Get up close and personal with African wildlife: Top safari destinations for your bucket list

The Masai Mara National Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

The Masai Mara National Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Published Apr 17, 2023


Through Shaun Wheeler, the general manager of Radisson Blu Mosi-Oa-Tunya, Livingstone Resort, we learnt why Africa is such an incredible safari destination and why Zambia is one of the best, along with recommendations for other safari destinations across the continent.

Wheeler said: “Africa has vast spaces and unspoiled land. Not only that, but many of the world’s most magnificent creatures reside here. It’s no surprise that people from around the world flock to our continent to experience it all.”

African safaris can also have a positive impact on conservation efforts; by visiting and supporting eco-friendly lodges and game reserves, tourists contribute to the preservation of wildlife and habitats.


Bush TV at Takwela at Mwaleshi in North Luangwa home to over 450 hippo. Picture: Zambia Tourism/INSTAGRAM

According to Wheeler, Africa's vast spaces and unspoiled land make it an ideal safari destination, as many of the world's most magnificent creatures reside here. He notes that it's no surprise people from around the world flock to the continent to experience it all. For Wheeler, Zambia is at the top of his list, but he is also happy to recommend other destinations.

Zambia offers safari-goers an adventure safari enthusiast's paradise with Victoria Falls, one of the five Unesco heritage sites across Zimbabwe and Zambia, various safari experiences, including; zip-lining, bungee jumping, abseiling, and hydrospeeding. Visitors can also explore the area on beautiful horse trails, walk with lions or cheetahs, or take a swim in Devil's Pool.

Additionally, Zambia has 20 national parks offering everything from exceptional bird sightings to boating experiences and water safaris.


Tourism Tanzania. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Tanzania is another fantastic safari destination, with the Great Migration on every safari enthusiast's bucket list. This awe-inspiring migration of approximately 1.5 million wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, and elands begins in Tanzania's Serengeti National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World. The nearly 15,000-hectare Serengeti National Park is home to over 4,000 lions, 1,000 leopards, 550 cheetahs, and over 500 bird species, offering incredible wildlife sightings.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Northern Tanzania is another incredible area to experience, hosting the world's largest inactive volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater, which is home to a broad diversity of wildlife, offering safari experiences such as Big 5 game drives on the crater's floor, birdwatching safaris, and cultural safaris where visitors can interact with the local Maasai tribe.

South Africa: Africa’s safari hub

Africa is home to some of the world's most incredible safari destinations. The Kruger National Park in Mpumalanga, South Africa is the largest natural wildlife park in the world, and visitors can see a range of wildlife. The park is only a five-hour drive from Johannesburg, and visitors can also visit the nearby Blyde River Canyon.

Located in the North West and Limpopo provinces of South Africa, Welgevonden Nature Reserve, Dinokeng Game Reserve, Plumari Game Reserve, and Pilanesberg National Park are some of the best safari destinations in Africa. These reserves are home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, making them perfect for nature enthusiasts and wildlife lovers.

Welgevonden Nature Reserve, with its 37,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, offers visitors the opportunity to spot some of the most elusive and endangered animals in Africa, such as the African wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena. According to travel expert, Matthew Wheeler.

Dinokeng Game Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Dinokeng Game Reserve, located just an hour's drive from Johannesburg, offers visitors the chance to experience the Big 5 in their natural habitat. The reserve is home to over 80 mammal species, including the African elephant, lion, and black rhinoceros. Plumari Game Reserve is another fantastic destination for safari-goers, with its 23,000 hectares of pristine wilderness and close proximity to Johannesburg. The reserve is home to over 40 mammal species, including the elusive leopard and African wild dog.

Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

Pilanesberg National Park, situated in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province, is another popular safari destination. The park is home to over 7000 animals, including the Big 5, as well as over 300 bird species. Visitors can enjoy guided game drives, hot air balloon safaris, and even a night drive for a chance to spot some of the park’s nocturnal animals.

“There is an incredible array of wildlife across these areas,” says Wheeler, “Ranging from klipspringers and sable antelope, to leopards and brown hyena”.

In conclusion, these reserves offer visitors the chance to experience Africa's wildlife up close and personal. Whether you're a first-time safari-goer or a seasoned veteran, these destinations are sure to leave you in awe of the natural beauty and wildlife of Africa.


Kenya is another popular safari destination, known for delivering sightings of the Big 5 and the Great Migration. The Masai Mara National Reserve is a highlight, as it borders Tanzania's Serengeti National Park and is part of the channel along which the Migration takes place. Visitors can also experience the Maasai Village and hot air balloon safaris over the plains.

Other safari destinations in Africa include Uganda, where visitors can experience forest safaris with gorilla sightings, and Rwanda, known for Volcanoes National Park. Namibia offers desert safaris with incredible sunsets and the Cape Cross Seal Reserve, while Zimbabwe is home to Mana Pools National Park, a Unesco World Heritage Site and a walking-and-canoeing paradise.

Cape Seal Reserve. Picture: INSTAGRAM

These reserves offer visitors the chance to experience Africa's wildlife up close and personal. Whether you're a first-time safari-goer or a seasoned veteran, these destinations are sure to leave you in awe of the natural beauty and wildlife of Africa. No matter what type of safari experience you're looking for, Africa has something to offer. These destinations should definitely be on every safari enthusiast's bucket list.

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