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Where is the best safari in Africa? This is a question we receive frequently and the answer depends very much upon you! Kenya and Tanzania offer the greatest concentrations of wildlife, especially with the wildebeest migration which travels through the Serengeti-Masai Mara ecosystem.
To get the most out of any safari, one really needs to have a private guide – the very best that exists in that country – and a private vehicle, of course. This is so important as it buys you exclusivity and most importantly, freedom! Freedom to travel where you want to go, but also to spend as much time with any sighting that really captures your attention.
Whether that is looking at a pangolin which so few people see in Africa, or an aardvark, or watching lions mate, or an exchange between a hyena and a lion over a kill. Perhaps it’s simply observing the behavioural patterns of a bat eared fox, or trying to identify the bird you are looking at. Chances are, you are quite interested in photography too, so you will want to spend time trying to get that wonderful picture. All of these require time – something you invariably don’t get when sharing a vehicle with other people!
And then perhaps have a private camp erected for you, whether there are just two of you or a group of friends or a family. And we are not talking about giving up your comforts. Depending upon your budget, these camps can range from having smaller tents, or even lightweight fly camps if you are canoeing or walking from place to place. If you have the budget, you can have silver service, amazing food, candelabra, and Persian rugs next to your bed. It’s up to you!
Another important point is that you don’t want to form part of a crowd. Absolutely not! The best safari in the world will have you experiencing your very own sightings – by yourself!
This will invariably be in a private concession or a park that is not frequented by hundreds of people. And when, for example, you are wanting to witness Africa’s greatest spectacle – such as the wildebeest migration – we will place you in the only owner managed camp (if you don’t have your own), where you are away from the crowds, seeing the migration (and other people at this point), but settling back into your own exclusive retreat.
So – where is the best safari in Africa? The best places for a safari might include southern Tanzania – the Selous, Ruaha, and my top favourite, Katavi National Park, where the most wonderful camp exists. Fly 3.5 hours to get there – and you know what the word remote means.
To then fly camp with a luxurious bedroll that night, knowing you are the only people to sleep in the park, watching the birds come to roost as you have your sundowner and chat over the fire is a very special experience. Having a super meal served to you at a dining table in the middle of the bush, and then sleeping in your tent where you can see the stars blinking at you before you shut your eyes is simply heavenly.
Private concessions in Kenya allow you to keep away from the tourists, and you can witness some of the most concentrated game viewing in Africa with infinite savannah plains teeming with wildlife. Perhaps have a professional photographer accompany you and help you to hone your skills along the way.
Consider having a walking safari led by Samburu tribesmen, so that you learn about their culture and have a luxury camp set up for you at night. Or walk in the Kafue region in Zambia with no tourists around, just lovely wildlife. Be led by one of Zambia’s finest guides who happily is married to the most wonderful chef!
Take a canoeing safari along the mighty Zambezi River in Zimbabwe, which is 8kms wide in places. This is another magical way of going on safari – without any noise pollution, simply taking in your surroundings and the excellent wildlife at a gentle pace.
Base yourself in Laikipia in Kenya where you can learn about and track wild dog, or perhaps spend a day with a lion scientist and then take a helicopter to Lake Turkana and the desert. Alternatively, go fly fishing on one of the lakes for the day.
Explore the majestic Okavango Delta amongst elephants on an elephant back safari. This is the most wondrous experience you can imagine – being part of a herd and observing their behaviour in their natural habitat.
View game in some of the most pristine areas in all of Africa – in the huge private concessions which Botswana is so famous for. Couple that with the Kalahari desert where you can learn about the San or Bushmen people, and get up close and personal with habituated meerkat and see desert dwelling species.
Ride across the Kalahari Desert or the Okavango Delta in Botswana, or even amongst the wildebeest migration for some of the best riding safaris. And finally, experience the most extraordinary safari along the Skeleton Coast with your private aircraft and guide – the very best way to see Namibia!
write by Dempsey