An African safari trip is an experience of a lifetime as you get to satisfy your wanderlust in the wild and marvel at nature at her absolute finest. Each destination is as diverse as the culture and people so visitors always have a wealth of options for their adventure.
Some travelers come in for the amazing scenery, while others flock to get some outdoor action like hiking and hot air balloon rides. As such, it pays to have an idea of which locations offer what experiences you seek. If the highlight of your safari is to witness majestic wildlife in their natural habitat, however, then consider these top eight wildlife safari parks on the continent:
1. Kruger National park
This is one of the largest wildlife reserves in Africa and is located in the northeastern parts of South Africa in the province of Limpopo and Mpumalanga. The park occupies a 19,485 km square and is regarded as a world heritage site by UNESCO. The Kruger National Park is a beautiful wilderness that is home to the ‘Big Five’, as well as hundreds of mammals, including antelope, wild dog, jackal, giraffe, and Blue wildebeest.
2. Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is located in Tanzania, stretching all the way to the East Masai Mara regions in Kenya. It is a world famous safari park spanning over the 30,000km square with an unparalleled panorama of vast rolling plains. The Serengeti boasts a variety of wildlife including the famous ‘Big five’ – Lions, African leopard, African bush elephant, eastern black rhinoceros and African buffalo. There are over 500 species of birds and carnivores like cheetah, hyena, honey badger, and African wild dogs.
One unique feature and a must-see for every tourist is the annual migration of wildebeest. Over 2.5 million wildebeest, zebras, Thomson’s gazelle, and antelopes migrate here between June and November to find better grazing. This phenomenon has been categorized as a world wonder.
3. Hwange National Park
Formerly known as Wankie game reserve, Hwange National Park is the largest wildlife reserve in Zimbabwe today. The park spans an impressive 14,651 km square and was named after a local Nhanzwa chief. It became a national park in 1961 and is located in the northwestern part of Zimbabwe between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. Hwange offers an amazing variety of wildlife, such as impalas, African buffaloes, lions, as well as one of the largest population of elephants on the planet, and more than 400 bird species.
4. Masai Mara National Reserve
Recently ranked as the number one Safari Park on the planet by World Travel Award(WTA), the Masai Mara Game Reserve is indeed a wonder to behold. It is located in the southwest of Kenya, running along the Tanzanian border and occupying a 1,510 km square area. The park is named in honor of the famous Masai tribe and is famous for its exceptional variety of wildlife including the ‘big five’ and the Great Wildebeest Migration.
5. Chobe National Park
This breathtaking wildlife park is located in the northern parts of Botswana. It is the first national park in the country and third largest park after Kalahari and Gemsbok national parks. Covering up to 12,000km square of land, Chobe National Park plays host to concentrations of diverse wildlife including lions, giraffes, antelopes, cheetahs, zebras, wildebeest and over 450 species of bird. The Park is divided into four areas: The Serondela area, the Savuti march, the Linyanti March, and Hinterland.
6. Kibale National Forest Park
Kibale forest national park is located in western Uganda and spans across 776 km square. It is regarded as having the highest concentration of primates in all of Africa because of its impressive array of chimpanzees, red colobus monkeys, and L’Hoest’s monkeys, as well as other endangered species. Visitors here will also be amazed by the lush rainforest and scenic landscapes.
7. Etosha National Park
Located in the northwest region of Namibia, Etosha National Park covers more than 20,000km square and is famous for its ease in spotting varieties of wildlife. Unlike other African safaris where you have to drive round to see the animals, the animals at Etosha national park usually come to you. Simply park your vehicle near one of the many water holes and enjoy viewing animals in their hundreds — lions, elephants, gemsbok, springbok and various bird species.
8. Luangwa National Park
Several wildlife enthusiasts have dubbed Luangwa National Park as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. This is because the concentration of animals around the Luangwa River and oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa. The park is situated in the eastern part of Zambia and covers 9,050 km square area. The river is filled with hippos and crocodiles, while the land supports over 60 species of mammal, including Thornicroft giraffe, cape buffaloes, elephants, and leopards. It also supports a large population of bird species.