When visiting the “Mother Continent,” the foremost thing tourists should do is by being in the presence of wild animals. A safari tour is the best way to observe the big five game: African buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinoceroses. If that’s not enticing enough, then the other species are ready to serve a show.

Africa is a land of promise, and though many of its nature preserves are threatened by poaching, encroachment, and climate change, authorities work hard to protect the wildlife. Tourism is one way of doing so because, aside from income, the public is educated about the environment. As such, any safari journey is not just mere travel but a learning experience.

10 Maasai Mara

Visiting Kenya’s Maasai Mara during its peak season from June to October means spending more money. As such, those who want to spend less while visiting the residents of this national park should visit either during its shoulder or low season (November to March). It’s also the best time to spot baby animals and to birdwatch without the crowd. It is a famous African destination, so there are lodges and camps within the park. Aside from game driving, other popular activities in the area include nature walks, photography and cultural tours, and hot air balloon rides. The Maasai Mara is indeed a must.

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9 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest

The name of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is derived from a local word meaning “dark place,” but those exploring it will be enlightened. This Ugandan old-growth forest is a popular gorilla watching spot, so fans of these great apes should not miss visiting it. This area is well-protected because, aside from gorilla families, it’s also home to 25,000-year-old rainforests and more than a thousand species of plants, butterflies, mammals, and birds. Those who want to spend less exploring the forest should visit during the off-season from March to May and October to November. It has the word impenetrable in its name, but Bwindi is welcoming.

8 Northern Kenya

The northern part of Kenya hosts various nature spots that are best explored in a multi-day excursion. The area is home to Mount Kenya, the second-highest in Africa, where tourists can check out different ecoregions, from the savanna to the glaciers. After exploring a mountain, they can visit the small desert of Chalbi before heading to Lake Turkana, where welcoming waters await. Another mountain to trek is Ng'iro, the headquarters of beekeepers. The last area to explore is Lake Baringo, a thriving area where birds flutter here and there. In the north of Kenya, nothing goes south.

7 Serengeti National Park

Serengeti, alongside Maasai Mara, is among Africa’s famed safari destinations, so exploring tourists during its peak season is not advisable for cheapskates and those who hate crowds. This Tanzanian park is where one of Mother Nature’s best shows happens: the largest mammal migration. This destination is part of many bucket lists, rightly so because of teeming wildlife like the big five, birds, and insects. It’s possible to visit this world-famous place even on a tight budget; tourists just need to know when to arrive.

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6 Virunga Mountains

Just like Bwindi, Virunga Mountains is home to mountain gorillas. There are eight volcanoes in this mountain range that covers Rwanda, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. This 790,000-hectare park has exceptional wildlife. Aside from gorillas, it’s also the playground of tens of thousands of hippopotamuses and birds migrating from Siberia. Whether guests want to visit this wilderness from Rwanda, Uganda, or DRC, they’ll be afforded stunning views and majestic creatures only Africa can offer. The place is hot, literally and figuratively.

5 Nairobi National Park

Another Kenya attraction, Nairobi National Park, is unique in the sense that it's near the city. As such, it’s an easily accessible destination perfect for those who want a day-long exploration near the capital Nairobi. It is tourist-friendly and even has picnic facilities. Its accessibility makes tours here cheaper than those in remote areas. Dubbed the “world’s only wildlife capital,” the place is home to hundreds of mammals and migratory birds. Indeed, the nice things are in Nairobi National Park.

4 Bale Mountains National Park

Ethiopia is not to be missed when it comes to safari adventures because it has Bale Mountains National Park. It has three eco-zones: grasslands, the Afroalpine plateau, and the Harenna Forest. It welcomes hikers, wildlife watchers, and nature lovers as it’s home to more than a thousand species. What’s more, tours can also include cultural excursions, making any journey more than just a learning experience but a shared moment with locals. It might not be as famous as the other African parks, but the Bale Mountains won’t disappoint.

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3 Murchison Falls National Park

A great savannah and lush forests await those who visit Murchison Falls National Park. This safari destination is Uganda’s most popular park, as it should be, because it hosts a lot of activities, thanks to the teeming wildlife. At the break of the day, tourists can start with a game drive and then follow it with a river boat cruise until they reach the majestic falls. If they can’t get enough of the place, they can even take a night drive to meet some nocturnal friends. It’s easy to fall in love with this Ugandan park, thanks to its wilderness.

2 Zanzibar

For a safari experience beyond the land, tourists should head to Zanzibar, Tanzania. This stunning archipelago is home to the islands of Chumbe and Changu, both offering wonders of the Indian Ocean. The uninhabited Chumbe is perfect for those who want to explore a forest and then end their day appreciating coral reefs. Changuu, meanwhile, is for observing giant tortoises, aside from visiting an old prison. Back on the mainland, tourists can also enjoy exploring Stone Town, a community proud of its history, arts, and culture. In Zanzibar, a safari is all-around.

1 Amboseli National Park

Another Kenya attraction, Amboseli National Park, is the place to be for lovers of elephants. In fact, it is considered the best area to meet the herds of these gentle giants. There are five habitats in this popular reserve, so guests are assured of varying wildlife wherever they explore. From swamps and a dried-up lake to the sky above, the place is teeming with critters like crocodiles, zebras, and lots of birds, among others. Finding where wild things have never been this easy.