Safari was first regarded as a trip to Africa.
Then it changed and became known as trips to observe and photograph wildlife—or hiking and sight-seeing as well.
The word ‘safari’ is Swahili for a journey and it comes from an Arabic word. In 1836 William Cornwallis Harris, an English military engineer led an expedition purely to observe and record wildlife and landscapes. It is said that he established the safari style of journey, starting with a not too strenuous rising at first light, an energetic day walking, an afternoon rest then concluding with a formal dinner and telling stories in the evening over drinks and tobacco.
Here are some of the best safaris in Africa.
1. Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara National Reserve is an area of preserved savannah wilderness in southwestern Kenya, along with the Tanzanian border. Its animals include lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos. Wildebeest traverse its plains during their annual migration. The landscape has grassy plains and rolling hills and is crossed by the Mara and Talek rivers. The area nearby is dotted with villages of Maasai people.
2. Yankari Games Reserve
Yankari National Park is a large wildlife park located in the south-central part of Bauchi State, in northeastern Nigeria.
3. Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park, in northern Tanzania, is known for its massive annual migration of wildebeest and zebra. Seeking new pasture, the herds move north from their breeding grounds in the grassy southern plains. Many cross the marshy western corridor’s crocodile-infested Grumeti River. Others veer northeast to the Lobo Hills, home to black eagles. Black rhinos inhabit the granite outcrops of the Moru Kopjes.
4. Kruger National Park
Location: South Africa
Kruger National Park, in northeastern South Africa, is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. Its high density of wild animals includes the Big 5: lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. Hundreds of other mammals make their home here, as do diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks. Mountains, bush plains and tropical forests are all part of the landscape.
5. Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is in western Zimbabwe. Its grasslands and mopane woods are home to large elephant herds, lions and African wild dogs. In the northwest, animals gather at Mandavu and Masuma dams, where there are concealed lookouts. Bumbusi National Monument includes 18th-century ruins and pre-colonial rock carvings. In the southeast, waterholes include the Nyamandhlovu Pan, with its elevated viewing platform.
6. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is a biodiverse, mountainous area in southwest Uganda. It’s home to many of the world’s remaining mountain gorillas, who feed on roots, leaves and fruits from the park’s many tree and fern species. Restricted numbers of viewing permits help protect the endangered gorilla families. In the park, rough paths weave amid dense forests, which are home to many butterflies and birds.
7. Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta. It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which converge along the Chobe Riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras.
8. South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa National Park is in east Zambia’s Luangwa River valley. It’s known for its abundant wildlife. Inside the Mfuwe Gate entrance, the river is often crowded with hippos. The woodland savannah is home to hundreds of bird species. Trails from the park’s lodges wander past baobab trees, herds of elephants and rare Thornicroft’s giraffes. Spotlights are used to locate the leopard population after dark.
9. Etosha National Park
Etosha National Park is a national park in northwestern Namibia. The park was proclaimed a game reserve in 1907.
10. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is in northern Tanzania. It’s home to the vast, volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and “big 5” game (elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino). Huge herds of wildebeests and zebras traverse its plains during their annual migration. Livestock belonging to the semi-nomadic Maasai tribe graze alongside wild animals. Hominin fossils found in the Olduvai Gorge date back millions of years.