Embarking on an African safari is an adventure of a lifetime, offering a chance to witness the continent's incredible wildlife in their natural habitats. From the vast plains of the Serengeti to the lush Okavango Delta, Africa boasts an array of remarkable safari destinations. In this article, we will explore some of the best African safari game locations, each offering a unique and unforgettable experience.
Okavango Delta, Botswana: A Water Wonderland
Located in the heart of Botswana, the Okavango Delta is a mesmerizing oasis known for its labyrinthine waterways, verdant islands, and abundant wildlife. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a haven for nature lovers, providing a unique safari experience. To reach the delta, visitors can fly into Maun, Botswana’s primary tourism hub, and then transfer to their chosen lodge via a light aircraft or boat transfer. The delta offers a range of accommodations, from luxury lodges to intimate tented camps, ensuring a comfortable stay amidst the wilderness.
The Okavango Delta is renowned for its mokoro excursions, where guests glide through the tranquil waters in traditional dugout canoes, guided by experienced polers. This allows for a close encounter with aquatic species like hippos and crocodiles, as well as a multitude of birdlife. Game drives and walking safaris offer opportunities to spot elephants, lions, giraffes, and other iconic African animals. The delta’s unique combination of water-based and land-based activities makes it a truly exceptional African safari destination.
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: Witness the Great Migration
Situated in southwestern Kenya, the Masai Mara National Reserve is synonymous with the iconic Great Migration, where millions of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles traverse the plains in search of fresh grazing grounds. This awe-inspiring spectacle attracts predators like lions, cheetahs, and crocodiles, making it one of the world’s most sought-after safari experiences. Travelers can fly into Nairobi, Kenya’s capital, and then take a domestic flight or drive to the reserve.
Accommodations in the Masai Mara range from luxury lodges to tented camps, often designed to blend seamlessly with the surrounding environment. Game drives in open-sided vehicles offer unparalleled opportunities to witness the abundant wildlife, while hot air balloon safaris provide a breathtaking aerial perspective. The Masai Mara also offers cultural interactions with the Maasai people, adding a unique cultural dimension to the safari experience.
Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: A Natural Wonder
Located in northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is a geological marvel and a haven for wildlife. Formed by a collapsed volcano, the crater is a self-contained ecosystem, providing a natural sanctuary for a diverse range of animals. Travelers can fly into Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Airport and then proceed to the crater by road.
Lodges perched on the crater rim offer stunning panoramic views and convenient access to the crater floor. The crater is renowned for its high concentration of wildlife, including elephants, buffalos, lions, and the endangered black rhino. This compact and unique setting allows for remarkable game viewing opportunities. Exploring the crater also provides a chance to encounter Maasai communities and learn about their rich cultural heritage
Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda: Biodiversity and Scenic Beauty
Nestled in southwestern Uganda, Queen Elizabeth National Park is a treasure trove of biodiversity and scenic beauty. Travelers can fly into Entebbe International Airport and then take a domestic flight or drive to the park.
The park offers various types of accommodation, including luxury lodges, tented camps, and budget-friendly options. Queen Elizabeth National Park is known for its remarkable landscapes, including the picturesque Kazinga Channel, connecting Lake Edward and Lake George. Boat safaris along the channel allow visitors to observe hippos, crocodiles, and a profusion of bird species. Game drives offer encounters with tree-climbing lions, elephants, buffalos, and several primate species, including chimpanzees in the nearby Kyambura Gorge.
The park’s blend of diverse ecosystems, wildlife, and cultural heritage make it an alluring African safari destination.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe: Untamed Wilderness
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest and oldest national park, is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts seeking an authentic safari experience. Visitors can fly into Victoria Falls International Airport or Bulawayo Airport and then drive to the park.
The park offers a range of accommodations, from luxurious lodges to traditional tented camps, immersing visitors in the untamed wilderness. Hwange National Park is renowned for its vast elephant population, providing incredible opportunities for close encounters with these gentle giants. Other wildlife sightings may include lions, leopards, buffalos, giraffes, and an impressive array of bird species. In addition to game drives, visitors can enjoy walking safaris and visit local communities to gain insight into the region’s cultural heritage. Hwange National Park offers an authentic and off-the-beaten-path safari experience.
If you decide to visit Hwange National Park, also read our article on Victoria Falls. It would be a great idea to combine this game park visit with a visit to the falls, a colonial high teat the Royal Hotel, a traditional boma dinner and a sunset river cruise on the Zambezi.
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: Remote Wilderness
Tucked away in eastern Zambia, South Luangwa National Park is a hidden gem boasting unspoiled wilderness and a remarkable diversity of wildlife. Travelers can fly into Mfuwe Airport, the gateway to the park, and then transfer to their chosen lodge.
The park offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from luxurious lodges to rustic bush camps, providing an immersive experience in the heart of nature. South Luangwa National Park is renowned for its walking safaris, allowing visitors to explore the park’s diverse landscapes, including the Luangwa River, woodlands, and open plains. Encounter leopards, elephants, giraffes, and a multitude of bird species as you traverse the park on foot or during game drives. The park’s remote location ensures an exclusive and tranquil African safari experience away from the crowds.
Nyerere National Park, Tanzania: Off-the-Beaten-Path Wilderness
Renamed in honor of Tanzania’s first president, Nyerere National Park (formerly Selous Game Reserve) is one of Africa’s largest protected areas. Travelers can fly into Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s largest city, and then take a domestic flight to the park.
Nyerere National Park offers a range of accommodations, from luxury lodges to tented camps, allowing guests to savor the untamed wilderness. The park is characterized by its riverine forests, open grasslands, and extensive wetlands, attracting a diverse array of wildlife. Boat safaris along the Rufiji River are a highlight, offering encounters with elephants, buffalos, wild dogs, and numerous bird species. Game drives, walking safaris, and fly camping experiences further enhance the safari adventure. Nyerere National Park’s vast and secluded landscapes make it an ideal destination for those seeking an off-the-beaten-path safari experience.
If this is your choice for an African safari why not add Zanzibar to the itinerary? See our article on Zanzibar. It would be a short flight over from Dar es Salaam, your get an African Safari + Tropical island vacation all in one!
Kruger National Park, South Africa: An Iconic Wildlife Haven
The Kruger National Park is located in northeastern South Africa, and is a huge tourist attraction as an African safari destination. Visitors can fly into the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport or fly to Johannesburg to transfer by road.
The Kruger National Park offers a wide range of accommodations, catering to different budgets and preferences. From luxury lodges and private reserves to self-drive options and rustic campsites, there is something for everyone. The park is renowned for its abundance of wildlife, including the famous Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo). Game drives along the park’s well-maintained roads allow for incredible wildlife sightings, while guided bushwalks provide a closer connection to nature. Kruger National Park’s excellent infrastructure, diverse landscapes, and iconic wildlife make it a top choice for safari enthusiasts.
If you are not able to do an African Safari in the north of South Africa, consider Addo Elephant park if you find yourself in the Eastern Cape, or Aquila if in the Western Cape. I’ve been to both and can highly recommend them.
Africa offers a wealth of exceptional safari game lodges, each with its own unique characteristics and wildlife encounters. Whether exploring the Okavango Delta’s waterways, witnessing the Great Migration in the Masai Mara, or immersing oneself in the untamed wilderness of Hwange National Park, an African safari promises an unforgettable adventure for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.
Planning an African Safari? See our Travel Resources page to help plan your trip and book cheap flights, accommodation and car hire!
Alternatively, we can recommend All About Africa Tours & Travels for all your tailor-made safari requirements. They have been in the Africa safari business for over twenty years and have a real passion for wild life, birding and conservation whilst promoting sustainable tourism. Contact Claire for a fully-inclusive tailor made package for all land arrangements.