The thrill of going on an African safari is a once-in-lifetime experience that every traveler should have! You have the opportunity to enjoy a big game safari through the best national parks, meet the majestic mountain gorillas in their natural habitat or getting immersed in the true untamed wilderness. While on a safari in Africa, you will experience nature at its best. For the best encounters, here are the top five destinations that you should consider putting in your travel itinerary for 2023.
1. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park, located in the northeastern corner of South Africa, is one of the most popular and iconic safari destinations in the world. It’s home to the Big Five – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard – as well as a diverse array of other animals, plants, and birds. With its vast open plains, bushvelds, and woodlands, Kruger is the perfect place to explore the African wilderness.
If you’re looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience, look no further than Kruger National Park. The park covers an impressive 19,485 square kilometers, making it one of the largest game reserves in the world. It’s home to 147 mammal species, including the Big Five, as well as 517 bird species, 336 tree species, and more. With such a wide variety of wildlife, it’s easy to see why Kruger is a popular destination for safari-goers.
Kruger is also known for its rich cultural heritage. The park is home to numerous archaeological sites, including fossilized remains of early human inhabitants dating back to the Stone Age. There are also numerous cultural sites, such as rock art, ruins, and burial grounds. Exploring these sites is a great way to learn more about the history of this fascinating region.
Another great reason to visit Kruger National Park is its stunning scenery. With its vast grasslands, bushvelds, and woodlands, the park offers some of the most breathtaking views in the world. Whether you’re looking for a peaceful escape or an adrenaline-filled adventure, Kruger has something for everyone.
Kruger National Park is a must-see for anyone looking to experience the wonders of the African wilderness. With its diverse wildlife, rich cultural heritage, and stunning scenery, there’s no better place to get up close and personal with the African landscape. So don’t wait – book your trip to Kruger today and start planning your own African adventure.
2. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda
Not known to many adventure seekers, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park offers something quite different from the usual African safari. Located in south western Uganda, Bwindi is the ultimate destination for gorilla trekking, an adventure conducted on foot through the impenetrable forest.
The Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is a separate territory from the Virunga, the only two destinations that host endangered mountain gorillas. Bwindi holds almost half of the world’s remaining population of the mountain gorillas. The dense tropical rain forest is also a UNESCO world heritage site. Bwindi is one of the richest faunal communities in East Africa and has a highly significant ecological importance.
The park is also home to 120 species of mammals including 14 species of primates that include mountain gorillas, chimpanzees, white colobus monkeys, red-tailed guenons, blue guenon, olive baboon etc.
Bwindi is the most affordable destination for gorilla tracking. A gorilla pass costs US$700 for a one-hour session and US$1500 for a four-hour session. You can easily reach the park from either Kigali (Rwanda) or Entebbe (Kampala) and to find out more information, visit this website.
3. Masai Mara National Park
This is Kenya’s most popular national park, known for the wildebeest migration one of the seven wonders of the world. Located in Narok Country in southern Kenya, Masai Mara is an extension of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. The Masai Mara National Reserve lies about 270 kilometers from Nairobi, and takes about 4 to 5 hours by road. There are scheduled flights, twice daily from Wilson Airport Nairobi, which take about 40 – 45 minutes.
Would you like to experience the great migration this year? This is the ultimate destination to include in your African safari itinerary. Between July and October, when the great wildebeest migration is in the Masai Mara National Reserve, the sensation is unparalleled.
Masai Mara is one of the best plains’ game reserve where you can actually encounter a live Discovery Channel, a haven for viewing a congregation of all sorts of animals in a five-mile radius: A pride of lions, a cheetah and its cubs, a pair of ostriches stretching their legs on the savannah. There is also lots of wild game that can be seen during a wildlife safari. Popular sightings include lions, cape buffaloes, African leopards, elephants, rhinos, zebras, antelopes and more.
4. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Hwange is the largest national park in Zimbabwe and it is one of the must visit destination. You will experience unrivalled game viewing within the Etosha plains that spread over 14600 square kilometers of semi-arid landscapes.
The park is located in Southwestern Zimbabwe and it lies between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls, two other prime locations in Zimbabwe.
Hwange National Park hosts diverse species of wildlife including some unique species not easily found elsewhere in the world. There are over 108 mammal species recorded in the park and popular big game include giraffes, lions, waterbucks, buffaloes, African elephants, etc. The park is famous for big cats including cheetahs.
There are over 400 bird species and it is a popular spot for birders. Some of the species to checkoff your birdlist are the African eagle, Southern ground hornbill, yellow billed kite etc.
Given its prime location, you can easily tailor your safari to Hwange national park with a tour of the Victoria falls, one of the seven wonders of the world.
5. Etosha National Park, Namibia
If you are looking to traveling to southern Africa, you should not miss including Etosha National Park in your travel plan. A safari to Namibia’s Etosha National Park offers unrivalled great game viewing in Africa’s largest national park. The park covers over 22269 square kilmotres that are comprised of semi-arid and savanna landscapes. Hosting the big five makes Etosha an outstanding safari destination with a rich diversity for you to experience.
Etosha National Park is therefore a prime destination to explore in and lots of wild game can be seen live while there. Only the African buffalo miss on the list of the big five animals that can be seen in Etosha.
Animals to look for during your stay in Etosha include the African elephants, black rhinos, giraffes, hunting dogs, the greedy hyenas. Some antelopes not to miss are the duikers, black faced impalas, dik-dik, etc.
For birders, Etosha is a rewarding place to visit. On the bird checklist, you can tick off the flying eagles, vultures, hornbills, kites, falcons, owls, herons etc.
Unlike other southern African parks, Etosha is among the most accessible protected areas to tourists visiting Namibia and Southern Africa.
The above is just a few of the unique national parks that Africa has. A lot more await you to explore on your next holiday in Africa.