An African safari, get the facts
One of the tops on many bucket lists is visiting Africa. Getting close up encounters with animals in their natural environment is an experience that will be different for every guest based on time of year and how they choose to visit. The best way to experience wildlife in Africa is by safari but with many regions within Africa with wildlife, how do you narrow down your options of where and when to visit.
Two of the best countries within the continent of Africa to visit for a safari experience are Tanzania and Botswana:
The United Republic of Tanzania is an African country in East Africa that has a coastline on the Indian Ocean. Bordering Uganda in the north, Kenya in the northeast, Mozambique in the east, Zambia to the southwest; and Rwanda to the west. Tanzania is well known for Mount Kilimanjaro, the largest mountain in Africa.
The best time to visit Tanzania to enjoy the wildlife is based on the rainfall. While the summer period is November to February and the cooler winter period is May to August, the rainiest periods are October – December. The ideal time is during the drier shoulder periods of March, April, August, and September.
Approximately one-third of Tanzania’s land is dedicated as a protected conservation area featuring 16 national parks in addition to game and forest reserves. Featuring many biodiverse areas you will find a variety of animal habitats:
Serengeti – The Serengeti plain is where you will find the largest concentration of wildebeest and zebra who are known for their annual massive migrations when the herds move north from breeding locations to the grassy southern plains. For sure a not to miss experience, movement can be seen year-round. The migration period of massive travel will occur July – October when animals can be seen crossing the Mara river in the Northern Serengeti.
You will also find giraffes, gazelle, impalas, and many species of reptiles in the region like crocodiles who are habitat in the Grumeti River.
Ngorongoro – the Manyara National park is where you can experience a game drive of animals including lions, cheetahs, monkeys, baboons, and impalas.
You will also want to visit the three million-year-old Ngorongoro crater which is the largest volcano caldera in the world and home to a gorgeous wildlife sanctuary. Filled with large mammals like hippopotami who live in the lakes, bush, and plains of the caldera. To experience the great migration here, you will want to visit between July and September.
Unlike Tanzania, Botswana is primarily flat with the majority (70%) of it belonging to the Kalahari Desert. Located in central Africa, it borders South Africa to the south, Zimbabwe to the northeast, and to the west and north of Botswana is Namibia.
Besides a large area of desert, you will find the Okavango Delta, one of the largest in the world in the northwestern portion of the country.
Why Botswana if it is mostly desert? Because of the diversity of the wildlife that you can find here. Besides the desert and the delta, there are savannas and grassland regions where you will find wildebeest, antelope, the endangered African wild dog, plus the largest concentration of African elephants. September is the peak time for experiencing wildlife as it is the end of the dry season.
Chobe National Park – Botswana’s original national park located in the Okavango Delta is biologically diverse. Making Chobe a prime destination for experiencing wildlife.
Taking a safari through the park has one of the largest concentrations of wildlife to observe when looking for the big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, water buffalo, and the rare rhinoceros).
Lions can easily be spotted due to the presence of a large number of elephants. The large beasts and their calves are tracked as their primary predator.
The Chobe River – is another key location for spotting the “Big Five” game during the dry months. Both sides of the river are protected wildlife management areas.
During the dry season the Kalahari elephants, lions, and buffalo reside at the river. Particularly towards the end of the dry season when families can be spotted from boats as you travel along the river.
A highlight is viewing the daily elephant bathing ritual which offers amazing afternoon photo opportunities.
Safari Lodges are found throughout both Tanzania and Botswana.
These accommodations offer unique experiences featuring luxury and modern tented camps. Immersive wildlife experiences including seeing nature free from human intervention is a highlight of staying at a safari lodge.
You will never know what encounter awaits you as you relax in your tent or while wandering on the grounds before or after your safari.
All-inclusive, a stay at a lodge includes meals, guided safari and wildlife spotting, and night-time campfires. All the amenities you would expect at a five-star resort but with a rustic charm. With many to choose from, there is one that fits every budget and travel style.
With so much to see, how do you explore these regions seamlessly and enjoyably?
Imagine an experience that combines all of these experiences in a 10 – 21 day African encounter.
Start your journey on land combined with four nights on a small private luxury African boat drifting along the river. All the while have an up-close wildlife experience before heading back on land for more time to explore the villages and highlights of the region.
Discover more about immersing in an African safari by land and river.