Although sometimes forgotten, Africa is a large continent that’s filled with a variety of identities, cultures, history and beautiful nature. Africa is home to very many game reserves, national parks, and other amazing safari destinations. Each and every destination has something incredible to offer. This includes an opportunity to see a group of charismatic large mammals especially the Big Five. And the chance to track chimpanzees or gorillas in their natural habitat. Or even other pleasures such as searching for colourful butterflies or rare birds.
Even though we see it done sometimes on radio, television, and print, it’s quite difficult to narrow down the essence of Africa into one destination. For the first time visitors who are wondering about the places to visit, the highlights below point out the six incredible places to visit while in Africa.
1. Serengeti National Park (Tanzania)
Serengeti National Park is known to be the largest and oldest national park in Tanzania. It’s identified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site mainly because of hosting the planet’s most incredible annual wildlife migration; consisting of around two million wildebeests and several thousands of zebra. The extensive plains serve as a home for the largest lion population in Africa. With 3000 individual lions estimated to be living here. Serengeti National Park is likely the most reliable place in the whole of East Africa for observing cheetah. On the other hand, leopards are frequently viewed from the central Seronera Valley. Some other examples of common wildlife you’re expected to see are a bat-eared fox, spotted hyena, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, and antelopes.
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There’s never a bad time to visit Serengeti National Park. June to October is an ideal time to view the great general wildlife as well as an opportunity to view the wildebeest migration. Also, a majority of repeat visitors prefer April and May when the rack rates are dropped, the country is green, and the number of tourists is low. For a place to stay, there’re many lodges, tented camps, and campsites in Serengeti.
2. Masai Mara National Reserve (Kenya)
When it comes down to game park viewing, Masai Mara is also very rewarding. Big cats are the most common here. You should expect to see a pride of lions (about 20 lions) around. It’s also a great place to see leopards, cheetahs, giraffe, buffalo, elephant, or even a black rhino. Since it’s close to the Serengeti, thousands of wildebeests migrate from the Serengeti and pass through Masai Mara around late July to early October; this is the most fascinating part of the annual migration.
It’s also never a bad time to visit Masai Mara. However, it would be better to be there from around late August to early October so as to be sure of observing the wildebeest migration. It would be preferable to go any other time if you want to avoid large numbers of tourists. There’s also plenty of lodges, tented camps, and campsites for a place to stay.
3. Etosha National Park (Namibia)
Etosha National Park, the largest in Namibia, is dominated by large, saline and usually dry pan. Aligned with a number of perennial waterholes, the pan attracts large numbers of giraffes, antelopes, and other grazers when the season is dry. The park is also among the most reliable parks in entire Africa to observe black rhinos, elephants, lions, but not buffaloes.
The best time to visit Etosha National Park is between April and October. This is when the season is dry, as well as from July to September. Apart from the affordable government-owned rest camps found around the park, there are other accommodation options. With a few more lodges and exclusive camps that are found just outside of it.
4. Mana Pools National Park (Zimbabwe)
If you consider yourself to be the adventurous type, Mana Pools National Park is one of the incredible places to visit while in Africa. It’s also ideal if you’re searching for a safari destination that puts no restriction on guided and unguided walking. In addition, Mana Pools provides an exciting chance to canoe through the wilderness wetlands along the Zambezi River and a network of related pools. Whether you decide to walk or paddle, you should expect to see a wide variety of crocodiles, buffaloes, hippos, elephants, and water-related birds. It’s also a home for a significant population of leopards and lions.
The best time to visit Mana Pools is during the dry season that lasts between May to October. For a place to stay, there’re a few small, exclusive camps.
5. Kruger National Park (South Africa)
Kruger National Park in South Africa is incomprehensibly large and would need a minimum of two weeks to explore the whole of it. A lot of visitors prefer the South due to its closeness to Johannesburg. Kruger Park is home for 147 mammal species, which is the largest number compared to all other parks in Africa. This number includes the vast populations of the Big Five, baboon, warthog, giraffe, zebra, hippo, cheetah, and over 20 species of antelopes. The park also supports around 517 bird species.
You can visit Kruger at any time, however, game viewing is preferable during the dry season of May to September. For accommodation purposes, there’s plenty of well-equipped and affordable rest camps that provide hutted accommodation and camping. For more luxury, there’re lots of exclusive private lodges within the park.
6. Amboseli National Park (Kenya)
The snow-capped Kilimanjaro and large terrestrial mammals are the major attractions of Amboseli National Park. Amboseli prides itself in hosting the planet’s longest-running elephant research, which was established in 1975. It’s also one of the incredible places you could visit in Africa to observe the interaction between elephants, which are greatly tusked and well habituated here. In addition, Amboseli is an amazing bird destination due to its combination of semi-arid acacia Savannah and seasonal marshes.
Any time is good to visit the great Amboseli. However, during the dry seasons (Jan to March and July to October) provide the best game viewing. There’re a few lodges and camps around the camp for accommodation purposes.
Travelling exposes us to these incredible places and helps us acknowledge how amazingly diverse the African continent is. Whether you’re dreaming of cosmopolitan cities, sandy beaches, or viewing the Big Five, Africa is guaranteed to have a position on your travel bucket list.
All image sources: unsplash.com