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5 Must Visit African Safari National Parks

December 9, 2016

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Africa is a vast and beautiful continent blessed with a diverse wildlife and nature unlike any other in the world. Hence, it’s no surprise that it is found in most travel lovers’ bucket lists. Should you plan to make your way to Africa in the near future, one of the exciting activities that you simply must not miss out on is to visit its breathtaking national parks. 

What you may not know about the continent of Africa is that it has the highest concentration of wildlife national parks. With over 300 choices to consider, it can definitely be overwhelming to narrow down the options all on your own. This is exactly why, on this post, I’m sharing a list of the top 5 African national parks that guarantee to make your trip worthwhile. 


1. Kruger National Park, South Africa



Located in South Africa, Kruger National Park is a favorite amongst travelers and considered one of the world’s finest game parks. Along with over 100 mammals and 500 different types of birds, this world-renowned national park is home to Africa’s Big Five animals. What makes this park even more unique is its leading conservation efforts that have enabled it to become a true wildlife haven.

Stretching from Limpopo to the Crocodile rivers, with 300 kilometers of wilderness, it is famous for its rich diversity of habitats and is the most accessible and most equipped of all African parks – this is definitely something you should keep in mind if you are considering to take a self-drive safari during your adventure in Africa.

A lover of hiking and mountain biking? Thanks to its vast coverage of land, Kruger National Park also offers a range of multi-day hiking trails and mountain biking tours you should not pass up!  


A herd of lions at the Kruger National Park



2. Ethosa National Park, Namibia


One of Africa’s most striking national parks, Namibia’s Ethosa National Park is renowned for its hypnotic landscapes that make it a go-to destination for photographers and travelers alike.  Its name is derived from a local word which translates to “great white place”. It reflects its breath-taking white salt pan (that was previously a lake bed) which covers a quarter of its land. This open and arid landscape makes it an ideal venue to spot various wild animals congregating at watering holes.

Though you can also catch a glimpse of all of the Big Five animals here, it is also home to some of the rarest and unusual wildlife species including the black-faced impala and the continent’s tallest elephants.

If you’re lucky and your visit happens to occur after a great rainfall, the usually dry and cracked-clay land, would ‘magically’ transform into a lush grassland that attracts lots of game and a variety of water-loving birds like the flamingos. 


The black faced impalas at the Ethosa National Park

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3. Chobe National Park, Botswana


Renowned for having the world’s largest population of elephants (over 50,000!), The Chobe National Park is located in the northwest of Botswana nearby the borders to Zambia, Zimbabwe, and Namibia. Its 12,000 kilometers of land covers a variety of ecosystems, from arid plains to lush grasslands and dense woods, making it the ideal home for a diverse range of wildlife.

Initially set as a wildlife reserve back in the 1930’s, Chobe National Park became the first national park in Botswana in 1968. Within it, lies three legendary wildlife regions: the Chobe Riverfront, the Linyanti Marshes, and the Savuti Marshes.

The best time to go on a safari in Chobe National Park is during winter (April to October) where animals such as zebras, antelopes, buffalos, and herds of wildebeest would gather around the river banks, making it easier to locate and observe them.


Largest elephant herd at Chobe National Park

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4. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania


Located in the northern Tanzania region, The Serengeti National Park is arguably the most well known. One of the oldest of African national parks, it is amongst many travelers ‘must-visit’ destinations due to the annual migration of wildebeest, gazelles, and zebras.

During the great migration, millions of animals move in unison, followed by their predators,  which certainly makes an impressive sight to be seen! It covers 1000 kilometers long circular trek that takes places across the parks’ unique settings.


Herds of Wildebeest and Zebras on an annual migration at the Serengeti National Park

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Stretching across 30,000 kilometers of land, The Serengeti National Park’s vastness was the inspiration for its name which came from the Maasai language and translates to “endless plains”. As it has been a well-protected area for a while, it offers one of the most undisturbed and pristine natural ecosystems on the planet.  Due to this, it boasts a robust wildlife population. Here, the Big Five animals, along with many other species, are in abundance. Fun fact: the Serengeti is also home to Africa’s largest population of lions!



5. Amboseli National Park, Kenya


Most travelers associate Kenya with its best known national park, the Maasai Mara National Reserve. However, Kenya’s other gem is as breathtaking as it is unique. A popular national park in Kenya, the Amboseli National Park is somewhat small in comparison to the other parks on this list. That said, what it lacks in size, it makes up in its one of a kind scenery. What makes a safari tour in Amboseli National Park truly unique is its spectacular backdrop of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro! Spanning across 8000 kilometers of land,  it is located nearby the country’s border with Tanzania and much of the peak of the highest mountain of Africa dominates over the park’s plains.

Similar to the Serengeti, this national park also got its name from the Maasai language meaning “salty dust”. In addition to the Big Five animals, one of its main attractions is its large herds of elephants. That said, here, you’d also be able to catch glimpses of other species such as giraffes, zebras, crocodiles as well as over 600 types of birds!

If you are looking to experience authentic local culture on top of sightseeing during your travel, you can do so by paying a visit to the members of the Maasai community who live around the park.


Giraffes at the Amboseli National Park overlooking Mount Kilimanjaro

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Ready to plan your great African adventure? With plenty of exciting wildlife safaris to choose from in Africa, you’re sure to one to find one that best suits your preferences at! 

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