Best African Safari Tours: Top 11 Picks

by | Oct 26, 2021 | Africa Live Work and Play, Live Work Play Travel | 6 comments

Hmmmm……what African Safari Tour Will I Choose

 

When you think of visiting Africa, the first things that springs to mind is going on an African safari tour and seeing the animals in their natural habitats. If this is high on your bucket list to see elephants, hippos, lions or gorillas then I hope this post will provide you with the inspiration. I have asked 11 travel bloggers their favourite African safari tour and this is what they have advised. Read on, to discover some of the best African safaris tours to go on when visiting Africa.

 

Chobe National Park, Botswana

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Chobe National Park You May Elephants Bathing In Water.

Elephants enjoying the water in Chobe National Park

 

Chobe National Park is located within Botswana. It is the country’s first national park and is famous for its impressive herd of African elephants. Around 120,000 elephants are living in the park boundaries.  

One way to visit Chobe conveniently is to enter the park from Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe. This is where many tourists usually sign up for a one or two-day safari tour from there. 

What sets Chobe apart from other African safari tour experiences is it offers two transportation means for game viewing – boat and jeep. I boarded on a boat and sailed down the Kasane River. Then hopped into a jeep and ventured through the woodlands. The Chobe Flood Plain gave me an open and unobstructed view so that I could observe closely how the fascinating African elephants, alligators, hippopotamus, and buffalos behave and live in the water. There is also a healthy population of lions, cheetahs, and leopards that are occasionally spotted in the woodlands in the park.  

Contributed by Kenny of Knycx Journeying

 

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In The Serengeti National Park You May See Zebras Coming To A Waterhole For A Drink of Water.

Zebras enjoying a drink in the Serengeti National Park

 

Wandering through Serengeti National Park is an incredible and memorable experience in Tanzania. This place is famous for the flat plains that stretch for miles. This allows plenty of visibility to see wildlife in their natural habitats.

While a 4-day safari in Serengeti may seem like a long time, it was worth it to witness a variety of wildlife. We saw a mother cheetah walking with her cubs. A family of elephants crossing in front of our Jeep. A male lion chasing away vultures after catching a wildebeest, and many more. There was never a dull moment. Of course, seeing thousands of wildebeests and zebras running in a line along the Great Migration trail was impressive to see.

Staying overnight at Serengeti depends on budget and comfortability. The cheaper option is to camp in tents while the luxurious option is to stay at a hotel or lodge. We did a combination and spent three nights camping and one night at Sopa Lodge. Enjoy your time here!

Contributed by Jackie Szeto from Life Of Doing

 

Krueger National Park, South Africa

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Kruger National Park You May See A Lion Lazing In The African Grasses.

What a life…..lazy days in Kruger National Park

 

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves and is one of the top bucket list experiences on the whole continent. Finding the Big 5 (African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Leopard, Lion, and Rhinoceros) is one of the best things to do in South Africa.

We felt that Kruger was the perfect destination for our first safari, and we were able to check off all the boxes of what we envisioned a safari would be. It was amazing the number of animal sightings we had, all within their natural habitat.

We were able to spot all of the big five during our time in Kruger, including a couple of sightings of the elusive leopard. One of the most incredible experiences was to see a herd of hundreds of Cape Buffalo in the riverbed.

Staying at Jock Safari Lodge, a five-star accommodation provided luxury and comfort between our game drives in an open safari vehicle. Our safari lasted four days and we wished we had more time.

Contributed by Debbie Fettback from World Adventurists

 

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Kgalagadi National Park You May See A Lioness Roaming Through The African Grasses.

Lioness in the wilderness

 

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park  located in the neighbouring countries of South Africa and Botswana, within the Kalahari desert, spans over the border into both countries. This park is most famous for its large population of predators, and on safari in the park we saw the big cats; lion, leopard and cheetah. The Kgalagadi is well known for the black maned Kalahari lions, these majestic animals are unique to the area. We explored the park independently for a week in a 4×4 vehicle, camping in 3 different campsites. Fenced traditional camps and unfenced wilderness camps are available. Lying in your tent at night and hearing a lion roar close by is a fantastic experience in  the Kalahari. The highlight of the park was to watch predators and scavengers such as hyenas, jackals and the birds of prey interact. We also saw plenty of unique small animals including; the bat-eared fox, meerkat, ground squirrel, the beautiful cape fox; and the elusive Honey Badger (Ratel). The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park can be visited all year round, June and July is the peak season and the best time for predator sightings.

Contributed by Campbell Louw Stingy Nomads

 

Chongwe River House, Zambezi River, Zambia

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Chongwe National Park You May See A Lioness Hunting Elephants.

Lioness chowing down on an elephant

 

One of the most extraordinary African safaris that I have ever taken was at the Chongwe River House located on the Zambezi River in Zambia. We flew by private plane from Victoria Falls and stayed at this luxury residence with a staff of 17 people for a week. Everything about this experience was special and made for an effortless way to organize an African safari.

First, the house itself was magical. The architecture reminded me of Gaudi and Disney. The walls were curved, the windows were fantastical shapes, and the ceilings undulated. There wasn’t a pane of glass on the windows, and the back of the house was completely open – not a wall in sight. We were mere feet from the Chongwe River which fed into the Zambezi River.

Second, the food was exceptional and it never stopped coming. From the early morning breakfast before our safari, to the hot chocolate and pastries in the mid morning while on our safari, to the afternoon lunch back at the house, to the late afternoon tea (always with a new freshly baked cake offered each day even if we could only eat a slice from the cake the day before), to the sundowner of hot hors d’oeuvres and cocktails on our boat watching the sunset, to our final four course formal dinner in the evening.

Third, and best of all, was the unbelievable private safaris that we got to take. We had our own boat and guide that took us on the Zambezi river during the day or for the sunset. We were surrounded at our house with hippos, elephants and crocodiles. Then, we would go on to the Zambezi River and dodge hippos in the water or elephants on the shores. 

We took the safari jeep into Lower Zambezi National Park and did safaris in the day and night. There wasn’t another soul around. The world could have ended and we would not have known. One of the more remarkable animal encounters was watching an adult elephant charge a pride of 20 lions who had killed a young elephant and listening to its cries. 

On our night safaris, we saw the spectacular Milky Way. 

We did a walking safari with an armed guard and we paddled in a canoe, gliding mere inches from hippos and elephants who could overturn or crush us at any minute.

Chongwe River House will forever be one of the best safaris we have ever taken and one of the most unforgettable trips of my life.

Contributed by Nicole Hunter of Go Far Grow Close

 

Etosha National Park, Namibia

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Etosha National Park You May See Elephants Coming To A Waterhole For A Drink.

Elephants enjoying a drink in Etosha National Park

 

Etosha National Park is definitely the best place to go on safari in Namibia. My experience there was amazing, for three reasons:

First, the number and variety of wild animals there is astounding: elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras and cheetahs – and so many more. I visited in September, towards the end of the dry season, which means the water holes draw in animals from far and wide, making it easy to see them.

Second, the park can be self-driven.  You can book a guided safari drive, but you can also drive your own car, which helps make it affordable and also very flexible. You must obey the driving guidelines, though, including never getting out of the car!

Thirdly, the camps: I stayed at Okaukuejo, which has a range of accommodation from comfortable chalets to camping.  The big draw of this camp is that it is located right next to a large water hole.  Every day I watched in awe as herds of huge elephants arrived to drink and bathe – it was a once in a lifetime experience!

Contributed by Martha from May Cause Wanderlust

 

HluHluwe Umfolozi Park, South Africa

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In HluHluwe National Park You May See Zebras Frolicking In The African Countryside.

Zebras in HluHluwe Umfolozi Park, South Africa

 

HluHluwe Umfolozi Park in South Africa is one of the most underrated safari locations in the country. This reserve is far less crowded than the more popular Krueger Park and can also be more affordable. It’s located around 3 hours north of the city of Durban and is best reached by car. There are a lot of reputable safari companies in the area which will help you spot the big five. Hluhluwe Umfolozi also has rare wild dogs and cheetahs which are regularly spotted by safari goers. Especially in the early mornings there is incredible wildlife to be discovered and since not as many other tourists visit you’ll be there by yourself on most days. The Nibela Lake Lodge is especially beautiful and a fantastic place to stay. You can book daily safari trips and extend for up to a week for longer journeys. It’s definitely worth it for this once in a lifetime experience.

Contributed by Victoria Heinz of Guide Your Travel

 

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Ngora National Park Your Vehicle May Be Stopped By A Lioness Wondering Across The Road In Front Of You.

Stop!…. while I cross the road

 

One of the most beautiful African safari tours I have ever been on was to Ngorongoro Crater, in Tanzania. The crater was formed millions of years ago, when a super volcano erupted. It is hard to imagine how big the explosion was, when you see the giant size of the crater. We started this part of the Tanzanian safari adventure early in the morning and we were among the firsts to enter the crater. It was still dark outside when we started out descent through the thick fog, towards the bottom.

The first encounter, just before reaching the base, was with two lionesses, who decided to walk slowly alongside our vehicle. As the sun has risen and started to break the fog apart, I could see hundreds of thousands of pink flamingos covering the entire shore of the lake in the distance. We spent half a day inside the crater, spotting 8 black rhinos, a fight between lions and hyenas over a zebra, elephants bathing and baby hippos playing in the mud.

Contributed by Joanna from The World in My Pocket

 

Masai Mara, Kenya

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Masai Mara National Park You Will Not See The Wildlife From The Ground But You Can Go Up In A Hot Air Balloon To See Africa And Its Animals From Above.

Spectacular Views from Above

 

One of the best places to go on an African Safari is the incredible Masai Mara in Kenya. This park is home to The Great Wildebeest Migration from July to September, but even throughout the rest of the year, the big 5 safari animals can be spotted! 

The Masai Mara has a variety of landscapes, wide-open spaces, and a temperate climate, making game viewing excellent. Big cats roam freely – lions, cheetahs, and even the elusive leopard can be spotted. We were lucky to even see rhinoceros, which are pretty shy.

One of the coolest things we did was take a hot air balloon ride over the Masai Mara. We literally got a birds-eye view of the animals and really be able to grasp how many animals call this park home. 

The Masai Mara was awe-inspiring and will always have a special place in my heart.

Contributed by Pamela from The Directionally Challenged Traveller

 

Aquila, South Africa

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Aquila You May See Rhinos In Their Natural African Habitat.

Plenty of Rhinos to get up close and personal with

 

Since 2002, Aquila has been one of the most accessible game reserves for Cape Town visitors. It is only a two-hour drive from the Western Cape capital. Here, this 10,000 hectare reserve is set between the Langeberg and the Outeniqua Mountains.

Every morning and afternoon, you can go on two to three-hour game drives with qualified field rangers.  From an open 4 x 4 vehicle, enjoy sightings of elephants, lions, buffalo, rhinos, and leopards. Rescued Barbary lions from the “canned hunting trade,” as well as giraffes and hippos, can also be found.

The reserve boasts having bred the Western Cape’s first rhino in 200 years. Meanwhile, Aquila’s natural wetland is home to 172 bird species, including rare black eagle breeding pairs.

Aquila has attractive secluded cottages on the reserve’s hillside if you want to spend the night or the weekend. There’s also a spa with a variety of treatments, a quiet retreat from the hustle of the rest of the reserve which also makes this place one of the best places to spend a unique honeymoon trip in Africa.

Contributed by Christine Rogador from Romantic Places Insider

 

Okavango Delta, Botswana

 

When You Go On A Safari In Africa Such As In Okinava National Park You May See Hippos In A Water Hole Sticking Their Heads Above Water.

Hippos peeking above the water

 

Seeing my first elephant in the wild is a memory I will never forget. I had just touched down on the bush landing strip and was on my way to the Rra Dinare camp site. I had chosen a three-camp trip with Kwando African Safari Tours. The three camps in different locations within the Okavango Delta in Botswana gave me different terrains and wildlife to experience.

The campsites all had en-suite tents which were spacious. There were outdoor showers, desks and sofas inside and verandas with epic views outside.

The Okavango Delta is home to all of the Big Five animals – lion, leopard, elephants, rhinoceros and water buffalo, though there are plenty of other animals. Wild dogs, hyenas, giraffe, impala, kudos, ostrich, meerkats all call the Delta home. Darting about the skies are the multicoloured lilac breasted rollers with flashes of turquoise, purple, pink and blue. These brilliant birds are the unofficial bird of Botswana.

Contributed by Larch, The Silver Nomad

 

So there you have 11 of the best African safari tours to undertake when visiting Africa. If you have been on a safari I would love to hear about it in the comments following. And if you want to book an African safari check out the tours following.

 

Book Your African Safari Tour

 

Been inspired by the African Safari Tours mentioned then here are some safaris you can book.

 

See A Gorilla In Botswana Like This One.

Thanks for sharing!

Useful Travel Resources for Your Next Adventure!

 

Accommodation: Where Will You Sleep Tonight? If you want a bed in a hostel dorm find a great deal with HostelWorld. I mostly stay in hotels now, Booking.com is my favourite site for booking hotels from budget to ‘I feel like splurging’. For something completely different I house and pet sitting through Trusted Housesitters – this has saved me thousands on accommodation, no joke!

Flights: I always head to Skyscanner first to find a cheap and flexible flight.

Car Rental: When I need to rent a car I turn to RentalCars.

Train Travel: I love riding the train rails and get the best value from Eurail and Interrail Passes. And Japan has a great one too – JapanRail Pass.

Bus Travel: Check out Busbud for bus tickets.

Pre-organised Tours: I’ve been on a few in my time with Contiki being my first and favourite. if you are 18-35 years of age you should check them out.

Jump-the-queue entrance tickets: I don’t enjoy standing in long queues which is why I book my entrance tickets and day trips in advance. My favourite website to book them in advance is GetYourGuide.

Travel Insurance. There are a number of reasons why travel insurance is important and I never travel without having bought a policy as you never know when something might happen. World Nomads is great for general travel insurance while SafetyWing is great digital nomads and long-term travellers.

Need something else? Check out my Resources page.

 

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Hi. Sharyn here, the face behind Live Work Play Travel. I’ve been travelling all my life thanks to my dad who worked for an airline. My aim with this blog is to help you work abroad or work online and travel the world.   Read more.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Ildiko

    This post couldn’t have come at a better time. I am in the early stages of planning our first Safari trip in Africa. I loved all the descriptions, but in reality they all sound amazing. So hard to pick! Wondering if any are close enough to combine with some Gorilla viewing??

    Reply
  2. Jen Ciesielski

    What a great post. I’ve been looking to plan a safari in Africa and was having a hard time choosing. This is really a nice summary. Thanks for sharing and putting all this together! 🙂

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      Glad the Africa safari post is providing some inspiration. I would love to go on all of them!

      Reply
  3. Rebecca Scholes

    This brings back lots of happy memories for me, we’ve spent a lot of time in Africa and done many of these safaris ❤️ I want to go again!

    Reply
    • Sharyn McCullum

      I’m jealous. I would love to go on more safaris. One day.

      Reply
  4. Josy A

    Soooo many incredible options! We had a couple of days in the Masai Mara and it was incredible! We did see Lions, but I was most impressed by the elephants. They have so much personality!

    For something a bit different, the other place we loved was a walking safari on Crescent Island Game Sanctuary on Lake Naivasha (Kenya.) There are no predators on the island, so you can walk around and get close to the giraffes etc. That was also epic!

    Reply

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