Safari Lodge, Kruger National Park Area, South Africa

Score: 93.09

9. Lion Sands Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa

Score: 92.47

More information: more.co.za

10. Bwindi Lodge, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Uganda

Score: 89.68

More information: volcanoessafaris.com

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The Best Desert Safari Locations in Africa

Explore Kenya, Uganda or South Africa, among other incredible African countries, for an experience like no other on this amazing continent

An African safari is often a once-in-lifetime experience, so it’s worth making it count. Join one of these TRIPS by Culture Trip or another small-group adventure to ensure your safari is the best it possibly can be.

African safari tours to the great desert valleys of Kenya and Tanzania, or the vast arid landscapes of Namibia leave visitors awed by close-up wildlife sightings. Lakes and rivers are the best places to see wildlife such as lions, rhinos, elephants, leopards and buffalo as they all congregate to drink. To inspire your next adventure, here are some of the best desert safari locations and tours in Africa – bookable on Culture Trip.

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KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?

Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world

Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.

Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.

Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.

Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.

We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.

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  • Kalahari Desert Safari

The ultimate guide to your next Kalahari Desert Safari

Get to know kalahari desert.

From the rolling red dunes of the Kgalagadi transfrontier conservation area, to the sparse grasslands of Botswana’s Central Kalahari, this is an arid wilderness that is rich in in desert-adapted wildlife and unsurpassed scenic beauty.

The Kalahari is home to the regal black-maned lion, secretive leopard and endangered African wild dog. But the desert is also regarded as the best place in Africa to view cheetah in the wild. With its abundant herds of springbok and scattering of steenbok, the Kalahari’s wide-open landscapes provide a perfect hunting ground for Africa’s fastest land mammal.  Visitors who are fortunate enough to spend some time in the company of a Kalahari cheetah stand an excellent chance of watching this amazing speedster in action as it hunts its favoured antelope prey at high speed.

Kalahari Desert Video

Kalahari desert.

How it Works

View our recommended safaris for inspiration and get ready to plan your dream safari

Contact us or fill out an enquiry form and one of our travel experts will help you tailor make your perfect safari

Enjoy an authentic African experience, with peace of mind

Why Kalahari Desert?

  • Best place to try and see a cheetah in the wild
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elephant in Chobe National Park in Botswana

17 unforgettable African safaris

Set off into the wild and see the world like never before with this guide to the best experiences in 11 countries.

Chobe National Park in Botswana holds one of Africa’s largest elephant populations.

What images come to mind when you hear the words “African safari”? Sitting in the bush on a moonlit night, so close to a lion that you can feel the rumble of its roar in your chest?

Many travelers might conjure up visions of tented camps, gourmet meals under a baobab tree, game drives through golden savanna, and sundowners at the end of the day. But safaris can also involve self-guided rental cars , game walks, and fly-fishing. Safaris can be as varied as the continent of Africa itself.

One recent trend: expeditions that enlist travelers in the fight to save endangered wildlife. Tourists make a difference by joining rhino or lion conservationists at work in South Africa or accompanying researchers working on a chimpanzee habituation project in Kibale National Park in Uganda . ( Read about the dark truth behind wildlife tourism. )

No matter where you go and what type of safari you choose, timing is key. Once you’ve narrowed your options, look into the best time to visit. South Africa’s summer (December through February), for example, is prime safari season in that region. You’ll still see wildlife if you go during South Africa’s winter (June through August), but pack a jacket, as temperatures can be chilly, especially before the sun rises.

Set off into the wild and see the world like never before with our guide to top safari experiences in 11 African countries.

South Africa

Kruger National Park: South Africa ’s largest game reserve, Kruger National Park makes a perfect home base for self-guided and first-time safaris. Stay in one of the park’s fenced camps, such as the Crocodile Bridge Rest Camp on the northern bank of the Crocodile River. Head into the bush early to explore the Southern Circle, famous for its competing lion prides and their varied hunting practices. Don’t miss the nearby hippo pool, but be sure to stay in your car outside of the camp. ( Take a solo safari through South Africa’s wild grasslands. )

Hazyview: Not far from Kruger’s southwestern Phabeni Gate, Hazyview is a family-friendly hub for horseback safaris, zip-lining, safari golf, and trout fishing. Check in to one of the lodges, such as Hippo Hollow Country Estate , and then head out into the Kruger before sunrise on a self-guided game drive to scout lions and white rhinos. Break for lunch in the town of Skukuza.

Timbavati Private Nature Reserve: The rugged Timbavati is one of the private nature reserves that make up the greater Kruger area. Guests can choose from eight lodges there. An upscale chalet at fence-free Simbavati Safari Lodges , for example, is perfect for families. Wake up early for game drives, perhaps to search for African wild dogs . Mid-morning, kids head into the bush for a scavenger hunt with a guide.

Grootbos Private Nature Reserve: Animals aren’t the only sights to track on safari. In South Africa’s Western Cape region, wildflowers provide the dazzle. The two lodges at Grootbos , part of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World , sit amid the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms, home to some 800 plant species. Watch for sharks and southern right whales from your suite’s deck. ( See the world’s best places for flowers. )

Hlane Royal National Park: Head to Swaziland , a country landlocked between South Africa and Mozambique , to see Hlane ’s fiercely protected rhinos and marabou storks. Stay in one of the park’s two lodges, Ndlovu Camp or Bhubesi, and enjoy self-guided drives on the safe game-viewing roads that crisscross the park’s flat terrain. Spot lions, hyenas, giraffes, and vulturess, then picnic at the Mahlindza water hole.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve: Black-maned Kalahari lions roam this reserve in central Botswana . Stay just north of the reserve at Deception Valley Lodge , where you can watch magical sunsets dip into the horizon from the deck of your chalet.

Chobe National Park: To the north of Central Kalahari, Chobe National Park is home to one of Africa’s largest elephant populations. And Chobe Game Lodge boasts the only all-female safari guide team in Africa. ( Meet the all-female anti-poaching unit saving rhinos and other wildlife. )

Hwange National Park: All aboard the Elephant Express to tour the Ngamo Forest Area and Hwange National Park, known for its pachyderms and 400-plus species of birds. The two-hour safari rail trip is easily accessible to Imvelo Safari Lodges’ Bomani Tented Lodge or Camelthorn Lodge . Check out the game-viewing underground hide at nearby Stoffie’s Pan. North from Hwange, a four-hour drive or a one-hour flight gets you to regal Victoria Falls, a thundering natural wonder you can hear long before you first catch sight of it.

Mana Pools National Park: Try a river-based safari in a kayak at this remote park. The best time to go may be in April, when large herds of elephants, buffalo, kudu, and the elusive eland return to the four (or mana in the local language) large permanent pools along the south bank of the Zambezi River after the rainy season. Accommodations in the park include lodges, thatched chalets, and campsites.

Namib Desert: A safari here means brilliant stargazing, silky sand, age-old views, and resilient desert animals such as oryx, bat-eared foxes, Burchell’s zebras, and loads of lizards. Stay at &Beyond’s Sossusvlei Desert Lodge , located at the desert’s eastern edge. Explore the Namib dunes on a quad bike, and hike a craggy slope to see ancient rock paintings in a nearby cave, making sure to pack water, a hat, and sunscreen. ( See eerie photos of a Namibian ghost town. )

Gorongosa National Park: Located in central Mozambique , Gorongosa has been brought back to life after suffering the devastations of many years of civil conflict. Today, when you visit, you become a part of one of Africa’s most successful wildlife restoration stories. Home to floodplains and preserved palm forests, Gorongosa has an amazing diversity of wildlife, from antelope to primates and huge Nile crocodiles, as well as lions, elephants, and hippos.

Selous Game Reserve: Visit this off-the-beaten-track and tranquil reserve in southern Tanzania for walking safaris and traditional game drives. Then cruise the Rufiji River to watch for elephants, hippos, lions, leopards, and brindled gnu. Stay at Beho Beho , a hilltop lodge that also has secluded tree-house accommodations for the extra adventurous.

Serengeti National Park: At Asilia’s Namiri Plains camp in northern Tanzania, visitors become part of the migration as they travel in a luxury mobile camp alongside herds of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles. Walking safaris get you closer to the action, with veteran Serengeti safari guides giving the play-by-play. The animals—often stalked by big predators, such as lions and cheetahs—follow one of Earth’s most ancient routes. And if you come too close to an animal, never run. Move away quietly.

Olare Motorogi Conservancy: Cross the border from Tanzania into southern Kenya for an iconic East African lodge experience at the Mara Plains Camp. About a 2.5-hour drive from the legendary Masai Mara National Reserve, the eco-friendly camp was built by National Geographic Explorers-in-Residence Dereck and Beverly Joubert with their partners at Great Plains Conservation . From camp, you’ll head out on safari to watch migrating zebras and wildebeests make exciting and risky river crossings. You may even see a few big cats. ( Experience an air safari through Kenya. )

Ragati Conservancy: Kenya may be a great place to see the migrations, but it’s also a surprisingly fantastic spot for fly-fishing. On the southern slopes of Mount Kenya (Africa’s second highest peak), the Ragati Conservancy has mountain streams stocked with glistening rainbow trout. What makes the Ragati worth the trip? Nat Geo photographer and fly fisherman Pete Muller says that while Idaho fishing is amazing, “anglers won’t encounter an elephant along the Lochsa!” Fishing in Kenya, he says, also gives fishing enthusiasts the chance to visit locations such as Aberdare National Park.

Rwanda/Uganda

Volcanoes National Park/kalinzu Forest Reserve: Rwanda ’s Volcanoes National Park allows a limited number of visitors per day to hike into the jungle to view endangered mountain gorillas up close, as they groom each other, play, and eat bamboo shoots and fruits. Keep your eyes open for golden monkeys too. Nat Geo Expeditions offers an itinerary that includes a gorilla trek, then heads north into Uganda for a chimpanzee trek through the lush Kalinzu Forest Reserve near Queen Elizabeth National Park. ( Here’s how to visit the endangered mountain gorillas of Uganda and Rwanda. )

Zakouma National Park: Intense wildlife experiences await at this park known for the number of animals that make it their home. A herd of more than 500 elephants and flocks of birds, such as the black-crowned crane, in the tens of thousands, congregate here. Zakouma had a tremendous comeback after enduring civil unrest in the region. Visit between December and April, and stay at traditional Camp Nomade, its tents decorated with local carpets and brass bells.

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7 of the Best Safaris in Africa, According to a Travel Expert

By Melissa Biggs Bradley

Segera Retreat

All products featured on Architectural Digest are independently selected by our editors. However, when you buy something through our retail links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

After traveling to Africa dozens of times on safari, I have been asked, as founder of luxury travel group Indagare , to pick a favorite lodge more times than I can count. It is truly impossible for me to choose just one, which is why in Safari Style: Exceptional African Camps and Lodges , I cover many lodges in many regions, from the desert in Namibia, the Serengeti in Tanzania, the mountains in Rwanda, to the great concessions and parks in Botswana and South Africa. 

7 of the Best Safaris in Africa According to a Travel Expert

Every property in the book—there are 21 of them, across 7 countries—can be guaranteed to deliver an unforgettable safari and aesthetic experience. I have included the continent’s most luxurious lodges as well as incredible tented camps that showcase cutting-edge sustainable infrastructure, but these are illustrative, not definitive, because there are many amazing properties that didn’t make it in the book. Safari Style is meant to inspire discovery and broaden—not limit—one’s view of Africa and its safari lodges.

Here are seven properties that showcase some of the most impressive locations and innovations of Africa’s next generation of safari camps, and highlight the diversity of experiences that you can have in the bush.

A beautiful view from Singita Mara River Camp.

A beautiful view from Singita Mara River Camp.

Singita Mara River Camp, Tanzania

For the Great Migration and epic wildlife viewing Its prime location in northern Tanzania, on the banks of the Mara River, means that each morning at Singita’s Mara River Camp you’ll wake under canvas in the middle of the Serengeti to the sound of bird calls and be perfectly positioned to observe the Great Migration (should you visit during the right time of year). Though watching a river crossing is a high-drama event that can typically attract dozens of vehicles, staying at Mara River Camp gives you the absolute privacy of the Singita Lamai concession and, rather than spending hours waiting for a crossing, you can leisurely watch the fabled river from the comfort of the lodge. From the game viewing to the location of the lodge along the iconic Mara River, it is hard to beat this under-canvas experience.

A cozy corner at Mwiba Lodge.

A cozy corner at Mwiba Lodge.

Mwiba Lodge, Tanzania

For community visits and cultural exchange Mwiba Lodge sits in an idyllic location overlooking a watering hole on the Arugusinyai River and is set on a 129,000-acre reserve bordering the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on one side and the Serengeti National Park on the other. The lodge balances the indulgences of a permanent safari lodge with the immersive wilderness experience of a tented camp: Though the 10 tented suites have hardwood floors and glass sliding doors, they also have canvas walls allowing you to fall asleep to the sounds of the bush at night. One of the standout experiences at Mwiba is the opportunity to go on a bush walk with the nomadic Hadza, a local hunter-gatherer tribe of only 1,300 members, who live as they have for centuries. Lodge guests can learn how they forage for food in the harsh landscape and, from the lodge, there is also the chance to visit a Maasai village to learn about their incredible culture and tradition. I believe that a combination of time in the bush and also with people—giving opportunities for cultural immersion and exchange—is what makes for a perfect safari experience, and Mwiba’s location allows guests to find that ideal mix.

One of the beautiful bedrooms at Segera Retreat.

One of the beautiful bedrooms at Segera Retreat.

Segera Retreat, Kenya

For blend of traditional safari vestiges and cutting-edge African art Segera is a nine-guesthouse resort-like property in Kenya’s Laikipia region that puts a large focus on sustainability and conservation programs and showcases an amazing collection of safari-related antiques and 21st-century African art. Safari traditionalists will appreciate the wonderful memorabilia such as signed Hemingway letters and the vintage plane used in the film Out of Africa (guests who stay at the property can experience a safari from the sky), as well as the pieces from owner Jochen Zeitz’s modern art collection, and the property’s “4C” vision (a balance of community, commerce, culture, and conservation), which Jochen pioneered by uniquely applying to sustainability.

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An elephant peacefully roaming the grounds at Mombo Lodge.

An elephant peacefully roaming the grounds at Mombo Lodge.

Mombo Lodge, Botswana  

For the Okavango Delta

There is no landscape in the world quite like Botswana’s Okavango Delta, a 6,000-square-mile wetland paradise covered by a labyrinth of waterways filled with animals. Mombo is an eight-suite intimate camp on Chief’s Island in the Moremi Game Reserve in the Delta. The camp can claim numerous distinctions, including being the priciest safari lodge in Africa, but most importantly, it changed the course of Botswana’s history and of ecotourism when it opened in 1991 by setting a new bar in the design of sustainable safari camps (the camp is 100% solar powered). The game viewing from the reserve is truly unparalleled—cheetahs, prides of lions, packs of wild dogs, elephants, leopards, and black-and-white rhino are all prevalent on the concession—and the wild floodplains that you can explore from camp ensure that every drive is filled with excitement.

A poolside view from Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

A poolside view from Sossusvlei Desert Lodge.

Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, Namibia

For the sheer drama of the landscapes As a safari destination, Namibia is known for its intimate lodges set in remote, starkly beautiful places filled with fascinating desert-adapted wildlife. Sossusvlei, in the southern Namib Desert, is an area famous for having the world’s largest sand dunes, and it is also celebrated for its spectacular night skies (the area has been designated as a rare International Dark Sky Reserve). Sossusvlei Desert Lodge sits on a 30,000-acre private desert reserve. The bare minimalism of the interiors parallels the barren vistas in the 11 suites, each with its own plunge pool, as well as retractable skylights positioned to allow stargazing from the bed. The desert safari opportunities from the lodge are incredible: Guests can explore the Sossusvlei dunes and salt pans, take desert walks, go hot-air ballooning, and discover ancient San rock paintings.

A zebra in the wild at The Farmstead at Royal Malewane.

A zebra in the wild at The Farmstead at Royal Malewane.

The Farmstead at Royal Malewane, South Africa

For walking safari and trackers The Farmstead at Royal Malewane is a groundbreaking public/private partnership in the Greater Kruger area (the lodge was built with the sole purpose of benefiting the community) and was created by the Biden family, one of South Africa’s leading hospitality families. The Farmstead beautifully merges modern farmhouse design with a vibrant palette of colors and contemporary African Art. With only three suites and a three-and-a-half-bedroom villa, The Farmstead is often considered one of the hardest lodges to get into in South Africa and also one of the best. The lodge has a number of master trackers and renowned guides (the highest of all the lodges in South Africa) and, right from the base of the lodge, you can head on multiple walking safari trails with an expert ranger. It’s an incredible way to experience the bush and a unique opportunity in South Africa.

The accommodations at Bisate Lodge are a dreamy escape.

The accommodations at Bisate Lodge are a dreamy escape.

Bisate Lodge, Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda  

For the endangered mountain gorillas, one of the most special animal-viewing experiences in the world Set on a hillside overlooking the volcanic peaks of Bisoke and Karisimbi in Volcanoes National Park, Bisate features six villas that resemble massive weaver nests. The interiors mix comforts like soaking tubs and fireplaces with elements of traditional Rwandan crafts, such as the colorful kitenge fabrics. Bisate is a perfect base for trekking to see endangered mountain gorillas as well as golden monkeys—though not your traditional safari experiences, both are extraordinary animal encounters—and Rwanda is a must-visit destination for outdoor enthusiasts and those who want to witness the positive power of safari tourism to preserve wildlife and empower local communities.

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Where to go on your first safari in Africa

Melanie van Zyl

Feb 20, 2024 • 17 min read

Tourist watching an elephant crossing a river in the Chobe National Park in Botswana, Africa; Concept for travel safari and travel in Africa

Botswana is an excellent choice for a well-rounded, first-time safari – though it can be a pricey one © Getty Images

So you want to see a lion in the wild? Terrific. Now comes the tricky part: choosing where to go on your first safari.

Which countries offer the easiest introduction to the continent for first-time travelers? Which countries are best for wildlife?

Let us help you cut through the overwhelming options and plan your first safari to Africa for blockbuster wildlife watching – without feeling overwhelmed.

Meerkats stand to attention as humans walk by

Planning a safari in Botswana

Why botswana.

Water-based safaris, exclusivity, privacy and high-quality camps in captivating areas: Botswana is one of Africa’s premier wildlife-watching destinations. Its prolific wildlife inhabits extraordinary landscapes, including the Chobe River, the Okavango Delta  and the salt pans of Makgadikgadi .

The easiest choice for your trip,  Chobe National Park is home to the world’s largest concentration of elephants, as well as a host of easy-to-spot big cats, buffaloes, giraffes and zebras, making it perfect for first-timers. The best way to see Africa’s elephant capital is to board a boat and cruise the Chobe River’s wildlife-rich shores. From here, you can travel into the Okavango Delta, where you can splurge on a luxury safari and take a mokoro  (dugout canoe) through the wetlands, before forging on into the Makgadikgadi salt pans to mingle with meerkats.

Botswana’s appeal and ease, however, come with a (big) caveat: the cost. To avoid the pitfalls of mass tourism, most luxury lodges and camps lie in concession areas rented out by the government to enforce a high-value, low-volume responsible-tourism strategy. The best reserves sit in the swamps of the Okavango Delta, and visitors fly in on small bush planes from Maun or Kasane. Mobile safaris – group trips that take you from site to site, often involving camping along the way – are a more cost-effective alternative: you can combine time in  Moremi Game Reserve  with Chobe National Park.

Best time to visit for a safari in Botswana

The high and dry season from June to October is the best wildlife-watching time , and also when water levels are generally at their highest in the Okavango Delta, allowing you to glide along the channels in a mokoro .

Where to stay on safari in Botswana

In and around Chobe National Park, we recommend  Chobe Game Lodge , Chobe Safari Lodge  and Chobe Bakwena , with Chobe Game Lodge being the only one inside the park. For photographers, Pangolin Chobe Hotel has specialist boats with swivel seats and gimbal mounts to snap that Attenborough moment on the Chobe River.

You can combine Chobe with the Okavango Delta through scheduled group mobile safaris with Bush Ways or Letaka . If you’re after a luxury experience in an exceptionally wild, isolated area, Mombo Camp is probably the Okavango’s most exclusive and legendary lodge, with predators galore (and a pretty price tag). Mma Dinare Camp (which offers affordable road transfers), 4 Rivers Camp , Shinde Camp and Camp Moremi are well situated for spotting excellent big game. Xugana Island Lodge , Setari Camp and Mopiri Camp are wonderful for experiencing the waterways, and offer fishing and birding opportunities by boat. Mogotlho Safari Lodge is also accessible for self-drivers, and occupies a lovely position on the Khwai River near Mababe. Want a more adventurous, budget-friendly option? Try a fully catered, accommodated mokoro campout excursion that departs from Sitatunga Camp , south of Maun.

Trips to meet the cute meerkats of the Makgadikgadi salt pans can be arranged through San Camp, Jack’s Camp or Camp Kalahari, with Planet Baobab as the best budget-friendly option with self-drive access.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Botswana

Stays at isolated camps in the Okavango Delta start at roughly $650 per person, per night and can go up to an eye-watering $4000 a night. At approximately $300, Chobe National Park lodges are more affordable – so stretch out your days here to keep costs down. For better pricing on accommodations, travel during the shoulder season (April to May and October to November). Finally, check the distance between your luxury lodge and Maun to reduce the return-ticket cost. Some camps offer road transfers or boating access between camps to minimize travel costs.

Animals crossing the Mara River during the Great Migration between Tanzania and Kenya

Planning a safari in Kenya

Kenya ’s wildlife offering is outstanding, with the Great Migration in particular at the top of many bucket lists – so it’s no surprise that safaris have been a thing in Kenya since the very concept was invented (indeed, safari translates to “journey” in Swahili). Do keep in mind, though, that this track record does make Kenya one of the busiest, most popular wildlife destinations on the continent.

A renowned annual phenomenon, the Great Migration sees millions of wildebeest and zebras cross the Mara River from the Serengeti in southern Tanzania into Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve . The country’s semi-nomadic Maasai communities and their time-honored warrior traditions are another source of fascination. Visitors can support community-powered tourism by visiting the private reserves surrounding the Mara, which are leased to different safari companies. A guided bush walk with a Maasai warrior will let you experience this culture’s deep connection with the land.

The main safari circuit couples Lake Nakuru with the Masai Mara and Amboseli (where Mt Kilimanjaro provides a staggering backdrop). Tsavo West , Tsavo East and Samburu are popular add-ons, if you have extra time. Any combination of these parks should ensure ample sightings of big cats, plenty of elephants, a few rhinos and all of the plains animals, such as buffaloes, giraffes, zebras, and all manner of gazelle and antelope species. Want even more? Extend your stay by another week and scale Mt Kenya , Africa’s second-highest peak (after Kilimanjaro).

Most travelers just pass through Nairobi , staying long enough to visit Nairobi National Park . An extraordinarily well-stocked park on the cusp of one of Africa’s largest cities and easily accessible, Kenya’s original game reserve has wildlife in abundance, from lions, leopards, and buffaloes to the endangered black rhino and around 400 species of birdlife.

Generally, Kenya is viewed as a better choice for family safaris, those on a budget and those on a tight timeline.

Best time to visit for a safari in Kenya

July to October and January to February are the best times to see the Great Migration, when a million-plus wildebeest, along with hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, cross the crocodile-infested Mara River to graze on the lush grasses of the Masai Mara. With unrestricted visitor numbers, some areas can get crowded.

Where to stay on safari in Kenya

Kenya has hundreds of excellent lodges and tented camps, standards of service from local staff are generally high, and tour operators are experts at the logistics of moving between national parks for each leg of your safari itinerary.

Cottar’s 1920s Camp has entertained guests in high style for over 100 years, while “gentle on the earth” takes on a whole new meaning at Emboo River Camp , whose team will have you floating through the grasslands of the Masai Mara in the region’s first electric game drive vehicles.

Good value but still luxurious, Ol Tukai Lodge sits within Amboseli Park, with views of Kilimanjaro from the bar; nearby Amboseli Serena Safari Lodge is a comfortable family-friendly option. In Nairobi,  Giraffe Manor  provides a memorable breakfast spread before a visit to the city’s park; all accommodations in the upmarket Karen and Langata areas are close to the main entrance.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Kenya

Masai Mara National Reserve is the most wallet-friendly location for seeing the wildebeest migration. Despite having a shorter migration season, Kenya has more flights, more tourists, stiffer competition and a greater variety of affordable accommodations than next-door Tanzania. Expect to pay anything from $150 to $1000 per person, per night.

For a cheaper safari, book between the short and long rains (January to March), when prices are usually lower than during the peak season. Nairobi National Park charges $40 to non-residents for entry, while admission to Masai Mara is $80 for 24 hours if you stay outside the reserve, and $70 if you stay inside.

A family of five wild giraffes standing in a dry savannah landscape near Okaukuejo waterhole in Etosha National Park in Namibia, Africa.

Planning a safari in Namibia

Why namibia.

Two reasons: self-driving independence and dramatic desert scenery. While a 4WD African safari is always an ambitious undertaking, Namibia has good roads, well-equipped campsites and reasonably priced rental vehicles. This is one of the easiest Southern African countries to explore from the driver’s seat.

The classic circuit starts in Windhoek , where you’ll rent a fully equipped 4WD camper van or a decent gravel-road car. From there, you’ll head to Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert for incredible vistas, circle up to Swakopmund for coastal adventures and end at Etosha National Park , where elephants, rhinos and giraffes strut their stuff.

Etosha is Namibia’s version of South Africa’s Kruger National Park, with roads and facilities suitable for a self-driving budget safari. Each public camp overlooks a busy water hole, where game moves in and out to drink during the dry season. The camp is floodlit by night, which means you won’t need to leave once you settle in.

Best time to visit for a safari in Namibia

Etosha is well-known for its productive water holes, and peak game viewing is from June to October, when wildlife flocks to these oases dotted throughout the park. This is also a cooler time of year to climb the dramatic dunes such as  Dune 45 at Sossusvlei.

Where to stay on safari in Namibia

Arranging everything through the  Gondwana Collection is hands-down the easiest and best way to organize a self-driving safari. This group has a portfolio of accommodations in all the key tourist spots, ranging from well-serviced campsites to glamping tents and swank lodges filled with character. Favorites include the quirky Desert Grace and Namib Dune Star Camp (with its alfresco beds) near Sossusvlei, and The Delight in Swakopmund. A sister company,  Namibia2Go , offers car rentals with comprehensive insurance.

As an alternative, you can book campsites and chalets inside the parks with the government-run Namibia Wildlife Resorts . Okaukuejo Rest Camp lies inside the perimeter of Etosha and is the place to watch at the water hole.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Namibia

At about $800, a full week’s vehicle rental is cheaper than a single night’s stay at a luxury lodge in the Okavango Delta. Due to the vast distances between destinations in Namibia, however, fuel expenses can add up fast. National parks and private campsites offer affordable camping fees, though luxury accommodations will (understandably) be more expensive. For camping, expect to pay $20 to $50 per person, per night for camping; for lodges, $100 to $300.

Visitors watch a lion walk in front of their open safari vehicle at Madikwe Game Reserve at the border with Botswana

Planning a safari in South Africa

Why south africa.

Expect bush, beach and fine wine. From iconic Kruger National Park to the picturesque landscapes of KwaZulu-Natal , South Africa offers a safari experience that caters to all levels of adventurers. 

Kruger is the easiest and most rewarding safari destination for first-timers and budget travelers. You can see the Big Five (lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffaloes), as well as cheetahs, giraffes, African wild dogs and hundreds of bird species. Drive the park’s paved roads yourself if you’re on a budget, or visit private reserves like Sabi Sands or Thornybush for exclusive guided experiences, plus a better chance to see the Big Five in a short period.

Lesser-known reserves in KwaZulu-Natal are equally impressive. Hluhluwe-iMfolozi is just as accessible as Kruger from the city of Durban , and has excellent facilities for travelers on all budgets; expect to spot rhinos, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes and wildebeest. (The big cats are a little more challenging to see here.) Nearby Phinda Private Game Reserve offers stunning high-end stays – plus the possibility of a beach day or scuba diving at Sodwana Bay .

Madikwe Game Reserve in North West Province is close to the Botswana border and a four-hour drive from Johannesburg , making it popular for South Africans looking for a safari. It’s also a malaria-free option for families with young children.

Combine any of these safari parks with a flight south to Cape Town , and you’ll add fine wine, world-class restaurants and a seaside safari – visiting the  African penguins of Boulders Beach – to your itinerary.

Best time to visit for a safari in South Africa

While South Africa is a year-round destination , most visitors love the cooler, dry season between May and August. During these months, wildlife is easier to spot as vegetation is more sparse and animals gather around water holes.

Where to stay on safari in South Africa

There are plenty of affordable self-catering rest camps in Kruger National Park and Hluhluwe-iMfolozi run by SANParks , the government parks agency. Kruger’s southern zone is prime game-viewing territory, with Skukuza , Lower Sabie and Letaba rest camps all favorites. Hilltop Camp in Hluhluwe-iMfolozi has terrific views, while Rhino Ridge Safari Lodge is a superb, privately run option that supports the local community.

Plush camps and lodges in the private reserves come with highly trained guides who can take you out on foot or by vehicle. You can’t go wrong at Saseka in Thornybush, Dulini in Sabi Sands, Tanda Tula in  Timbavati , Jaci’s Safari Lodge in Madikwe or any of the &Beyond accommodations in Phinda.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in South Africa

Rates range from $100 to $200 per person, per night in government-run camps. Mid-range prices start at $300 to $700 per person, per night, with a corresponding bump in accommodation and guiding quality.

Hippos in the Seronera area of the Serengeti N P, Tanzania

Planning a safari in Tanzania

Why tanzania.

Limitless plains, the epic migration and relaxing dips in the Indian Ocean. Tanzania ’s northern safari circuit includes the amazing  Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater . Exploring these places for 10 days to two weeks is a sure way to fall in love with Africa. You should consider adding a few days on the island of Zanzibar  (officially called Unguja) to make your dream trip even more memorable.

Tanzania and Kenya share similarities, both having plentiful wildlife parks and excellent safari operators. Tanzania’s vibe, though, is generally less stressful – perhaps due to the fact that the Serengeti is nearly 10 times bigger than Kenya’s Masai Mara, offering endless horizons and greater habitat variety.

In the heart of the Serengeti, the Seronera River provides big-cat and herbivore sightings year round, making it popular with visitors. Kogatende and Lamai, on the Mara River, are ideal for observing river crossings – with fewer tourists. Private reserves such as  Grumeti allow viewings of the migration without the crowds (and for a price).

The Ngorongoro Crater is only a short drive to the east from the Serengeti. In this giant collapsed volcano (or caldera), animals like lions, elephants and black rhinos are enclosed as they prowl a complete ecosystem of pretty plains and dramatic forests. Note that such assets do draw the crowds in peak season.

Best time to visit for a safari in Tanzania

Plan a visit between January and March to witness the migration of wildebeest – and their newborns – passing through the Ngorongoro and Ndutu regions. (Get as early a start as possible to avoid day-trippers.) The best time to witness the famous wildebeest river crossings in the Serengeti is during the peak season, from July to August.

Where to stay on safari in Tanzania

Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is an upmarket accommodation inspired by traditional Tanzanian architecture; its popular mobile-safari offering is Kiota Camp. Run entirely by women,  Dunia Camp is a luxury tented property situated in prime lion territory. Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a great value-for-money permanent lodge conveniently located near the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater. For an even more budget-friendly option, consider  Bougainvillea Safari Lodge . For a different kind of stay, book a stay  Gibb’s Farm , which is situated on a working coffee farm and offers campfire storytelling and other fun extras.

On the coast, Chumbe Island in Zanzibar/Unguja is a highly rated, ecofriendly property that offers sensational snorkeling in a protected marine reserve. In the historic heart of  Stone Town , the best-value stay is Zanzibar Coffee House , dating from the 19th century.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Tanzania

Expect to pay anything from $250 to $950 per room, per night, during your stay in Tanzania. Entry fees at Serengeti National Park for foreign tourists are $70 (peak season) and $60 (low season). To visit the Ngorongoro Crater, you’ll pay $250 for a vehicle, in addition to the same entry fee. These fees are typically included in organized safari packages.

Several southern carmine bee-eaters perching on an ochre-coloured rock in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Planning a safari in Zambia

Why zambia.

Track rhinos, witness an awe-inspiring cascade and join a walking safari to experience nature up close. Indeed,  Zambia is celebrated worldwide as the birthplace of the safari on foot, during which, under the guidance of two armed rangers, rhino tracking in nearby Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park will bring you close to these magnificent animals – only a taste of what’s to come at South Luangwa.

Livingstone , the tourist capital of Zambia, lets you gaze at another (non-living) marvel: mighty Mosi-oa-Tunya, better known as  Victoria Falls . If the 935 cu meters (33,000 cu ft) of water that pours over the falls each second is not heart-pumping enough, there are plenty of other thrilling activities to enjoy , such as white-water rafting on the Zambezi River and bungee jumping (also available on the Zimbabwe side of Victoria Falls). During July and August, you can even take a refreshing dip in the natural infinity pool at the edge of the falls.

Several small and rustic camps in the Luangwa Valley cater just to walking safaris – a thrilling alternative to traditional game drives. These camps are mainly located in South Luangwa National Park .

Best time to visit for a safari in Zambia

Peak game viewing is from June to October, and Victoria Falls is at its best on the Zambia side from March to May.

Where to stay on safari in Zambia

Flatdogs Camp in South Luangwa National Park offers family-friendly luxury. In Livingstone, Jollyboys Backpackers provides a vibey base from which to explore town. The Victoria Falls Waterfront provides a free shuttle to the main event – but if you want to stay at the falls with unlimited access, the swish Royal Livingstone Resort is top-notch; the three-star Avani Victoria Falls Resort is next door.

Green Safaris operates a great circuit of camps in Zambia if you want to combine Victoria Falls with South Luangwa. Live the Robinson Crusoe life at Sindabezi Island Lodge on the Zambezi, and then head into the bush at Shawa Luangwa Camp . You can’t go wrong with walking-safari operators Time + Tide (its  Kakuli is a classic camp that’s been open since 1950), or Robin Pope .

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Zambia

Consider getting the KAZA UniVisa , a special $50 pass that allows for unlimited crossings between Zambia and Zimbabwe, plus a one-day trip to Botswana (via the Kazungula border crossing), within 30 days. Budget $250 to $700 per person, per night for lodging.

Young woman sitting at the edge of Victoria Falls, Livingstone, Zambia

Planning a safari in Zimbabwe

Why zimbabwe.

The adventurous choice for a first-time safari, Zimbabwe has arguably the best guides in Africa. The easiest way to experience it all? Spend three days in Victoria Falls. Since it’s one of the country’s most popular tourist towns, you’ll find plenty to see, do and eat.

The meandering rainforest walkway in Zimbabwe is where the majority of Victoria Falls viewpoints lie. This is a better option for experiencing the falls during during the dry season (May to October), when water levels on the Zambian side lessen. On some evenings and during the full moon,  Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe remains open at night for dazzling stargazing.

After a day of adrenaline-fueled bungee jumping, white-water rafting, zip-lining or hovering in a helicopter above Batoka Gorge, afternoon tea at the Victoria Falls Hotel , served every day between 3pm and 6pm, offers some refined relaxation, as you share a tiered stand of pretty sandwiches and delicate pastries beside the manicured lawns. If this lies beyond your budget, enjoy a simple gin-and-tonic sundowner – or head to the Wild Horizons Lookout Café .

The wildlife around here is less prolific than nearby Chobe National Park in Botswana (which you can visit on a day trip or easily combine with Victoria Falls). Yet a boat cruise allows for spottings of hippos, crocodiles and the occasional elephant. A 45-minute flight or two-hour drive away,  Hwange National Park is where you’ll find bigger game.

Best time to visit for a safari in Zimbabwe

There is fantastic wildlife viewing during the dry months, from May to October. Victoria Falls is at its peak from March to May.

Where to stay on safari in Zimbabwe

Victoria Falls Safari Lodge sits on a ridge and overlooks a water hole frequented by buffaloes and other beasts. Nkosi Guest Lodge is a pretty, upmarket inn, while Ilala Lodge Hotel is just a 10-minute walk from Victoria Falls. The Victoria Falls Hotel, the iconic grande dame, offers perhaps the best views. Further afield, you can ensconce yourself in the bush at  Mpala Jena , about 40km (25 miles) upstream. In Hwange, The Hide , Camp Hwange  and Somalisa are all visitor favorites.

Budgeting and costs for a safari in Zimbabwe

Entry to Victoria Falls is $50. With the wide range of accommodation options, you can spend $150 to $700 per person, per night.

This article was first published October 2019 and updated February 2024

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African Desert Safari: 17 Best Destinations and Top Attractions

deadvlei

An African desert safari is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure that belongs on your bucket list. It is an opportunity to explore some of the most extreme landscapes in the world. Given that deserts cover at least a third of the continent, you may wonder where to begin.

Admittedly, the sheer number of options here can be overwhelming. Based on the general consensus, there are nine main deserts in Africa. Some of these have smaller deserts nestled within them. There are additional unique landscapes on the continent that fit the loose definition of a desert. Some lists therefore feature more than 20 names of African deserts.

To help you curate a worthwhile desert adventure , we have undertaken a thorough research of the best places to visit. Our guide includes a brief review of the top attractions that you cannot afford to miss in these vacation spots.

Read on to identify these must-visit destinations for the most exciting African desert safari.

Sahara Desert

The Sahara Desert is the largest desert in Africa, spanning 9.2 million square kilometers (about the size of China or the USA). It is also the largest hot desert worldwide – temperatures rise up to 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Farenheit). However, night temperatures can drop as low as minus six degrees Celsius. Some of its mountains receive regular snow falls. But the area as a whole receives less than one inch of rainfall annually.

Overall, it is the third-largest desert in the world – the Antarctica is the largest and the Arctic takes second place. Its expansive territory stretches across 12 countries. These include:

According to estimates, the Sahara is home to about four million people scattered in these countries. It also has a wide array of wildlife. This includes cape hare, jerboa, oryx, mongoose, hyena, gerbil, barbary sheep and the desert hedgehog. More than 300 species of birds live here.

Though there are at least 20 lakes here, the only freshwater body is Lake Chad. It has sand dunes as tall as 450 meters – some of the tallest worldwide.

Top Attractions to Visit on Your African Desert Safari in the Sahara

Here are some unique attractions that will make your Sahara Desert vacation worth every moment:

tassili-n'ajjer-algeria-african-desert-safari

  • Tassili n’Ajjer, Algeria – this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Algeria. It is renowned for its ancient rock art, stunning canyons and intriguing rock formations.
  • Siwa and Bahariya Oases in the Lybian Desert, Egypt – these sites are widely famed for their bubbling hot springs and lush, green vegetation. They are also home to several historical sites.
  • Timimoun, Algeria – a great site for archaeology lovers, this picturesque town is also home to groves of date palms.
  • Erg Chigaga and Chebbi Dunes – these sand dunes in Morocco rise up to 300 meters high. They are great locations for stargazing and camel trekking.
  • Chott el Jerid – located in Tunisia, this is a surreal landscape consisting of salt pans
  • Tomb of the Christian – dating back to the fourth century, this magnificent archeological site is a must-see in the Lybian Desert

Kalahari Desert

The Kalahari Desert covers a remarkable 930,000 square kilometers. 80% of this is in Botswana while the remaining part covers some of South Africa and Namibia.  It is the second largest desert in Africa (after Sahara) and the sixth largest on the planet.

Because it receives between four and 20 inches of rain every year, some experts describe it as a semi-desert. Even in areas with low precipitation, its ground cover is much denser than that of other deserts. Daytime temperatures here rise to highs of up to 46 degrees Celsius. At night, it drops to an average of 21 degrees Celsius. But it could go as low as minus 12 degrees Celsius in colder months.

Wildlife in this area includes the brown hyena, spotted fox, springbok, duiker, oryx, kudu, wildebeest, meerkat and steenbok. It is also home to black-maned lions, cheetahs and leopards. There are at least 264 bird species seen here, but most are not residents.

Rainwater seeps into the Kalahari sand as soon as it lands. This could explain why it has the largest underground lake (non-subglacial) in the world – Dragon’s Breath Cave.

Top Attractions to Visit on Your African Desert Safari in the Kalahari

springboks-kgalagadi

Here are some of the best places to visit for a memorable desert holiday :

  • Dragon’s Breath Cave, Namibia – this mysterious subterranean world lies deep underneath Namibia’s arid landscape. The bizarre ecosystem has crystal-clear waters that are home to various aquatic creatures. The dark bowels of this cave still hold secrets that humankind is yet to uncover.
  • Trans-Kalahari Highway – drive through the desert on this scenic road and enjoy great wildlife views and the iconic red sand dunes.
  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – a nature conservation park that straddles the border between Botswana and South Africa. It is home to diverse wildlife species and stunning landscapes.
  • San Cultural Tour – take an immersive cultural tour and learn about the indigenous San community. Enjoy interactive experiences like storytelling sessions and bushman walks
  • Kalahari Desert Horse Trail – nothing quite as fun as exploring the vast terrain of the Kalahari on horseback.
  • Eye of Kuruman – widely renowned as the Southern Hemisphere’s largest natural fountain, it pumps out more than 20 million liters of water daily. The beautiful pool of crystal-clear water holds a thriving ecosystem of aquatic life. These include the endangered pseudocrenilabrus philander and a rare species of cichlid. Beautiful palm and willow trees surround the pool providing a gentle breeze.
  • Kubu Island – an iconic outcrop made of granite, consisting of fascinating geological formations. It is also famed for its rich historical and archaeological significance.

Namib Desert

Spanning more than 81,000 square kilometers, this desert covers parts of Namibia, Angola and South Africa. Experts describe it as the oldest desert worldwide. It borders the Atlantic coast and merges with Kalahari Desert.

While it may go more than a year without any rainfall, other years see about one or two inches of rain. In summer, temperatures rise to highs of up to 60 degrees Celsius. At night, they drop to between 17 degrees and 0 degrees Celsius.

Interactions between the Atlantic Benguela current and dry desert winds form a thick mist that provides the main source of precipitation. The same winds also make it an extremely arid area. Notably too, the fog here also comes from water sources underneath the earth’s surface. Surface water here is almost non-existent.

Just like the Kalahari, Namib is home to a wide range of animals including lions and elephants. The plains zebra, springbok, Gemsbok, Kirk’s dik-dik, Namib dune gecko, sand cat and meerkat also live here. Some of its endangered species include the rare black rhino, puku, oribi and the wild dog. It also has more than 200 bird species with such rare birds as the dune lark and Hartlaub’s Francolin.

Top Attractions to Visit on Your African Desert Safari in the Namib Desert

sossusvlei-namib-desert-africa-safari

Some of the standout attractions here include:

  • Deadvlei and Sossusvlei – these iconic salt and clay pans are nature’s masterpieces showcasing a work of contrasts. The desert floor is a striking white situated in the midst of deep red dunes. Black skeletons of dead camel thorn trees punctuate the ground. These trees are reportedly about nine centuries old but do not decompose due to the extreme climate.
  • Skeleton Coast – where the Atlantic Ocean meets the sand dunes of Namib desert lies an area described as the world’s largest cemetery for ships. Huge numbers of whales have been stranded on this 500-kilometer stretch, leaving skeletons all over the beach. The shifty Benguela current and thick fog has also wrecked countless ships, with many sailors dying in the inhospitable region. Everything about this destination is unexpected.
  • Namib-Naukluft National Park – as the largest game park on the continent, this diverse ecosystem features mountains, a lagoon, deserts and canyons. It is home to astounding wildlife species.
  • Moon Landscape – the rugged landscape with rocky outcrops and dramatic cliffs in brown and gray seems almost alien-like.
  • Fish River Canyon – this 160-kilometer-long stretch is the second-largest canyon worldwide. It is about 27 kilometers wide and reaches a depth of 550 meters in places. During the rainy season, fish river comes to life, winding through the gorges into Orange River. A great hiking destination

Embrace the Beauty of Arid Landscapes on an African Desert Safari

The seemingly inhospitable lands that make up African deserts are a treasure trove of hidden gems. They are extraordinary worlds of sand dunes, caves, ephemeral rivers and white salt pans. Even in the most unforgiving terrains here, life dares to thrive.

Your role as an adventurer is to uncover the tales of adaptation and survival that keeps it all together. Enjoy the ultimate adventure vacation on your African desert safari with a tour of these awe-inspiring attractions.

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  • What’s a Namibia Desert…

Deadvlei in Namibia desert

What’s a Namibia Desert safari like? Explore the Namib, Karoo & Kalahari Deserts

Posted by Andrew Hofmeyr on May 20 2023 in Namibia Safaris Enquire Now!

Namibia, renowned for its stunning desert landscapes, is one of southern Africa’s most popular safari destinations. Vast open spaces, towering orange-red sand dunes, shaggy plants that have survived for thousands of years, and specialist desert-adapted game, combined with quaint colonial architecture, and fascinating local cultures make Namibia an African safari gem. Exploring Namibia means exploring African desert landscapes. But how many deserts are there in Namibia? Where does the sand come from, and what life can you expect to find in the Kalahari, Karoo, and Namib Desert? This blog post will explain the Namibia deserts, and offer a window into this fascinating world.

Hike up Dune 45 Sossusvlei, Namibia

What is a desert?

From Mongolia to the Americas, Australia, and Africa, deserts are found around the globe. A desert is defined as a dry, barren region that receives less than 25cm or 10 inches of rain per year. They are often characterized by hot daytime temperatures, cold temperatures at night, a lack of trees, and very sparse vegetation, as well as low densities of animal life. Remarkably, deserts cover approximately one-third of the earth's land surface.

Despite popular belief, deserts are not barren wastelands. They are biologically diverse habitats, with a host of unique plants and animals that have adapted to survive in harsh conditions. Some deserts are among the last remaining areas of total wilderness on the planet. Namibia , located in southern Africa, is known for its stunning desert landscapes, but how many deserts are there in Namibia?

African desert safari in Namibia

How many deserts are there in Namibia?

Namibia is renowned for its striking African desert landscapes. But just how many deserts are there in Namibia? Namibia is blessed with four distinct desert ecosystems which are the Namib, the Kalahari Desert, the Succulent Karoo, and the Nama Karoo. Because of the higher-than-average rainfall in the Succulent Karoo, Nama Karoo, and Kalahari, they are not, by a strict definition, true deserts.

The Namib Desert is the most famous and covers most of Namibia's coastline, with its iconic red dunes and diverse wildlife. The Kalahari Desert, because of its slightly higher rainfall, is actually a semi-arid region that stretches across southern Africa. The Succulent Karoo and the Nama Karoo are lesser-known desert ecosystems that are characterized by their otherworldly landscapes and specialized flora and fauna. Each desert ecosystem in Namibia offers a unique and captivating experience for travellers, and exploring its diverse features is a must-do for anyone visiting this beautiful country.

Namibia Desert dunes

The Namib Desert in Namibia

The Namib Desert is a fascinating and captivating landscape located in southwestern Africa. It is considered the oldest desert on Earth, with its sands believed to be around 5 million years old. The Namib Sand Sea, a vast section of the desert that spans 34,000 km² (13,000 mi²), is home to many of the highest dunes on the planet. These dunes, sculpted by winds, are a highlight of the Namib Desert, and a must-see for any Namibian desert safari.

The sand that makes up the Namib Desert originates from erosion processes that occur to the south of the area, near the Orange River valley. The Orange River carries sandy sediment into the Atlantic Ocean, and northward flowing currents deposit it along the shore. The prevailing winds from the south also contribute to the deposition of sand in the desert. This process results in the unique landscape of the Namib Desert, with its towering dunes that stretch as far as the eye can see.

Despite the harsh environment, life has found a way to survive in the Namib Desert of Namibia. The fog that rolls in from the ocean is the primary source of water for the region, making it the only coastal desert in the world to contain large dune fields influenced by fog. This moisture results in relatively abundant and diverse vegetation, particularly on the rocky hills or mountains (inselbergs) that rise above the desert.

Namib web-footed gecko, Namibia

The Namib Desert is home to an unexpected variety of fauna and flora, including the endemic Namib Desert beetle, elusive and endangered desert lions, and elephants, as well as oryx, cheetahs, hyenas, foxes, Haartman’s zebras, and Namibia’s national plant, the Welwitschia which can survive for thousands of years. The wild horses of the Namib Desert are an iconic feature of Namibia , thought to have escaped from German cavalry during World War II.

In addition to its natural wonders, the Namib Desert has a rich cultural history, with evidence of human habitation dating back over 2,000 years. The indigenous people of the desert, including the Himba and the Herero, have a deep connection to the land and have developed unique cultures and traditions that are still practised today.

Kolmanskop Namibia

The Namib Desert is a popular desert adventure destination. Highlights include the iconic Sossusvlei, a salt and clay pan surrounded by towering red dunes, including the famous Dune 45 and Big Daddy, the tallest dune in the Namib Desert. Dune 7, another prominent dune, is located in the Namib-Naukluft National Park and is a popular spot for sandboarding. The Namib Desert is also an incredible place for enjoying the galactic wonder of the Milky Way, and the Namib Desert is home to Africa’s only Dark-Sky Reserve at the Namib-Rand Private Reserve.

Namib Desert stars

The unique and awe-inspiring Namib Desert is filled with stunning natural features, rare and fascinating flora and fauna, and rich cultural history. It is a must-see destination for anyone interested in exploring the wonders of the natural world.

Namibia desert environment

Top Namib Desert Park: The Namib-Naukluft National Park

The Namib-Naukluft National Park is a vast wilderness covering 50,000 km² in the Namib Desert . The park boasts a stunning array of plant and animal life adapted to survive in a harsh environment with very little water. It is home to shifting terracotta dunes, vast plains, and the dramatic Naukluft Mountains. Wildlife includes oryx, kudu, giraffe, springbok, black-backed jackals, African wild cats, aardvarks, and leopards, along with over 340 species of birds and many reptiles. The park also features weird and wonderful plants like the Welwitschia. The dunes in the park are massive, with some reaching heights of over 300 meters creating an awe-inspiring desert landscape.

Springbok in Kalahari Desert, Namibia

The Kalahari Desert in Namibia

The Kalahari is a vast semi-arid region that covers over 900,000 km² across southern Africa, including parts of Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. The Namibian section of the Kalahari Desert lies in the eastern and southern parts of the country, where it merges with the Namib. The Kalahari Desert is Africa’s second largest desert after the Sahara. This African desert was formed over 60 million years ago during the break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent, which caused the climate to become drier.

Despite the Tswana name which means “the great thirst”, the Kalahari Desert is not a true desert, as it receives slightly more rainfall than a typical desert. However, the water either sinks below the sand or evaporates due to the extreme heat. The sand in the Kalahari Desert is not blown in from the coast like the Namib but is rather the result of the erosion of the surrounding rock formations. The sand dunes in the Kalahari are generally not as large or as steep as those in the Namib Desert, but they still create an impressive landscape of red sand and sweeping vistas.

The Kalahari Desert is full of life that includes desert-adapted species like oryx, springbok, wildebeest, and kudu, as well as African desert specialists like meerkats, bat-eared foxes, cape foxes, and brown hyenas. Interestingly, the Kalahari Desert is also home to all three of Africa’s big cats, the cheetah, leopard, and the famous Kalahari black-maned lions. In addition to the game species, the Kalahari is also home to an array of birdlife that includes ostriches, secretary birds, kori bustards, and impressive sociable weavers.

Kalahari Desert landscape

The San people, also known as Bushmen, have lived in the Kalahari Desert for thousands of years and are believed to be one of the oldest cultures in the world. The San adapted to the harsh environment by developing a deep understanding of the natural world around them and relying on hunting and gathering for survival. Amongst the fascinating medicinal plants of the Kalahari is the Hoodia, a euphorbia species that when ingested relieves fatigue and hunger. Visitors to the Kalahari Desert can learn about San culture and history through guided tours and cultural experiences.

Black maned lion Kalahari Desert

Best Kalahari Desert Park: The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The best national park to visit in the Namibian Kalahari is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which straddles the border between Namibia, South Africa, and Botswana. The park is a vast wilderness area of over 3.6 million hectares and is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including lions, cheetahs, leopards, and hyenas. Visitors can stay in comfortable lodges or camp out under the stars and enjoy game drives and guided walks to see the wildlife and experience the unique landscape of the Kalahari Desert.

Kalahari Desert namibia

The Nama Karoo & Succulent Karoo of Namibia

The Nama Karoo and Succulent Karoo cover vast tracks of land that stretch from southern Namibia southward into the Western Cape of South Africa. These semi-desert eco-regions are distinct because of their unique climatic conditions and highly adapted plant species. For most people, there is little difference between the Nama Karoo and the Succulent Karoo, but to those willing to explore, these biomes offer a wealth of distinct animal and plant life, as well as a fascinating record of the history of the earth.

The Nama Karoo of Namibia

The Nama Karoo is a vast, arid region characterized by low-shrub vegetation and rugged terrain. It covers an area of approximately 135,600 km² (52,400 sq mi). Despite not having high species richness or endemism, the flora and fauna have impressively adapted to the extreme climate of the region. Unfortunately, the region faces major threats to its biodiversity due to pastoralism, exotic plants, mining, and agriculture, while less than 1% of the ecoregion has conservation status. Mostly, the Nama Karoo is covered by huge sheep farms where sheep have replaced the huge grazing migratory herds of springbok that naturally occurred more than a century ago. The prevailing vegetation in the area is grassy, dwarf shrubland. The Nama Karoo is not a tourist hotspot.

Succulent Karoo desert

The Succulent Karoo of Namibia

The Succulent Karoo is unparalleled in its botanical diversity among all arid regions globally. Covering over 100,000km², the area extends from southern Namibia south, across the Orange River, and into South Africa. This area is the richest region of succulent flora globally and boasts over 5,000 species of which 40% are endemic. Some of the most well-known succulents found in the area include the quiver tree, the "half-mens" tree, and the hugely diverse Mesembryanthemum family of plants. The Succulent Karoo is also home to a variety of wildlife, including Hartmann's mountain zebra, and many species of birds. The Succulent Karoo is a treasure trove of desert-adapted species of succulents, geophytes, reptiles, and unique insects like monkey beetles. Only about 3% of this ecoregion has protected status.

Ai Ais Richtersveld National Park

TOP Succulent Karoo Destination: Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

The best place to experience the unique biodiversity of the Succulent Karoo is the Ai-Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, which straddles the border between Namibia and South Africa . The park is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including mountain zebras, klipspringers, and several species of antelope. Visitors can explore the park on foot, by vehicle, or on a guided tour, and there are a variety of accommodation options available, from camping to luxury lodges.

The Richtersveld is home to an outstanding array of plant life, with over 2,700 species, half of which are endemic to the region. The unique and diverse plant life is due to the harsh climate and geology of the area. The region's plants have adapted to survive in extreme temperatures and drought, including the well-known "half-mens" plant, which resembles a human figure. Other notable plants include the tall quiver tree, and the Namaqua fig, which is used by locals to produce a delicious jam. The Richtersveld's plant diversity is so exceptional that it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007.

Mesembrantheum family of flowers

Namibia Desert Safari

Visiting Namibia on a desert safari adventure (be it to the Namib Desert, Karoo, or the Kalahari) is an excellent way to explore these truly unique biomes. With big skies, endless horizons, and a multitude of fascinating experiences, Namibia has a lot to offer every traveller, African Budget Safaris has over a hundred Namibia safaris to choose from or talk to one of our experienced travel consultants today, and start planning your Namibia desert safari.

If you liked this post, these trips cover similar ground…

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  • 12 Day Namibia Self Drive Safari
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About the Author

Andrew hofmeyr naturalist, artist & writer.

Andrew Hofmeyr

Places Mentioned in this Post

Map

1. /Ai /Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, Alexander Bay, South Africa

2. Sossusvlei, Namibia

3. Namib Desert

4. Windhoek, Namibia

5. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Botswana

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A Guide to the 10 Best Safari Experiences in Africa

Posted: February 20, 2024 | Last updated: February 20, 2024

<p><strong>Embarking on an African safari is an experience like no other. The continent’s vast and diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and unique cultural heritage make it a dream destination for nature and adventure enthusiasts. From the savannas of the Serengeti to the deltas of Botswana, each safari destination offers a unique glimpse into the wild heart of Africa. This guide will take you through ten of the best safari experiences in Africa, providing insider tips to help you make the most of your adventure.</strong></p>

Embarking on an African safari is an experience like no other. The continent’s vast and diverse landscapes, rich wildlife, and unique cultural heritage make it a dream destination for nature and adventure enthusiasts. From the savannas of the Serengeti to the deltas of Botswana, each safari destination offers a unique glimpse into the wild heart of Africa. This guide will take you through ten of the best safari experiences in Africa, providing insider tips to help you make the most of your adventure.

<p><span>In the Serengeti National Park, you’ll witness the quintessence of the African savanna. The vast open plains are home to the Great Migration, an awe-inspiring natural spectacle where millions of wildebeest and zebras journey in search of greener pastures. The park’s diverse habitats, including riverine forests and swamps, are teeming with wildlife, from lions and leopards to giraffes and elephants. For a unique experience, plan an early morning hot air balloon ride, providing a stunning aerial view of the plains at sunrise.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Book a hot air balloon safari for an unforgettable aerial view of the migration.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>June to October for the migration; January and February for the calving season.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, then a local flight to the Serengeti.</span></p>

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

In the Serengeti National Park, you’ll witness the quintessence of the African savanna. The vast open plains are home to the Great Migration, an awe-inspiring natural spectacle where millions of wildebeest and zebras journey in search of greener pastures. The park’s diverse habitats, including riverine forests and swamps, are teeming with wildlife, from lions and leopards to giraffes and elephants. For a unique experience, plan an early morning hot air balloon ride, providing a stunning aerial view of the plains at sunrise.

Insider’s Tip: Book a hot air balloon safari for an unforgettable aerial view of the migration.

When To Travel: June to October for the migration; January and February for the calving season.

How To Get There: Fly to Kilimanjaro International Airport, then a local flight to the Serengeti.

<p><span>In the Maasai Mara, you’ll experience one of Africa’s most abundant wildlife reserves. It is best known for the migration period when massive herds cross the Mara River. However, it’s also home to the Big Five and an excellent location for spotting predators in action. The Mara’s landscape of rolling grasslands and acacia woodlands adds to its charm. Consider visiting a local Maasai village for a cultural insight into the lives of the indigenous community.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Visit a Maasai village for a cultural experience.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>July to October for the migration.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Nairobi, followed by a local flight or drive to the reserve.</span></p>

Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

In the Maasai Mara, you’ll experience one of Africa’s most abundant wildlife reserves. It is best known for the migration period when massive herds cross the Mara River. However, it’s also home to the Big Five and an excellent location for spotting predators in action. The Mara’s landscape of rolling grasslands and acacia woodlands adds to its charm. Consider visiting a local Maasai village for a cultural insight into the lives of the indigenous community.

Insider’s Tip: Visit a Maasai village for a cultural experience.

When To Travel: July to October for the migration.

How To Get There: Fly to Nairobi, followed by a local flight or drive to the reserve.

<p><span>Kruger National Park offers a more accessible safari experience without skimping on wildlife diversity. It’s one of the best places to self-drive, giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace. The park is home to a vast array of animals, including the Big Five, and has a well-developed infrastructure, making it ideal for first-time safari-goers. Stay in one of the park’s private lodges for a more secluded experience and expert-led game drives.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Stay in one of the park’s private lodges for exclusive game drives.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>May to September for dry season game viewing.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Johannesburg, drive to Kruger, or take a local flight to nearby airports.</span></p>

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park offers a more accessible safari experience without skimping on wildlife diversity. It’s one of the best places to self-drive, giving you the freedom to explore at your own pace. The park is home to a vast array of animals, including the Big Five, and has a well-developed infrastructure, making it ideal for first-time safari-goers. Stay in one of the park’s private lodges for a more secluded experience and expert-led game drives.

Insider’s Tip: Stay in one of the park’s private lodges for exclusive game drives.

When To Travel: May to September for dry season game viewing.

How To Get There: Fly to Johannesburg, drive to Kruger, or take a local flight to nearby airports.

<p><span>Chobe National Park is renowned for its large elephant population and river safaris on the Chobe River. These unique water-based safaris offer a different perspective and the opportunity to see a variety of aquatic wildlife and birds. The park’s proximity to Victoria Falls makes it easy to combine your safari with one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. The dry season brings large concentrations of wildlife to the riverbanks, making for exceptional game viewing.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Combine your visit with a trip to Victoria Falls.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>May to October for the dry season.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Kasane Airport or drive from Victoria Falls or Livingstone.</span></p>

Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National Park is renowned for its large elephant population and river safaris on the Chobe River. These unique water-based safaris offer a different perspective and the opportunity to see a variety of aquatic wildlife and birds. The park’s proximity to Victoria Falls makes it easy to combine your safari with one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. The dry season brings large concentrations of wildlife to the riverbanks, making for exceptional game viewing.

Insider’s Tip: Combine your visit with a trip to Victoria Falls.

When To Travel: May to October for the dry season.

How To Get There: Fly to Kasane Airport or drive from Victoria Falls or Livingstone.

<p><span>The Okavango Delta is a unique wetland within a desert, offering an unparalleled safari experience. The annual flooding of the delta creates a lush habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. Exploring the delta by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, is a serene and intimate way to experience this unique ecosystem. Staying in a bush camp on one of the delta’s islands provides an immersive wilderness experience.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Book a bush camp on one of the delta’s islands.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>July to October for the flood season.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Maun Airport, then take a charter flight to the delta.</span></p>

Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta is a unique wetland within a desert, offering an unparalleled safari experience. The annual flooding of the delta creates a lush habitat for a diverse array of wildlife. Exploring the delta by mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe, is a serene and intimate way to experience this unique ecosystem. Staying in a bush camp on one of the delta’s islands provides an immersive wilderness experience.

Insider’s Tip: Book a bush camp on one of the delta’s islands.

When To Travel: July to October for the flood season.

How To Get There: Fly to Maun Airport, then take a charter flight to the delta.

<p><span>In South Africa, your volunteer journey can take you through a spectrum of experiences, from engaging in community development projects in bustling townships to participating in wildlife conservation efforts in vast savannas. You might find yourself teaching in a local school, contributing to the empowerment of underprivileged communities, or working in a wildlife reserve where the protection of species like rhinos and elephants is paramount.</span></p> <p><span>This experience offers a unique blend of social and environmental impact, set against the backdrop of South Africa’s stunning landscapes and rich cultural diversity. Your contribution here helps support sustainable development and wildlife conservation, crucial aspects of preserving South Africa’s unique heritage.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Choose programs that work directly with local communities for a more authentic experience.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>May to September for cooler weather and wildlife viewing.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Major international flights land in Johannesburg or Cape Town.</span></p>

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park is centered around the vast Etosha Salt Pan, providing a unique backdrop for wildlife viewing. The park’s numerous waterholes attract a variety of animals, particularly during the dry season, making it an excellent location for photographers. Night-time game viewing at the waterholes offers a chance to see nocturnal species and unique animal behaviors not typically observed during the day.

Insider’s Tip: Stay inside the park for night-time waterhole viewing.

How To Get There: Fly to Windhoek, then drive or take a local flight to Etosha.

<p><span>The Ngorongoro Crater offers a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience. As you descend into the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera, you’ll find an abundance of wildlife in this natural amphitheater. The crater floor is home to over 25,000 animals, including the endangered black rhino. Early morning visits allow for fewer crowds and more active wildlife.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Visit the crater early in the morning to avoid crowds.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>June to September for cooler weather and optimal wildlife viewing.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Kilimanjaro Airport, then drive or take a local flight.</span></p>

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater offers a once-in-a-lifetime safari experience. As you descend into the world’s largest inactive, intact, and unfilled volcanic caldera, you’ll find an abundance of wildlife in this natural amphitheater. The crater floor is home to over 25,000 animals, including the endangered black rhino. Early morning visits allow for fewer crowds and more active wildlife.

Insider’s Tip: Visit the crater early in the morning to avoid crowds.

When To Travel: June to September for cooler weather and optimal wildlife viewing.

How To Get There: Fly to Kilimanjaro Airport, then drive or take a local flight.

<p><span>South Luangwa National Park is a haven for those seeking a more adventurous safari. Known as the birthplace of the walking safari, it offers an intimate and immersive experience. The park is renowned for its high-quality guides and exceptional leopard sightings. Night drives here are especially rewarding, with chances to see nocturnal animals like genets, civets, and bush babies.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Try a night drive for a chance to see nocturnal animals.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>July to October for the dry season.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Lusaka, then take a local flight to Mfuwe Airport.</span></p>

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park is a haven for those seeking a more adventurous safari. Known as the birthplace of the walking safari, it offers an intimate and immersive experience. The park is renowned for its high-quality guides and exceptional leopard sightings. Night drives here are especially rewarding, with chances to see nocturnal animals like genets, civets, and bush babies.

Insider’s Tip: Try a night drive for a chance to see nocturnal animals.

When To Travel: July to October for the dry season.

How To Get There: Fly to Lusaka, then take a local flight to Mfuwe Airport.

<p><span>Hwange National Park, the largest in Zimbabwe, is known for its vast elephant herds and diverse landscapes ranging from desert sands to forests. It’s also one of the best places to see African wild dogs. The park’s numerous waterholes are magnets for wildlife, especially during the dry season, offering superb game viewing opportunities.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Visit the park’s waterholes for excellent game viewing.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>July to October for the dry season.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Victoria Falls, then drive to Hwange.</span></p>

Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Hwange National Park, the largest in Zimbabwe, is known for its vast elephant herds and diverse landscapes ranging from desert sands to forests. It’s also one of the best places to see African wild dogs. The park’s numerous waterholes are magnets for wildlife, especially during the dry season, offering superb game viewing opportunities.

Insider’s Tip: Visit the park’s waterholes for excellent game viewing.

How To Get There: Fly to Victoria Falls, then drive to Hwange.

<p><span>Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a diverse safari experience, with landscapes including savannas, wetlands, and forests. It’s an excellent location for seeing tree-climbing lions and various primates, including chimpanzees. A boat trip on the Kazinga Channel is a must, providing close encounters with hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of water birds.</span></p> <p><b>Insider’s Tip: </b><span>Take a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel to see hippos and crocodiles.</span></p> <p><b>When To Travel: </b><span>January to February and June to July for dry weather.</span></p> <p><b>How To Get There: </b><span>Fly to Entebbe, then drive to the park or take a local flight.</span></p>

Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

Queen Elizabeth National Park offers a diverse safari experience, with landscapes including savannas, wetlands, and forests. It’s an excellent location for seeing tree-climbing lions and various primates, including chimpanzees. A boat trip on the Kazinga Channel is a must, providing close encounters with hippos, crocodiles, and a variety of water birds.

Insider’s Tip: Take a boat trip on the Kazinga Channel to see hippos and crocodiles.

When To Travel: January to February and June to July for dry weather.

How To Get There: Fly to Entebbe, then drive to the park or take a local flight.

<p><span>Your African safari adventure awaits, with each destination offering a unique window into the continent’s incredible wildlife and landscapes. Whether you’re floating down the Okavango Delta, witnessing the Great Migration in the Serengeti, or walking among the wildlife in South Luangwa, these experiences will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Choose your destination based on the wildlife you want to see and the type of safari experience you’re after. Get ready for an adventure that will bring you face-to-face with the wonders of the African wild.</span></p> <p><span>More Articles Like This…</span></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/barcelona-discover-the-top-10-beach-clubs/"><span>Barcelona: Discover the Top 10 Beach Clubs</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/top-destination-cities-to-visit/"><span>2024 Global City Travel Guide – Your Passport to the World’s Top Destination Cities</span></a></p> <p><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/exploring-khao-yai-a-hidden-gem-of-thailand/"><span>Exploring Khao Yai 2024 – A Hidden Gem of Thailand</span></a></p> <p><span>The post <a href="https://passingthru.com/guide-to-the-best-safari-experiences-in-africa/">A Guide to the 10 Best Safari Experiences in Africa</a> republished on </span><a href="https://passingthru.com/"><span>Passing Thru</span></a><span> with permission from </span><a href="https://thegreenvoyage.com/"><span>The Green Voyage</span></a><span>.</span></p> <p>Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Thomas Retterath.</p> <p><span>For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.</span></p>

The Bottom Line

Your African safari adventure awaits, with each destination offering a unique window into the continent’s incredible wildlife and landscapes. Whether you’re floating down the Okavango Delta, witnessing the Great Migration in the Serengeti, or walking among the wildlife in South Luangwa, these experiences will leave you with memories to last a lifetime. Choose your destination based on the wildlife you want to see and the type of safari experience you’re after. Get ready for an adventure that will bring you face-to-face with the wonders of the African wild.

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The post A Guide to the 10 Best Safari Experiences in Africa republished on Passing Thru with permission from The Green Voyage .

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock / Thomas Retterath.

For transparency, this content was partly developed with AI assistance and carefully curated by an experienced editor to be informative and ensure accuracy.

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The 20 Best African Safari Camps

These african safari camps stand out for more than their design, location, and superlative hospitality—they’re all leaving a positive impact on their destinations..

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Aerial view of Tswalu's Loapi Tented Camp at sunset

Tswalu’s Loapi Tented Camp has six private safari homes.

Courtesy of Tswalu/Andrew Morgan

With their sublime locations, striking design, exclusivity, and extraordinary guest experiences, Africa’s finest safari camps and lodges are standard setters in luxury travel. But the very best of them all strive to leave a meaningful impact on the communities and landscapes surrounding them. And impact is the lens we’ve used for the 20 retreats we’ve hand selected for our 2023 Hotels We Love series.

With each passing year, these safari camps and lodges are finding new ways to make a bigger difference, whether that means helping to secure and protect more land, leveraging tourism to enable more community support, or finding more sustainable ways to operate. From a minimalist tented camp in Tanzania to a retreat in South Africa famed for its flower safaris, read on for the African safari camps and lodges that will lead you to life-changing experiences in the wilderness—and will also make you feel good about staying there.

In no particular order, here are our picks for the 20 best safari camps and lodges in Africa.

1. Matetsi Victoria Falls

The pool at Matetsi Victoria Falls is located right next to the river.

The pool at Matetsi Victoria Falls

Courtesy of Matetsi Victoria Falls

  • Location: Matetsi Private Game Reserve, Zimbabwe
  • Why we love it: A family-owned lodge with top-notch hospitality on the Zambezi River

The family-owned Matetsi Victoria Falls took its neutral palette of browns, blues, and beiges from the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and its Zambezi River setting, 25 miles upstream from the World Heritage Site–famous falls. Checking into the lodge’s four-bedroom River House villa or one of 18 suites, all with private pools along nine miles of private riverbank, helps fund the protection of the 136,000-acre Matetsi concession that forms part of the world’s largest transfrontier conservation area.

Passionate guides spanning two generations, all brimming with local lore, lead boat cruises, drives, and immersive walks through diverse ecosystems, taking you safely within a few yards of buffalo herds kicking up dust, elephants feeding, and basking hippos and crocodiles. The presence of Matetsi’s anti-poaching scouts has visibly boosted conservation efforts and radically reduced incursions, while solar-pumped waterholes attract animal concentrations, especially during the dry winter months.

From the chefs and waiters serving dishes with locally sourced ingredients to tables by the water’s edge, to the dedicated housekeepers, spa therapists, and gardeners, the true magic of Matetsi lies in its people, who make you fall in love with their country.

2. Singita Pamushana

Interior of a guest room at Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe

The guest accommodations at Singita Pamushana in Zimbabwe

Courtesy of Singita

  • Location: Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, Zimbabwe
  • Why we love it: Postcard views, inimitable hospitality, and meaningful community work

With stupendous views from a kopje (Afrikaans for hill) densely wooded with msasa trees, Singita Pamushana offers visitors private access to Zimbabwe’s 130,000-acre Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve, which borders Gonarezhou National Park. The area encompasses contrasting types of terrain, from colossal boulders and sandstone outcrops to ancient baobab forests and dozens of documented rock art sites.

Showcasing ancient tribal crafts, the eight light, airy suites and private villa that make up Pamushana are the height of safari chic; each has an outdoor shower on an elevated pool deck with Malilangwe Dam views. The lodge has a secret weapon to add to its formidable reputation for food, wine, and service: its 100 percent local team, who set a high bar for hospitality in the bush. Wilderness adventures here also come with in-camp luxuries like spa treatments.

Days are filled with tag-and-release fishing, birding, and sunset cruises on the dam, ecology-focused walks with the seasoned guides, and game drives that yield large herds of elephant and buffalo, along with regular wild dog and big cat sightings. A hands-on cultural tour of Kambako, a nearby Shangaan village, crowns a stay that positively impacts a raft of community and conservation initiatives, from farming and school-feeding schemes to antipoaching patrols.

3. Wilderness DumaTau

The pool at Duma Tau sits next to the Okavango Delta's network of waterways.

The pool at Duma Tau sits next to the Okavango Delta’s network of waterways.

Courtesy of Wilderness

  • Location: Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana
  • Why we love it: Stylish digs, brag-worthy wildlife sightings, and meaningful conservation

DumaTau, from the respected safari lodge company Wilderness , is bang in the middle of the hunting grounds of lion and endangered wild dog in the private 300,000-odd acre Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, which borders the western boundary of Chobe National Park. During the dry winter season, the Linyanti comes into its own when animals migrate to the wetlands from the woodlands. In this wild part of northern Botswana, game drives, walks, birding, boating, sunset cruises, and catch-and-release fishing make for action-packed days.

Located close to the source of the Savute Channel, the camp lies between two elephant corridors. A highlight is up-close sightings of breeding herds of elephants crossing between the mainland and the grassy islands in the swamps to munch on waterlilies. At night, hippos waddle between the 8 suites, which include private pools and outdoor showers overlooking Osprey Lagoon. Elevated walkways link the main camp’s spa, exercise pool, all-day deli, and relaxation decks beneath mature mangosteen trees to sister camp Little DumaTau. Just by choosing this property, guests are helping to fund the conservation of a crucial wildlife corridor in the Kavango-Zambezi Transfrontier Conservation Area. The camp also helps support targeted research on IUCN Red List species, like roan antelope, elephants, and wild dogs.

4. Jack’s Camp

The tents at Jack's Camp in Botswana are draped in dark red textiles and ornate rugs.

Jack’s Camp is in the Kalahari Desert of Botswana.

Courtesy of Jack’s Camp

  • Location: Makgadikgadi Pans, Botswana
  • Why we love it: An overdose of vintage charm without cliché in an otherworldly desert locale

In the world of African safaris, Jack’s Camp is nothing short of an icon. The retreat combines under-canvas romance with unique adventures into the ethereal emptiness of the shimmering salt pans. After days filled with game drives, meerkat interactions, and quad-bike adventures, return to the nine capacious suites, individually decorated with four-poster beds and burgundy textiles. Meals are crystal-and-candlelight affairs in the communal tent, which features art and artifacts the Bousfield family have collected through the generations. It’s a safari destination with a deep sense of place and personality.

5. Jabali Ridge

Interior of a Jabali Ridge guest room, in neutral beige, with views of Ruaha National Park

A guest room at Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Courtesy of Asilia Jabali Ridge

  • Location: Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
  • Why we love it: A stylish base in a prime location within Tanzania’s less-visited Ruaha National Park

Forty percent bigger than the bucket-list Serengeti National Park but with a fraction of the visitors, the 7,800 mile Ruaha National Park is the Tanzania that seasoned safarigoers visit for a game dense and relatively car-free experience. The park is known for unparalleled lion sightings (some 10 percent of Africa’s remaining lion population finds sanctuary here) along with thrilling up-close finds like a leopard resting in a tree or a pangolin trundling through the grass. The extremely dry climate, particularly between June and November, forces wildlife to congregate around the pans that remain when the Ruaha River and its tributaries dry up. That’s when cheetahs, wild dogs, and sable, roan, and lesser and greater kudu are frequently seen.

Asilia Africa was among the first safari lodge companies to up the luxury stakes in Ruaha when it opened Jabali Ridge in 2017. Eight breezy suites, designed with a neutral palette and shutters that deflect the sun, sit between enormous boulders above a baobab forest that stretches for miles. Between safari outings there is plenty of space to enjoy the scenery, whether you’re lounging with binoculars on your private deck, dining on plant-based dishes, or taking a post-spa dip in the infinity pool.

6. Singita Sabora Tented Camp

Tan interior of a guest room at Singita Sabora Tented Camp

A luxury tent at Singita Sabora Tented Camp in Tanzania

  • Location: Grumeti Reserves, Tanzania
  • Why we love it: The ultimate under-canvas Serengeti experience without the crowds

Before philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones took over the lease on the 350,000-acre Grumeti Reserve, where Singita Sabora Tented Camp is located, it was a poached-out hunting block. Over the past two decades, the positive impact of Singita’s light-footprint nature-based tourism here, between community land and the unfenced western border of the Serengeti National Park, has contributed to the restoration of a historic animal migration route. Success stories include the reintroduction of eastern black rhino and the return of large elephant and buffalo herds. All of this ensures that game viewing happens year-round, not just when migrating wildebeest arrive in search of fresh grazing.

Of the reserve’s five retreats—each individually tailored to its location on the reserve—Sabora offers hospitality under canvas that feels luxurious yet connected to the landscape. In 2020, Singita rebuilt this longtime favorite, swapping romantic 1920s-era antique furnishings with a chic minimalism that blends into the grassy plains. On closer inspection, interiors reveal layers of handcrafted detail and local provenance. Modern must-haves in the explorer-style camp include a library and media room, winetasting room, fitness center, and spa, all under canvas, and nine self-contained tented suites with fully stocked pantries, private decks big enough to lay down yoga mats, open-plan bathrooms, and canopied beds with localized AC to conserve energy.

The food is often prepared by graduates of Grumeti’s own community culinary school and makes the most of locally sourced produce and East African flavors. Take your pick from full-on Swahili feasts to meal-in-one salads for days out in the bush. Aside from long, immersive game drives without another car in sight, the erudite, passionate guides take guests on nature walks or to visit RISE, an innovative research center on site where scientists are using data to inform conservation solutions.

7. Mwiba Lodge

This tented suite lounge at Mwiba Lodge is decorated with prints of wildlife and has views of the surrounding landscape.

A tented suite at Mwiba Lodge

Courtesy of Mwiba Lodge

  • Location: Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, Tanzania
  • Why we love it: Exclusivity with a light footprint in Tanania’s wildlife-filled Mwiba concession

Lying south of the Serengeti National Park, Mwiba Lodge is the flagship property of Legendary Expeditions , which offers private vehicles as standard in all its light-footprint tented camps in the Serengeti. The lodge has exclusive access to the Mwiba concession, 125,000 acres of private wilderness. The concession forms part of an ambitious, 6 million–acre lease protected by the Friedkin Trust to secure a vital wildlife migration corridor between the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.

The lodge’s 10 glass and canvas suites sit between boulders, euphorbias, and fever and coral trees high above the open plains. There’s a spa, gym, extensive wine cellar, and infinity pool where lunch is often served. From December through March, the wildebeest herds drop their calves in the south, ensuring even greater predator activity. Privately guided drives, elevated animal hides for game viewing, helicopter tours, sundowners on the edge of the escarpment, fly camping under the stars, and bush walks with Hadza hunter-gatherers are year-round activities.

8. Angama Mara

View from deck at Angama Mara overlooking Kenya's Maasai Mara

Angama Mara sits high on an escarpment overlooking Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Courtesy of Angama Mara

  • Location: Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
  • Why we love it: Cinematic views, handsome interiors, and successful community partnerships

With a foundation dedicated to raising funds to support conservation, education, healthcare, and small businesses, Angama Mara is an enduring example of partnering successfully with community land owners. Set 1,000 feet above the Rift Valley’s sought-after Mara triangle—a less crowded corner of the greater Maasai Mara National Reserve—this unconventional, thoroughly modern camp has raised the bar when it comes to intuitive service and eye-catching functional design. Angama draws on the collective experience of founders and safari icons Nicky and the late Steve Fitzgerald and, more recently, their daughter, Kate.

Strung along hills made famous in Out of Africa , Angama is divided into two small camps, each with 15 glass-fronted suites in bold Maasai colors, with everything you didn’t even know you needed on safari. The landscape panoramas from the accommodations are cinematic (even the loo has a view). Outdoors on cantilevered decks, stylish red recliners are arranged for watching hot-air balloons drift across the Mara at eye level.

It’s easy to laze away the day in camp with its beading studio, gallery, map room, photographic studio, fitness room, and huge pool with mesmerizing Mara views. Or to linger over deceptively simple, feel-good food, including the “best burger in the Mara” as its called on the menu. Many dishes celebrate the bounty of the shamba (Kiswahili for vegetable garden), where you can view before sitting down to a plant-based lunch. Even so, well-versed guides are waiting to whisk you down the hill to explore the vast grassy plains dotted with thorn trees where zebras, giraffes, topi, and Thomson’s gazelle graze. Here, large herds of elephants congregate on the banks of the Mara River and big cats, especially lions, appear. Angama’s mobile safari camp, four tents for up to eight guests, is a light-footprint alternative to the main camp. Delivering the same attention to detail when it comes to style and service, it can be packed up and repositioned to move with the herds and predator action.

9. Segera Retreat

The Greenhouse accommodation at Segera has ample glass windows for viewing surrounding garden

The Greenhouse accommodation at Segera has ample glass windows to maximize views of the surrounding garden.

Courtesy of Segera

  • Location: Laikipia, Kenya
  • Why we love it: An art-filled sanctuary with successful community programs

Situated on the grassy Laikipia plateau, Segera feels more like a luxurious, off-grid eco-resort than a safari lodge. Looking onto Mount Kenya, the private retreat has established a reputation as the ultimate mid-safari circuit pause, a luxury base from which to take leisurely walks or guided game drives on 50,000 acres to view large elephant populations and one of the last strongholds of the endangered black rhino.

Some guests continue on from here by helicopter deep into Kenya’s northern frontier, while others enjoy the holistic spa and practice yoga. The six one-bedroom villas are decorated with sculptures from owner and former Puma CEO Jochen Zeitz’s extensive art collection. Families usually check into Segera House or Villa Segera with their multiple bedrooms and private staff. For those who want to feel closer to nature, the Daniel Pouzet–designed Nay Palad Bird Nest is a solar-powered circular sleep-out platform on two levels with 360-degree views.

Guests all have access to the art-filled main lodge with a bar and dining room. Here, a daily changing menu with sustainably sourced, organically grown ingredients is paired with bottles from the retreat’s well-stocked wine gallery. Working closely with Maasai communities, the privately owned ranch runs several successful community projects, from a female antipoaching ranger academy to solar farms, schools, and beading co-operatives. The planting of 2 million indigenous trees is the resort’s ambitious reforestation project to restore fertile topsoil, reduce erosion, and offset carbon emissions.

10. ol Donyo Lodge

Guest room at ol Donyo Lodge with deep soaking tub next to deck

The bathroom of a guest room at ol Donyo Lodge

Courtesy of ol Donyo Lodge

  • Location: Chyulu Hills National Park, Kenya
  • Why we love it: Outdoor sleep-outs and a diverse range of activities liven up the traditional Kenyan safari experience

Set on 270,000 acres of Maasai-owned land bordering the Chyulu Hills National Park, ol Donyo Lodge is a perfect counterpoint to the more famous plains of Kenya’s Maasai Mara. Part of the Great Plains Conservation safari lodge collection, this intimate lodge offers nine understated suites, each with a private plunge pool and an outdoor star bed so guests can take in the sounds of hyenas and lions under a blanket of stars.

But it’s the array of outdoor activities that draws most travelers to ol Donyo: saddle up on rides, lace up your hiking boots, or take a two-wheeled mountain-bike safari. Throw in memorable views of Mount Kilimanjaro and you have one of the best lesser-known luxury safari camps in Kenya.

11. andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Rust-colored exterior of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge, surrounded by desert

The exterior of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

Courtesy of andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge

  • Location: NamibRand Reserve, Namibia
  • Why we love it: A design-minded retreat in an out-of-this world setting

The sustainably designed andBeyond Sossusvlei Desert Lodge on the edge of the NamibRand Nature Reserve captures the raw beauty of the world’s oldest living desert. The otherworldliness of the environment has been consciously translated into every aspect of the experience. The off-grid design factors in the extreme climate and harsh elements, and the desert’s forms, colors and textures are reflected in sculptural stone and steel lines that give way to soft, organic shapes. Throughout, glass walls slide away to amplify the big-sky views. The 10 guest suites are self-sufficient, solar-powered private retreats, each generating ample energy to run on photovoltaic power for everything from the AC and the deep swimming pools to the water harvesting and recycling systems.

Activities at the lodge include climbing the world’s highest dunes at Sossusvlei or e-biking along gravel trails to caves with rock art by the desert’s earliest inhabitants. Back at the lodge, dishes that reflect Namibia’s cultural history include venison and Kalahari truffles and fresh seafood from the Atlantic Ocean. With close to zero light pollution, the Namib is one of the best dark sky locations in the Southern Hemisphere. The best way to end any evening is in the lodge’s observatory. You can also fall asleep counting stars, thanks to a skylight above your bed.

12. Shipwreck Lodge

The accommodations at Shipwreck Lodge in Namibia resemble the hulls of ships.

Shipwreck Lodge is located on Namibia’s Skeleton Coast.

Courtesy of Shipwreck Lodge

  • Location: : Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia
  • Why we love it: Eye-catching architecture in one of Africa’s most remote wilderness destinations

Taking its cue from the broken hulls of ships run aground on this coast, Shipwreck Lodge offers 10 freestanding suites of wood and glass seemingly washed up on this lonely shore. Part of the Natural Selection safari lodge collection, it’s the only luxury retreat along 300 miles of beach, with nature drives, dune walks, and quad-bike excursions. Shipwreck Lodge also offers unrivaled access to a coastal ecosystem home to raucous (and malodorous) seal colonies, endemic flora and uniquely desert-adapted wildlife.

13. Waterside at Royal Malewane

The wooden suite decks at Waterside at Royal Malewane offer views of the surrounding wilderness.

The deck of a suite at Waterside at Royal Malewane.

Courtesy of Waterside at Royal Malewane

  • Location: Thornybush Private Reserve, South Africa
  • Why we love it: Joy-sparking interiors, polished service, and action-packed game viewing led by seasoned guides

The South African Biden family launched its benchmark-setting Royal Portfolio collection with the launch of Royal Malewane Lodge in 1999, and helped elevate Thornybush Private Reserve’s status in the Greater Kruger conservation area. Its recently debuted sister property, Waterside, captures the same private residence ambience. The color-saturated style for which Liz Biden has become well known doesn’t disappoint in seven extravagantly sized suites (some with two bedrooms) and a four-bedroom family villa. No beige here. In-camp amenities ideal for groups include a lap pool, gym, yoga studio, spa, and a games room.

Greater animal diversity, from huge lion prides to 400-strong buffalo herds, means a richer game-viewing experience in this reserve since fences were dropped on the eastern boundary with the Timbavati in 2017, opening it up to the Greater Kruger area. Game drives and walks are led by one of the most qualified guiding teams in Africa. A research and conservation center has recently opened, and you can also spend a morning with the dog antipoaching team.

14. Loapi Tented Camp

A bedroom at Loapi Tented Camp at Tswalu Kalahari open onto private deck

A bedroom at Loapi Tented Camp at Tswalu in South Africa

  • Location: Kalahari, South Africa
  • Why we love it: Contemporary private safari villas overlooking the Kalahari

Tswalu Kalahari , South Africa’s largest privately protected conservation area, comprises 281,000 acres of the semi-arid Kalahari region in the north of the country. Each of the six private villas at Loapi is a stand-alone camp and comes with a private safari vehicle, guide, and tracker. The neutral decor is a contemporary contrast to the more traditional look of the reserve’s main lodge, Motse.

Loapi is all about ensuring highly personalized experience, making it ideal for families and multi-gen travelers looking to shape their safari escape. Each villa also includes a private chef and butler, allowing you to set the pace and focus of meals each day. Lazy breakfast or locally inspired sundowner snacks? All you have to do is ask. Vacations are precious, and at Loapi you get to call the shots.

15. andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge

Interior at andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge opening onto green field

andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge will reopen in December 2023 following a complete renovation.

Courtesy of andBeyond

  • Location: KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa
  • Why we love it: Hands-on conservation activities from a stylish base on a groundbreaking private reserve

When it first opened with a clutch of light-footprint, glass-walled hideaways, andBeyond Phinda Forest Lodge was considered revolutionary in its design. It also drew attention to a tract of critically endangered ancient sand forest within the reserve, home to two rare antelope, the suni and red duiker. Currently undergoing a reinvention, the new-look Forest Lodge has bigger, airier suites, including a new family suite, and modern safari must-haves like a state-of-the-art gym. Highlights of guided drives and walks, led by graduates of the renowned on-site ranger training school, include reliable cheetah and rhino sightings along with large elephant and buffalo herds migrating across the reserve.

Few reserves in Africa have the biodiversity and habitat diversity Phinda Private Game Reserve offers or its long list of conservation successes and commitment to working closely with neighboring communities through the Africa Foundation. A bold restoration project on community-owned land in the heart of Zululand, this is where andBeyond’s visionary “care of the land, wildlife and people” impact model was born. Some 74,000 acres of farming land have been reclaimed for wildlife, including endangered black and white rhinos, elephants, cheetahs, lions, and elusive creatures like Temminck’s pangolins. Guests can sponsor and experience conservation in action, from rhino notching to elephant collaring, or visit a Zulu village for an immersive cultural experience.

16. Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

A guest room at the Garden Lodge at Grootbos with large private veranda

The guest rooms at the Garden Lodge at Grootbos have large private verandas.

Courtesy of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve

  • Location: Western Cape, South Africa
  • Why we love it: An immersion in forests, coasts, and flowers two hours by car from Cape Town

The equally lovely Garden and Forest lodges of Grootbos Private Nature Reserve overlook Indigenous flowering plant–clad hills, which roll down to a bay where southern right whales calve in season. This singular retreat, carbon negative since 2018, protects a botanical treasure trove—around 6,000 acres—known as the Cape Floral Kingdom. This includes a 2,000-year old milkwood tree forest, where lantern-lit dinners are held. Guided drives, hikes, horseback riding, and wandering through ancient sea caves down on the Walker Bay coast are some of the activities on offer. Staying active is necessary, given how delicious the seasonal, locally sourced, provenance-led menus are, paired to cool-climate wines from the local Overberg region from the owner’s excellent cellar.

More than 900 plant species have been identified on the biodiverse reserve, and many are depicted in a growing collection of botanical art housed in Africa’s first florilegium set below Garden Lodge. While most luxury lodges in South Africa support the conservation of big game and their habitat, through its foundation Grootbos sponsors entomology and botany projects that inform conservation and fund more than 50 community empowerment programs in the area.

17. Singita Kwitonda Lodge

Guest suite at Singita Kwitonda Lodge with large, black soaking tub overlooking nearby Volcanoes National Park

The large bathroom of a suite at Singita Kwitonda Lodge

  • Location: Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda
  • Why we love it: Once-in-a-lifetime gorilla treks with a mission-led safari lodge company

Singita’ s Rwandan outpost, strategically positioned on the eastern boundary of Volcanoes National Park to expand vital habitat for mountain gorillas, has been designed to soothe and embrace, providing every conceivable pre- and post-trek comfort. Preparing a pot of local-label ginger tea for you is as thoughtful and considered as the selection of a perfect glass of red from the vintage wine-stocked cellar.

Local building know-how and sustainably sourced materials, like volcanic rock, bamboo, river stones, and handmade clay bricks, ground Singita Kwitonda Lodge’s grand architecture firmly in Rwandan tradition and culture. The interiors of the lodge’s eight suites and private villa, Kataza, are cozy and cocooning, with indoor and outdoor fireplaces and private heated pools. The bathrooms double as spas with massage beds, while yoga mats, art supplies, board games, informative books, and binoculars add to the residential feel.

From the bedding to the modern art, molten lava shades are a constant reminder of the enigmatic volcanic peaks protruding from the cloud forest beyond tall, double-glazed windows. While in-room dining is done well, most guests gravitate to the convivial main lodge to swap trekking tales over nourishing, plant-centric small plates. Fresh produce comes straight from the kitchen garden or the fertile patchwork of small, family owned farms in the surrounding district.

There are guided garden tours and nature walks that help guests better understand Singita’s purpose here. The company began acquiring and piecing together hundreds of tiny, individually owned agricultural plots with the aim of reestablishing gorilla habitat. An on-site tree nursery provides indigenous saplings to the national park as part of a wide-scale reforestation program to expand the primates’ natural habitat. A visit to the Dian Fossey Research Centre, a shord drive from the lodge, is a must.

18. One&Only Nyungwe House

Interior of a large guest room at One&Only Nyungwe House, with wooden floor and vibrant prints.

A guest room at One&Only Nyungwe House

Courtesy of One&Only Nyungwe House

  • Location: Nyungwe National Park, Rwanda
  • Why we love it: World-class hospitality in an emerging destination in Rwanda

When it opened in late 2018 on a working tea plantation next to the national park, One&Only Nyungwe House was the only luxury retreat in this part of Rwanda. But that could change, now that African Parks , a Johannesburg-based conservation NGO is taking over the management of the Nyungwe Forest to improve wildlife conservation efforts and develop tourism. The goal is to showcase why Nyungwe—which supplies 70 percent of Rwanda’s water—is also a compelling destination for aficionados of the natural world. The terrain is filled with mahogany and ebony trees, swamps, and waterfalls, and it’s home to 13 species of primates, including the colobus monkey and the gray-cheeked mangabey. There are also some 300 bird species, such as great blue turacos and giant hornbills.

The sprawling One&Only retreat, with its 22 one- and two-bedroom suites, is a destination unto itself. Geometric Imigongo designs cover interior walls with their dramatic, black-white-and-red color scheme; hand-woven decorative plates from local cooperative Indego Africa decorate the rooms; and king-size four-poster beds dominate spacious bedrooms, which face the jungle through floor-to-ceiling windows.

19. Lolebezi

Interior of a guest room at Lolebezi, with circular canopy around bed

A guest room at Lolebezi

Courtesy of Lolebezi

  • Location: Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia
  • Why we love it: Sustainability-minded design in one of Africa’s unsung wild corners

If you thought Zambia was all about rustic under-canvas camps, it’s time to meet Lolebezi. Part of African Bush Camps collection founded by Zimbabwean guide Beks Ndlovu in 2006, Lolebezi is set on a private concession yards from the Zambezi River. With a contemporary design taking its cue from the surrounding Winterthorn acacia, Lolebezi has upped the ante for luxury in the wilderness within Zambia’s youngest national park. Johannesburg-based Fox Browne wove textures and green-dominant themes into the suites and two family units to dazzling effect.

Located on a game-rich inlet dubbed the “Discovery Channel,” Lolebezi offers a complete immersion in the landscape. Beyond the twice-daily drives in an open air vehicle, guests can spot game on silent canoe safaris, walk the forests in search of shy leopards, or take a river cruise to enjoy Africa’s fourth-largest waterway.

20. Lale’s Camp

Interior of tent at Lale's Camp in Ethiopia's Omo Valley, with mustard yellow textiles

The interior of a tent at Lale’s Camp in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley

Courtesy of Wild Expeditions Africa

  • Location: Omo Valley, Ethiopia
  • Why we love it: Community-led cultural encounters in Ethiopia’s remote Omo Valley

To experience the remote Omo Valley in southern Ethiopia, home to numerous tribes with distinct cultural traditions, Wild Expeditions Africa is the go-to safari outfitter. The company not only has the logistical expertise and insider access, but it also takes environmental and social impact seriously.

If fly camping in the Omo Valley sounds too rugged, then its privately guided trips to Lale’s Camp offers an under-canvas base with the luxury of a flushing toilet and a hot shower. Your host is camp owner Lale Biwa, a man with a thousand remarkable stories to tell about this place where he has lived most of his life. Accessible only by boat, his modest camp of seven tents provides access to the Omo River delta—a network of islands, marshes, and croc-infested waterways overhung with dense fig and mahogany forests known for numerous birds, including Pel’s fishing owl, plus black and white colobus, vervet and De Brazza’s monkeys.

Lale’s respectful relationships with the tribes of the Omo Valley make it possible to witness the traditions and daily lives of the Nyangatom, Kara, Hamar, and Mursi people on walks and boat trips.

Richard Holmes and Jennifer Flowers contributed to the reporting of this article.

A woman laying in a super bloom of golden California poppies in Antelope Valley

World Adventurists

19 Incredible Safari Moments

Debbie & Darcy

Last Updated on June 18, 2022

Going on a safari creates memories that will stick with you forever. Exploring the African savannah, a desert safari where you trek across the desert on a camel or witnessing a group of mountain gorillas, are only a few of the ways you can experience the thrill of a safari while witnessing incredible safari moments. These days, there are also exciting unique safari options, from a hot air balloon ride to a safari on horseback.

When you go on a safari, you are treated to an authentic and breathtaking viewing experience that is unlike any other. Whether you self-drive your safari or join a lodge for the experience , you’ll feel a great connection to the natural works and each other. It would be hard to go on safari and walk away without gaining huge respect for conservation and the importance of preserving natural heritage.

You’ll feel the wonder of seeing that pride of lions and hearing them roar,  a herd of elephants with their babies close by, spotting the elusive leopard, or seeing the stars light up the night sky as you have never seen before.

We asked some travel bloggers to share with us their most incredible safari moments. Below are 19 incredible safari moments that will make you want to pack your bags  — When it is safe again, of course .

These bloggers truly have experienced several heart-stopping and incredible safari moments.

Table Of Contents

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Phinda game reserve, south africa, maasai mara, kenya, liwonde national park, malawi, okavango delta, botswana, kumana national park, sri lanka, kaudulla national park, sri lanka, mosi-au-tunya national park, zambia, kinabatangan river, borneo, ngorongoro crater, tanzania, etosha national park, namibia, volcanoes national park, rwanda, tadoba andhari tiger reserve, india, gunung leuser national park, indonesia, merzouga, morocco.

Incredible safari moments

When we first entered the gates of Kruger National Park , we were thrilled to see many animal sightings on our way to our safari lodge . We came across three Rhinos in the middle of the road. We stopped to observe and give them plenty of space. After a few minutes, the rhinos made their way to the side of the road. We thought it would then be safe to pass wide around them.

One of the rhinos was clearly agitated, while the other two could care less that we were watching. Every time we tried to inch up, the agitated rhino would stop grazing, back up two or three steps, and turn its head to us with eyes that could only be understood as “don’t you dare move” as it dragged its hoof across the ground. These were several heart-stopping moments that felt like forever. Soon after, the rhinos decided that they could not be bothered with us and took off down the road.

It was quite the welcome to Kruger National Park, and it was the start of many incredible safari moments over the next few days. Adventure at Kruger National Park is everywhere you turn.

Incredible safari moments

During our 5 days visiting Kruger National Park, we awoke well before sunrise to join the line of cars waiting for the camp gates to open. Those who stay inside the park are allowed in the park an hour earlier than the public and we took advantage every single morning. Lions slept on or near the roads at night to take advantage of the warm pavement and we were able to see countless lions this way (a reward that definitely made 4 am alarms worth it). As the day went on and crowds swarmed the park the big cats would retreat further and further into the bush.

One morning my husband spotted a male and female in the bush. They were slowly waking up and stretching. I stopped the car in my tracks and our eyes were glued to the left side of the car, watching the pair bathe each other and cuddle.

Then I glanced over to our right and realized… that’s where the show is! The sky was bright orange from the sunrise. And just meters from our car were 4 hyenas running all around us.

Lions to our left, hyenas to our right, and a yellow-orange sky… we stayed there for over an hour undisturbed. No other car found what we found or saw what we saw.

Pardon the cliché, but on safaris, the early bird truly does get the worm. I will never forget that morning.

Erin Mushaway from Sol Salute is a Texan ex-pat living in Argentina. She’s obsessed with wildlife and discovering the world around her, one of her favorite destinations outside of her two homes is South Africa and its safari game parks.

Incredible safari moments

One of my most incredible safari moments came at the end of a long day. We’d left our lodge early in the morning, for a full-day safari in the Kruger National Park, in South Africa. It was my husband’s first safari (and visit to South Africa), and I was itching to show him all the animals and give him some insight into a different part of my country. We had seen elephants, hippos, crocodiles, and even a leopard, but we’d only managed to see the lions from afar.

We were driving back towards our lodge, half dozing in the back of a jeep when suddenly we noticed her. Plodding next to our jeep, she was much bigger than I’d expected her to be. Up close, we could almost stare into her eyes. The lioness barely acknowledged us, as our jeep slowed down to match her pace, she just kept walking alongside us, giving us occasional, side-long glances.

Sleek and powerful, I watched her muscles move, mentally comparing her to my cat, which is a similar color, and often pretends not to notice me in precisely the same way as the lioness. Her ears were rounder than a cat’s though, and when I looked down, her paws were huge. Then she yawned, and at that moment, I realized just how terrifying my playful cat would be if she were the same size as a lion.

We drove alongside her for a long time, looking at my watch, at least 20 minutes had passed. And then, very unceremoniously, she veered off the road and wandered away, disappearing into the thick bush. As we continued our journey, I reflected that there’s something about being in the South African bush, around wild animals quietly living their lives, that makes me feel in tune with the world.

Roxanne de Bruyn is a writer, researcher, and communications specialist currently based in Auckland, New Zealand. Originally from South Africa, she has traveled widely and loves telling stories at Far Away Worlds about different places, food, and cultures from around the world.

Incredible safari moments

We were roaming the grounds of Phinda Game Reserve , in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa, in what had been a rather unsuccessful morning at tracking down the animals we wanted to spot. Moments before heading back to the lodge, word had reached our ranger that two young cheetah brothers had been spotted sleeping on top of a hill.

We decided to check them out – in fact, there they were, sleeping. Yet, something in the distance caught their attention soon. Binoculars in hand, we browsed the horizon and we could see it too: a lone impala, moving in circles as if lost. It was obvious the cheetahs were going to try to catch it. We could not move from our spot – that would give one of the two animals an advantage.

For the next 15 minutes or so the cheetahs walked slowly towards their prey, lying flat on the grass, at some point impossible for us to see anything else other than their shadow. It was only when they were about 20 meters away from the impala that they jumped out – once, twice and finally they caught it by its neck.

The actual hunting took no more than a few seconds, in which we went from being in disbelief to being in grief for the impala to pure excitement for having just admired one of the oh-so-African scenes and incredible safari moments. It was priceless.

Submitted by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across The World.

Incredible safari moments

My husband Kris and I were on our first safari. It was my husband’s second trip to Kenya and my first. This was in late February of 2020. We were on a three-day safari excursion through the Messiah Mara, staying at Salas Camp— A trip we had been planning for almost 2 years.

It was our second full day on the safari, we truly didn’t know exactly what to expect. We knew that certain animals like leopards, cheetahs, lions, and black rhinos were rare. The time was now 10:30 AM and we had just finished the first half of our morning game drive and game breakfast.

The previous day, we had seen a lion and a lioness in the tall grass, though we were viewing with 15 other vehicles while enjoying our sundowner. Then that morning we saw a single cheetah on the hunt. There were at least 22 vehicles watching the cheetah. I remember feeling uncertain seeing the multitude of safari vehicles and how there were so few of certain animals.

Leaving our bush breakfast, we were taking an alternate route back towards Camp, when all of a sudden underneath a large bush, we spied to lionesses. I remember I could hardly speak as I was pointing, saying: “humenah, humenah…!!” Then, almost as instantly, it felt like my heart leaped out of my chest when I saw the four lion cubs emerge from around that same bush.

It was the most incredible safari moment to see— not only because it was so unexpected, but because we were quite literally the only vehicle there for ninety minutes (except for 20 minutes when a vehicle from our same camp arrived and then departed).

First, the lionesses were sitting in the hot sun, and then they spotted an antelope that they were stalking for about 5 minutes, before retreating back to the bushes with the cubs once the antelope saw them. One of the cubs even had emerged to spy on the lionesses. Then, for more than an hour, it was the four cubs and the two lionesses relaxing under the shady bush together. I remember blinking slowly with my eyes at one of the cubs who was watching me, signaling that I was a friend.

The most incredible site was seeing how alert the cubs were, and how they played together. They were so content with us being there, and we were made about 25 to 30 feet away from them the entire time. Our vehicle was shut off and we ended up sitting and having a couple of refreshments and took endless amounts of photos. We took over 300 photos of them during the 90 minutes we were with them.

As our time with them that day drew to a close, the cubs were beginning to fall asleep, and both lionesses got up and began walking together away from the cubs. Our driver and guide suggested that they were probably going to look for food and that it was normal for them to leave the cubs behind during that time. Of course, we wanted to stay and babysit the cubs but it was now almost past lunchtime back at the camp. And, we wouldn’t want to accidentally scare off the lionesses when they try to return to the cubs.

Our guide also noted that this was quite rare to see a family of cubs without any other vehicles. Most of the vehicles will radio to one another to notify others of a spotting. This was truly the most special occasion of our trip to the Maasai Mara, one full of incredible safari moments, that I will never forget. It is incredible to realize, now a year later, that these cubs are now full adults! And, wouldn’t it be incredible to see them again during our next visit in the hopefully not too distant future!

Vanessa Gordon is the owner and publisher of East End Taste Magazine , a digital publication and media platform based in the Hamptons, New York. She lives in Sag Harbor with her husband and two children.

Incredible safari moments

Experiencing an African safari is an incredible way to connect with nature unlike anything else in the world. Taking a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara during the Great Migration is one of the best experiences to have on safari in Kenya .

Waking up at 3:30 AM on vacation doesn’t sound like a really fun time, but it is definitely worth it. Sunworld Safaris coordinated our hot air balloon ride. They picked us up from our camp and brought us to the open field where there was a line of hot air balloons getting blown up and ready to go. If you have a fear of heights like me, this is when your stomach may start to turn. Don’t fret! Once you’re off the ground, it doesn’t feel like you’re up high and the views will put you at ease.

As your hot air balloon rises, so does the sun, and so do the animals. Since sunrise and sunset are the cooler parts of the day, the animals are more active. So keep an eye out for hyenas, giraffes, lions, and more! After the hot air balloon ride, we were treated to a champagne breakfast in the Mara.

Hot air balloons in the air, incredible wildlife below, and a peaceful quiet untouched by humans make this one of the best and incredible safari moments you can experience.

Submitted by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveler

Incredible safari moments

Shortly after I first met my now wife we packed in the day jobs to go traveling. Our first four months were spent traveling overland on public transport from Uganda to South Africa. We mixed up our accommodation using our small two-man tent but also staying in everything from hostels to the occasional luxury lodge. We also planned our route – in part at least – according to the national parks and safari and wildlife experiences on offer as we worked our way down the continent.

After some amazing high-end safaris in Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater, we moved on to Malawi. Finding ourselves near Liwonde National Park we booked a three-hour canoe safari for $30 each and arrived at the camp at dawn excited to see what wildlife we might experience.

With a guide and someone punting our canoe, we set off down a channel through some high reeds, keeping an eye out for the native birds. After some time, the channel opened to a large expanse of water with a family of elephants to one side and just the heads visible of several hippos in the distance. We continued slowly around the edge of the open water taking photos of the hippos when suddenly there was a loud bang. Our canoe flipped over, sending the four of us into the water.

Swimming and scrambling up onto the riverbank, it became evident that one of the hippos from the group we had seen had been underwater and tipped our canoe. Soaked, scared, and feeling extremely vulnerable, we managed to pull the canoe to the bank and looked to the guide for what to do next. This basically involved emptying the canoe of water, jumping back in, and punting straight back to camp.

We have had incredible safari moments to talk about ever since.

Submitted by Ed Gold from  SafarisAfricana .

Related Story – 10 African Safari Photography Tips

Herd of elephants in Botswana

One of the best ways to travel and experience Botswana landscape and wildlife is by driving and wild camping in remote safaris. During my 10-day self-drive safari in Botswana , I could enjoy the beauty, scale, and diversity of Botswana, while exploring the savannah, swamps, and woodlands with countless birds and wild animals.

When you go wild camping at a safari you will have animal encounters, this is a fact! I had many close encounters during my trip, but one, in particular, was my favorite of them all.

It happened one afternoon when I was at my campground preparing lunch on the open by the Okavango Delta, and suddenly I received a visit from a family of elephants who found cool shade to shelter in the middle of the midday heat. They sheltered and ate near the same tree I was using to escape from the sun and cook.

I was so excited, but I was also alert at the same time, because we know that animals can get very protective of the younger, and there were a couple of very small elephants too. At the first moment I saw 3 elephants, and then 5, and at one point I could count more than 10 elephants at my campground. I was literally surrounded by them, and luckily there were there just to eat and rest, and it seems that my presence did not bother them. What a magical and one of my incredible safari moments that I will cherish forever.

As a big elephant lover, I found it exhilarating and I still consider it one of the most beautiful moments of my travels all over the world.

Submitted by Paula Martinelli from Paula Pins the Planet .

Elephant in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka has numerous national parks that are home to some incredible animals such as leopards, elephants, and, strangely enough, bears. For the most part, the best way to experience a safari in Sri Lanka is to go on an organized tour. These tours are conducted from an open 6-seater platform set up on the back of a 4-wheel drive. This is an awesome way to enjoy a safari but we discovered an even better way when we visited Arugam Bay along the East coast of Sri Lanka.

From Arugam Bay, you can rent a scooter and drive yourself down to the entrance to Kumana National Park. While you can’t enter the National Park on a scooter you can explore the 10 kilometers of roads that lead to the entrance of the park. If you visit at either sunrise or sunset this area is teeming with wildlife.

The second time we went at sunset (it was so good we did it twice in two days) we saw 11 wild elephants roaming through the fields and in the water. As we were driving down one particular road, we saw an elephant just a few meters down one of the side roads. We stopped for a brief look and got to come face to face with one of these magnificent creatures.

He looked warily at us for a while before eventually charging towards the scooter. Luckily we had it running so we were able to drive away quickly, but it was scary having an animal that size charge at you so quickly.

It was an exhilarating experience and the highlight of our time there, and all for the cost of a day’s scooter rental which was $5 USD. This is the best $5 you are ever likely to spend. If you get the chance to visit Sri Lanka, we highly recommend making memories with incredible safari moments by a self-guided scooter safari near Kumana National Park.”

Submitted by Luke from WildAboutBC.com . 

Elephants in Sri Lanks

Going on an elephant safari in Sri Lanka during the time of the gathering is an incredible and unique experience. Going on a safari in central Sri Lanka’s national parks during this time is the only way to see more than two hundred elephants at once. Seeing wild elephants all around you is a safari moment that no one can ever forget.

The yearly gathering happens to be the largest meeting of elephants in the world. And as you are driving through the two national parks where the elephants gather during the dry season from August to September, you will spot elephants wherever you look.

As the jeep enters the national park, lone elephants start to show up. And once you hit the wide-open grassy areas in the center of Kaudulla and Minneriya National Park, the jeep is suddenly surrounded by the gigantic mammals.

The very best safari moment is when the jeep gets relatively close to a baby elephant and its mother without disturbing the animals and hindering their movement. It gives you the unique chance to see their interaction Sometimes you even get to see the young one drinking or the mother elephant teaching the baby crucial life lessons like how to shake the grass bundles to get rid of the dirt.

It is marvelous to go on a safari here and a must for everyone that loves elephants. If you are especially lucky, you might also spot a leopard in one of the two national parks.

Be sure to take a lot of photos during this safari – the ones I took are some of my favorite photos of Sri Lanka .

Steph Kloeckener is a travel blogger and photographer and started her website A Nomad’s Passport to inspire others to explore our planet in a sustainable and ethical way. She loves the outdoors and is a passionate diver and is always looking for the next great adventure.

horseback safari in Zambia

Having been on safaris across Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Botswana, one would think why yet another Safari? How is it any different? 

We went on a horseback Safari in Zambia’s Mosi-au-Tunya National Park ”, also called Victoria Falls National Park across the border in Zimbabwe. It was completely different from all other safaris, which were on vehicles. 

On horseback, we were able to get deep into areas of the park that are not accessible by vehicles. Vehicles provide an extra layer of protection, but that is also a barrier. On horseback, we were much closer to nature and its inhabitants. We talked about the beautiful weaver bird nests, the enormous baobab trees, the animal tracks, and the vegetation destruction by elephants that devour roots. Unfortunately, all the elephants, zebras, giraffes, etc decided to be elusive. We saw fresh tracks, some antelopes and a whole lot of monkeys. Luckily, our horses didn’t get spooked by them. We were still happy to connect with the ecosystem and not be encountered by large animals. It created incredible safari memories in its own right. 

Submitted by Jyoti from StoryAtEveryCorner.com.  Nirmal and Jyoti travel the world and share stories of places, people, culture, and food. 

Elephants in Borneo

One of my favorite safari moments was in Borneo. The best way to see pygmy elephants is to take a river safari on the Kinabatangan River. There are several lodges on the river’s edge that offer early morning and evening safaris in small boats in the nearby area to see proboscis monkeys, macaques, and hornbills. During the day, it’s possible to take an optional trip upriver to where pygmy elephants were recently seen. In the late afternoon, they often come down to the water’s edge to eat grasses and drink.

We had taken the boat a couple of hours upriver and had spent some time looking to try to see any elephants, with no luck. Then our boat driver and guide pulled over to the riverbank and headed through a curtain of overhanging vines that concealed a small pool of water with sloped sides, completely surrounded by jungle and hidden from view from the river.

To our amazement, a couple of pygmy elephants came out of the jungle and slowly walked down the banks of the pool and into the water and across the pool. They then emerged and headed up the opposite bank and disappeared back into the jungle. It was one of the most magical moments in all my travels.

We then pulled back into the main river, kept looking, and saw a few more elephants come out of the jungle to feed on the grass by the river’s edge. Nothing was quite so amazing as that first sighting in this hidden pool, surrounded by thick jungle.

On the way back, we saw more monkeys, a golden crocodile, and several brightly colored rhinoceros hornbills. The sunset was in a blaze of purples and oranges just as we got back to our lodge. It was a truly amazing day of incredible safari moments!

James Ian is the founder of Travel Collecting . He has been to more than 80 countries and all 7 continents. He uses his website to help others have incredible experiential travel experiences.

black rhinos in the Ngorongoro Crater

One of my most memorable memories from Africa is from the  budget safari I took in Tanzania , to Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. The highlight of the trip was supposed to be seeing black rhinos in Ngorongoro Crater, as it was the right season when they come out from the outskirts of the crater. There are around 60 black rhinos living inside the crater, but, taking into consideration that the park has an area of over 8,000 square kilometers, the chances of seeing one are quite slim.

The morning started with heavy fog and rain, as we started our descent to the crater, at around 6 AM. The permit for Ngorongoro Crater is only valid for half a day, so the safari companies take full advantage of the time so that their clients can see as much as possible.

I didn’t have my hopes up, but deep inside I would hope that we would see a black rhino. As we reached the bottom of the crater, we were greeted by a couple of lionesses, who were walking along the road, ignoring our jeep.

Nothing happened for the first two hours, we only saw the usual: lions, hyenas, elephants, antelopes, zebras, and lots and lots of pink flamingos. But, after a while, someone spotted a black rhino. As the drivers have walkie talkies and notice each other when they see a rare animal, we found out pretty quickly that we were just a few minutes away from the spot. We got there quite fast and saw not one, but two beautiful black rhinos. They weren’t very close, but with the help of the binoculars, we were able to see a momma rhino and her baby peacefully grazing alongside a pack of buffalos. It was such a special time that created incredible safari moments. As the morning went by, more and more rhino sightings were reported. In total, over the time we spent inside Ngorongoro Crater, we had managed to see 8 black rhinos.

Submitted by Joanna from The World In My Pocket

Lion cub in Africa

My husband and I traveled on a 16-day safari throughout Kenya and Tanzania.  While the entire experience of being on safari was life-changing and full of incredible safari memories, one of the highlights came toward the end of the trip.  In addition to experiencing and learning about the cultures of Kenya and Tanzania, including the Maasai people, we were blown away by the extraordinary animal encounters that never stopped mesmerizing us. But, my heart was set on seeing a lion cub.  While we had the privilege of observing many individual lions and lion prides and even witnessed one hunt a Wildebeest, we did not see a cub. Not until one of the last days of the trip, when we visited the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.  While we were parked for observation, we came upon a gorgeous lion pride, which included a few cubs!  Not only did they graciously pose for us, but they also investigated our safari vehicle.  One came up close and personal, right next to the van, observing us curiously as if she was on safari.  Seeing the cubs with the pride was very special. They were playful and beautiful, and such a treat to see.  We left with full hearts after such an incredibly enriching experience, having learned so much about these special places.  And, after having the privilege to observe some of the most impressive and beautiful animals on earth.

Keri Baugh is a family travel blogger at Bon Voyage With Kids . She has lived abroad three times and traveled to more than 30 countries, and worked as a Cast Member for Walt Disney World and for an educational travel company.  Keri travels with her family, including her three children, several times throughout the year, and loves sharing tips on traveling with kids.

Lions after mating in Namibia

For a long time, I’ve been very unlucky with animal sightings at safaris. Besides my very first safari where we spotted a wild dog pack in the first 5 minutes, for the entirety of my first trip to South Africa, I haven’t spotted a single lion – in about 12 game drives, including three days at Kruger!

When we went to Etosha National Park in Namibia a few weeks later, everything changed. The day we visited was ideal for wildlife watching, and within less than an hour from our departure, we spotted rhinos, giraffes, elephants, and some lions, plus lots of antelopes drinking at a water hole.

Yet, the best sighting and incredible safari moments were yet to come. In the lazy hours of the afternoon, when animals are usually sleepy, we drove by a waterhole. Sure enough, a pride of lions was napping in the sun. We all took out our cameras, secretly hoping for some ‘action’… when a lion got up and stretched, and got close to a lioness. She wasn’t too bothered, and clearly preferred to keep sleeping, but got up anyway. She and the lion sniffed each other for a bit, he took it as a sign of approval, and they started mating! It was all over in a flash, and judging by the lioness’s reaction you can see in the picture above, she wasn’t at all pleased.

I think I was really lucky to see this ‘intimate’ scene – it wasn’t my first time seeing animals mating, but seeing lions do that was really cool! Plus I think the look on the lioness’s face is priceless, many women can definitely relate!

Margherita from The Crowded Planet is a travel blogger from Italy, she is passionate about nature, hiking, running, and cats (big and small ones!)

silverback mountain gorillas

Watching the silverback mountain gorillas in their natural habitat was one of the most incredible wildlife experiences we ever experienced. High and deep in the Virunga Mountains live different groups of gorillas. The region is split between three countries: Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Given the Congo’s political situation and the fact that the Uganda gorilla groups are harder to reach, Rwanda was our top choice for a gorilla safari trek. But wildlife being wildlife, you are never sure you will get to see them. After a couple of hours hiking through the Volcanoes National Park, our small group, accompanied by rangers, reached an area filled with small bushes and bamboo trees. There was the Hirwa group, the gorilla family we were permitted to see that day. Indeed, the mountain gorillas are among the most endangered species, and only a one-hour visit is allowed for each of the gorilla groups that reside in the park. This is a way to protect them from human interactions and potential diseases we might bring with us. Hence, the park rangers are here to protect the gorillas, ensuring that visitors will leave at any sign of distress from the gorillas.

And how lucky we were! Not only did we get to find the gorilla family, but what an encounter, full of incredible safari moments! Baby gorillas playing on the back of their mothers, watching us with their big eyes. Mothers plucking their kids’ heads in gentle manners. The huge dominant male snacking on the bamboo, sitting a short distance from us. His choice as he walked around us, pretending to ignore us while keeping an eye on his family around. And not bothered by our presence as, at some point, jumped up and pushed through our group, headed for more bamboo trees that were behind us. That silverback could have easily thrown us around like peanuts, but his controlled behavior was incredible. Our hour passed way too fast, but we knew how special it was to be there and for the gorillas to allow us to spend these moments with them. A lifetime experience for sure.

Patricia & Bruno are behind the Adventure Travel Blog ZeWanderingFrogs.com, where they share their passion for outdoor activities, wildlife, and local culture.

Tigers in India

The sun was up in the sky, we were still over an hour away from sunset. The temperature was around 40 degrees celsius on that April afternoon. We were waiting near the large waterhole in the Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve in the state of Maharashtra in Western India.

Our safari guide anticipated a possible sighting soon, as we could hear some roaring sounds coming from the dense forest behind the watering hole. We waited patiently with our eyes looking for any hint of yellow among the green.

After several minutes, we could finally see the tiger! She walked along the tall dry grassland, the black and yellow gleaming in the golden light. As she neared the waterhole, we found her sister following her behind. Both headed towards the waterhole. The events that followed, would be etched in our memory forever. The two tiger cubs engaged in sibling rivalry. First, the roaring got louder. They crouched, ready for the confrontation, and then pounced on each other. It looked like kung-fu as they attempted to attack with their front legs in the air while balancing on their hind legs. This went on for several minutes until they gave up, with no clear winner. The event remained as a highlight of all our incredible safari moments in the tiger reserve.

Submitted by Pubali and Indranil from Paradise Catchers .

One of the best places to see wild orangutans in the world is at the Gunung Leuser National Park. The park is located just outside Bukit Lawang on Sumatra in Indonesia.

While on most safaris around the world, you are required to sit in a car and watch the animals from a distance. In Bukit Lawang, you will walk through the forest with a local guide for a jungle trek into the wild. Best of all, you are guaranteed to see orangutans around Bukit Lawang. It is home to both wild and semi-wild orangutans. The semi-wild orangutans have been rescued and are being taught all necessary skills to survive in the wild on their own again. However, there are no fences so the orangutans are completely free here. Even though they hang around the forests just a few hundred meters from the village. You can arrange jungle treks for up to 4 days with local guides far into the Sumatran jungle to see wild orangutans.

Gunung Leuser National Park is home to various animals like the super-rare Sumatran tiger and the Sumatran rhinoceros. However, it is still the orangutans that people go there to see.

Submitted by Christian from Unusual Traveler .

Morocco desert

One of the most amazing adventurous and incredible safari moments was on a trip to Merzouga in Morocco . Merzouga is a small desert town in the Sahara. It is located near the Algerian border and next to the huge dunes of Erg Chebbi.

Going on a desert safari is a popular activity, that is offered here actually at any corner. Our absolute highlights had been the trekking tour on the vast dunes of a dessert. We started with a camel ride inside the deep Sahara Desert. After that, we climbed up a 220-meters high dune where we watched the most incredible sunset.

Later we went back to our campsite, singing songs next to an open fireplace and were talking until late. After that, we decided to sleep underneath the bright shining stars. That was such a unique thing; we will never forget it! There is nothing more romantic than spending a night in a desert camp, best without any WIFI or mobile phone. Just talking, laughing, and enjoying the magic silence of a dessert.

Such a romantic safari can be combined with some fun and exciting activities. In Morocco, for example, you have the possibility to ride a camel, do exciting quad tours, or helicopter flights. No matter which thing you decide on, a safari in Morocco is pure magic and should not be missed.

Submitted by Martina & Jürgen from PlacesofJuma.

Create Your Own Incredible Safari Moments

We hope these safari stories inspire you to create your own incredible safari moments and live your dreams while on safari. In these destinations, you are sure to make incredible memories that will last a lifetime.

This post contains some affiliate links. I may earn a small commission if you make a purchase, at no extra cost to you. 

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SafarisAfricana

Desert Animals of Africa

18 iconic desert animals to spot on safari.

Read our take on the 15 most iconic and intriguing desert animals to see in Africa whilst on a desert safari .

Africa is made up of many habitats, with over one-third of the continent covered by nine deserts. Two of these African deserts make it onto our list of the 10 largest deserts in the world . Whilst there is seemingly plenty of nothing in African deserts, they offer a unique environmental and cultural history dating back millions of years, and, in places, are home to excellent wildlife viewing opportunities.

Whilst the lack of water in deserts is an impediment to an abundance of wildlife, there are a number of plant and animal species that have adapted to a desert environment and call the desert home. When people think of a desert, it’s often camels and snakes that come to mind, however, foxes, antelopes, elephants, and lions are common desert species, all worthy of any safari animal sighting.

What is a desert?

Deserts are defined as dry regions receiving less than 12 inches of precipitation annually, and are formed when regional climate changes result in long-lasting drought conditions.

In Africa, the deserts are also characterised by warm to very hot daytime temperatures with cooler nights.

There are many ways desert animals have adapted to the lack of water and extreme temperatures that their habitat brings. These include:

  • Being nocturnal, only coming out at night when it’s cool.
  • Burrowing under the ground or sand to find less extreme and more consistent temperatures.
  • Being able to go days without drinking, or even obtaining all of their water from their prey.
  • Extended body parts – commonly ears, but also legs and other body parts – to help dissipation of heat

The deserts in Africa are home to some of the most extreme landscapes and stark conditions on earth, and offer an incredible backdrop for the variety of desert animals they are home to. With this in mind, below we list 15 of the most iconic desert animals to spot in Africa:

Angolan giraffe

angolan, desert giraffe, standing in dunes

An angolan, desert giraffe, standing in dunes

Perhaps the ultimate iconic African savanna animal , the giraffe is also found in some of Africa’s deserts. The unmistakable land mammal is recognizable for its long neck and spotted coat, and known by Arab prophets as the ‘queen of the beasts’ because of their delicate features and graceful poise.

With nine subspecies sharing its distinctive characteristics, this safari animal is the tallest in the world by some way. The giraffe’s coat is characterized by dark blotches on lighter hair. With age, male giraffes may become darker, and while calves inherit spot patterns from their mothers, each giraffe has a unique coat pattern that sets it apart. It has a sharp sense of hearing and smell, another defense against predators, while it can close its nostrils during sandstorms and against ants.

Black footed cat

black-footed cat

Black-footed cat by a burrow

The black-footed cat  is the smallest wild cat in Africa and one of the smallest wildcats in the world, weighing 2 kg and standing 0.25 meters tall. They’re nocturnal animals, and rarely seen, found only on the grassy plains and desert areas of South Africa and Namibia . It’s estimated that these cats can kill and eat up to 3,000 rodents a year, and a desert adaptation means they can obtain all the moisture they need from their food.

Black rhino

black rhino walking in desert

Black rhino walking in desert

Rhinos are something you just need to see to understand how impressive they really are. A rhino sighting is always special and as you look in awe your heart will definitely skip a beat.

Once widespread through sub-Saharan Africa, the rhino has been hunted to the brink of extinction and is probably the hardest of the big five to spot in the wild. There are two species of rhinoceros in Africa – the black rhino ( Diceros bicornis ) and the white rhino ( Ceratotherium simum ).

Whilst white rhinos have made a comeback through conservation efforts across the continent, black rhinos are still very much one of Africa’s endangered animals , and one of the hardest safari animal to spot. The fundamental differences between the white and black rhino are not color, but rather size, temperament, food preference, and mouth shape.

Desert cheetah

desert cheetah standing in namib desert

Desert cheetah standing in Namib Desert

The cheetah is famous for being the  world’s fastest animal on land . This mammal can do  120 kilometers per hour  and can accelerate from 0 to 95 kilometers in just three seconds. These cats need land and space, and seeing one in action is an incredible sight. But there is more to this cat than just speed; it is beautiful and graceful, and sadly, it’s endangered.

For an animal that hunts during the day, good eyesight, stealth, a spotted coat, and top-notch speed are crucial for survival. The tear marks are among the top distinctive features used to tell the cheetah and the leopard apart

Desert elephant

desert elephants walking

A desert elephant family

( Loxodonta africana ) is the largest and heaviest land animal in the world, weighing up to 6 tonnes. You will be stunned by the sheer size and presence of these creatures, not only on the first time you see them but every time to come.

Elephants play a vital role in the survival of other species by digging waterholes in dry riverbeds, spread seeds through theirs faecal matter and their trails act as fire breaks on the landscape, and they do all this on only 2 hours sleep in a 24 hour period!

Desert leopard

desert leopard stalking in dunes

Desert leopard stalking in dunes

The elusive leopards are one of the shyest and least sociable animals in the animal kingdom, but are still opportunistic hunters and are highly adaptable. Watching a leopard carry its prey up a tree is a fantastic sight and one of the best opportunities you could hope for.

Slightly smaller than their lion cousins, leopards ( Panthera pardus ) are less rare than you might think, but rely on camouflage and being active at night to stay hidden.

Leopards are solitary, independent creatures, and rarely seen together except during mating, or a mother with cubs. As such they are totally self-reliant, and expert hunters – sometimes killing prey up to twice their size. During the daytime they often lounge around in trees and come to the ground after dark to hunt, taking their prey up into a tree to eat at their leisure.

Desert lion

desert lion walking in sand

Desert lion walking in the Kalahari sand

Flying in at first place is the lion, also known as the king of the jungle. Lions are the largest and most sociable of Africa’s cats . At up to 225kg, the lion  ( Panthera leo ) really is the king of the savanna (not jungle!), but are also desert-adapted animals in places like the Namibi Desert.

When you hear them roaring during the night, or the day, you’ll be amazed at how loud and powerful they actually are – don’t worry about not hearing the lions snarls or roars as they can be heard from up to 8 kilometers away. It really is a once in a lifetime opportunity to see lions hunting, or lion cubs playing with each other.

Dromedary camel

the ultimate desert animals - mother and camel foal

The ultimate desert animals – mother and camel foal

The ultimate desert animals, dromedary camels are well adapted to their conditions, with closable nostrils close to keep sand at bay, and bushy eyebrows and two rows of long eyelashes to protect their eyes. They have large feet to spread their weight across the sand for support, and a large hump on their back to store fat. They drink large amounts of water – up to 90 literes at a time – which they store in their bloodstream.

Fox – Bat-eared and Cape

Bat eared fox (one of the shy five) standing, looking straight at camera in vegetation

Bat eared fox in scrub

As the name indicates, this fox has unusually enormous ears in proportion to its head, like those of many bats. Their bodies are generally yellow-brown with a pale throat and underparts. Bat-eared foxes are primarily found in East and Southern Africa where there are short-grass plains and plenty of termites and beetles.

Read more about the bat-eared fox.

Hartmann’s zebra

hartmann's zebra in white rocky desert

Hartmann’s zebra in Etosha’s white rocky desert

Zebras are perhaps the most stylish of Africa’s stars, with their characteristically stunning coats of black and white stripes. These distant relatives of the horse are a frequent sight on any African safari and consist of three different species.

There are many theories about why zebras evolved stripes , and it seems that perhaps the most likely answer is that the stripes function as a way to deter biting insects like tsetse flies and mosquitos.

Hyena – Brown and Spotted

A hyena cub close up walking towards the camera along a tarmacced road. Cute, but still one of the ugly five animals!

A hyena cub close up

There are four species in the hyena family, varying in size. Hyenas are unique and vital components of most African ecosystems, both taking advantage of other animals’ kills for easy meals and hunting themselves. The size of a hyena kill or scavenge is generally determined by the size of the hyena’s clan, which can run to dozens. They often hide extra food in watering holes, since nothing is wasted. Hyenas will eat every part of an animal, including bones and hooves.

Lapet faced vulture

lappet-faced vulture

Group of lappet-faced vultures

The Lappet-faced Vulture has the largest wing-span of all the birds of Africa, and also goes by the names Nubian vulture and African eared vulture. The species is easily recognizable due to its large size, bare pink head, and the lappets on each side of its neck – the fleshy folds of skin.

three meerkats standing in the sun

Three meerkats standing in the sun

The  meerkat, or suricate , is a small carnivoran in the  mongoose family . It is the only member of the genus Suricata. Meerkats live in all parts of the Kalahari Desert in Botswana, in much of the Namib Desert in Namibia and southwestern Angola, and in South Africa.

4 oryx walking on sand

There are 4 species of oryx , all of which live in or on the fringes of desert areas, and can live for days without drinking water. Oryx eat foliage, grass, herbs, shrubs, plants, legumes, juicy fruits and roots, and buds, generating the water they need from these plant resources they eat.

Interesting oryx fact – the Arabian oryx is the first species to have changed back from ‘Extinct in the Wild’ to ‘Vulnerable’, as categorized in the IUCN Red List in 2011.

2 ostriches walking in desert

Two ostriches walking in the Kalahari Desert

The common ostrich is the tallest and heaviest bird in the world, with an average height of over 2 meters (sometimes as tall as 2.7 meters) and a weight of up to 160 kg. At this size, the ostrich is, of course, flightless , but can outrun plenty of animals with its top speed of 69 km per hour. Their long, powerful legs double up as defensive weapons which pack a powerful kick to would-be predators.

Ostrich are very well adapted desert animals, able to survive without water for days, generating water internally and extracting water from vegetation.

sand cat

The sand cat is the only wild cat in Africa – or the indeed world – that lives solely in desert environments, with a wide distribution across the Sahara, as well deserts in the Middle East and Central Asia.

Also known as the dune cat and ‘the cat that digs holes’, the thick, long hair on the soles of their feet is an adaptation to protect them against the desert extremes of hot and cold temperatures. They are characterized by their flat, wide head and short legs, and stand 0.35 meters tall, weighing in at 3.5 kg.

Have you had the opportunity to spot any of these desert animals in the wild? Let us know about your desert animal experiences in the comments section below!

Top countries for safaris

  • Botswana safaris
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  • Namibia safaris
  • South Africa safaris
  • Tanzania safaris
  • Uganda safaris

Safari basics

  • Safari animals
  • How to find the right safari company
  • When to go on safari
  • What to take on safari
  • Safari clothing – what to wear
  • Safari rules & etiquette
  • Wildlife spotting tips

Most read articles

  • All about the ‘big five’ animals
  • Collective nouns for animals
  • Safari movies to watch before you go
  • The world’s fastest land animals
  • Apex predators
  • 10 Fascinating African tribes
  • The biggest animals in the world
  • 17 Epic hybrid animals
  • The world’s ugliest animals
  • Why are flamingos pink?

Africa’s best game reserves

  • Chobe National Park, Botswana
  • Etosha National Park, Namibia
  • Kruger National Park, South Africa
  • Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
  • Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
  • Okavango Delta, Botswana
  • Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

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Namibia Safari Tours & Holidays

A safari in Namibia is as much about the wildlife as the country’s scenic beauty. In Etosha National Park it has one of the most storied wildlife reserves on the continent, but there’s so much more to experience here. The national parks of the Zambezi Region (formerly Caprivi Strip) are only now getting the attention they deserve, while the dune-scapes of the Skeleton Coast and its hinterland are simply extraordinary. And these are just starting points for exploring a country rich in experiences and safari possibilities.

10-Day Classic Namibia

10-Day Classic Namibia

$4,432 to $5,065 pp (USD)

Namibia: Self-drive Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Kalahari Region, Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Swakopmund (City) , Damaraland, Etosha NP, Okonjima NR, Windhoek (End)

Tour operator has an office in United States

4.9 /5  –  149 Reviews

4-Day Sossusvlei & Coast, Sandwich Harbour Guided Safari

4-Day Sossusvlei & Coast, Sandwich Harbour Guided Safari

$1,172 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 4 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Sesriem Canyon, Swakopmund (City) , Windhoek (End)

People Tours And Safari   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  20 Reviews

7-Day Namibia Highlights Luxury Fly-in Safari

7-Day Namibia Highlights Luxury Fly-in Safari

$8,005 to $8,851 pp (USD)

Namibia: Private tour Luxury Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Namib-Naukluft NP, Swakopmund (City) , Damaraland, Etosha NP, Windhoek Airport (End)

Secret Namibia   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  15 Reviews

3-Day Eco-Friendly Etosha Self-Drive Safari

3-Day Eco-Friendly Etosha Self-Drive Safari

$497 pp (USD)

Namibia: Self-drive Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Etosha NP, Windhoek Airport (End)

5.0 /5  –  36 Reviews

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10-Day Guided Tour Exploring Namibia

$4,290 to $4,510 pp (USD)

Namibia: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Okonjima NR, Onguma GR, Etosha NP, Twyfelfontein (Rock Art) , Spitzkoppe (Damaraland) , Swakopmund (City) , Sesriem (Town) , Windhoek Airport (End)

5.0 /5  –  122 Reviews

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6-Day Etosha, Swakopmund & Sossusvlei (Camping)

$1,078 pp (USD)

Namibia: Private tour Budget Camping

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Etosha NP, Swakopmund (City) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Windhoek (End)

Safari World Tours   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  2 Reviews

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4-Day Zannier Omaanda Safari

$1,485 to $2,086 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 6 people per vehicle) Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Windhoek

4.7 /5  –  186 Reviews

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16-Day Camping Namibia Self Drive Safari

$1,423 to $1,679 pp (USD)

Namibia: Self-drive Budget Camping & Guest House

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Kalahari Region, Fish River Canyon (|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld TP) , Aus (Town) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Sesriem Canyon, Swakopmund (City) , Spitzkoppe (Damaraland) , Twyfelfontein (Rock Art) , Etosha NP, Waterberg Plateau, Okonjima NR, Windhoek (End)

Great Explorations Namibia   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  43 Reviews

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7-Day Namibia Sand to Sea Fly-in Safari

$5,608 to $6,278 pp (USD)

Namibia: Private tour Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Fish River Canyon (|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld TP) , Lüderitz (Town) , Swakopmund (City) , Windhoek (End)

Desert Africa Safaris (PTY) Ltd   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  13 Reviews

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5-Day Affordable Sossusvlei Short Stay

$3,306 to $5,933 pp (USD)

Namibia: Self-drive Luxury Lodge & Guest House

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Namib Desert, Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Windhoek (End)

Discover Africa Safaris

5.0 /5  –  406 Reviews

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14-Day Guided Family Namibia Safari

$6,457 to $7,166 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 4 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Okonjima NR, Etosha NP, Damaraland, Swakopmund (City) , Namib-Naukluft NP, Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Windhoek (End)

Shona Travel

Not yet rated

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7-Day Best of Namibia

$2,635 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 20 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge & Hotel

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Swakopmund (City) , Twyfelfontein (Rock Art) , Etosha NP, Windhoek (End)

Africa Zim Travel & Tours

5.0 /5  –  115 Reviews

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3-Day Etosha Explorer Namibia Safari

$715 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 6 people per vehicle) Budget Camping

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Okonjima NR, Eastern Etosha, Swakopmund (City) , Windhoek (End)

Swahili Paradise Tours & Safaris

4.1 /5  –  85 Reviews

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3-Day Superior Sossusvlei Tour from Windhoek

$527 to $580 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Mid-range Lodge

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Deadvlei (Sand Dunes) , Windhoek (End)

Getaway Africa

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15-Day Uncharted Namibia

$10,376 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 6 people per vehicle) Mid-range Camping & Lodge

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Nkasa Rupara NP (Zambezi Region) , Bwabwata NP (Zambezi Region) , Khaudum NP, Otjiwarongo (City) , Windhoek (End)

Pictus Safaris

5.0 /5  –  4 Reviews

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9-Day Diverse Namibia Overland Guided Exploration Safari

$4,191 to $5,115 pp (USD)

Namibia: Shared tour (max 7 people per vehicle) Luxury Lodge & Tented Camp

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Swakopmund (City) , Damaraland, Ongava GR, Windhoek (End)

Kingfisher Safaris

4.7 /5  –  51 Reviews

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6-Day Ultimate Namibian Fly-in Safari

$5,461 to $6,257 pp (USD)

Namibia: Private tour Luxury Lodge

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , NamibRand NR, Eastern Etosha, Windhoek Airport (End)

Southbound Tours   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  8 Reviews

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18-Day Wildlife, Landscapes and Cultural Experience

$8,800 pp (USD)

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , Erindi GR, Otjiwarongo (City) , Etosha NP, Ruacana Falls, Kunene Region, Kaokoland, Twyfelfontein (Rock Art) , Swakopmund (City) , Sossusvlei (Sand Dunes) , Fish River Canyon (|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld TP) , Kalahari Desert, Windhoek (End)

CrissCross Namibia Safaris   Tour operator has an office in Namibia

5.0 /5  –  59 Reviews

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15-Day Zambia and Namibia Camping Safari

$2,295 pp (USD)

Namibia & Zambia: Shared tour (max 12 people per vehicle) Budget Camping & Guest House

You Visit: Livingstone (Start) , Victoria Falls, Zambezi Region, Rundu (City) , Etosha NP, Brandberg Mountain (Rock Art) , Spitzkoppe (Damaraland) , Swakopmund (City) , Namib Desert, Windhoek (End)

Sunway Safaris

4.4 /5  –  28 Reviews

safari desert africa

14-Day Namibia Flying Safari

$18,904 to $27,786 pp (USD)

You Visit: Windhoek (Start) , N/a'an ku sê (Wildlife Sanctuary) , Kulala, Skeleton Coast NP, Kaokoland, Etosha NP, Windhoek (End)

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8 Questions About Namibia Safaris

Anthony Ham

Answered by

Anthony ham.

safari desert africa

When is the best time to visit Namibia?

“If I had to choose one month for a Namibia tour, it would be June (followed by May). Although June temperatures can plummet overnight, you get the best of both worlds: high-season prices have yet to kick in, but the weather is ideal for outdoor exploration. As long as you don’t mind high-season prices and higher numbers of visitors with whom to share the wilderness, July through to October is also excellent with generally dry, clear weather and good visibility. By October, temperatures are starting to rise towards uncomfortable levels. The rains are less of an issue in Namibia than they are elsewhere in southern Africa, but rain does occur, especially from December through to March or April. At this time, birdlife is abundant. However, some off-road trails may become difficult to navigate and wildlife tends to disperse and be harder to find (because of the additional water sources scattered around).”

What are the major attractions in Namibia?

“Wildlife is a major draw for visitors on Namibia safaris. Etosha National Park , in particular, is one of Africa’s most celebrated safari destinations – and rightly so. Its combination of hallucinatory salt pans and large wildlife populations (including lions, elephants and plains animals in abundance) give it a distinction found in few other parks. Less commonly visited, but for many travelers equally rewarding, are Damaraland and the reserves of the Zambezi Region, such as Bwabwata and Nkasa Rupara (Mamili) National Parks. Landscapes are another highlight. From the Waterberg Plateau and Namib-Naukluft National Park to Kaokoland and Fish River Canyon (Africa’s answer to the Grand Canyon), stark beauty takes on many forms here. Namibia has long been a popular destination for self-drive safaris, but a Namibia safari is now just as likely to be characterized by luxury lodges, both exclusive and remote, that bring class and comfort to the whole experience.”

How much does a Namibia safari cost?

“It is possible to do a Namibia safari on the cheap, by renting a 4WD and heading out into the wild. While vehicle rental costs are generally high, and fuel is never cheap, your vehicle will also be your home, and camping and national park fees are not as expensive as in some other countries. As a minimum, expect to pay US$175 per person per day. If you’re looking for higher comfort levels and for someone else to take care of the arrangements, Namibia safari prices also reach for the high end rather well. Although there are degrees of comfort and cost, the price of a Namibia safari package can go as high as US$1,075 per person per day.”

What is the wildlife viewing like in Namibia?

“The best places to see wildlife on a Namibia safari are in the country’s north. Etosha National Park is especially good for lions and elephants, but you’ll also see giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and all manner of antelope species. After dark, black rhinos gather at waterholes, including those alongside some of the main camping areas, and it was here that the BBC first filmed this unusual behavior. African wild dogs are a possibility in the northeast, while sable, sitatunga and red lechwe antelope are highlights in Bwabwata National Park. In the northwest, Damaraland and Kaokoland are famed for desert-adapted lions and elephants, and brown hyenas can be seen scavenging around seal colonies on the coast. Farther south, wildlife is scarcer and the main reason to visit is the scenery.”

How safe is Namibia for tourists?

“Namibia is generally safe and politically stable. You’re unlikely to experience any problems in safari areas, such as parks, reserves and wilderness areas. Although most Namibian cities are considered safe and very few travelers run into trouble, you should be careful in larger cities, especially Windhoek, where petty crime is a growing problem. Road conditions are generally excellent along the main road network, although off-road conditions can prove difficult, from the deep sands of Namib-Naukluft and Khaudum National Parks to the axle-breaking rocks of Damaraland and Kaokoland. If self-driving in these areas, make sure you are prepared. The only risk of malaria is in the extreme north, along the border with Angola and in the Zambezi Region.”

How do I select a reliable Namibian tour operator?

“Your first stop when planning a Namibia holiday should be SafariBookings.com, where you can see the widest range of safari options in one place. The insights that you’ll get from expert reviews of the parks and from travelers’ experiences with operators offering Namibia tours could prove invaluable. Beyond that, talk at length to any company you are considering for your travel plans. No question should go unanswered. A visit to Namibia can be expensive and you want to be well informed about what you’re paying for. Safaris are a dream trip for so many, and avoiding a nasty surprise or preventable disappointment while on the adventure of a lifetime should be more than enough motivation to ask questions of the company you book with. Make sure that you spell out your expectations of your Namibia safari. Is it wildlife or the landscapes that you most want to see? What wildlife is on your bucket list? What’s your daily itinerary? How many hours can you expect to spend in the car each day? If a company is unwilling or reluctant to answer these questions, you should look elsewhere.”

What type of accommodation can I expect?

“If you’re self-driving, as so many visitors to Namibia do, you’ll likely sleep in a tent: either on the ground or on the roof of the vehicle. Camping areas in Namibia are often crowded, especially in popular wildlife areas such as Etosha National Park, but they’re also fenced, unlike in neighboring Botswana. Most have facilities that include showers, toilets and sometimes even restaurants, kiosks and swimming pools. Elsewhere, Namibia has a full complement of lodges and hotels, usually on the fringes of wilderness areas. These span the complete range of costs and comfort levels. Inside the parks, reserves and remote areas, luxury lodges and tented camps, usually designed to blend into their surroundings, dominate. They often have just 8 to 10 tents, ensuring an exclusive experience at all times. Tents are large, with comfortable beds, writing desks, private bathrooms and private decks or terraces. The night noises of Africa and cooling evening breezes make the safari tent one of my favorite places to sleep anywhere on earth.”

What can I expect from a safari in Namibia?

“If your Namibia tour is all about wildlife, expect a similar experience in Namibia as you would elsewhere in Africa. This means a pre-dawn wake-up call, safari drives in the very early morning and again in the late afternoon, and perhaps even a night drive. On these drives, you’ll be accompanied by a guide, a driver and sometimes a local tracker perched on a seat on the hood of the vehicle looking for animal spoor (marks or substances left behind as animals move through their environment). You can also expect a full breakfast after you return from the morning’s drive, plus lunch, afternoon tea and dinner, with plenty of relaxation time in between. If your visit is more about exploring wild landscapes, your focus may be different, but the daily rhythms (formed in part to avoid being out during the hottest times of the day) are likely to be similar.”

Namibia Safari Reviews

safari desert africa

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Unspoilt wilderness and unique and stunning landscapes offering a variety of contrasting safari expe

A hauntingly beautiful country that stretches along the west coast of southern Africa, with wide open spaces, big skies and some of the earth's most mystical and vivid sunsets, any visitor is blown away by the way Namibia ‘looks’ –...

Full Review

safari desert africa

Christopher is a British travel writer and has contributed to various Fodor's guidebooks and a range of travel magazines.

Sand, salt pans and stars: Southern Africa’s wild west

With the exception of the verdant Zambezi Region, most of Namibia is comprised of harsh and inhospitable desert, but I’ve always found it staggeringly beautiful. Namibia was the first place I really travelled in Africa; I’ve been back...

United States

Namibia was one of the most enchanting, fascinating, and beautiful countries I've ever been to!

My recent trip to Namibia was nothing short of extraordinary. From the moment I set foot in this captivating country, I was greeted by a landscape that seemed to stretch endlessly, offering a mesmerizing blend of natural wonders and...

Cyprus

Wild, remote, exclusively for adventurous nature lovers...

From all the many things we worried about before booking our Namibia trip that potentially could go wrong, nothing did! I think that must my starting point of my review. We didn't get sick, we had no road accident (not one flat tyre in 4000...

Hong Kong

Exceed expectation, will definitely visit again!

If you are from urban area, you can never imagine there is a place like Namibia in the world. Animals and breathtaking sceneries everywhere! Comfortable lodges and good food make sure you can also take a good break. People in this...

Spain

Amazing scenery, fabulous space, friendly people, a great experience

Loved the remoteness, the wild scenery, the endless space and the adventures of traveling around the country and seeing the changing environments. I would highly recommend Namibia as a destination for a self drive safari.

Fly Namibia

Fly-in safari namibia.

If you only have a limited number of days to travel and want to spend quality time in Namibia, then flying is your best choice. With fly-in safaris, you can cover vast distances allowing for more time with activities at your exclusive destinations. In addition, a ‘bird’s eye view of our world puts things into perspective. There is nothing like soaring over the countryside while deserts, rivers, mountains, and other beautiful landscapes pass beneath.

Our fly-in safaris cater for everyone, from the perfect romantic getaway to luxury incentive groups. It also is a convenient way to travel for families with young children dreading the long hours it takes to drive, offering a unique and memorable experience.

Fly-in safaris might seem out-of-reach at first glance. Still, the variety of aircraft we have on standby allows for differently priced fly-in safaris, from the typical safari four-seater Cessna 210 and ten-seater Cessna Grand Caravan to the very exclusive seven-seater twin prop pressurised Aero Commander. In addition, Desert Africa Safaris offers private charters, allowing personalised, tailor-made travel packages. With our expertise, your dream of having a fly-in safari can become a reality.

Fish River Canyon from the sky

Sand to Sea Fly-In Safari

Discover the vastness of Namibia on this 6 night Itinerary. Experience the raw power of the Fish River Canyon, uncover the natural wonders of Sossusvlei, and the endless adventures of Swakopmund. 

Flying over Sossusvlei

Namibia at First Glance Fly-In Safari

Discover Namibia for the first time on this 6 night itinerary. Uncover the natural wonders of Sossusvlei, the endless adventures of Swakopmund and explore the greatest wildlife sanctuary, Etosha National Park. 

sand dunes in Namibia - spectacular scenic flights!

Remote Fly-in Safari

Appreciate the luxury of isolation in this 6 night journey to remote beauty. Uncover the natural wonders of Sossusvlei, discover the fascinating desert-adapted species of the Hoanib Valley and allow the Skeleton Coast to intrigue you with its fascinating mysteries. There is nothing ordinary about these destinations . 

Desert-adapted Elephants in Namibia

Elite Namibia Fly in Safari

Experience Namibia’s vast beauty on a 9-day fly-in safari. Discover the NamibRand Reserve’s desert wonder, Swakopmund’s coastal charm, Damaraland’s diverse wildlife, and luxurious Onguma Camp Kala in Etosha. Witness the Eduard Bohlen shipwreck, desert-adapted elephants, and black rhinos in a truly unforgettable African journey.

On our fly-in safaris you will see Desert Adapted Elephant

All Namibia Luxury Fly-In Safari

Experience ALL of Namibia on this 20-day itinerary. From the picturesque Kalahari, the raw power of the Fish River Canyon, the vast dunes at Sossusvlei in the Namib Desert,  the endless adventures of Swakopmund, Etosha National Park –  the most incredible wildlife sanctuary, the fascinating mysteries of the Skeleton Coast to the Caprivi – a mosaic of rivers and woodlands and home to an abundance of wildlife .

Now you can see non-English news...

safari desert africa

5 ideas for destinations to go to Africa in 2024

2024-02-23T10:34:20.633Z

Highlights: From Amboseli Park to the beaches of the Indian Ocean, Kenya is full of surprises and satisfies all desires for elsewhere. Explore Uganda, the multifaceted pearl of Africa, land of safaris but above all of exceptional encounters with gorillas. The Etosha National Park, one of the largest wildlife parks in Africa, Damaraland and its unusual natural sites, the Atlantic coast and the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, are unmissable treasures.

safari desert africa

From Amboseli Park to the great sites of South Africa via the sublime safaris of Uganda, here are the best destinations to go for a change of scenery in Africa in 2024.

Content designed and offered by Figaro Voyage Services.

The editorial staff of Le Figaro did not participate in the production of this article.

Kenya, from Amboseli Park to the beaches of the Indian Ocean

Les Maisons du Voyage

invite you to a tailor-made trip combining safaris and relaxation, from €2,310.

DISCOVER THE OFFER

From Amboseli Park to the beaches of the Indian Ocean, Kenya is full of surprises and satisfies all desires for elsewhere!

Experience moving moments of escape into an unknown land, between wild lands and wildlife which unfolds there in a majestic, impressive way.

During a safari, Kenya's flagship activity, making it one of the most visited countries in Africa, let yourself be guided in a friendly manner and within a small group.

The ranger who accompanies you, a nature lover, shares his passion with you, for a wonderful dive into wild life.

The second most visited Kenyan park, Amboseli, at the foot of Kilimanjaro and its eternal snow, fascinates with its superb light at dawn, its acacia forests and its hordes of elephants...

Ugandan odyssey, safaris and primates

With Le Figaro, explore Uganda, the multifaceted pearl of Africa, land of safaris but above all of exceptional encounters with gorillas, from €10,900.

Murchison, Kibale, Queen Elizabeth, Gahinga... the mere mention of these mythical names is enough to arouse an irrepressible desire to escape.

Following in the footsteps of the greatest explorers of the 19th century, discover the north of the country and its legendary waterfalls, at the foot of which hippos love to splash.

Then head west and let yourself be captivated by the immensity of the national parks.

In the heart of the grassy savannah, you will come across herds of elephants, herds of buffalo and hundreds of species of birds.

Finally, in the far south, explore the surroundings of Mount Gahinga, whose summit seems forever trapped in the clouds.

The 4 jewels of Namibia

invite you to experience an exceptional tour of Namibia, in the heart of the most unusual and contrasting landscapes of Southern Africa, from €4,045.

In the south of the African continent, Namibia is an immense territory enchanting the traveler with its timeless landscapes, its omnipresent nature and the customs of its ancestral tribes.

A trip to Namibia is a guaranteed change of scenery, a feeling of being at the end of the world!

Land of contrasts with endless spaces and deserts, kaleidoscope of ethnic traditions, languages, discover during your trip the four jewels of Namibia... and much more!

The Etosha National Park, one of the largest wildlife parks in Africa, Damaraland and its unusual natural sites, the Atlantic coast and the Namib Desert, the oldest desert in the world, are unmissable treasures.

Irresistible trio from Cape Verde

, set off to discover the varied landscapes of Cape Verde, between deserts, lush valleys, colonial cities, volcanoes and deserted beaches, from €2,490.

This comprehensive route allows you to explore three different islands: Sao Vicente, Santo Antao and Sal.

The trip begins on the island of Sao Vicente, the island of “the barefoot diva” where you enjoy moments of relaxation and swimming on the most beautiful beaches.

Gain height by climbing Monte Verde and enjoy a sublime panorama of the city and the surrounding islands.

Then head for the mountainous and green island of Santo Antão, which is surprising because of its contrasting slopes, dry and arid vegetation versus deep and lush valleys.

Your trip ends in Sal where Santa Maria beach, stretching over 8 km of white sand bordering an emerald sea, has all the trappings to make you want to prolong the moment...

Great sites of South Africa & Victoria Falls

Follow a complete tour punctuated with authentic encounters and unique experiences with

, from €3,870.

By going to South Africa, you are the privileged witness of a grandiose nature, by turns mountainous, covered with infinite savannah or acacia forest.

In this setting, wildlife puts on a show everywhere.

During unforgettable safaris, observe wild animals including the famous “Big Five”.

Also, the wealth of this country lies in its large capitals looking towards the future and in the heart of its timeless traditional villages.

Some links are tracked and may generate a commission for Le Figaro.

The prices mentioned in this article are indicative and are subject to change.

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2024-02-23

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    Book an unforgettable safari in Tanzania with Asilia and stay in authentic safari camps. Asilia offers authentic safaris that leave a positive impact on East Africa. Enquire now.

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    Desert safaris in Africa offer a unique and exciting adventure. Deserts, often seen as empty and lifeless, are full of unique plants and animals adapted to survive in tough conditions. These places offer a rare kind of quiet and space that's hard to find anywhere else. Namibia is a great place to experience the desert.

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    Two reasons: self-driving independence and dramatic desert scenery. While a 4WD African safari is always an ambitious undertaking, Namibia has good roads, ... Budgeting and costs for a safari in South Africa. Rates range from $100 to $200 per person, per night in government-run camps. Mid-range prices start at $300 to $700 per person, per night ...

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    It's a 'green desert' - arid, certainly, due to receiving relatively little rainfall, but bursting with life of every kind. A Kalahari safari - one of South Africa's best safari experiences - is incredibly rewarding, especially as the area is home to some of the country's most unusual creatures. Load More.

  18. Desert Africa Safaris

    Desert Africa Safaris offers personalised tailor-made travel & flight packages. Our offerings include scenic flights over the highlights of Namibia and Fly-In Safaris around Southern Africa. About Us Discover the Highlights of Namibia Never stop exploring; your Namibian adventure is one click away. Skeleton Coast Sossusvlei Etosha Kolmanskop

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    African desert safari in Namibia How many deserts are there in Namibia? Namibia is renowned for its striking African desert landscapes. But just how many deserts are there in Namibia? Namibia is blessed with four distinct desert ecosystems which are the Namib, the Kalahari Desert, the Succulent Karoo, and the Nama Karoo.

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    The Okavango Delta is a unique wetland within a desert, offering an unparalleled safari experience. The annual flooding of the delta creates a lush habitat for a diverse array of wildlife.

  22. The 20 Best Safari Camps and Lodges in Africa

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  23. 19 Incredible Safari Moments

    Exploring the African savannah, a desert safari where you trek across the desert on a camel or witnessing a group of mountain gorillas, are only a few of the ways you can experience the thrill of a safari while witnessing incredible safari moments.

  24. Desert Animals: 15 Iconic Animals To Spot On Safari ️

    18 iconic desert animals to spot on safari Read our take on the 15 most iconic and intriguing desert animals to see in Africa whilst on a desert safari. Africa is made up of many habitats, with over one-third of the continent covered by nine deserts. Two of these African deserts make it onto our list of the 10 largest deserts in the world.

  25. 152 Namibia Safari Tours (Offered by 22 Tour Operators)

    Desert Africa Safaris (PTY) Ltd 5.0/5 - 13 Reviews. Top Rated Operator. 11-Day South Africa and Namibia Self Drive Adventure. $2,626 to $2,727 pp (USD) Namibia & South Africa: Self-drive Mid-range Mountain Hut & Lodge You Visit: Cape Town (Start) ...

  26. Fly-In Safaris

    In addition, Desert Africa Safaris offers private charters, allowing personalised, tailor-made travel packages. With our expertise, your dream of having a fly-in safari can become a reality. Sand to Sea Fly-In Safari 7 Days Discover the vastness of Namibia on this 6 night Itinerary.

  27. 5 ideas for destinations to go to Africa in 2024

    From Amboseli Park to the beaches of the Indian Ocean, Kenya is full of surprises and satisfies all desires for elsewhere. Explore Uganda, the multifaceted pearl of Africa, land of safaris but above all of exceptional encounters with gorillas. The Etosha National Park, one of the largest wildlife parks in Africa, Damaraland and its unusual natural sites, the Atlantic coast and the Namib Desert ...