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Top African Safaris by Priyanka ,  May 25, 2013
There is nothing in the world like going on safari, and every safari is a new adventure. African wildlife, huge, open vehicles, massive, awe-inspiring landscapes and fresh air nights under canvas; safaris are a world apart, they suck you in and immerse you in their magic, and the world beyond is left behind.
The range of African safari lands provides a vast and varied playground for all kinds of wonderful wildlife adventures. From the vast distances of the great Serengeti to the waterways of the Okavango Delta, from the wilds of the Skeleton Coast in Namibia to the hidden, wild walking paths of the Luangwa Valley... there is an overwhelming range of wildlife encounters out there, more than enough for a lifetime. We relish the best of these countries, and will show you the most fabulous, comfortable or inspired ways of enjoying them!

Kenya Part of what's known as East Africa, you can expect golden lions, red-robed warriors, snowcapped mountains, pristine white beaches, orange sunsets, and coral-pink dawns. You'll also experience some of the world's most famous safari destinations—Masai Mara, Mt. Kilimanjaro, the Rift Valley—and world-class beach destinations like Diani Beach and the tiny town of Lamu.

Tanzania Also part of East Africa, Tanzania attracts far fewer tourists than Kenya and South Africa, which is remarkable especially since it boasts some of Africa's greatest tourist attractions—the Serengeti, the Great Migration, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Crater, Selous Game Reserve, and Lake Victoria.

South Africa Africa's most developed country, at the very tip of the continent, is many worlds in one: modern bustling cities, ancient rock art, gorgeous beaches, fabulous game lodges, well-run national parks, mountain ranges, desert, and winelands. It's home to Kruger National Park and the Kwa-Zulu Natal reserves.

Botswana The country itself is a natural wonder with terrains that vary from vast salt pans to the pristine waterways of the Okavango Delta. Expect lots of game, few tourists, and stars brighter than you'll ever see—the Kalahari Bushmen say that you can hear them sing.

Namibia From the Namib Desert—the earth's oldest—to the fog-enshrouded Skeleton Coast, from the great game park of Etosha to Damaraland's stark beauty and desert elephants, to bustling small cities with a fascinating mix of colonial and modern, you've never visited anywhere quite like Namibia.

Victoria Falls Shared by Zambia and Zimbabwe, Vic Falls, as it’s fondly called, is one of the natural wonders of the world, unsurpassed by anything. Dr. Livingstone's description still holds good: "scenes so lovely must have been gazed upon by angels in their flight." The adventure center of Africa, adrenaline junkies can try everything from bungee jumping and white-water rafting, to canoeing, rappelling, and jet skiing.

Africa's top safari destinations include wildlife parks in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia and Gabon. If you're looking for the best safari where you're almost guaranteed to see the "Big Five" you can't go wrong with these choices.

1. Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)

Balloon safari Masai Mara, Kenya
Kenya is Africa's most popular safari destination and the Masai Mara Reserve is the most popular wildlife park in Kenya. From July - October you can witness the incredible migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra. The Maasai tribesman also offer cultural tours which will enhance your experience.

2. Chobe National Park (Botswana)

Elephants in Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe National park lies in Botswana'sOkavango Delta and covers four distinct Eco-systems. The Savuti marsh in particular offers some of the highest concentrations of wildlife in Africa year round. Chobe boasts around 120,000 elephants, you're unlikely to miss them when you enjoy a safari here.

The best time to visit Chobe is between April and October, the dry, cooler winter months. Herds of zebra, eland, buffalo, giraffe and wildebeest congregate around the Savuti marsh this time of year. Chobe is accessible by car which makes it a little less expensive than some other Botswana Parks. There's a wide variety of accommodation available to suit all budgets, you can even rent a houseboat.

3. Kruger National Park (South Africa)

Kruger National Park, South Africa

South Africa TourismKruger National Park in South Africa boasts the highest variety of wildlife in Africa which includes the Big Five, hippos, crocodiles, cheetah and more. Kruger is one of the best maintained parks in Africa which means it's ideal for a self-drive safari.

4. South Luangwa National Park (Zambia)

Hippos, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Home of the "walking safari" South Luangwa National Park in Zambia offers a true African experience. There's plenty of wildlife and over 400 species of birds. The Luangwa river is filled to the brim with hippos and if you're lucky you'll spot prides of over 30 lions at a time. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species living in the National Park.

South Luangwa offers both budget and luxury safari lodging. The best time to visit is during the dry season from April to October. Near the end of the dry season, the animals really concentrate around the remaining waterholes, which makes for a great safari.

5. Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)

View from tent, Nyumu Camp, Southern Serengeti, Ndutu Area, Tanzania

Erika BloomThe Serengeti National Park in Tanzania offers the absolute classic African safari setting. The grasslands make the Serengeti fantastic for spotting lion kills because you can see the whole spectacle clearly. The migration of millions of wildebeest and zebra starts here and because it's much larger than the Mara (see above), it is also less touristy.

6. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest (Uganda)

Mountain Gorillas census drc

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda is home to almost half of the world's population of mountain gorillas. Besides offering a wonderful backdrop to Gorilla tracking, you can also see chimpanzees, and many other mammals. Bwindi has been designated a World Heritage Site.

7. Etosha Natonal Park (Namibia)

A tree at Etosha National Park, Namibia
Charles Roffey

Etosha National Park is Namibia's top wildlife destination. Etosha is home to Africa's tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, and 91 other species of mammal. Etosha is especially popular with photographers in the dry season who flock to the waterholes (along with the wildlife). Most visitors to Etosha will see plenty of giraffe, elephant, lion, rhino and have a very good chance of seeing cheetah and leopard, along with a huge variety of birdlife. Etosha National Park doesn't offer scheduled game drives, it's a self-drive safari experience. But there are several excellent upmarket lodges and camps available just outside the park boundaries in private reserves, where guided safaris are part of the package.

8. Okavango Delta (Botswana)

Okavango Delta lion, Botswana

BalfourThe Okavango River cuts through the center of Botswana's Kalahari Desert, creating a unique inland water system that gives life to a huge variety of birds and mammals. The Okavango is a unique safari destination because you can view much of the wildlife from a traditional canoe, a mokoro. Every year the delta floods covering over 16,000 km's. The best time to view wildlife is during the peak of the flood, in the dry season from May to October. The wildlife is more concentrated on islands at this time, and it's therefore easier to see therm. as the flooding recedes, new grass springs up and the wildlife scatters to feed. There are numerous lodges dotted around as well as luxury safari camps, many of them offer walking safaris.

9. Ngorongoro Conservation Area (Tanzania)

Elephant grazing in the Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Erika Bloom

The Ngorongoro Conservation area in Tanzania includes the world's largest crater which acts as a natural enclosure for almost every species of wildlife found in East Africa. The Maasai still live within the conservation area, and it's also home to Olduvai where some of man's earliest remains have been found.

10. Hwange National Park (Zimbabwe)

Elephants at Hwange, Zimbabwe

FloodHwange National Park in Zimbabwe is a personal favorite of mine because of its abundance of giraffes, elephants, and lions as well as 105 other mammal species. Hwange also has one of the largest populations of wild dogs left in Africa. There are several comfortable lodges to stay at for reasonable prices. The park is close to one of the world's greatest natural wonders -- the Victoria Falls.
Botswana - Selinda Reserve 

Seasoned safari travellers rate this reserve in north Botswana extremely highly and they return to it again and again, drawn by the very high concentration of wildlife, high standard of accommodation and service and exclusivity.

Mount Kilimanjaro and Kenya Kenya pioneered the African safari. Mikkelson says the country is famous for the greatest concentration of free-range wildlife on earth. In the 1930s, safaris in Kenya captured the attention of western audiences with Karen Blixen's "Out of Africa" and Ernest Hemingway's "The Snows of Kilimanjaro."

Africa's highest mountain, Kilimanjaro rises from the beautiful Great Rift Valley. It is, in fact, a dormant volcano with three volcanic cones. Adventurers flock to Kilimanjaro every year to scale its intimidating slopes. 

With great views of Mt. Kilimanjaro, visitors can explore Chyulu Hills National Park, a volcanic field rich with wildlife, including black rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard and lion and underground caves for exploring

The Kalahari Desert, South Africa South Africa has been referred to as "the world in one country."  Mikkelson said that it's easy to combine several different safari experiences, from the Sabi Sands/Kruger area and the reserves along the coast of the Indian Ocean to the Madikwe Game Reserve and the Kalahari Desert.

The Kalahari is a well-preserved wilderness area because its harsh environment does not lend itself to modern urban development. The southern Kalahari receives slightly more rainfall, which spurs diverse and relatively bountiful life. Some call it "Green Kalahari." The Kalahari has a number of game reserves, including Tswalu, South Africa's largest private game reserve covering more than 250,000 acres, Khutse Game Reserve and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Wildlife that you can see in the region include lions, meerkats, giraffes, jackals and kudu.

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