Top 10 African Safari Destinations: Best Wildlife Watching Adventures

Jan 11, 2024 BY AWE365 Team

There are few feelings in life like being up close and personal with wild animals. We’re not just talking about the ducks down the park, we mean experiencing the best wildlife watching adventures. The top 10 African safari destinations give you the best chance of coming face to face with lions, leopards, rhinos and other amazing creatures.

The appeal of a safari is that it’s your chance to enter their world. There’s nothing artificial about it. These are genuine wild animals going about their business and you have to play by their rules. Add walking, trekking, cycling, off roading or kayaking to make it one of the best African safari adventures. Something you will never forget.

Top 10 African safari destinations Wikimedia CC image by DEMOSH

Top 10 African Safari Destinations

10 Best Wildlife Watching Adventures

So here are our Top 10 African safari destinations. Remember this is not a definitive list there are lots of other great safari destinations and this is just the opinion of the author. Happy to hear of any you feel should make the list so please leave a comment!

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Perhaps the most famous safari destination of them all. The open grasslands of the Serengeti offer a perfect, unobstructed viewpoint of the natural world. If you are fortunate enough, you may see a lion kill, an elephant family pass or a cheetah in a high speed chase.

The park is huge at 15,000 square kilometres. The sheer size dilutes the amount of tourists, giving you a less crowded and more authentic experience. Visiting during the great wildebeest migration is regarded as one of the best wildlife watching adventures on the planet. There are plenty of safari tours in Tanzania to choose from.

Krueger National Park, South Africa

You’ve the best chance of spotting the ‘big five’ at Krueger. It’s the place to go if you are looking for a luxury safari rather than a more ‘rugged’ experience. Tarred roads mean it’s ideal for a self-drive trip. Although the park management is not to everyone’s taste, the wildlife and habitats do cater for all.

Top 10 African safari destinations Wikimedia CC image by Ikiwaner

With year round accessibility, a choice of accommodation and a huge variety of animals, it’s a definite contender for the prize for best all-round safari destination. A guided day safari in Krueger National Park is well worth a spot in the top 10 African safari destinations list.

Chobe National Park, Okavango Delta, Botswana

The coolest thing about this safari destination is that you can watch the wildlife from a canoe, or mokoro, on the Okavango River. The best time to be on watch wildlife in Botswana is when the river bursts its banks, when the delta floods attract all the wildlife to one area.

Alternatively, boat cruises are offered at Chobe National Park. This gives you a chance to see buffaloes, elephants, lions and hyenas from a more stable lookout.

Andasibe and Mantadia National Park, Madagascar

Andasibe and Mantadia National Parks safari trips are best experienced on foot. On a rainforest safari it may be harder to spot the animals, but it’s true exploration and one of the best wildlife watching adventures around.

The parks are famous for their thriving population of indri indri lemurs, the largest of the lemur species. They are also home to another thriteen species of lemur and an abundance of plants, birds and reptiles.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

3 Day Rwanda Multi Activity Holiday with Gorilla & Monkey Trekking one of the best wildlife watching adventures

Located in the south western part of Uganda, the national park is best known for its gorillas. The endangered mountain gorillas share the forest with chimpanzees, colobus monkeys and several species of birds.

The park can only be reached on foot. The tricky terrain, cool temperatures and heavy rainfall makes for an exciting adventure for the intrepid traveller looking for a challenge. Check out this three day Rwanda gorilla and monkey trekking holiday to get involved.

Maasai Mara, Kenya

You’ve definitely seen Maasai Mara before – even if it was just on BBC documentaries. An extension of the Serengeti, it’s a hive of activity for grazing cattle, and therefore favoured by their predators. On the downside, it is also a hive of activity for the ever-eager tourists so you can end up sharing the park with a lot of people.

But there is still space to be found and some of the best wildlife watching in Africa. If you love animals then you will love a Kenya safari holidays. Its population of wildebeest, zebra and big cats is spread across the savannah and easy to find. Normally enjoyed from a vehicle it is still one of the top 10 African safari destinations.

Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The Luangwa River is teeming with hippos, its plains are dotted with lions, and its sky filled with hundreds of species of birds. Tour guides in Zambia are some of the best in the business, really throwing passion into their job and helping you get closer to nature.

Top 10 African safari destinations Wikimedia CC image by Russavia best wildlife watching adventures

Yes you may need to walk some, and yes it’s stifling hot. But if you want to actually learn about the animals and the ecosystem, Luangwa National Park safari holidays area great choice. April to October is the best time to go.

Etosha National Park, Namibia

Namibia is one of Africa’s most accessible African countries, making it a firm favourite. But this is the safari for the keen photographer. No rivers, only watering holes – perfect as Africa’s tallest elephants, black rhino and giraffes roam these plains and appear when they want to quench their thirst.

During the rainy season, flamingos join the party too. Take a self-drive trips for one of the best safari adventures in Namibia. There are public camps overlooking the watering holes so there is no need to venture too far into the wilderness on your own.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Here, wildlife and the Maasai people live side by side. Enclosed in a crater, the site offers a unique view to its visitors. It’s a place to get a glimpse of the ‘big five’, including the possibility of a leopard sighting in the Lerai Forest.

Best wildlife watching adventures Wikimedia CC image by Muhammad Mahdi karim

The natural enclosure was created by a volcano that has allowed the wildlife to flourish. Resulting in a conservation area boasting one of the densest wildlife populations in the world. Easily one of the best African safari adventure destinations which is why we have more than 50 Ngorongoro Conservation Area safari holidays to choose from

Mundulea Reserve, Namibia

The Mundulea Reserve is known for its admirable conservation efforts. The reserve reintroduced the native blackfaced impala years ago and they are once again beginning to thrive.

Mundulea sits up in the Otavi Mountains, not far from Etosha. It’s perfect for walkers and people who have a real passion for wildlife and the environment. There is a limit of eight guests per safari, which allows you a truly intimate and memorable experience.

Best African Safari Adventures

Any of these top 10 African safari destinations will give you the chance to see wild, dangerous and magnificent animals in their natural habitat. There’s no greater thrill in the natural world. And it sure beats sitting by the pool or fighting for room on a crowded beach.

We hope you found this guide to the best wildlife watching adventures in Africa inspirational. For more ideas we have are over one hundred Africa safari holidays to choose from.


4 responses to “Top 10 African Safari Destinations: Best Wildlife Watching Adventures”

  1. All the destinations are great but would also like to mention Murchsion Falls National Park along with Queen Elizabeth National Park, in Uganda, East Africa which is also worth visiting

  2. I do agree for 100%, Maasai Mara, Kenya is my favorite in the list. What an amazing view it is when Wildebeest migrate from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the grassland of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. It looks fabulous.

  3. Hello. A comment on the Maasai Mara, where we have just done what is accepted as by far the best map ever. It covers the Greater Mara (the National Reserve plus the Conservancies..The Mara is undoubtedly amazing, and therefore popular, but there are lots of areas where you can be relatively free of the crowds, especially in the southern Mara Triangle. Also south of the Sand River, and in any of the new conservancies around the northern and eastern edges. Lion densities in Olare-Motorogi, north of the Reserve, are the highest in Africa. Choose your camp carefully, and you can still have that Out of Africa experience.

    David Watson
    Writer, Map-maker.

  4. Tsavo East and West is a must visit park because of its large population of Red Elephants and big herds of about 500 to 1000 buffalos at one place not to mention the extra ordinary Man Eaters (lions that eat the railway contraction workers) of Tsavo and the Galana river that passes right through the heart of the 23’890kms sq. park

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