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Our top 10 African safari holidays

By Amanda Marks

How can I possibly choose just ten safaris? Every safari is different even if you go to the same place over and over again. A safari is always unpredictable, usually exciting (because it almost invariably touches the child in you that wants to be wowed by the wild), sometimes heartbreaking, but never boring as, for most of us, it takes you out of your normal comfort zone.

Of course there are some experiences and places which, after over 25 years travelling in Africa, I simply couldn't miss off a list like this, however they are certainly not in any order - that's impossible!

So here goes with my take on our top ten African safaris.

3
meeting meerkats
Meerkats

From the sublime to the cute as pie (but tough as nails!). Meerkats obviously couldn't be more different to gorillas. They're tiny, they live in arid areas of Africa, they are a matriarchal society, they are very active ... And yet, the experience of being with a colony of meerkats is, strangely, not dissimilar to that of sitting with gorillas. It feels like they've temporarily let you into their gang. They accept you being there with a nonchalant lack of curiosity, but shamelessly make use of your head as a convenient high point from which to watch for predators. The experience I had in Botswana’s Makgadikgadi pans is one I wouldn't have missed for the world.

We have a great trip in Botswana called Meerkats and Much More.

4
view from plane of South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The first time I came to South Luangwa I was struck by the beauty of the park, with the brown river snaking through the grassland dotted with trees and the stunning ebony groves. On top of this though, you come to realise that this park offers one of the best wildlife experiences in Africa. What makes this true is a combination of the incredible amount of wildlife, with amongst other things, strong lion prides, excellent leopard sightings, wild dogs, thousands upon thousands of hippos, and large herds of elephants, alongside some of the best guiding on the continent. This is where walking safaris began and that pioneering African spirit, strongly rooted in conservation is very tangible here.
I love it.

We have lots of safaris in South Luangwa. Here is just one to consider: Remote Africa Safari.

5
Ngorongoro Crater watching zebra
Northern Tanzania Safari Circuit

The famous parks of the Serengeti, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara and the lesser-known, but also good Tarangire, make up what is known as the northern circuit in Tanzania. This whole area holds a special place in my heart, and I would, and do, come back again and again. Partly it's down to the unique scenery (the iconic Crater, the vast grasslands of the Serengeti), but the strong sense of Maasai culture here is a large part of the draw, and of course the incredible wildlife here, including the migration in the Serengeti, is a major attraction. As a company we also have very strong ties of friendship with the people who run our excellent safaris here, and links with local communities who we've helped through The Tribes Foundation.

Take a look at our North Serengeti Migration and Mafia Island for a wonderful safari.

6
elephants
Katavi, Mahale and Ruaha in Tanzania

At the risk of overstating Tanzania, these three parks simply must be in a list of top safari destinations. They are each very special in their own right, but put together as a single safari, they are really hard to beat. Ruaha in southern Tanzania has stunning scenery and wildlife and very few people visit. Katavi and Mahale are over in the west, but connect well with Ruaha. Mahale is for chimps in the wild in fabulous scenery by Lake Tanganyika, and Katavi is one of the most remote little-visited parks in Africa. Together you have a safari which offers diverse scenery and wildlife, and which few other people will ever have visited. It’s not cheap, but it’s most definitely worth it.

Our Katavi, Mahale & Ruaha Safari is one of our absolute favourites.

9
Family safari watching elephant
A Kruger Safari

Whilst I do love visiting Kruger, you can’t expect a safari here to be one of the more personal experiences you’ve ever had, unless you decide to go for one of the private concession areas instead of the national park. In the Greater Kruger reserves of Sabi Sand, Timbavati and others, there are some very special experiences to be had for example from the luxury lodges of Mala Mala, Londolozi or Leopard Hills. Of course there are many more lodges in this vast reserve so we can always find something to suit your budget to allow you to take a safari in one of the world’s most famous parks.

Kruger combines well with Tuli Reserve, so maybe have a look at our Mala Mala & Mashatu trip.

10
leopard in tree
Northern Kenya

Sometimes a great safari is not about the amount of wildlife you see, but the context you see it in. One of my favourite safaris in recent years included time in the little-visited regions of Kenya’s Mathews Ranges and the even less known Namunyak Wildlife Trust just east of there, close to Samburu. Trekking through the forested hills of the Mathews trying to spot elephants and antelope was really exciting thanks to our excellent guide at Kitich Camp. Staying at Sarara Camp in Namunyak was also a memorable experience for me. It’s an arid, beautiful, Samburu-owned region where leopards are frequently spotted and elephants often come to drink near the camp. It’s remoteness and strong connection with its indigenous owners makes this a uniquely special place.

Find out more about the very special Sarara Camp.

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Mobile Safaris in Africa
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Unusual family holidays
Rhino
Spotting the Big Five
Wildebeest grazing
The Great Annual Wildebeest Migration

safari holidays

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Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
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Telephone: 01473 890499

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