From mountain gorillas and tree-climbing leopards to massive herds of elephants, zebras, and wildebeest, Africa seems to have it all. Which leads to the question: Where in Africa can you indulge in an authentic African Safari and catch a piece of the action?
The Maasai Mara National Park, Kenya
The most visited national park in Kenya has long been associated with large pride of lions. It lies on the rolling wild savannah grasslands to the southwest of the country and is part of the annual wildebeest migration. The Mara gets busy during the peak tourist season, especially around the great migration, and is the perfect spot for safaris and wild game drives.
There are numerous accommodation camps within the park, which provide exceptional opportunities to get up close views of exotic animals including lions, zebras, antelopes, and giraffes. View the wildlife on game walks and drives as well as guided balloon safaris.
Bwindi National Park, Uganda
Welcome to the ultimate home of the African mountain gorillas. These primates do not survive in captivity, which means that they can only be viewed in the wild. Bwindi National Park is home to over 300 mountain gorillas, thriving in their favorite habitat. Viewing in the park is restricted to protect the primate species. The park also hosts a diverse range of butterflies and birds. Bwindi was designated a UNESCO world heritage site in 1994 to preserve and protect its ecological treasures.
The park has a diversity of ecosystems and habitats merging a large tract of forestland with low-lying plains. There are a large number of primates in the forest as well as elephants, small antelopes, the giant forest hog and hundreds of bird species.
Kruger National Park, South Africa
There are hundreds of bird species and large animals in one of the largest game reserves on the continent. Additionally, you can find reptiles as well as exotic wonders such as the black rhino and packs of the African wild dog. The two are critically endangered species enjoying protection in the park to prevent them from going extinct.
The expansive park is excellent for a family day out which is hardly enough time to see a fraction of the action. Watch out for buffaloes, leopards, giraffes, hyenas, lions, zebra, elephants, rhinos and hippos among numerous other wild animals.
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
If you can only visit one park in Africa during your travels, then make your way to the Serengeti in Tanzania. Serengeti is home to the world-famous Thomson's gazelle and African wildebeest. The park is part of an annual spectacle where hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, Thomson gazelles and zebras migrate from the hills to the lower plains in the largest, must-see migration.
The Great Migration is an excellent opportunity to get up close with the animals and capture incredible memories. An off-season visit is also just as good with a good population of lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards, buffaloes, cheetahs, crocodiles, giraffes, monkeys and numerous other animals roaming about.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana
The Kalahari Desert is known for its unforgiving terrain and bad weather. The endless, sprawling grasslands of the game reserve are home to cheetahs, wild dogs, buffaloes, lions and the African leopard. Additionally, the park hosts hundreds of springboks, impalas, the greater kudus, zebras, elands, baboons, and ostriches.
The wildlife migrates within the reserve during the rainy season to enjoy the fresh grass in the north. The northern side of the desert is a favorite haven for thousands of herbivores, which attract both predators and visitors.
Amboseli National Park, Kenya
The sister park to the Serengeti in Tanzania and the second most visited national park in Kenya is Amboseli National Park. The Amboseli lies to the south of the country, offering scenic views of the top of Mount Kilimanjaro. You can get up close with herds of elephants grazing in the wild, and it hosts a diverse range of wildlife including giraffes, numerous bird species, zebras, and cheetahs.
The Amboseli features a seasonal lake at the western end of the park that serves as a watering hole and a hunting ground for predators, As well as home to over six hundred bird species.
Bale Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
The Bale Mountains National Park includes the famous Tulle Dimtu and Mount Batu in the heart of the Ethiopian highlands. There are unique mammals and numerous types of bird species, And the mountains are home to the endangered, mystical Ethiopian wolves, black leopards, bushbucks, warthogs, African wild dogs and mountain nyalas among numerous others.
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
Lake Nakuru is a bird lovers' haven and a bird sanctuary, less than a hundred miles to the southwest of the capital. There are more than four hundred bird species, including critically endangered species. It is also home to a good number of black and white rhinos, the flamingo, pelicans, fish eagles and marabou storks.
Additionally, it hosts the African buffalo, impalas, waterbucks, hippos, lions and African wild dogs.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Etosha is one of the most visited parks in Namibia with accommodation bookings done as early as a year in advance, especially during peak tourist seasons. The best time to visit Etosha National Park is during the dry season, between June and October, when most of the animals can be seen congregating at watering holes. The park is also famous for night safaris, where you get to watch the animals in the dead of night especially around water sources.
The park is home to the endangered black rhino and gigantic elephants. You can access the park from one of four gates: Anderson's, Von Lindequist, Galton and the King Nehale Lya Mpingapa Gate.
Kilimanjaro National Park, Tanzania
The park is home to the world-famous Mount Kilimanjaro that is popular with hikers and mountain-climbing enthusiasts. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site reported to have over a hundred and fifty mammal species. Some of the attractions you will find here include the bushbuck, herds of elephants, blue monkeys, bush babies, leopards, buffaloes, and tree hyrax high up above the timberline. Additionally, there are warthogs, jackals, baboons, various types of monkeys and hyenas.
Africa has a wide range of exotic wildlife, medieval ruins and scenic views for adventure lovers. There are must-see spectacles such as the wildebeest migration in Kenya and Tanzania, a chance to see critically endangered species in their natural habitats and exclusive sceneries.
Planning an African safari with your friends? Go on a group safari and experience the best of Africa with your loved ones!