So you’ve decided you want to go on a safari vacation but don’t know where to go or where to start? Well, that is more than understandable. Safari in Swahili literally means “long journey” and it goes without saying that some of us don’t have enough time to explore the entire length of this journey. Africa’s wildlife is found in several of the continents beautiful countries and each has its own special appeal.
Where to go mainly depends on what wildlife you hope to see. For many first-timers, their main goal is to see what is popularly known as the “Big Five.” This refers to lions, leopards, buffalo, elephant, and rhinos. Others, however, have their sights set on equally amazing animals such as giraffes, zebras, and hippos. Here we have narrowed down some of the most ideal places to make your individual African safari dreams come true.
Kenya – Maasai Mara National Reserve
Kenya is by far one of the best destinations to find a diverse variety of magnificent wildlife. The main reason? Kenya is home to the Maasai Mara National Reserve which is one of the top safari destinations in Africa. At Maasai Mara, you can find over 570 species of birds and 95 species of animals, including the Big Five.
Between the months July and October, Maasai Mara is Africa’s top spot to catch the stunning wildebeest migration, where herds of wildebeest and other grazers dominate the parks incredible ecology. As you might have guessed, wherever there are wildebeest, you are sure to see some big cats and other predators prowling in the area.
Tanzania – Serengeti National Park
Tanzania is home to the Serengeti National Park, which is hands down one of the best wildlife spectacles in Africa, if not the world. So much so, that the area has inspired many films and books. This is all due to its efforts to protect the largest and most varied collection of wildlife on earth, allowing the natural migratory system to stay intact. Similar to Maasai Mara, every year, between October and November, over one million wildebeest and thousands of other grazers such as zebras travel through this area.
However, Serengeti is nearly ten times bigger than its neighboring Kenyan safari. This leaves room for a greater habitat variety and makes the area seem much less crowded with visitors. Tanzania is also where you can find the Ngorongoro Crater, whose plains forests and lakes provide the perfect home for lions, elephants, and black rhinos alike.
South Africa – Kruger National Park
Another popular destination for first-time safari-goers is Kruger National Park, located in South Africa. Although its popularity can lead to overcrowding, when paying this place a visit, it will quickly become clear why. With over 500 bird species and the chance to see a large variety of mammals, including the Big Five, Krueger has something for everyone
The secret behind Krueger’s abundant biodiversity is the large variety of habitats found throughout the park. Here you can find hills and savannahs as well as woodlands and riverine forest. This also means plenty of yearlong water, which attracts an array of wildlife who are needing to quench their thirst.