Top 10 Best Safari Destinations In Africa

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Going on an African safari is something on most travelers’ bucket lists.

The continent has so many ideal destinations and parks to explore that you will be spoilt for choice.

Some include Serengeti, Masaai Mara, Kruger National Park, and Etosha National Park among others. 

To make the most out of your safari experience, here are the top 10 best safari destinations in Africa.

1. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

The Serengeti, ‘endless plains’ in Maa language, is a vast tropical savannah that spans about 5,700 square miles.

Serengeti park
Serengeti National park

It is the best safari destination in Africa, thanks to the high concentration of animals and scenic landscapes.

The park is one of the few remaining natural sanctuaries of the endangered black rhino and the African hunting dog.

It is a World Biosphere Reserve with an abundance of plants and insects that burst into life during the rainy season.

The Serengeti game drives, bush meals, balloon safaris, and safari walks are renowned worldwide.

Top Attractions

Wildebeest Migration

The wildebeest migration is one of the most incredible terrestrial animal movements in the world.

see Wildebeest migration
Wildebeest migration

Over 1.5 wildebeests accompanied by thousands of zebras, elands, Thomson gazelles, and zebras make an annual journey around the Serengeti- Mara ecosystem in search of greener pastures.

The crossing of the Mara River is the epitome of the migration, and it’s an absolute spectacle.

Only the fittest survive, crossing the fast-flowing river with steep banks and the giant Nile crocodiles lying in wait.   

lions fight angry
Lions are fighting every day

The migration attracts the fiercest predators in the African savannah.

They include:

  • lions
  • cheetahs
  • spotted hyenas
  • wild dogs
  • silver-backed jackals
  • and leopards

As a result of the high concentration of carnivores, you will witness epic hunting sequences.

Occasionally – Gruesome territorial fights will erupt among the different factions of the predators.

The Big Five

All the big five animals: lions, elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, and leopards, are in the Serengeti.

Leopard hunting
Leopard prepared for hunting

It also boasts the largest population of lions in Africa. The black rhinos are found primarily around the Moru Kopjes region.

Naturally, leopards are solitary animals and camouflage experts, making them the toughest to spot.

Most of the leopard sightings in the park are around the Seronera Valley.

Bird Watching

If you are an avid bird enthusiast, a visit to the Serengeti should be on your books, with over 530 species of birds recorded.

While most birds are native to the area, some are migratory.

They include the Egyptian geese, white stork, gully billed tern, and Eurasian roller, which frequent Southern Serengeti during the wet season.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

Besides the safari, Serengeti has a rich cultural heritage.

Watching lions African safari safety
Watching lions African safari

Before the government relocation, the park was home to the indigenous Maasai, Ikoma, and Sukuma tribes.

Ikoma Ruins in North Western Serengeti, Gong rock in Moru Kopjes, and the Maasai rock paintings are some of the historical sites you can visit during your vacation.

Best Time to Visit

While the Serengeti has a good game viewing all year round, July to September is the best time to visit as the wildebeests prepare to cross over to the Maasai Mara.

April to June also provides a beautiful viewing around the Grumeti Game Reserve.

The area is famous sighting for impalas, waterbucks, olive baboons, bat-eared foxes, honey badgers, and the black and white colobus monkeys.

It is also full of drama as the wildebeests cross the Grumeti River on their migration course.

2. Kruger National Park, South Africa

At 7,523 square miles, Kruger is the biggest park in South Africa.

Safari Kruger National Park South Africa
Kruger National Park South Africa

Unlike the savannah of Serengeti, Kruger’s landscape is open woodland with rocky hills.

It is an excellent habitat for animals and around 500 species of birds.

Iconic landmarks dot the numerous road networks that lead to established safari sightings.

Such landmarks include the Lebombo mountains and the Von Wielligh Baobab tree.

Top Attractions

Big 5

Kruger is arguably the most convenient park to see all the big 5 in one game drive.

Lions African Safari drinking water
Small lions drinking water

The Sabi River basin has plenty of trees and rocky hills where you can easily spot leopards.

As an essential water point, animals frequent the area while the terrain is prime for predator ambushes.

The elephant population is also huge across the park.

Black Wildebeest

Kruger has a significant population of black wildebeests, which are endemic to Southern Africa.

A white/creamy fluffy tail is their most distinctive trait. They were almost extinct due to trophy hunting, but their population is steadily increasing.

Family Vacations

Romantic sunset African safari
Enjoying sunset African safari

There is ample accommodation and facilities for a family getaway.

Paved roads and signposts make tracking your movements across the park easy.

Moreover, the family packages are cheaper than most of the destinations on the list.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the park is from August to October.

It is the height of the dry season, and animals usually gather around watering points, making it easier to spot.

3. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Maasai Mara is the most visited park in Kenya since its commissioning inn1961.

Located on the southwest border, it merges with the Serengeti to form a vast ecosystem.

African safari Maasai Mara National Rreserve Kenya
Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya

While the Mara is smaller than the Serengeti, (550 square miles) the size works to its advantage.

The animal populace is concentrated, meaning you can view most of the big game in 1-2 game drives.

You can spot common animals lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffaloes, giraffes, gazelles, and hippos.

Breathtaking scenery, easy accessibility from the capital, Nairobi, and the warm temperate conditions make tourist troop into the reserve all year long.

Top Attractions

The Wildebeest Migration

At the onset of the dry season in the Serengeti, the wildebeests trek northwards, congregating on the banks of the Mara River.

The lodges and camps in the Mara are at capacity in anticipation of the crossing; it would be best to book early.

Most herds will attempt to cross the river to the greener pastures in the Maasai Mara.

The brawl of the crossing and the killing spree of the crocodile is a sight to behold.

The wildebeests will be in the Mara for a few months before returning to the Serengeti in late October or November.

Bird Watching

There have been more than 470 bird species sightings inside the Mara.

African Gray Hornbill
African Gray Hornbill

It is home to over 20 species of hawks, storks, and eagles. Herons, kingfishers, and secretary birds are in abundance.


The Mara has over 10 private and public conservancies.

The famous ones are Mara Triangle, Ol Kinyei, and the Olare Orok conservancy.

Set aside for wildlife conservation efforts, the proximity to the animals offers a unique safari experience.

The other beauty of these conservancies is watching the local herders grazing their cattle together with buffalos and gazelles, oblivious to the risk of predators lurking inside the tall grass.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit the Maasai Mara is from June to September, which coincides with the wildebeest migration.

4. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area draws its name from the Ngorongoro crater.

Africa Ngorongoro Conservation Area Tanzania
Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania

It is the main source of attraction and the largest volcanic caldera in the region.

The conservation area is a tropical savanna with woodlands, highlands, lakes, and a series of craters covering over 8,292 square kilometers.

Game viewing in Ngorongoro is pleasurable as it has one of the highest concentrations of wildlife in the world.

You can find all the famous animals in the area, and the big cats are always lurking in the long grass or thickets.

Scavengers like hyenas and vultures find easy meals in this area with many predators on the prowl.

Top Attractions

Big Five

All 5 are available, including the rare black rhinoceros.

Calving season of Wildebeests

After migrating from the Mara, the wildebeests move south to give birth.

The conservation area is prime nursing grounds as the fertile volcanic soils around the crater have nutritious fodder.

400,000 to 500,000 calves will be born over a 2-3-week period in February.

The calving attracts pride of predators to the area who prey on the young and vulnerable gnus.

lions fighting food Aafrican safari
Lions fighting over food

Watching the drama enfold is a bitter-sweet experience but necessary to maintain an ecological balance.

Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge is 40 km northwest of the Ngorongoro crater.

It is hugely considered the cradle of humanity, with many fossils of early man’s civilization found in the area.

You can locate most of the excavations at the Olduvai Gorge Museum.

Bird watching

Over 400 species of birds reside in the gorges and craters in the area.

Nature walks around the craters like Empakai offers bird lovers unique sightings and sceneries as the sun sets.

Best Time to Visit

July to October is the dry season when the grass is shorter, making it easy to spot the big cats using it as camouflage.

You can also visit from January to March when it is the calving season.

There are some epic battles as male wildebeests stand their ground to protect their calves while the unrelenting predators keep charging.

5. Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

The 700-square-mile park has a pristine ecosystem.

Africa Queen Elizabeth National Park Uganda
Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda

A savannah grassland, tropical forests, two lakes, and several wetlands are home to various wildlife in the region.

The area is endowed with a big mammal and reptile population, making it an ideal destination for a safari.

Early mornings and late afternoons offer the best safari experience. 

Top Attractions

Tree Climbing Lions

Tree climbing lions are usually found in the Ishasha region, south of the national park.

This unusual behavior of lions invites curious tourists and photographers globally.

Bird watching

618 species of birds inhabit the Queen Elizabeth National Park making it the highest bird biodiversity in Africa.

Some notable rare bird species in the park are the Pel’s fishing owl and the shoebill.

Watching Papyrus Gonolek
Birdwatching Papyrus Gonolek

Easy-to-spot birds include the Caspian plover, papyrus gonolek, swamp flycatcher, and the notorious palm-nut vulture.

Chimpanzee Tracking

Watching the friendly apes in their natural habitat inside the Kyambura Gorge forests is very rewarding.

The gorge also houses several bird species, butterflies, and provides stunning views of the Ugandan rainforest.

Kazinga Boat Rides

It’s a 10-mile boat cruise on the Kazinga channel that connects Lake George and Lake Edward.

The voyage is not for the faint-hearted, as hippos and Nile crocodiles are abundant in the stream.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit this park is from January to February and June to July.

Clear skies make it ideal for game viewing and photography.

You can easily spot a tree-climbing lion resting on a tree branch or buffaloes wallowing in water to cool their hides as the surface temperatures become too hot.

6. Etosha National Park, Namibia

Etosha National Park is an 8,6000 square mile wildlife sanctuary in the Kunene region, northwest of Namibia.

African safari Etosha National Park Namibia
Etosha National Park in Namibia

It has over 100 mammals and 300 bird species. Some of the most common animals are the big 5, zebras, blue wildebeests, springboks, gemsbok, giraffes, cheetahs, and hyenas.

Etosha has a savanna desert climate with a dry winter and wet summers.

It has several waterholes where animals come to rehydrate often after a long day in the Namibian desert.

Some of the puddles are floodlit at night, allowing you to view animals, such as leopards and rhinos, which are rare to see during the day.

Top Attractions

Big 5 (4)

You can find all the big 5 animals in the park except for the buffalo.

Black rhinoceros

The black rhino is critically endangered due to poaching. Fortunately, the park hosts a substantial number of them.

Rhino fighting African safari
Rhino fight

Etosha Pan

The park has a natural salt pan from a dried-up lake. It is the biggest in Africa and is visible from space due to its sheer size (1,840 mi²).

If you travel to Etosha during the wet season, you can spot migrating flamingos when rainwater fills up the pan.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the park is from May to December.

There are no rivers in the park, with prey and predators sharing the same water holes.

To avoid being prey most herbivores brave the scorching midday sun to have a drink rather than early mornings or late evenings.

7. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

The game reserve is within the Okavango Delta.

Africa safari Moremi Game Reserve Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana

It derives the name from Chief Moremi III, a tribal chief.

Spanning over 3,9000 square miles, it has a diverse ecosystem with striking landscapes and a rich array of animals and fauna.

To transverse the woodland plains, use 4×4 trucks or canoes (mokoro) to maneuver in the papyrus rivers and canals.

Some animals, such as the red lechwe and African clawless otters, have adapted to the swampy conditions to get around.

On the Dry Grounds – You will find the big five roaming around together with wildebeests, giraffes, zebras, buffalos, hyenas, and wild dogs.

Top Attractions

Bird Viewing

Moremi is a birds’ paradise. Home to 482 bird species, 33 are water birds, while 24 species are listed as endangered.

Some endangered species include:

  • the Wattled crane
  • Southern Ground hornbill
  • and the Slaty egret

You will find many birds in the swampy areas and trees near the Okavango delta.

Big 5

All the big five animals are present in Moremi.

Buffalos and elephants can easily be spotted roaming around in the park.

Calm Rhinos African safari looking for water
Calm Rhinos African safari

The rhino population has slowly picked up after ivory poachers’ decimation in the last decade.

Best Time To Visit

The most ideal time to visit the park is from July to October.

The weather is cool and dry, unlike in the wet season (November to March) when the plains usually flood.

The flooding makes the animals move to higher ground, and most of the park is inaccessible by road.

8. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

The largest park in Zimbabwe, Hwange, is located between Bulawayo and the iconic Victoria Falls.

African safari Hwange National Park Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe

Home to the big five and a wide variety of mammals and birds, the park stretches over 5,863 square miles.

The dry season can be very severe, which led to the construction of water pans to sustain the wildlife.

Top Attractions


Herds of elephants usually flock to the artificial park water points during the dry season.

You can see as many as 500 -1000 elephants daily.


Hwange has over 400 native bird species, with African sun silhouettes and raptors making the bulk of the populace.

Flocks of aquatic birds that had migrated to Europe and North Africa return in late November at the onset of the rainy season.

They will stick around the park until around March.

Best Time To Visit

You can visit the park from August to November.

Longer sunny days and water scarcity pushes the wildlife nearer the waterholes.

Thinning vegetation also makes it easier to spot and predict the movement of the animals.

9. Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Set on the foothill of Mt. Kilimanjaro, Amboseli National park offers one of the most beautiful sceneries in the world.

Amboseli National park Kenya Africa
Amboseli National Park in Kenya

A premium holiday destination, with the terrain varying from swampy marshes, acacia woodlands, and savannah grasslands.

It is a relatively small park (151 square miles) but has vast herds of African bush elephants, lions, cheetahs, buffaloes, zebras, and giraffes.

Top Attractions

Observation Hill

On top of this hill, you can view most of the wildlife available in the park while you enjoy bush dinners and breakfasts.

Bird Watching

The number of bird species recorded at Amboseli stands at 488.

It includes red-billed buffalo weaver, African gray hornbill, laughing dove, 7 species of kingfishers, and the seasonal flamingoes.

Hot air balloons

You can take a hot air balloon tour of the whole park.

Balloon ride
Book balloon ride

This epics safaris over the park are famous for wedding proposals and honeymoons.

Best Time To Visit

The best time to visit the park is from June to October.

The daytime temperatures average 26-30 degrees Celsius, which makes the safari drives and nature walks more tolerable.

Depending on the rain patterns, you can also catch pink flamingoes from October to December.

10. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The 3,390 square mile park is located in eastern Zambia, with the Luangwa River as its cradle.

Africa South Luangwa National Park Zambia
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia

Since the region remains quite remote, the wildlife flourishes as their natural habitats remain intact.

You can spot kudus, elephants, lions, hippos, buffalos, and antelopes during your voyage.

Tall trees and thick bushes are prime hunting grounds for leopards, and are the apex predators in South Luangwa National Park.

Unfortunately, due to extensive poaching, rhinos are unavailable in the area.

Top Attractions

Crawshay Zebra

The Crawshay Zebra is native to this region and it is famous for its unique stripes.

Zebras fighting African safari
Zebras fight

Thornicroft giraffes and Cookson wildebeests

These two animals are only found in South Luangwa National Park.

Bird Watching

The park is a permanent and seasonal habitat for over 400 bird species.

39 species are birds of prey, including the fish eagle, cormorant, storks, and malachite kingfisher, which derive feasts from the river and the swampy marshlands.

Don’t leave your binoculars behind.

Best Time to Visit

The most ideal time to visit is from June to October.

It’s the dry season, and the animal density along the Luangwa River increases.

Besides, the thick bushes thin out, increasing visibility and significantly fewer mosquitos.

buffaloes drinking water
Watching buffaloes from safety

Final Thoughts

The parks we have recommended are the ideal destinations to visit if you are looking for a proper African adventure.

Remember to book in advance and tour in the recommended months to witness maximum activity.

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