Kenya's biggest, yet most underdeveloped national park, Tsavo is bisected by the main Nairobi-Mombasa highway. Wild, uncrowded and authentic, Tsavo is famous for its red elephants. Tsavo National Park is easily combined with Amboseli and coastal Kenya for an unforgettable bush and beach safari experience.
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The Timbavati Game Reserve is most famous for its white lions, which are still spotted in this area from time to time. The Timbavati is a collection of privately-owned game reserves which share an unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. It is a vast Big 5 game reserve situated to the west of Kruger, and to the north of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. The bush and game viewing in the Timbavati is similar to what you will find in the Kruger National Park.
Tarangire National Park is traversed by the Tarangire River which never dries up. Being the only source of water during the dry season from July to October, it draws hundreds of animals to the park, making for spectacular wildlife and bird spotting. The landscape is varied, with grassy savannahs, swamps, hills and spectacular baobabs.
A sweeping, fertile valley sculpted by the Luangwa River, South Luangwa National Park is best known for its diverse and wealthy wildlife and the superb quality of its guides. It's a great destination for walking safaris and one of the best places to see leopards in the wild. South Luangwa National Park is definitely high up there on the list of favourites among true safari enthusiasts.
Covering a vast area in northwestern Tanzania, the Serengeti National Park is an absolute must-see. With over 70 mammals, including huge populations of lion and other predators and over 500 bird species, this is wildlife viewing paradise. Beyond the incredible Great Migration that moves through the area seasonally, this is an incredibly beautiful park with diverse flora and fauna.
Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania covers over 45,000 km² and is one of the country's three World Heritage Sites. The reserve is world-renowned for its unspoilt bush and vast numbers of game, including elephant, lion, hippo and over 440 species of bird. Incredible scenery and the option to enjoy the African bush not only on game drives but game walks and boating safaris too make Selous an incredible safari destination.
Set alongside the Ewaso Nyiro River, Kenya's biggest northern river, Samburu has the lion's share of wildlife. Besides big cats and African wild dogs, you're likely to see some of the rare northern species such as Grevy's zebra, the Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, the long-necked gerenuk, Guenther's dik-dik and the beisa oryx, known as the Samburu Special Six.
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is adjacent to the Kruger National Park. It is a collection of privately-owned game reserves which have dropped their fences by mutual agreement. There is also no fence between the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and the Kruger National Park, allowing the free movement of animals through the reserve. It is known as South Africa's top luxury safari destination and the best place in the world for viewing leopards in the wild.
In the heart of Tanzania where the Zambezi miombo woodlands meet the Tanzanian/Kenyan savannahs, lies Ruaha National Park. This vast park, with its few camps, offers visitors an uncrowded glimpse of untouched Africa, with a huge diversity of game, birds and landscapes. It's an area known for its incredible animal sightings, including large herds of elephant and plenty of predators.
Phinda Private Game Reserve is not far from the well-known iSimangaliso/Greater St Lucia Wetland Park in northern KwaZulu-Natal. Phinda offers you abundant wildlife, courtesy of its incredibly diverse habitats. There, a handful of private lodges share excellent game sightings in a 23,000-hectare wilderness. Within easy distance of the warm Indian Ocean and its pristine beaches, Phinda makes for an ideal "bush and beach" safari destination.
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 has easy access to Ngorongoro, with its breathtaking scenery and teeming wildlife, especially at Ngorongoro Crater.
Ngorongoro Crater is a Tanzanian must-see. Situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a vast park of spectacular beauty, this caldera or collapsed volcano has created a mini game reserve with many habitats in a very small area. This provides a home to an incredibly diverse range of birds and animals including the Big Five in a concentrated space.
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 home 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.
The Moremi Game Reserve is one of Botswana's best 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. Moremi is a Big Five reserve, although currently only Chief's Island, deep in the Delta, has rhino following a successful rhino reintroduction programme. In other parts of Moremi, you can expect to see elephant, buffalo, lion and possibly leopard and wild dog as well. Cheetah are rare but they have been sighted here. General game includes giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, lechwe, puku, hartebeest, sable antelope, impala, waterbuck, baboon and monkey, warthog, hippo and crocodile.
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.
The Manyeleti Game Reserve is one of the hidden gems in the Greater Kruger conservation area. Situated adjacent to the Kruger National Park, between the famous Sabi Sand and Timbavati game reserves, this 24,000 hectare reserve is home to the Big Five and offers excellent game viewing opportunities. Manyeleti is not as busy as the Kruger Park or the Sabi Sand, and offers an excellent safari experience.
Mana Pools in northern Zimbabwe is one of the few wilderness areas where it's possible to explore on foot (either guided or on your own) or by canoe. Roads are few and far between so game driving is by 4x4. It's a pristine, unspoilt paradise, with abundant game, spectacular scenery and an incredible variety of birds.
The Mahale Mountains National Park is situated on the eastern shores of Lake Tanganyika in remote western Tanzania. It's spectacularly beautiful, with the backdrop of the Mahale Mountains and lush, tropical flora. The main attraction is walking safaris to observe the chimpanzees who live here. They share their forest paradise with a range of other primates, mammals and beautiful birds.
Madikwe is one of South Africa's popular Big 5 safari destinations for those looking for a malaria-free safari. It's especially family friendly as there's no need for malarial prophylactics. Most lodges in Madikwe Game Reserve welcome children and offer specially designed child-friendly programmes to keep the little ones busy and to help them really enjoy their safari experience, too.
The Maasai Mara, Kenya. Also sometimes written as the Masai Mara. It's said that you won't find a greater abundance of game anywhere in Africa, as you will in Kenya's Maasai Mara National Park. Apart from the Big Five, the reserve is home to an incredible variety of wildlife in large numbers; like the annual wildebeest migration, involving over 1.5 million animals.
Lower Zambezi National Park is found in a vast valley created by a huge rift in the Earth's crust, through which the mighty Zambezi River flows. The mineral-rich deposits from ancient volcanoes deposited here over millennia have created a lush, tropical paradise for a large assortment of vegetation and wildlife, mirrored on its opposite banks by Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe.
Two of the better-known lakes in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya, Lake Nakuru and Lake Naivasha are within easy reach of the capital, Nairobi. Each offers a distinctive safari experience and are often included in a Kenyan safari.
The spectacular alkaline Lake Manyara forms the centre point of this small and very beautiful park with surprisingly diverse fauna and flora. A circuit drive through the park passes through forest, wetlands, grassy plains and acacia forests, offering views of different animals and multitudes of birds. Elephant, hippo, giraffe, tree-climbing lion and baboon are just a few of the game that call Manyara home.