African safari trips are not in short supply and the question is not how but where?
Finding the best African safari is all about figuring out the priorities of your trip and focusing your research around it, whether it be wildlife, landscapes or staying at the ultimate luxury safari lodge.
Choose between the wet plains of Botswana, the unforgiving deserts of Namibia and the lush mountains of Tanzania – all full of big cats and wild game including elephants, hippos and lions.
Or why not kick-start your research by focusing on the wildlife you would like to see such as the black rhino, mountain gorillas or tree-climbing lions.
While sightings are never guaranteed, some species are only found in particular regions while others are more prevalent in certain parks.
So if it’s all about the wildlife for you, find out which park is best for the animals you’d like to see and choose wisely.
For more tips and inspiration while planning your dream safari, I’ve put together a list of favourites from my time in east and Southern Africa. Enjoy amigos x
Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater
When planning your African safari, there is no better place to start but the Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
These two national parks offer a huge array of landscapes, wildlife and price packages, so you really cannot go wrong!
Accommodation ranges from basic bush camping to the finest safari lodges with sprawling views of this famous African terrain.
And the quantity of must-see species that inhabit these two national parks, best booked as a pair, is incomparable to any other safari I have experienced.
I started my Tanzanian safari with a morning game drive at the Ngorongoro Crater. The descent into the volcanic crater is simply breathtaking and once inside, there is plenty of wildlife to look out for.
We ticked off wildebeest, zebra, pink flamingoes, hippos, water hogs, serval cats, lions… mating… and even the critically endangered black rhino. What a moment!
That afternoon, we drove through the Ngorongoro conservation area, home to the Masai tribe, before an afternoon game drive at the Serengeti, where a cheetah came right up to our jeep in the rain.
The following morning we were back in the park by 6am where we were greeted by hyenas at the gate.
I was fortunate to see all of the big five and all of the Serengeti’s big cats including lions, leopards and cheetah – my favourite.
The Serengeti really was the gift that kept on giving! I cannot recommend it enough ❤
Get excited and check out the video here.
Okavango Delta Botswana
If landscapes are your bag, Botswana’s Okavango Delta should be at the top of your list of ultimate African safaris.
Watch out for hippos, crocs and pelicans as you are steered through the waterways of Botswana’s sprawling grassy plains by a poler in a traditional mokoro boat.
We opted for an overnight stay at the Okavango Delta where we camped on an island and cooked on an open fire.
Locals offered sunset and sunrise bush walks where we saw zebra, antelope and giraffe – wandering just metres from our campsite.
It was incredible to think we had set up camp among so many amazing wild animals.
Before retiring to our tents, we were also treated to a campfire singing and a theatre performance under the stars by nearby villagers.
Chobe National Park Botswana
Chobe National Park is Africa’s ultimate water safari where you can watch animals come to life across the water plains of Botswana.
You cannot help but feel fully immersed in the magic that takes place on the Botswana flatlands, home to Africa’s largest elephant population.
With many boats to choose from, we opted for a small vessel with an open top deck, perfect for landscape photography.
We scoured the water for hippos, watched elephants bathing their young and spotted crocs, antelope and buffalo along the water bank during a delightful three-hour cruise.
With the laid back atmosphere of Botswana, we were also able to bring our own cool box onto the boat full of snacks and refreshments. Cheeky bonus.
Etosha National Park Namibia
Etosha National Park offers a unique desert landscape as the backdrop to your African safari, where you can watch elephants and rhinos come to drink at a watering hole by night.
Be prepared to be blown away by the stunning scenery and pastel tones of Namibia’s desert safari – the land of endless sands, silver thorn bushes and pastel blue skies.
Lions nestle under dry branches in search of shade, zebra stand like statues in the baron landscape and giraffes pierce the horizon.
TOP TIP: Be sure to stay at Okaukuejo Camp inside Etosha National Park. The site offers a free viewing platform where you can watch wildlife come to drink from the watering hole at night – truly sensational and one of my top travel moments of all time.
Queen Elizabeth Park Uganda
Queen Elizabeth Park is Uganda’s most visited park and the place of the country’s famous tree climbing lions.
Have lunch at the park’s crater lake and watch out for buffalo, antelope, elephants, leopards, lions and chimpanzees on your game drive.
In the park’s Ishasha district, you can also find lions lazing on tree branches – if you’re lucky.
Scientists say these crafty cats have perfected the art of climbing trees as a way of escaping the overwhelming heat at ground level.
Bwindi Impenetrable National Park Uganda
The gorilla safari tour at the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is one of my most treasured and unique experiences and is often tagged onto a safari trip to Queen Elizabeth Park.
The forest is just a few hours’ drive from Queen Elizabeth Park and tour operators often offer the two together as a package – the option I went for and would recommend if you have the cash.
TOP TIP: Gorilla safari tours are half price during rainy season so if your dates are flexible, be sure to do your research and save some dollar!
The impenetrable forest really lives up to its name and you’ll be guided by expert rangers with machetes to hack their way through the dense jungle and towards the magnificent mountain gorilla.
With so many exceptional safari options on offer in Africa, each with its own unique selling point, research is crucial when planning your trip!
If you have any questions while planning your dream safari, drop me a message or leave a comment in the box below. I’d love, love, love to help!
Laura Wanderland x