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Africa’s Top 6 Must Visit Destinations for the New Year

by Elaine Clara Mah

The go-to resource for planning your safaris. Find all you need to know about the top destinations and make your wildlife travel dreams come true.
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Summer may be well and truly over but it doesn’t mean that the holiday season is. With 2018 closing its chapter and 2019 fast approaching, travelers are on a frenzy, deciding on their next destination for the upcoming New Year. 

What better way to end your year with a bang than by going on a safari in Africa? Traveling through the wild and untamed parts of Africa for your new year holidays will surely guarantee you a fun-filled adventure away from the cold winter weather!

Browse Africa’s best safari getaways and have a wild end to 2018!

If you are on the lookout for the best New Year safari packages and are unsure of where to go, look no more. Here are our 6 best safari destinations in Africa for the New Year!


The Etosha Pan, Namibia

The Etosha National Park

The Etosha Pan is the largest salt pan in Africa and is so big that it is visible from space. The Etosha Pan covers almost a quarter of Namibia’s Etosha National Park, a unique park with diverse habitats and an array of vegetation. The view in Etosha National Park is unlike any other. Here, wide-open grasslands are substituted for a massive pan filled with large camel thorn trees, making for a scenery so uniquely different from the rest of Africa.

Visiting Etosha National Park in December is every birdwatcher’s dream. The summer months in Namibia last from November to April and are also known as the rainy season. During this time, the park transforms into a paradise with lush vegetation. The pan gathers water from the rain, attracting various birds and flamingo.

We recommend: There is no better way to experience Namibia than on a camping safari. Enjoy the rich wildlife within the park as you go on game drives and treks and spend the night under the stars as you set up camp!


The Serengeti, Tanzania

The Great Migration

Every December marks the beginning of the Great Migration, where over two million wildebeest, zebra, and other antelopes gather to make the long journey from The Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. This journey covers over 1,800 miles (2, 900 kilometers) and takes a year to complete.

Visiting The Serengeti National Park in December will allow you to witness Mother Nature at its best as December to March is known as calving season, where herds of wildebeests birth young calves. Here, you will get the rare opportunity to watch wildebeest care for their newly born babies before they begin their journey.

We recommend: Tour the savannah plains at the Serengeti for the wildebeest migration via the beautiful pink-hued Lake Manyara and then find your way toward the historic Ngorongoro crater. Surely an action-packed adventure!


The Kalahari Desert, Botswana

The Kalahari Desert

There is no better way to experience Africa than in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. The Kalahari Desert spans 360,000 square miles across Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa. While it is known as a desert, it is technically not one as it receives a fair amount of rainfall, allowing it to support more wildlife than a real desert could. Here, you will have the opportunity to spot abundant wildlife, including giraffes, bush elephants, and leopards.

The Central Kalahari Game Reserve is known as the most extensive reserve within the Kalahari Desert and is a great place to not only see wildlife but to also immerse in African culture and get a glimpse of the San people, who have called these lands their home for thousands of years.

We recommend: The best way to experience the Kalahari Desert is on a guided safari where a professional guide will lead you as you traverse through the Central Kalahari Game Reserve and enjoy multiple game drives, a boat cruise, and a mokoro trip!


The Maasai Mara, Kenya

Lions at the Maasai Mara

Though the Maasai Mara is often times the go-to destination when it comes to viewing the great migration and the best times to visit the Mara for this purpose is from June to October, visiting at the end of the year will still offer travelers an unforgettable experience. Game viewing is still popular at the end of the year with an added benefit of lower prices due to the off-peak season. The onset of rainy season in December also means that the scenery is green and lush and birdlife is in abundance.

If you are a fan of the big cats, the Mara should definitely be on your travel bucket list as it is known to house a strong population of lions, leopards, and cheetahs that you can view all year-round.

We recommend: Touring the Maasai Mara at the end of the year is a great option for budget travelers as lowered prices during off-peak season make safari tours extremely affordable. During this time, you will be able to see many newborn babies and marvel at the ferociousness of hippos and crocodiles as you enjoy a picnic lunch around them!


Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park

Considered among one of the world’s finest game parks, Kruger National Park is well known among travelers and safari enthusiasts. What makes Kruger National Park stand out is due to the fact that it is home Africa’s Big Five animals. The park is also one of Africa’s largest, spanning over 19,633 km in surface area. If you are traveling with young children, Kruger National Park is considered as one of the most family-friendly park, as it is well equipped with amenities and extremely accessible.

Aside from the Big Five, Kruger is also home to the Little Five animals – five small creatures whose names relate to its big five counterparts. These creatures, while small, are equally important to the ecosystem as their big five counterparts are and will be a delight to young children!

We recommend: What better way to enjoy Kruger National Park than during sunset where you can catch the glimpse various wildlife against a dramatic backdrop! Who knows, you might even steal a view of the elusive leopard!


Bwindi National Forest, Uganda

Mountain gorillas

Situated along the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) in southwestern Uganda, the Bwindi National Forest is the last remaining primary forest in the area. The forest is only accessible by foot and is a United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization-designated World Heritage Site.

Bwindi is home to the critically endangered mountain gorillas, of which half of the population is found there. Each year, travelers trek through the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to experience gorilla trekking and to observe these amazing creatures in the wild.

We recommend: Enter deep into the forest and get the chance to observe gorilla families in the wild, while also meeting other rare primates like the Red Colobus monkeys. At the end of your trek, enjoy your stay overlooking the tropical rainforest at the pristine Gorilla Safari Lodge!

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