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There are few wild places on Earth that offer the same unique combination of spectacular wildlife, beautiful scenery, palm-fringed waterways, remote islands and vast unspoilt wilderness as Botswana's Okavango Delta. The Okavango swamps are formed by the annual flooding of the Okavango River, which opens into a vast life-giving oasis in Botswana's desert. The delta attracts huge numbers of wildlife due to the permanent water available here.
Malaria-free North West Province lies within easy reach from Johannesburg. Bordered by Botswana in the north and fringed by the Kalahari Desert, North West Province is a fantastic safari destination for families. Home to Sun City, famous for its casino, waterpark and Gary Player golf course, the region offers great Big Five game viewing options in Pilanesberg National Park, an extinct volcano that is home to a wide range of wildlife, and Madikwe Game Reserve which offers some of the best family-friendly safaris in South Africa.
Accommodation and park fees within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be high. Just 20 km out of the park lies the bustling town of Karatu, surrounded by beautiful coffee plantations. It is here that comfortable, affordable accommodation in spectacular settings can be found. The area enjoys easy access to Ngorongoro, with its breathtaking scenery and teeming wildlife, especially at Ngorongoro Crater.
One of Tanzania's top safari spots, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area offers safari-goers and wildlife enthusiasts outstanding wildlife sightings and breathtaking scenery. A game drive on the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater with its incredibly diverse range of birds and animals including the Big Five is a bucket-list experience on any Tanzanian safari itinerary.
Ngorongoro is a Tanzanian must-see. The Ngorongoro Crater, a caldera or collapsed volcano, while only covering 260 km², includes a diverse range of habitats including montane forest, grasslands, acacia forests, a salt-lake and swamps. The diversity of the habitat provides refuge to an incredibly wide range of birds and animals, including the Big Five, in a concentrated area. Accommodation around the rim of the crater provides spectacular views and easy access to the crater.
Consisting mainly of sweeping grasslands, the Ndutu area in the northern part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area joins the Serengeti. As such, it forms part of the annual migratory route of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, zebra, antelope and their predators who come to graze and calve between November and March, depending on the rains. The forests around Lake Ndutu and small koppies are also home to prolific resident wildlife.
Famous for its arresting desert scenery and outstanding game viewing, Namibia is one of Southern Africa's top travel destinations. Its most captivating attraction, the ancient Namib Desert, presents endless ochre dunes and parched salt pans, while the game-viewing gem of Etosha National Park offers a world-class safari experience. Natural wonders include the Fish River Canyon, Etosha Pan, Sossusvlei, Waterberg Plateau and the fertile Caprivi Strip.
Nairobi is usually your gateway into Kenya. While most safari visitors spend one night in the city on their way to or from their wildlife experience, Nairobi has great lodges and unique boutique hotels. The city is bursting with life from informal Maasai Markets lining the streets selling handmade arts and crafts to local tailors who can finish a beautifully made, bargain-friendly safari suit in 24 hours. Nairobi National Park with its dense concentration of black rhino is no more than 7 km from Nairobi's city centre.
Mpumalanga Province lies to the east of Johannesburg and includes the eastern part of the Highveld, the scenic escarpment and Drakensberg mountains, and the warmer Lowveld region to the east, stretching to the border of Mozambique. Mpumalanga is one of South Africa's most beautiful and most visited provinces. It is home to the Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, as well as the scenic Panorama Route with its spectacular views and waterfalls.
Moremi Game Reserve is one of Botswana's best Big Five wildlife destinations. The lodges in the Moremi Game Reserve typically offer a combination of 4x4 game drives and boat trips on the waterways of the Okavango Delta. Excellent land- and water-based game viewing and its close proximity to Maun make Moremi Game Reserve a wonderful Southern African safari destination.
Although Meru National Park was made famous by Joy Adamson's "Born Free" books, it remains largely undiscovered and untamed. With its rugged jungle, rivers, swamps and grasslands, game viewing opportunities are excellent. Neglected on safari bucket lists for years, it has been restored to its former glory while evading the hordes of safari visitors.
Matusadona National Park, located in the heart of Zimbabwe's Zambezi Valley on the shores of Lake Kariba, offers some of the country's most rewarding game viewing opportunities and is often best explored on foot. Walking safaris are the perfect way to investigate the ruggedness of Matusadona's wilderness which ranges from shoreline grassland and mopane woodland to mountain acacia woodland on the escarpment.