Where and when to go on safari

One of the questions we are often asked is where are the best places to go on safari? In this blog we’ll give you insight into what we consider to be the top four wildlife destinations in Africa, giving you an idea of what you can expect in terms of the experience at each one. Needless to say, that each place has its own unique character, style of camp, guiding, and activities. 

South Luangwa, Zambia

Zambia has it all in our opinion. The landscapes are just amazing with spectacular river scenery. Also, the concentration of animals on the rivers is very good. You will never be bored. Most of the parks are not privately owned so you may see other vehicles, but the guiding is excellent, and the safari guides here are very good at getting people away from busy areas. There are a wide range of safari lodges to see from very luxurious to quite basic, although the camps are generally open only for a few months of the year because the parks are quite seasonal. In fact, Zambia is known for its bush camps which are set up each season.

Zambia ticks all the boxes and its very good value. A good itinerary in Zambia would include 3 nights on the Lower Zambezi River and at least 5 nights in South Luangwa National Park. I would also include a couple of nights at Victoria Falls.

  • Beautiful riverine landscapes and forests of mature trees
  • Large herds of elephants and massive pods of hippos in the river
  • One of the best destinations for leopards
  • The guiding and hosting are authentic, and people are so friendly
  • Expect the original close to nature safari experience
  • Camps generally open between May and October
  • Walking with wildlife and night drives are highlights
  • One of the least commercial national parks
Okavango Delta and Selinda, Botswana

Botswana is one the most expensive safari destinations because the game viewing is in private concessions and so exclusivity is guaranteed. You generally see only one or two other vehicles and they are from your same safari camp. The safari lodges vary in size and some are quite basic with tents in the wilderness. Others are much more luxurious. September is a very good time of year to be in the area as its very dry. You will see great game in Botswana especially in the dry season when animals converge on water points.

  • The Okavango Delta is an inland lake in the desert that is inundated with water from floodwater annually
  • Birding is exceptional and game includes lion, cheetah, leopard, wild dog and big herds of buffalo and elephant
  • Lowest tourism footprint anywhere in private concessions results in exclusive wildlife viewing experience
  • The experience can include game drives, walking safaris, boating, mokoro and helicopter flips
  • Wide range of choices from simple tented camps to some of the most luxurious lodges in Africa
Sabi Sand and Greater Kruger, South Africa

The Sabi Sand area has some the most productive game viewing in the Kruger area. Here it’s all about Big Five and it’s easy to see all five in one day due to the sharing of information between camps and the excellent management of sightings. If you’re looking for a luxury safari, then this area has a number of great five-star lodges and safari camps.

  • The highest standard of guiding and tracking anywhere
  • Sightings are carefully controlled to just three vehicles at a time
  • Very good sightings of leopards and lions
  • Comfortable lodges to highest levels of luxury and dining
  • Combines easily with Cape Town and the Winelands with direct flights
  • Very good infrastructure and easily accessible
Masai Mara and Serengeti, Kenya and Tanzania

The grasslands and rivers of the Serengeti/Masai Mara ecosystem are a spectacularly open and rolling canvas for one of the greatest game arenas in the world. Many people time their visit to coincide with the annual migration in which rainfall and the availability of grazing triggers three million ungulates to migrate across the Serengeti Mara ecosystem. It is undoubtedly one of the great natural wonders of the world, and nowhere is it more spectacular than in the Mara, where the animals gather from July to October. At this time, the vast herds are not only in enormous concentrations, but they are forced to cross rocky and crocodile-infested rivers.

  • These are the wide open spaces that were made famous in films such as Out of Africa
  • The grasslands have relatively few trees and this makes it easy to find animals
  • Abundant game that is easy to view 
  • All of the big five may be seen but no big herds of elephants
  • Allows you to experience the Masai culture
  • Excellent standard of guiding
  • All year round destination. April/May a bit wet
  • Very temperate climate
  • Migration and crossings is Kenya best from July to October
  • Migration in Tanzania best from November to April
  • Calving of wildebeest from December to March

Let us help you plan your next safari

The best game viewing destinations in Africa will call you back year after year as no wildlife experience is ever the same. Different seasons also produce very different experiences. Get in touch now and let us offer our expert advice to help you plan the safari of a lifetime.

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