March 31, 2023 7 min read

The Ultimate Guide to the Best African Safari Tours: Discovering Unforgettable Wildlife Adventures

Embark on a journey to explore the best places for African safaris as we take you through the most iconic destinations in Africa. This blog post will serve as your ultimate guide to the best safaris in Africa and the best African safari tours. From the untamed wilderness of Zambia's South Luangwa National Park to the unparalleled beauty of the Okavango Delta in Botswana, prepare to be captivated by the wonders of Africa.

In this guide, we will delve into the unique features and experiences that each destination offers, from walking safaris in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park to the breathtaking spectacle of the Great Migration in Tanzania's Serengeti. Our aim is to inspire you and provide you with valuable insights that will help you make an informed decision when planning your ultimate African safari adventure. So buckle up, and let's embark on this exciting journey together!

Zambia: South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi National Parks

South Luangwa National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Wild Dog in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

South Luangwa National Park, situated in eastern Zambia, is renowned as the birthplace of the walking safari. This 9,050 square kilometer park boasts a rich and diverse wildlife population, including elephants, buffalos, zebras, giraffes, and a variety of antelope species. The park is also home to the densest concentration of hippos and crocodiles in Africa.

One of the most unique experiences South Luangwa offers is the opportunity for night-time game drives. These thrilling excursions allow you to observe the park's nocturnal wildlife in action, including elusive leopards and lions on the prowl.

Lower Zambezi National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Chiawa Camp - Camp View

Bordering the mighty Zambezi River, Lower Zambezi National Park is famous for its spectacular riverside scenery and diverse wildlife. With a large concentration of elephants and buffalo, as well as lions, leopards, and numerous antelope species, the park offers a fantastic game viewing experience.

Birdwatchers will be in paradise as the Lower Zambezi is home to over 400 bird species. The park also offers unique activities such as canoe safaris, where you can glide through the serene channels and lagoons of the Zambezi while observing wildlife up close. For the more adventurous, tiger fishing in the Zambezi River provides a thrilling and unforgettable experience.

Zimbabwe: Hwange and Mana Pools National Parks

Hwange National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Elephant Herd Hwange National Park

Hwange National Park, located in western Zimbabwe, is the country's largest national park, covering an area of approximately 14,650 square kilometers. Home to over 100 mammal species and 400 bird species, Hwange offers a diverse and abundant wildlife experience.

The park is well-known for its large elephant population, including the famous Presidential Elephant Herd, which is a group of elephants that have been protected since the 1990s. The waterholes scattered throughout Hwange attract an incredible variety of animals, providing prime game viewing opportunities. Visitors can expect to see lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, wild dogs, and an array of antelope species.

Mana Pools National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Little Ruckomechi - Walking Safari Wilderness Destinations

Situated along the southern bank of the Zambezi River, Mana Pools National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that boasts a remote and pristine wilderness. The park is known for its enchanting landscape, which features four main pools, riverine forests, and vast floodplains that attract a plethora of wildlife.

Mana Pools is home to large populations of elephants, buffalos, hippos, and crocodiles, as well as predators such as lions, leopards, and the endangered African wild dog. The park offers exceptional opportunities for up-close encounters with wildlife, either on foot or through canoe safaris. The abundance of birdlife also makes it an ideal destination for avid birdwatchers.

Botswana: Okavango Delta, Selinda, and Linyanti Private Reserves

Okavango Delta

Dusty Boots Travel - Mokoro trip in the Okavango Delta of Botswana

The Okavango Delta, situated in the heart of Botswana, is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This vast inland river delta is a unique ecosystem, teeming with wildlife and providing an unparalleled safari experience. The delta's seasonal flooding attracts a diverse range of animals, including elephants, buffalos, lions, leopards, cheetahs, and the rare African wild dog.

One of the most distinctive features of the Okavango Delta is its water-based safaris. Visitors can explore the intricate channels and lagoons of the delta in traditional dugout canoes called mokoros, offering a serene and intimate encounter with the surrounding wildlife. The delta is also home to the elusive sitatunga antelope, which has adapted to its aquatic environment.

Selinda and Linyanti Private Reserves

Dusty Boots Travel - Selinda Private Reserve. Home to large herds of elephant and buffalo. An exceptional African safari destination.

Bordering the Okavango Delta, the Selinda and Linyanti Private Reserves offer exclusive and luxurious safari experiences. These reserves are known for their prime predator sightings, with lions, leopards, and wild dogs frequently spotted in the area. The reserves are also home to large herds of elephants and buffalos, as well as an impressive array of bird species.

In addition to traditional game drives, visitors can indulge in scenic helicopter flights, providing a bird's-eye view of the breathtaking landscapes and wildlife below. The reserves' remote location and limited guest numbers ensure a truly intimate and immersive wildlife experience.

Tanzania: Serengeti and Ngorongoro National Parks

Serengeti National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Serengeti Under Canvas

The iconic Serengeti National Park, located in northern Tanzania, is one of the most famous wildlife destinations in the world. Spanning over 14,750 square kilometers, the Serengeti is home to a vast array of wildlife, including the Big Five: lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos.

One of the most awe-inspiring events in the animal kingdom takes place in the Serengeti: the Great Migration. Each year, over a million wildebeest, accompanied by hundreds of thousands of zebras and gazelles, embark on a treacherous journey in search of fresh pastures. This incredible spectacle provides visitors with the opportunity to witness predators such as lions, cheetahs, and leopards in action.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Dusty Boots Travel - Ngorongoro Crater Lodge - View

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, also in northern Tanzania, features the largest unbroken volcanic caldera in the world: the Ngorongoro Crater. This natural wonder, formed by a volcanic eruption approximately 2.5 million years ago, is home to a unique ecosystem that supports over 25,000 large animals.

The Ngorongoro Crater provides visitors with the rare opportunity to see the critically endangered black rhinoceros, as well as other members of the Big Five. The crater's diverse habitats, including grasslands, forests, and swamps, host a myriad of wildlife, making it a must-see destination for any African safari enthusiast.

Kenya: Masai Mara National Reserve and Mara Private Conservancies

Masai Mara National Reserve

Dusty Boots Travel - Balloon Safari over the Masai Mara - Kenya

The Masai Mara National Reserve, situated in southwestern Kenya, is world-renowned for its exceptional wildlife sightings and diverse habitats. Covering an area of 1,510 square kilometers, the reserve is home to the Big Five and numerous other species, making it an outstanding destination for wildlife enthusiasts.

The Masai Mara also plays host to the Great Migration, where vast herds of wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles traverse the plains in search of fresh grazing. This natural spectacle offers visitors the chance to witness thrilling predator-prey interactions, as lions, leopards, and cheetahs take advantage of the abundance of prey.

In addition to its incredible wildlife, the Masai Mara offers unique cultural experiences with the Maasai people. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the Maasai's traditional way of life, their customs, and their deep connection to the land.

Mara Private Conservancies

Dusty Boots Travel - Mara Plains Camp - Wildebeest on gamedrive

Surrounding the Masai Mara National Reserve are several private conservancies that offer exclusive and intimate safari experiences. These conservancies prioritize responsible tourism and conservation efforts, ensuring that both the wildlife and the local communities benefit from tourism.

Visitors to the Mara Private Conservancies can enjoy off-the-beaten-path wildlife encounters, away from the crowds often found in the main reserve. The conservancies also allow for more diverse activities, such as night game drives, walking safaris, and hot air balloon rides, providing a well-rounded and immersive safari experience.

South Africa: Sabi Sands and Kruger National Park

Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve

Dusty Boots Travel - Leopard posing at Mala Mala, South Africa's Greater Kruger

Adjacent to the world-famous Kruger National Park, the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve is highly regarded for its outstanding wildlife sightings, luxurious lodges, and exceptional hospitality. Covering an area of 65,000 hectares, Sabi Sands is renowned for its unrivaled leopard sightings, offering visitors a unique opportunity to observe these elusive big cats up close.

As a premier Big Five safari destination, Sabi Sands also provides remarkable encounters with lions, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos. The reserve's diverse habitats, ranging from savannah to riverine forests, support a rich variety of wildlife, making it a must-visit location for any safari aficionado.

Kruger National Park

Dusty Boots Travel - Singita - Kruger - Zebra and Birds

Kruger National Park, South Africa's flagship national park, spans nearly 20,000 square kilometers and is home to a vast array of habitats and wildlife species. The park boasts an impressive biodiversity, with over 140 mammal species, more than 500 bird species, and countless reptiles, amphibians, and insects.

Kruger offers visitors the chance to explore its diverse landscapes through guided bush walks, providing an immersive experience and the opportunity to learn about the park's smaller inhabitants and ecosystems. Wildlife photography enthusiasts will also find Kruger National Park to be an exceptional destination for capturing stunning images of Africa's iconic wildlife.

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Dusty Boots Travel - Phinda - Mountain Lodge Suite 2 Outside Shower

Phinda Private Game Reserve, located in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, is renowned for its diverse habitats and extraordinary wildlife encounters. The reserve encompasses 28,555 hectares of land and features seven distinct ecosystems, including woodland, grassland, wetland, and forest.

Phinda is home to the Big Five, as well as the rare and endangered black rhino and cheetah. Visitors can also partake in unique activities such as turtle nesting tours, scuba diving, and snorkeling along the nearby Indian Ocean coastline. The combination of luxurious lodges, exceptional wildlife sightings, and diverse landscapes make Phinda an unforgettable safari destination.

Tell us about your ideal safari and we will do our level best to make it happen. Contact Dusty Boots Travel via emailInstagram or Facebook today to start planning your dream safari holiday.

Images by our travel partners Wilderness Destinations, &Beyond, Mala Mala Game Reserve, Governors Camp Collection, Chiawa Safaris, Singita, Great Plains Conservation & Sungani Lodge

Riaan van den Berg
Riaan van den Berg

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