Daunting Decisions?
How to choose your African safari destination.

Our quick snap shot below of what each country has to offer will hopefully make this an easier decision for you!

South Africa

Best for: First Timers, Families especially with younger children (or those not wishing to take anti-malaria medication), best value for money

Activities: Game drives with bush walks and horse riding also offered at speciality lodges

Where to go?  Malaria-free Madikwe and Eastern Cape, or Kruger and Kwazulu Natal

When to travel? Year round but May – October falls (except for Eastern Cape which is the reverse) in Dry Season which brings enhanced game viewing as the bush isn’t as thick and animals congregate around the dwindling water sources.

What else? Combine with Western Cape/Garden Route for whales, Winelands for top notch foodie experience & wines, Cape Town for amazing city experience with stunning scenery, or Mauritius / Seychelles for beach, for return South Africa clients explore KwaZulu Natal (self-drive Drakensberg, Battlefields, Safari, St Lucia/coastal areas)

What’s new? Virgin have re-launched their direct flight service from London to Cape Town during Peak Season (November – March)

Take note:  As access to a South African safari is much simpler, some reserves may not feel so off the beaten track, especially in the Eastern Cape.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/a-week-in-the-bush/

Namibia

Best for: Adventurous Self drivers, unique Africa safari & epic landscape/scenery lovers, thrill seekers (adventure sports)

Activities: Game drives, quad biking, kayaking with seals, Dune boarding, Sky-diving, rhino tracking on foot and nature drives.

Where to go?  Etosha National Park for safari, however areas such as Sossusvlei still have wildlife such as Oryx, Springbok and Jackals & first class scenery different to anywhere else in Africa, Swakopmund area for adventure seekers

When to travel? Year round but May – October is better due to it being the Dry Season, so it’s easier to spot animals, as the bush isn’t so thick.

What else? Namibia is best as a standalone destination as you ideally need 12-14 days minimum to complete the main circuit, however if you have time to spare, you can always pop to Cape Town or the Cape Winelands for a rest at the end!

What’s new? If you feel like putting your feet up – we can now offer small group tours with a driver guide. A far more relaxing journey through Namibia with a fountain of knowledge in the driver’s seat!

Take note: Driving distances are vast and 80% of the roads are gravel – so you will have “driving days” when moving from place to place.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/classic-namibia-self-drive/

Botswana

Best for: Wilderness Wannabes

Activities: 4×4 game drives, motorboat safari’s, mokoro trips and walking safaris, Quadbiking, Meerkat meetings, authentic Bushman walks

Where to go?  Chobe for drives and motorboat, Savute for drives only, Moremi for drives and motorboat and the famous Okavango Delta for mokoro and walking, Kalahari/ Makgadikgadi Salt Pans for arid safari & unique activities (meerkats, Bushmen walks, quadbiking)

When to travel? Botswana is split into 3 seasons – Green or Rainy Season (December – April), Mid Season (May/June & November) and Peak (July – October).  From June – August you’ll have the dual advantage of high levels of water in the Delta for mokoro trips combined with less vegetation to aid game viewing.

What else? We usually recommend adding a 3 night stay at Victoria Falls at the start or end of your Botswana safari.

What’s new? We recently added a new Secret Green Botswana Itinerary to our website – the benefits of travelling in Green Season – where the price point is lower, but you also get to see the bush in all its emerald glory and the birding is brilliant!

Take note: Botswana is mainly accessible by light aircraft – so price points are much higher due to the remoteness of the lodges but as a result you’ll be submerged in a pristine wilderness.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/fly-me-around-botswana/

Zambia

Best for: Water lovers

Activities: 4×4 game drives, boat trips, canoeing and walking safaris

Where to go?  Victoria Falls, Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa

When to travel?  Whilst May/June is generally a lovely time to travel, July to August is cooler but game sightings are best due to thinner vegetation.  The Falls will be full of water around Easter, the spray possibly impacting on visibility.  Levels will also need to drop for water based activities, so for active families, the UK Summer holidays is an ideal time to travel to Zambia.

What else? As there are direct flights from Livingstone to Cape Town, you could add a city break into the mix.

What’s new? Waterberry Lodge on the banks of the Zambezi has opened up a camp called Woodlands with 3 tents – perfect for couples or a group. The focus is on birding and being in nature and for those after a wilder accommodation set up.

Take note: Activities such as walking safaris or canoeing have age restrictions of 16 years plus in most lodges, but 12 in some locations.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/zambia-intrepid/

Zimbabwe

Best for: Seasoned safari lovers 

Activities: 4×4 game drives, boat trips, canoeing and walking safaris, white water rafting, bungee jumping, zip lining, community visits

Where to go?  Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park for safari, Mana Pools for walking safaris & canoeing, Lake Kariba for R&R at the end of the holiday with boating safaris & walking safaris possible

When to travel?  Whilst May/June is generally a lovely time to travel and also provides great value, July to October is the best time to travel as game viewing is at its peak.  In April, the Falls will be full of water, the spray possibly impacting on visibility.  Levels will also need to drop for water based activities, so for active families, the UK Summer months are an ideal time to travel to Zimbabwe.

What else? The Zimbabwean safari guides are amongst the best in Africa, going through a 4-year certification process to obtain their licence, providing exceptional guiding.

What’s new? In 2022, Imvelo successfully brought rhino back to Hwange! After a journey of 17+ hours and 700+ kilometers across Zimbabwe, the first two white rhino to roam Hwange in decades have settled into their new home at the Imvelo Ngamo Wildlife Sanctuary.

Take note: Activities such as walking safaris or canoeing have age restrictions of 16 years plus in most lodges, but 12 in some locations.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/classic-zimbabwe/

Kenya

Best for: Out of Africa Dreamers

Activities: 4×4 game drives, horse and camel rides, hot air ballooning and ellie sanctuary visits, Rhino Tracking (Lewa), flamingoes/birding at Lake Nakuru

Where to go?  Masai Mara, Laikipia, Lewa, Samburu and Amboseli, Great Rift Valley/Lake Nakuru

When to travel? Peak season is usually July to October for those in hope of catching a famed river crossing in the Masai Mara, during the annual migration. However late December – February can also be dry and pleasant.

What else? It’s easy to add a beach break along the Kenya Coast or head to Tanzania’s Unjuga Islands aka Zanzibar.

What’s new? UK passport holders no longer require a Visa to enter Kenya, you will now just need to complete an ETA – Electronic Travel Authorisation.

Take note: Park fees have increased as of 2024, these are paid in US dollars – so do take note when budgeting for a Kenyan safari, as they quickly add up.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/wild-kenya/

Tanzania

Best for: Icon Seekers

Activities: 4×4 game drives, walking and hot air ballooning

Where to go?  Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti and Nyerere

When to travel? June to October are the drier months and better suited for safari (especially if you’re hoping to see a river crossing in the Northern Serengeti) with April seeing peak rainfall.

What else?  It’s simple to add on a beach extension to the Spice Island of Zanzibar or you can splash out and visit one of the smaller islands.

What’s new? Selous Game Reserve has recently been renamed to Nyerere National Park. This region offers walking and boating safaris in addition to 4×4 game drives, so is a great all-round option.

Take note: During Peak Season the Crater can be very busy with vehicles and you’re unlikely to be the only vehicle at a river crossing.

Sample Itinerary and pricing: https://bushbaby.travel/classic-northern-circuit/

About the author

Amy joined the Bushbaby team in 2018, having worked in travel since 2010. Her specialist area is Africa, having grown up in South Africa and lucky enough to travel around most of Southern and East Africa. Amy enjoys travelling to areas that offer a contrast of adventure and down time with her husband and son. Her favourite place to date is a hard one to pin down – but the Ngorongoro Crater is very high on the list!

Amy Wheeler - Africa Specialist

Leave a Comment

Other articles about Africa

BACK TO THE BLOG

Get In Touch

Feeling inspired? Start planning your next adventure by contacting us today.