According to Britannica, Africa is the second largest continent on Earth, it measures at 30,365,000-square kilometers or 11,724,000-square miles. It is a land teeming with flora and fauna. There are more than 1,100 species of mammals and about 2,600 kinds of birds. Animal extremes can be found in Africa, like the largest land mammal, the African elephant. The largest and smallest chameleons are also found in Madagascar, an island southeast of the African continent. The tallest animal in the world is the giraffe, a regular player in the safari scene. Africa is also home to the largest frog (Goliath frog) and one of the largest beetles (Goliath beetle) in the world according to San Diego Zoo.
Africa’s tourism is not centered on its modern architecture and man-made wonders, tourists visit the continent because of the safaris. Most of these tourists take a trip to see the Big 5, Africa’s best wild animals - the buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion, and rhinoceros. There are hundreds of safaris one can go on in the different areas, and not just in Africa, but on other continents like Asia and South America. We’ve collected 25 of the wildest tourist photos from these safaris. Wild animals in their natural habitat, captured during a safari trip, some too close for comfort, and others are just breathtaking images.
25 Beho Beho, Tanzania
Beho Beho means a cooling breeze, but the Beho Beho Camp is also known as wansalishi. This word means ‘the pioneer’ in Swahili. It was called wansalishi because Beho Beho was the first camp to have been established in the Selous Game Reserve. The Beho Beho camps are not tents, they are called bandsa, much better than tents but smaller than lodges. The bandas have such open space that elephants could wander through the camp and a guest could be in touching distance, as seen in this picture.
24 Laikipia Plateau, Africa
The Laikipia Plateau is one of the places in Africa that tends to have a low profile, but that makes it more endearing than the rest of the other go-to safari locations. The plateau is actually home to many endangered species in all of East Africa, the Grevy’s zebra, the black rhino and the Beisa oryx, to name a few. One must discover the place via a camel ride safari, it’s one of the highlights of the area and offers scenic views such as the one in this picture.
23 Pantanal Wetlands
The Pantanal is a huge wetlands area shared by three countries in South America, Brazil, Panama, and Bolivia. Taking up at least 42 million acres, the Pantanal is the largest tropical wetland in the world as reported by Guinness World Records. It is larger than New York, Florida, and 26 other states in the US. Brazil offers one of the best safaris in the Pantanal, esecially when it comes to jaguar spotting. Apart from the mighty predator, tourists can also see hundreds of other species in the marshlands. Like the otter photographed here having a juicy meal.
Isn’t it an amazing feeling to experience the location that inspired Rudyard Kipling to write the famous tale of Mowgli in The Jungle Book? It was in India, where Kipling grew up, that he got the inspiration for the book, and it was Madhya Pradesh in the heart of the country. The main attraction of safaris here is, of course, the magnificent Bengal tiger. This picture shows us how up close a tourist can get to a full-grown Bengal tiger during a safari. Great places to have safaris in Madhya Pradesh are Bandhavgarh and Pench.
21 Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia
There is a national park in Ethiopia that is unique and offers a safari that’s not like any other safari outing in this list. The park is called Simien Mountains National Park and it is located in northern Ethiopia. In here, tourists can see the highest peak in Ethiopia, the Ras Dashen mountain. Apart from the monkey paradise (Gelada baboons), as seen in the picture, the park offers safari-goers a glimpse of other wildlife like the Ethiopian wolf, the klipspringer, the Walia ibex, and the endangered Capra ibex.
20 East Africa
East Africa is comprised of countries that deliver the best safaris Africa has to offer. These great safari destinations include Tanzania, Rwanda, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Zanzibar. If a tourist is a Big 5 enthusiast, Kenya and Tanzania are the best locations. Head over to Kenya’ Masai Mara or Tanzania’s Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater. Zanzibar offers safaris and beach fun as well. East Africa is just an iconic place for breathtaking pictures with amazing mountain backdrops such as this picture of elephants and Mount Kilimanjaro, and this one of the Rwenzori Mountains by adventure.com.
19 Amakhala, South Africa
South Africa offers great safaris as East Africa, but this is a perfect place to have tours in nature and game reserves, such as the Amakhala Game Reserve. Located in Cape province of South Africa, in the Frontier Country area, the Amakhala lodges are child-friendly and malaria-free. This is a perfect recipe for that family safari we’ve all been dreaming of. A safari jeep ride could take you to a dinner show where lions hunt and enjoy their kill, right there in front of you.
18 Kruger National Park, South Africa
On the topic of best national parks in Africa, Kruger National Park is definitely at the top of that list. This park, located in the northeastern side of South Africa offers different locations for every kind of animal or majestic view a tourist would like to experience. If it is your first time, take one of those safari tours that would start you in the park, then wildlife immersion including the Big 5, and a nice tour of Cape Town, the Mother City.
17 Great Rift Valley, Kenya
If a Kenya trip is what you are leaning toward when going on safari in Africa, do not miss the Great Rift Valley. It is a haven for various species of wildlife, the most popular of which is the pink flamingo. Also simply called Rift Valley, it stretches approximately 6,000 kilometers through the heart of Kenya. Safaris here would showcase animals like the flamingos, giraffes, zebras, hippos, and rhinos. Due to the many alkaline lakes in the Great Rift Valley, it’s been home and a stopover for different species of birds, like in this image.
16 Amboseli National Park, Kenya
The Amboseli National Park is another great park located in Kenya, down in the south with a very nice view of Mount Kilimanjaro. Safaris in this area are mostly day safaris and are good ones to have with the whole family. The Amboseli National Park is home to around 600 different kinds of birds and grazing animals such as the zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, impala, and giraffes. Predators in the park are the lion, cheetah, and hyena, but this park is the African elephant’s playground.
15 Miavana, Madagascar
There is a lodge in Madagascar that’s built for the most luxurious and comfortable stay in Africa a tourist could ever have. The elite lodge is called the Time and Tide Miavana Resort and is located on an island north of Madagascar in Nosy Anko. It’s an all-inclusive resort where safari lovers can go on a trek and see lemurs in their natural habitat. Remember those cute little animals in the animated film Madagascar? It’s that experience, but much cuter than the film.
14 Zakouma National Park, the Republic of Chad
The Republic of Chad is a country located in the central part of northern Africa, and it’s right between Niger and Sudan. Its oldest national park is the Zakouma National Park, a vast area of land that’s almost 1,160-square miles, in the south of the Republic of Chad. Zakouma National Park’s famous players in the wild are the Kordofan giraffe, antelope, buffalo, elephant, leopard, and the lion. It’s best to go on a safari here in the dry seasons of February through April. This is the time where wildlife is most abundant.
13 Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
The Selous Game Reserve is a protected habitat in Tanzania and has been a designated UNESCO World Heritage site since 1982. It is one of Africa’s largest protected areas measuring to about 50,000-square kilometers. The animals in this area are abundant, from the elephant to the cheetah, and the black rhinoceros to the ungulate. There are also lots of safari lodges, camps, and hotels in the area, translating to countless different kinds of safaris a guest can sign up for.
12 Sabi Sand Reserve, South Africa
The Sabi Sands Game Reserve is right down there in South Africa, right at the northeastern tip of the country. For tourists with money to spend and looking for luxury and comfort, this is the right place for them. Sabi Sands shares the wildlife of the Kruger National Park. But it is proud of its access to one of the Big 5 animals, the leopard. Normally very difficult to spot (despite its many spots) on a safari, the leopard can be seen easily on a Sabi Sands safari.
11 Benguerra Island, Mozambique
Mozambique is a southeastern African country that faces the Indian ocean and has a friendly view of its island brother, Madagascar. A little to the south of the Mozambique Channel, that area of water between the two nations, is an island called Benguerra Island. The place offers a different take on the regular and hot-looking safaris the rest of the mainland offers its guests. Here in Benguerra, one can cool off and go swimming with the horses, as seen in this picture.
As one of the continent’s most famous countries, Rwanda also stands as one of the best destinations for an unforgettable safari trip. From its popular Volcanoes National Park to the Virunga Mountains and the Akagera National Park, the country is steep in wildlife, culture and history. If you have not watched the film Hotel Rwanda yet, please do so now (sidebar on a great performance from Don Cheadle). Amazing wildlife views in Rwanda safaris are the elephants, monkeys, lions, antelopes, giraffes, hippos, and the magnificent mountain gorilla.
9 Suguta Valley, Kenya
Thousands of years ago, the area is known now as Suguta Valley was a massive lake thriving with all kinds of wildlife. Today it is known by the name Suguta Valley, or the Suguta Mud Flats. There is still plenty of wildlife in the area, safaris in this location can be a good change of pace from the regular safaris out there. The valley is a sand dune area from here to the horizon, miles, and miles of beautiful and perfect for trekking and amazing souvenir photographs. Located inside the Great Rift Valley, some animals roaming around the Suguta Valley are elephants and flamingos.
Right above South Africa and to the right of Botswana is the African nation called Namibia. The country faces the South Atlantic Ocean to the west, making its shores home to the rare African animal, the Cape fur seals. Popular safaris in Namibia include a tour of the Namib Desert and several safaris that would include spotting great animals like the cheetah, the white and black rhinoceros, zebras, lions, elephants, and the oryx. Take a tour of its capital city, Windhoek, for some history and culture as well.
7 Nairobi, Kenya
The capital city of Kenya in Nairobi and Nairobi’s favorite animal is the giraffe. This is because the one and only Giraffe Center are located in the southern part of Nairobi, just less than an hour away. It’s a center created by the African Fund for Endangered Wildlife or AFEW. The center breeds Rothschild giraffes and releases them to the wild once they are capable of independence. The Giraffe Center is perfect for school outings and safaris for little kids. See how adorable these large mammals are with people in this picture.
6 Ras Kutani, Tanzania
Tanzania to the east, kissing the edge of the land and right at the shore, lies Ras Kutani. It’s a slice of paradise in Africa that borrows the beauty of the Indian Ocean and lends it to its guests. Ras Kutani is a resort with lodges, suites, and facilities that make it a must-stay for tourists who want to experience Africa but would also like to have a day on the sand and the beach. One can go on a yellow zebra safari, or just chill at the beach and maybe see some baby sea turtles right there at the shore.
5 Liuwa Plain, Zambia
The word liuwa means ‘plain’ in the local language here in Zambia. The Liuwa Plain is a national park located in the western side of Zambia. Popular safaris in the Liuwa Plain include the wildebeest and their movement from the west side to the center of the plains. Of course, where there are wildebeests, there are also other hoofed animals and great predators. The park is also home to antelopes and buffalos, and Africa’s great hunters, hyenas, wild dogs, servals, jackals, and lions.
4 Masai Mara, Kenya
Savannahs are habitats that are a cross between a desert and grassland. It’s plain with fewer trees and grass, and plenty of animals all around. One great example of a Savannah is the Masai Mara. It is located near Tanzania, southwest in Kenya. The Masai Mara is just the perfect destination for a great safari if one likes to see many different kinds of wildlife in one go. The national reserve has animals like elephants, lions, Thomson's gazelles, crocodiles, baboons, black rhinos, and leopards, to name a few.
3 Chongwe River House, Zambia
For tourists who find the Zambezi a magical river and would not want to walk that much on a safari and would like to stay in luxury accommodation rather than camps and tents, the Chongwe River House is their best bet. It’s a private home overlooking the Chongwe River going down and connecting to the great Zambezi River. Tours in this place include a boat ride while witnessing elephant herds. Just sit back and relax in your plush boat while the tour guide tells you where to look.
2 Okavango Delta, Botswana
Botswana is the country that borders South Africa to the north, Zimbabwe’s east, and Namibia to the east and south. It’s a landlocked country that is the home of the Okavango Delta, one of the last remaining true African wildlife habitats. According to Okavango Delta Explorations, the area has 1,500 different species of plants, 530 birds, 160 mammals, 155 reptiles, and 35 amphibians. As seen in this amazing picture of a tourist hugging elephants, the delta’s regular cast members are the African elephant, roaming the delta and is its unofficial king.
1 Patagonia, Chile
We are closing this article with a photograph taken, not in Africa, but on a safari in Chile. Chile is a wonderful country and a beautiful place for backpackers and nature lovers. Safaris offered in Chile (and neighbor country Argentina) that are very popular and can never be experienced in Africa is Patagonia’s own Big 3 - the puma, the whale, and the penguin. There are several species of these three animals that roam around Chile and Patagonia. Safaris in Patagonia concentrate on these three handsome creatures.
References: Telegraph, Enchantingtravels, Britannica, San Diego Zoo, Southafrica