Top Destinations: Safari Holiday
With some of the best wildlife viewing opportunities on the planet, the Masai Mara is the most popular game reserve in Africa. Visitors to the Masai Mara have the chance to spot the Big Five – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard – as well as a host of animals including giraffe, antelope, cheetah and many more. Birdwatchers won’t be disappointed on a visit to the Masai Mara either – there’s more than 450 species recorded.
And of course the Masai Mara is the venue for the most spectacular migration of wildebeest and zebra from July to October. The Masai Mara has been the subject of hundreds of wildlife documentaries – most recently the Big Cat Diaries – so it’s not hard to see why so many people want to experience the Masai Mara for themselves.
- Disabled Needs : 8
Kenya is the number one destination in the world for a safari holiday. This is no surprise, as it has 59 spectacular national parks and game reserves offering visitors unparalleled opportunities to view the wildlife in its natural habitat. The biggest attraction is the Maasai Mara National Reserve for those wishing to see the Big 5 on a safari holiday in Kenya, and the best viewing months are between July and October when the land is driest. This is also the time for the great wildebeest migration from Tanzania, when balloon safaris are also available to view this spectacle over the Maasai Mara plains. The Amboseli National Park is also very popular, where it is possible to view large elephant herds with Mt Kilimanjaro in the background. At 22,000 sq km, the Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya, divided into West and East by the Nairobi to Mombasa road. Although less visited, this park offers a dramatic landscape and a good selection of wildlife, and its proximity to the coast makes it an ideal place to visit whilst enjoying a holiday at one of the beach resorts.
The vast Laikipia plateau north of Mt Kenya has become another excellent destination for a safari holiday in Kenya, where old farmlands have been turned into new game sanctuaries containing large herds of elephants and the highest population of endangered species including the black rhino, Grevy’s zebra and reticulated giraffe.
There is a wide choice of accommodation available for a safari holiday in Kenya with many campsites available for budget travellers, and for those seeking more comfort and luxury there are the lodges and tented camps in beautiful locations situated around waterholes. One of the most reliable and well established operators in lodge and tented camp safaris is Abercrombie & Kent (abercrombiekent.com). Let’s Go Travel (lets-go-travel.net) has prices and descriptions of a wide range of hotels and lodges, and also has its own safaris and excursions. There are also other types of safari holidays in Kenya, such as bird-watching, trekking, cycling, fishing and camel safaris.
- Beach : 9
- Disabled Needs : 2
In Botswana, vast areas of wildlife country have been set aside as private safari reserve, which makes Botswana a top spot for wildlife watching. On a safari holiday in Botswana you can enjoy a real wilderness experience in privacy and comfort. With a tiny population of people, the animals and birds have the lion's share of the country to themselves.
In Botswana, the Okavango River runs inland, finishing in the centre of the desert creating an enormous oasis called the Okavango Delta. In the midst of the desert, you'll fins palm trees, grassland and water, which creates a paradise for millions of animals. On a safari holiday in Botswana you can explore the Okavango Delta with expert guides by open vehicle and on short walks.
A highlight of any safari holiday in Botswana is the chance to glide silently along waterways in a mokoro canoe or take a lazy boat cruise as the sun sets. Further north in Botswana, open savannah plains, semi desert and woodland see elephant gathering in herds hundreds strong in the dry season from August to November. This makes it the ideal place to see lions and wild dog, as well as buffalo, giraffe, zebra, plains game and dozens of other mammal species while on safari in Botswana. Botswana is also home to more than 400 species of birds.
Botswana has numerous Safari lodges and resorts to choose from, the majority of which are quite costly during the peak season. Its advisable to book in advance to enjoy low rates, or travel during the off peak season. May, September and October are excellent off-peak times to travel as the weather is perfect and you are bound to see the Big 5.
- Disabled Needs : 6
- Culture and Arts : 3
- Nightlife : 4
Safari holiday in South Africa
Looking for the Big Five? Whether it's a mobile-tented camping safari, an overland safari, a budget safari, a self-drive safari, or a luxury fly-in safari, South Africa guarantee’s all bush lovers with a once in a life time safari experience. Safaris are definitely what South Africa does best. With a good mix of both luxury lodges and budget self-catering family-style camps, South Africa is great for both travellers on a budget or those looking for a more extravagant safari holiday. Most South African safari’s offer a wide range of game viewing and outdoor activities including horse riding, guided walking, hiking, 4x4 trails and picnic areas for day visitors.
Sabi Sand private reserve alongside the Kruger Park is the region where you have the greatest chance of spotting all the Big Five, but remember, in the wild, nothing can be guaranteed. If you were planning to fit a safari into your itinerary and weren’t looking to pay extra for a plane ride, Addo Elephant National Park, situated 72km from Port Elizabeth, is ideal for visitors touring the Garden Route. Established in 1931 to save 11 Elephants on the brink of extinction, the park is now the third largest in South Africa and is home to more than 350 elephants, 280 Cape Buffalo, black Rhino, Lion, and a range of Antelope species - perfect for the adventurous outdoor and nature lover.
- Beach : 10
- Disabled Needs : 7
- Shopping Holiday : 4
- Culture and Arts : 10
- Nightlife : 6
Tanzania is synonymous with a safari holiday. Visitors to Tanzania can plan a world class safari in any of the 19 national parks and wildlife reserves. Lodges are conveniently found in and around the parks catering to all types of accommodation, from luxury to camping and provide professional guided game tours for guests. One of the best safari locations in Tanzania is in the unique Ngorongoro Crater, which is 610m deep, 20km in diameter, and covers 311 sq km. It is home to almost every species of African plains mammal and has the densest population of lion in Africa. The Seregenti is also a must. A vast treeless plain, the Serengeti National Park is home to thousands, even millions of animals searching for fresh grasslands. As the largest national park in Tanzania, the Serengeti attracts thousands of tourists each year, all year round. Highlights include the annual migration of millions of zebra and wildebeest. Nearly 500 species of birds make their home in the Serngeti as well as large herds of antelope as well as plentiful lion, cheetah, hyena, and jackal. The Selous Game Reserve is also worth a visit as it is a World Heritage Site. The Selous Game Reserve is larger than Switzerland and is the world's largest game reserve. The Selous is also home to the largest elephant herd in the world with about 32 000 elephants living in the reserve. The reserve also includes Mikumi National Park and is home to a diverse range of species. Overall Tanzania is an ideal safari destination. Roy Safari is one of the best safari companies in Tanzania.
- Beach : 8
- Disabled Needs : 5
- Shopping Holiday : 6
- Culture and Arts : 6
- Nightlife : 6
Malawi is the perfect choice for a Safari holiday. Although not a ‘big 5’ destination, Malawi is unique in it’s geography and diversity of wildlife, from the tropical fish in the depths of lake malai to the hippos, crocodiles and elephant herds of liwonde national park and shire river. You can experience Malawi and its amazing landscapes, wildlife and extraordinary birdlife on various safari tours. The birdlife is extraordinary, fish eagles, kingfishers and heron are abundant. The country's premier wildlife reserve is Liwonde National Park, where you can stay in luxurious tented rooms at Mvuu Wilderness Lodge. There are five National Parks and four Wildlife Reserves, including one Freshwater National Park (at Cape Maclear). All types of safari are available, not only 4x4 driving but also walking, by boat, and horse riding. Most game viewing is in small groups.
- Beach : 8
- Culture and Arts : 7
- Nightlife : 8