Sunrise on the African plain is a symphony for the senses. Approaching dawn signals a constant hum of chirping birds and awakening wildlife. As the sun crowns above the horizon, the sky is bathed in fiery golden hues, creating dramatic silhouettes of everything in its path—sprawling acacia trees, the dusty trail behind a pack of wandering wildebeest, a lone giraffe strolling across the plain. Early mornings provide some of the most fruitful game drives on an African safari—a time when elephants can be seen congregating at the watering hole or big cats can be seen enjoying the harvest of their evening hunts. In the day’s opening hours, the air warms by the minute as the rising sun casts a heat mirage across the horizon. It comes as no surprise that this is one of the most sought-after vacation experiences for even the most accomplished world travelers. The landscapes, the wildlife, and the cultures encountered on an African safari are equaled by no other destination on earth.
Experiencing the wild wonders of Africa right is highly important. For a once-in-a-lifetime journey, it’s worth it to double-down to get the absolute most out of your vacation.
With a luxury safari, everything will be included: airport pickup, handpicked luxury accommodations, and authentic local cuisine. You won’t have to worry about paying park fees (which add up quickly) or being crammed in a bus with a dozen other people. Instead, you’ll enjoy a private 4×4 Land Cruiser with a pop-up roof all to yourself, the only other people onboard being a professional naturalist and an expert driver skilled in getting you closest to the wildlife. With a luxury safari, leave your wallet in the room safe until check-out and unwind knowing that all of the planning is already taken care of. The only thing you’ll have to choose is where to go. Need inspiration? Read on for three once-in-a-lifetime African safari experiences worth splurging for.
From the Serengeti Plains to the Ngorongoro Crater, East Africa is the classic postcard image of the African continent. With vast grasslands backed by the majestic purple Mount Kilimanjaro peaking above the clouds, these landscapes are the darling of Hollywood for good reason. This is the setting of an annual event that should top the bucket list of every animal lover, wildlife photographer and African safari enthusiast, without question. Between July and October, over two million wildebeest, zebra and antelope make their famed annual pilgrimage: The Great Migration. Hear the thundering hoofs of thousands of animals moving en masse from the Serengeti plains of Tanzania, across the mighty Mara River, and North into the Maasai Mara of Kenya—a phenomenal spectacle unparalleled anywhere on earth.
Just as impressive as Eastern Africa are the diverse landscapes in the Southern part of the continent. See monstrous hippos splashing in the waters of the mighty Zambezi River. Take a helicopter over the roaring Victoria Falls between Zambia and Zimbabwe. Explore Namibia, where butterscotch dunes plunge and rise like an earthen ocean. Or for a truly extraordinary experience, head to Botswana.
Meandering from the lush Angolan highlands to the arid Kalahari Desert, The Okavango Delta is Botswana’s stunning watery playground and the largest inland delta in the world. Between June and August, the Delta swells three-fold, exploding with verdant vegetation and attracting one of the largest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. The landscapes provide various ways to explore on an African safari, from floating through the wetlands aboard a traditional mokoro dugout canoe, gliding overhead in a hot air balloon, or taking a land-based game drive as thunderstorms rumble in the distance.
The number one South African safari destination is perfect for first- timers and seasoned safari veterans alike. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained National Parks, Kruger boasts diverse and plentiful wildlife across some 7,600 square miles. And thanks to its unfenced borders with some of Africa’s finest game reserves, it’s also known for consistent sightings of the Big Five. Kruger’s wildlife is notoriously unbothered by visitors. Playful mammoth elephants, majestic lions and even typically elusive leopards saunter nonchalantly at extremely close range. Stunning in any season, Kruger is especially interesting in the dry winter months, when the watering hole becomes the central gathering point of both predator and prey, while low grasses and dry foliage provide unobstructed views of all the drama on full display.