If you are thinking about going on a safari in an African game reserve or national park, you should take a quick read through this article first. Africa has too many parks for anyone to really explore them all in a life time. So that means that you have to choose the best reserve for you and your needs and interests. Each park has it’s own strength and weakness, some are great for bird watching, some for gorilla trekking, some for lions and some for rhinos. You won’t find them all in one African safari. Unless you’re extremely lucky. So here is a short guide to help you find the best African Safari National Parks and Game Reserves.
South Africa: Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest game reserve, and actually one of the world’s largest national parks with it’s 20 000 square kilometers. It also has more species of mammals than any other African game reserve. These species include the big five (lions, leopards, rhinos. elephants and buffalo), zebra, giraffe, hippo, cheeta, wildebeest, impala, eland and way more. Kruger was also the stage for one of the world’s most famous safari events, when tourists witnessed an amazing battle between lions, buffalos and crocodiles. It was all caught on tape in this amateur video:
Botswana: Chobe and Okavango
Okavango is Africa’s largest freshwater wetland, and the world’s largest inland delta. It also has one of Africa’s greatest concentration of wildlife, and is therefore a great destination for safaris all year around. The delta floods once a year, and is at it’s largest between June and August, which is actually Botswana’s dry winter months. This is also the time when you will find the highest concentration of animals in the area.
If you go to Okavango, you can stay at everything from basic camps to luxury resorts. And while you are there, you will probably see tons (literally) of elephants, buffaloes, Lechwe, giraffes, crocodiles, lions, leopards, kudu, cheetahs, hippos, rhinos, and way way more.
Chobe is another great option in Botswana, and was the country’s first national park. It is mostly known for it’s huge population of elephants. Chobe is also great for bird watching, with more than 450 species of birds in the park during rain season.
You can find more information about Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta on: www.chobe-national-park.com/ and www.okavango-delta.net
Kenya: Masai Mara
Named after the Masais, the original inhabitants in the area, Masai Mara is Kenya’s greatest safari destination. The reserve is home to most of the popular safari animals, but the black rhino and cheeta populations are dangerously low. Wildebeest is the dominant animal, followed by Thomson Gazelles and zebras. You will also see a lot of giraffes, hyenas and ostrich. The best time to go there may be between July and October when enormous hordes of wildebeest, gazelles and zebras are migrating in from Serengeti in Tanzania.
Serengeti is a huge national park, three times the size of Masai mara, and is a great safari destination. With mostly the same animals as in Masai Mara (the parks are connected by the border between Kenya and Tanzania), the best time to go here is between May and October, with the period from June to August for watching the great migration towards Kenya. However, you are never guaranteed to find the wildebeest migration, because the areas are practically never ending so it may be hard to pin point their location at a given time. But don’t worry too much, you will see animals wherever you go!
You can find more information about Serengeti National Park on: www.serengeti.org