Readers' Choice: The Best Countries in Africa for Safari

best safari
We might be biased, but Africa is hands down the most beautiful continent

Africa is a stunner, packed to the rafters with more wildlife than anyone can count and landscapes so beautiful they look unreal. It’s also a continent of great diversity, one known to host icons like Victoria Falls- the world’s longest sheet of falling water- and spectacles like the Great Migration, the single largest wildlife migration on the planet.

In it, you’ll also discover unique desserts, vast savannahs, and an exciting slew of activities. In this blog post, we unveil the best countries to visit in Africa for a safari of a lifetime. East, West, South- we cover it all!

But First…

Here’s a Video Overview of the Best Countries in Africa for Safari

Here’s Where to Contact Us to Book a Safari

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And Here’s a List of Some of our Most Booked Safaris

Executive Summary

  • Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Rwanda, and Uganda are the best African countries for safari adventures.
  • Plan your trip carefully with the right time of year, packing essentials, and a reputable tour operator.
  • Discover hidden gems like Namibia’s desert beauty, Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park, and classic safari destinations like Kenya and Tanzania.

Botswana: A Conservation Haven

best countries in Africa for safari
Botswana is home to the world’s largest salt pan- the Makgaikgadi Salt Pan

Located in the heart of Southern Africa, Botswana is recognized as a leading safari destination due to its dumbfounding wildlife populations and pristine landscapes. The country is known for attractions like:

  • The Chobe National Park, famed for its huge elephant populations and incredible birdlife
  • The beautiful Okavango Delta, perfect for canoe-based wildlife safaris
  • Moremi Nature Reserve
  • Makgadikgadi Pans National Park
  • Nxai Pan National Park
  • The Central Kalahari Game Reserve

The country is also renowned for its remarkable conservation initiatives. In 2014, the Government of Botswana banned commercial hunting. It also provided the Botswana Defence Force with extensive training, weapons, and resources to run anti-poaching units. These conservation efforts have translated into exceptional wildlife viewing opportunities for visitors.

Kenya: The Classic Safari Destination

best countries for safari in Africa
In Kenya, you get to witness the world’s largest animal mogration- the Great Migration

Kenya, often regarded as the epitome of African safaris, lures travelers with its 25 national parks, diverse wildlife, and dramatic landscapes.

We have the iconic Tsavo National Park where you can witness the iconic Big Five, along with other species such as the endangered black rhino, baboon, flamingo, and giraffe.

Then there is the Amboseli National Park, renowned for its abundant elephant population and breathtaking views of Mount Kilimanjaro. And last but not least, the legendary Masai Mara National Reserve famed for its picturesque grasslands and the impressive wildebeest herds that traverse the Mara River during the Great Migration.

Tanzania: Land of the Great Migration

safari destination
Tanzania is home to greata like the Serenegeti and Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inland caldera

Tanzania, known for the awe-striking Great Migration, the Ngorongoro Crater, and its 16 national parks, is a preferred destination for both wildlife enthusiasts and bird watchers. The country is home to over 4 million wild animals as well as over 1110 bird species, 200 of which are migratory birds.

In Serengeti National Park, visitors can catch the Great Wildebeest Migration as well as over 2 million ungulates. In the Nyerere National Park visitors can enjoy a range of safari activities, including boat cruises, guided walking safaris, and adventurous fly-camping excursions.

Those who visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are promised sightings of the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that houses an astonishing concentration of large animals, including the critically endangered black rhinos, lions, and flocks of flamingos.

Other parks include;

South Africa: A Safari for Every Traveler

best African countries for safari
South Africa’s Table Mountain attracts 4.2 milion tourists annually

South Africa caters to a wide range of travelers with its developed infrastructure and stunning natural wonders. Spanning an area of approximately 7,500 square miles, the park is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including the renowned Big Five. Visitors can also explore parks like;

  • Kruger National Park
  • Madikwe Game Reserve
  • Addo Elephant National Park
  • Table Mountain National Park
  • Marakele National Park

Apart from safaris, South Africa offers a plethora of other attractions, such as:

  • Cape Town
  • Table Mountain
  • Durban
  • Johannesburg
  • The Winelands
  • The Drakensberg escarpment
  • The Garden Route

With its abundant wildlife, including black and white rhinos, lions, leopards, and cheetahs, South Africa is a must-visit destination for any safari enthusiast.

Namibia: Desert Beauty and Wildlife

best safari destination
Nambi desert is home to a whole lot of wildlife including over 200 reptile species

Namibia’s unique desert landscapes and abundant wildlife, including four of Africa’s Big 5 species, make it an ideal destination for photographers and nature lovers seeking a different kind of safari experience. The country is home to Etosha National Park, where you can spot the Big Five along with a variety of other captivating wildlife during the dry season.

Beyond its impressive national parks, Namibia features captivating natural attractions including the Fish River Canyon, the Namib Desert, and the Skeleton Coast. Whether you’re exploring the sand dunes of Sossusvlei or capturing unforgettable wildlife photographs in Etosha National Park, Namibia promises an adventure like no other.

Zambia: Home of the Walking Safari

Zambia, known for its walking safaris, canoe adventures, and 20 national parks, provides an opportunity to get up close and personal with Africa’s diverse wildlife. South Luangwa National Park is particularly renowned for its guided walking safaris, which range from leisurely morning walks to multi-day hikes between camps. Beyond walking safaris, visitors can enjoy traditional safaris and observe giraffes and four of the Big Five (excluding rhinos) in their natural surroundings.

Lower Zambezi National Park and Kasanka National Park are other noteworthy destinations in Zambia, each offering unique wildlife encounters and breathtaking landscapes. Whether you’re embarking on a walking safari, canoeing down the Zambezi River, or exploring the diverse ecosystems of Zambia’s national parks, this country is a must-visit destination for any wildlife enthusiast.

Zimbabwe: Rediscovering Safari Tourism

best African countries for safari
The Victoria Falls are the most popular tourist destinatio in Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe offers stunning attractions like the legendary Victoria Falls and Hwange National Park, making it an exciting safari destination to explore. Victoria Falls, the most visited destination in Zimbabwe, provides thrilling activities such as whitewater rafting, bungee jumping, canoe safaris, and wildlife safaris. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe’s largest and most renowned national park, is home to a diverse range of animals, including lions, wild dogs, leopards, cheetahs, and one of the largest populations of elephants in Africa.

Beyond its iconic attractions, Zimbabwe also hosts hidden gems like Mana Pools National Park, a place to observe four of the Big Five (excluding rhinos) and African wild dogs. With its recovering tourism industry and diverse wildlife offerings, Zimbabwe is an emerging safari destination worth discovering.

Uganda: Primate Paradise

best safari
Uganda is home to all of the Bog Five

Uganda is a haven for primate lovers, with opportunities to track mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, and other primates in its lush national parks. In Bwidi Impenetratable Forest, visitors can observe habituated gorilla families in their natural habitat. For those interested in chimpanzee trekking, Kibale Forest National Park is home to a thriving population of these intelligent primates, along with 12 other primate species.

Beyond its primate-focused attractions, Uganda also offers a classic Big 5 safari experience in Akagera National Park, where you can partake in top birding, night drives, and boat trips. Other must-visit parks in the country include;

Rwanda: Gorillas and Beyond

best safari
Rwanda is home to over 1,000 mountain gorillas

Rwanda is one of the best safari destinations in Africa and for good reason, The country goes beyond gorilla trekking, offering ecotourism experiences with chimpanzees, the Big 5 safari, and beautiful landscapes to explore. The country is home to Volcanoes National Park, where visitors can embark on life-changing gorilla trekking adventures and witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. Additionally, Rwanda offers the opportunity to trek habituated chimpanzees and various other primates in Nyungwe Forest National Park in the south, as well as a classic Big 5 safari in Akagera National Park located in the east.

Aside from its stunning wildlife encounters, Rwanda’s diverse landscapes include lush tropical rainforests, rolling hills, and shimmering lakes, providing a canvas for unforgettable memories. With its unique wildlife, culture, and national parks, a visit to Rwanda promises an experience unlike any other African safari destination.

Malawi: The Warm Heart of Africa

Malawi, known as the Warm Heart of Africa, offers intimate African safari experiences with friendly locals, diverse wildlife, and beautiful lakeside activities. The country is home to Liwonde National Park, where you can spot the Big Five and partake in classic safaris. Beyond its national parks, Malawi’s beautiful Lake Malawi National Park provides opportunities for diving, snorkelling, kayaking, and island-hopping against the scenic backdrop of crystal-clear waters.

With its hospitable atmosphere, abundant wildlife, and lakeshore adventures, Malawi provides a warm welcome to those seeking an authentic African safari experience. Discover the warmth and charm of Malawi, and create memories that will last a lifetime.

Madagascar: A World Apart

best countries for safari in Africa
Madagascar’s beaches are known for their striking turquoise blue waters and velvety white sands

Madagascar’s unique wildlife, culture, and national parks set it apart from other African safari destinations. The island nation is home to over 100 species of lemurs, which arrived approximately 60 million years ago and now thrive in their isolated paradise. Beyond its endemic primates, Madagascar also hosts:

  • Endangered chameleons
  • Cat-like fossa
  • Brightly-colored frogs
  • Unique insects not found elsewhere on Earth

The country’s national parks, such as Amber Mountain National Park, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, and Ranomafana National Park, offer visitors the opportunity to witness Madagascar’s unique wildlife and landscapes up close. Immerse yourself in the fascinating world of Madagascar and experience a safari adventure like no other.

Planning Your African Safari Adventure

Preparing for your African safari adventure requires consideration of factors such as the optimal time to visit, packing essentials, and selecting a reputable tour. The dry season from June to October is generally considered the most advantageous period for travel in most of southern and eastern Africa.

When packing for your safari, bring comfortable clothing in neutral shades, layers, closed-toe footwear, a hat, sunglasses, suncream, and a pair of binoculars for optimal wildlife viewing.

Working with a travel agency based in East Africa is highly recommended, as their extensive knowledge of the cultural nuances of the continent will help ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey. Remember that a qualified guide is essential for walking or night driving safaris, as they can enhance your experience and ensure your safety.

With careful planning and preparation, your African safari adventure is sure to be an unforgettable experience.


From the iconic landscapes of Kenya and Tanzania to the unique wildlife encounters in Madagascar and Rwanda, Africa offers an unparalleled array of safari experiences. Whether you’re seeking the classic Big Five, intimate encounters with primates, or the chance to explore diverse ecosystems, there’s an African safari destination that’s perfect for you. Start planning your unforgettable adventure today, and let the magic of Africa capture your heart.

Frequently Asked Questions

In this section, we answer your most frequently asked questions. 

What countries are best for an African safari?

South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, Botswana, and Namibia are great destinations for an African safari, as they provide incredible wildlife sightings, world-class services and cuisine, and breathtaking beaches.

Where is the safest part of Africa for safari?

Botswana’s Chobe National Park is widely considered to be the safest part of Africa for safari. The park offers an abundance of wildlife with over 50,000 elephants migrating through the park.

Is Kenya or Tanzania better for safari?

Tanzania is slightly better for safari due to the size of Serengeti National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, while Kenya is better for those in a hurry or for those visiting Masai Mara between August and November. Additionally, it is also cheaper and better for culture.

What is the best time to visit African safari destinations?

For the best African safari experience, travel during the dry season from June to October in most of southern and eastern Africa.