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Talefeathers: The Latitude 35 Blog

Embark on the Adventure of a Lifetime: 6 of Africa's Top Safaris

Which safari will you choose for your unforgettable journey into the heart of Africa?

A vivid yellow and orange sunset with trees reflecting on water.

In addition to all the animals you'll see, you'll also be treated to the most stunning sunsets! This is au naturel — no filters or adjustments needed! Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

A safari truly is the adventure of a lifetime. I went on my first safari two years ago, to Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta in Botswana (see 1 and 2 below). I knew it would be amazing, but I was still blown away by just how fantastically amazing it was. You see many of these animals on TV or in zoos, but absolutely nothing compares to seeing them en masse in the wild.

The question is, where do you go? From iconic wildlife spectacles to immersive cultural experiences, each safari location offers its own blend of history, lodging, and natural wonders, ensuring a truly unforgettable journey. In this case, my bucket list doesn't just include one of these; it includes them all!

A mama elephant leading a baby elephant in a dry terrain with low bushes

So many elephants! So many adorable babies! Chobe National Park, Botswana

1. Chobe National Park, Botswana: Situated along the banks of the Chobe River, Chobe National Park is renowned for its dense elephant population, particularly during the dry season when herds gather to drink and bathe. Boat safaris offer a unique perspective on the park's wildlife, allowing guests to see elephants, crocodiles, and hippos up close as they congregate along the riverbanks. And did I mention the elephants? ;-) Luxury houseboats provide a lavish retreat, complete with spacious cabins, gourmet dining, and panoramic views of the river and its inhabitants.

A large hippo sauntering through camp

Oscar the hippo enjoyed a daily stroll through our camp at lunchtime. He wasn't interested in us or our food; it was simply a shortcut to get to water. Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

2. Okavango Delta, Botswana: Dubbed the "Jewel of the Kalahari," the Okavango Delta is a pristine oasis teeming with life. As the largest inland delta in the world, it attracts a staggering variety of wildlife, from elephants and hippos to rare antelope species like the lovely sitatunga. The Okavango Delta's unique ecosystem, characterized by seasonal flooding and lush waterways, sets it apart as a haven for aquatic wildlife and birdlife. Unlike traditional game drives, safaris in the delta often involve mokoro excursions, where skilled guides navigate through narrow, layrinthine channels in traditional dugout canoes. (We didn't get to go in a mokoro, but our motorized boat was just fine!) Here, my friend and I stayed in a glam tented camp, which really did feel like an adult version of outdoor school or Campfire Girls. The staff sang before meals, we ate at communal tables, and the resident hippo, Oscar, even walked through the camp at lunchtime!

Two zebras with their heads resting on each others' backs

A sweet zebra couple. If only humans got along so well.

3. Maasai Mara National Reserve, Kenya: The Maasai Mara is synonymous with the Great Migration, one of the most spectacular wildlife events on the planet. You can witness millions of wildebeests, zebras, and gazelles traverse the Mara River in search of greener pastures (like me, constantly!), while predators like lions and crocodiles lurk in the shadows. On a game drive in the Maasai Mara, you can see the Big Five (which are...?*) and countless other species against the backdrop of sweeping grasslands dotted with acacia trees. What sets the Maasai Mara apart is not only its role as the stage for this incredible migration but also its rich cultural heritage. Visitors have the opportunity to interact with the Maasai people, learning about their traditional way of life and age-old customs such as the jumping dance. Luxury tented camps and lodges offer a blend of comfort and nature, allowing you to experience the magic of the Mara while enjoying modern amenities.

A mountain gorilla, sucking on a leaf.

A gentle giant mountain gorilla in Rwanda.

4. Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda: For a truly unique safari experience, head to Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, home to the endangered mountain gorillas. Guided treks through the park's mist-shrouded forests bring you face to face with these gentle giants, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to observe their behavior in the wild. Beyond gorilla encounters, the park's mist-shrouded forests served as the setting for Dian Fossey's groundbreaking research on mountain gorillas. Lodging options range from cozy guesthouses to luxury eco-lodges, each providing a comfortable base for exploring the park's wonders.

A baby lion, yawning or roaring.

It's nap time for a little one of the Big Five.

5. Kruger National Park, South Africa: Spanning nearly 20,000 square kilometers, Kruger National Park is South Africa's flagship safari destination. Its diverse habitats support an stunning variety of wildlife, including the Big Five, as well as rare species like African wild dogs and southern ground hornbills. Kruger stands out for its well-developed infrastructure and accessibility, making it an ideal choice for both first-time safari-goers and seasoned adventurers. In addition to game drives, the park offers guided bush walks and night drives, providing a more immersive (and spooky?) safari experience. Guests can choose from a variety of lodging options, including luxury lodges, self-catering cottages, and rustic bush camps, catering to every preference and budget.

An African buffalo, eating grass.

African buffalo.

6. Serengeti National Park, Tanzania: Adjacent to the Maasai Mara, the Serengeti is Africa's oldest and most iconic national park. Its vast plains provide the stage for thundering hooves of wildebeests during the Great Migration to the stealthy hunts of cheetahs and leopards. Hot air balloon safaris offer a bird's-eye view of the Serengeti's wildlife spectacle, while guided walks provide a more intimate perspective on its ecosystems.The Serengeti's vast expanse is unmatched, providing a sense of endless wilderness and freedom. In addition to the Great Migration, the park is renowned for its extensive lion population, with ongoing research projects shedding light on their behavior and conservation efforts. Accommodation options range from exclusive lodges perched on rocky outcrops to mobile tented camps that follow the path of the migrating herds, offering unparalleled access to the park's wildlife.

So, which of Africa's top safaris will it be for you? No worries; whichever adventure you choose, an African safari promises abundant adventure, discovery, and moments of pure awe.

Have you been on safari in any of these places? Tell me about it in the comments! Ready to book your next amazing adventure? Contact me.

* The Big Five are: lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and African buffalo.


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