SAFARI TYPES IN AFRICA
Acclaimed as the ultimate safari destination in the world, Africa offers visitors a diverse range of world-class safari types to choose from.
To many of us, the word “safari” is synonymous with Africa. Your mind cannot help but conjure up images of great herds of wildlife moving across the African plains when hearing the words “Africa” and “safari” in one sentence.
“Safari” is a Swahili word that means journey. In its simplest form, a safari is an expedition where one would spend time in the African bush observing wild animals in their natural habitat.
Today, safaris are much more than just observing wildlife in their natural habitat. Yes, wildlife remains without a doubt one of the most prominent draw cards for an African safari. However, together with admiring wildlife in their natural habitat, visitors will leave with a better understanding of the Africa bush and all the elements and creatures that go with it. The benefits of going on a safari are twofold. Visitors benefit through viewing and learning about Africa’s wildlife (and nature) in their natural habitat. In return, Africa’s wildlife and local communities benefit through local conservation efforts and community initiatives.
A safari is truly an incredible experience, here are our top 5 safari types in Africa!
1. Classic Wildlife Safari
A classic wildlife safari is the most popular and well-known safari type in Africa. It focuses on experiencing nature and observing wildlife in their natural habitat from the comfort of an open-top game drive vehicle with a qualified game ranger.
Seeing Africa’s Big 5 is high up on all visitors’ safari checklist, but one should not limit their safari experience to just ticking off the Big 5. There are many other species of wildlife, often smaller in size which are worth trying to catch a glimpse of while on a safari. Game rangers love sharing their knowledge about Africa, its incredible nature and magnificent wildlife.
South Africa has a plethora of National Parks and private game reserves. The Greater Kruger in South Africa is famed for being one of the best safari destinations in the country! The Greater Kruger encompasses the world-renowned Kruger National Park and an array of prestigious private game reserves that border the National Park. The boundary fences between the Kruger and neighbouring private game reserves have been dropped, which allows for wildlife to roam freely.
The Greater Kruger offers superb safari experiences in pristine bushveld and the area is one of the largest wildlife conservancies in the world. Apart from the sought-after Big 5, other wildlife that can be observed include: cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, giraffe, zebra, several antelope species and more than 500 bird species.
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2. Walking Safari
A walking safari is the perfect opportunity to reconnect with nature. Wildlife-lovers can truly immerse themselves in the African bush by exploring it on foot. This type of safari has a distinctive charm and offers an authentic wildlife experience with an “old-world” feel! Walking safaris are led by qualified guides who will provide deeper insights and interactions with the African bush and the surrounding environment and wildlife.
Zambia is the pioneer of the walking safari and our top walking safari destination in Africa. It is vast, largely unspoilt and boasts breath-taking vistas and an abundance of wildlife.
Walking safaris are interactive and allow one to experience the natural environment and wildlife from a new perspective. Experience intimate encounters with wildlife such as the African elephant and various antelope, while you stumble across smaller creatures and plants, often overlooked on the traditional safari in a game drive vehicle.
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3. Ocean Safari
An ocean safari is an unforgettable wildlife viewing experience! Opt for a leisure cruise along the coast in search of marine wildlife, as this type of safari enables you to get up close to some of Africa’s magnificent marine life. Offered by licenced operators, ocean safaris are led by experienced skippers and marine guides who are eager to share their knowledge and experiences of the ocean with visitors.
Experiencing the beauty of South Africa’s ocean and learning about the coastline’s unique marine ecosystems is a must! The Eastern and Western Cape offer ocean safaris via a boat or catamaran by licenced operators.
Smell the fresh ocean air and marvel at some of the most beautiful scenery from the ocean. Catch a glimpse of incredible marine wildlife and be captivated by their antics! South Africa’s waters are home to large pods of dolphins, sharks, seals, otters and a variety of marine birds, which includes the endangered African penguin.
South Africa is one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Depending on when you travel to South Africa, you might be lucky enough to experience sightings of whales up close. Sightings of these gentle giants are seasonal, so be sure to plan accordingly!
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4. Desert Safari
A desert safari is set against ever-changing desert backdrops with phenomenal wildlife viewing and often involves “dune-bashing”, where an SUV drives through enormous mounds of sand.
The Namib Desert, occupying the coastal stretch of Namibia, is the oldest desert in the world and comprises of shifting sand dunes, gravel plains and rugged mountains. Home to the highest sand dunes in the world, this is where ancient sand dunes and the icy Atlantic Ocean meet.
The landscapes of the Namib Desert are dramatic, yet simple. It is home to an incredible array of fauna and flora that has adapted to the harsh conditions of the desert. Desert-adapted species to catch a glimpse of include the iconic free-roaming population of desert elephants, lion, rhino, oryx, zebra, meerkat, ostrich and bat-eared foxes. It is also regarded as the best place in Africa to view cheetah in the wild!
Namibia is a popular safari destination and with the likes of Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Sossusvlei and the Skeleton Coast in Namibia, you are sure to be astounded by phenomenal wildlife sightings. Pop in to the iconic Deadvlei, characterised by red sand dunes, white pans occupying the ground and dotted by the skeletal remains of dead trees.
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5. Trekking Safari
Last, but certainly not least, is a once-in-a-lifetime type of safari. A trekking safari, specifically trekking Mountain Gorillas, is flanked as Africa’s ultimate wildlife safari experience. This safari is sought after in destinations such as Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. These destinations are home to the world’s last remaining Mountain Gorillas.
Mountain gorillas are critically endangered and remarkable in their own right. Encounters with these gentle giants in their natural habitat are truly life-changing and an exclusive safari experience on offer in Africa.
Gorilla trekking is considered a year-round activity. It is typically an hour long and a skilled gorilla guide will be by your side to share insights into these majestic creatures. This thrilling experience and often monumental journey must be thoroughly planned and booked in advance. Gorilla trekking is carefully monitored and there is a cap on permits issued per day.
By going on a trekking safari, your journey to these marvellous creatures will directly benefit the local economy and contribute towards the conservation of these magnificent animals.
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