Africa- a vast continent with a myriad of different cultures, people, eco-systems, landscapes and wildlife is a dream destination for travellers. It offers everything from thrilling action-adventure to sheer, indulgent opulence. Our comprehensive African Safari Guide puts the fun into finding out where you want to go and what you want to see. Our advice is based on first-hand experience; our recommendations are tried-and-tested. Trust us to tailor-make a flawless itinerary for you. Let us guide you through the world of safari planning: learn all about Africa’s top destinations & when to visit them, find out what safaris are all about & get top tips & travel advice from the experts.
If you’re looking for your next travel destination but aren’t quite sure where to go yet, consider a trip to Africa. A vast and highly diverse continent full of fascinating cultures, dramatic scenery and extraordinary animals, Africa offers some of the most amazing travel experiences in the world.
Many people who think about travelling to Africa think about a safari – but how easy is it to organize? Where do you go and when? What about accommodation? Relax: our Africa Safari Guide provides you with all the answers.
Let’s start with where to go. Africa’s wide range of destinations means a multitude of different holiday experiences in both East Africa and Southern Africa. Some of the most popular include Gorilla trekking in the forests of Uganda and Rwanda; Big 5 Safaris; wildebeest migration safaris in the Masai Mara and Serengeti; Cultural safaris; beach holidays in Mombasa, Zanzibar, Mauritius, the Seychelles and Mozambique; and cosmopolitan ‘world-in-one-city’ experiences in Cape Town.
Have a closer look at our Africa Destinations for more inspiration on where to go.
And then there’s where to stay. From boutique guest houses and 5-star hotels to tented safari camps and beach resorts, accommodation in Africa is as varied as its landscapes and caters for every type of holiday from super-romantic honeymoons to family-friendly getaways.
The same could be said for the types of Tours and safaris on offer in Africa. Whether you’re looking for a combination tour packed with highlights or a specialized safari in a single location, we have a huge range of scheduled holidays & packages. And if nothing quite fits the bill, we can tailor-make any kind of tour – after all, that’s what we specialize in.
Where to go
It’s a big statement to make but there really is an African safari holiday for everyone; if you’re wondering where to go, we can pinpoint Africa’s most iconic and popular destinations as well as those hidden gems and off-the-beaten-track hideaways. We’re the experts in safari travel so let us guide you on where to go in Africa.
East Africa: Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania & Ethiopia
For gorilla trekking, unique forest wildlife and beautiful rolling landscapes, we recommend Uganda, Rwanda and Congo. Each country offers gorilla and chimp trekking – some of the most memorable wildlife experiences in the world – and Uganda is also home to classic savannah Big 5 Safaris game reserves as well; Murchison Falls National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Kidepo National Park and Source of the mighty River Nile.
Kenya and Tanzania have been the classic safari destinations of choice for decades, thanks not only to their amazing wildlife but also because of their exceptional lodges and tented camps, reliable tour operators and diverse itineraries. Top destinations include the Masai Mara and Serengeti National Park, home to the dramatic wildebeest migration and both set close to the exceptional Ngorongoro Crater, boasting the easiest Big 5 game viewing in the region.
Ethiopia is a land of big skies and broad landscapes. The highland plateaus reaches endlessly to a horizon and blend into blue sky, becoming an integral part of the landscape. The whole expansive view breathes of the freedom and joy that goes along with open spaces. Popularly known for its ancient stone churches, rich cultural heritage plus abundance of game in its protected reserves- an Ethiopian trip is highly recommended as a must do in Africa!
Struggling to decide between these iconic destinations? Talk to us and we’ll help you make that choice.
However, if you have the time, we would recommend one of our combined Uganda & Rwanda safari tours or Uganda & Congo safari tours or Kenya & Tanzania safari tours or Kenya & Ethiopia safari tours for the full East Africa safari experience.
Southern Africa: Zimbabwe, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Malawi & South Africa
As diverse as their northern neighbors, the countries of Southern Africa offer safari destinations ranging from echoing deserts, teeming wetlands and Big 5 reserves to crystal-clear lakes and footprint-free beaches – a multitude of experiences from which you’ll be hard-pressed to choose just a few!
For big game safaris, we recommend South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi in Zambia, Hwange National Park and Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe, Chobe National Park and Moremi Game Reserve in Botswana, Etosha National Park in Namibia and the Kruger National Park in South Africa. All deliver amazing game viewing from the comfort of luxury lodges and romantic tented camps. If however you’re feeling a little adventurous, a safari into Namibia’s majestic deserts is highly recommended while a holiday on a remote island in Lake Malawi or a walking safari in Zambia’s big game country is the epitome of getting away from it all.
For iconic destinations, look no further than Victoria Falls, shared between Zimbabwe and Zambia and boasting the title of Africa’s adventure capital, or enjoy a few days in Cape Town, home to spectacular scenery, whale watching and elegant wine estates.
Indian Ocean Islands: Zanzibar, Mauritius, the Seychelles & Mozambique
Like sparkling jewels, the islands of the Indian Ocean add a distinctly exotic edge to an African safari holiday. Combine your safari with a few days on a private island in the Seychelles, enjoy a family getaway at a popular Mauritius resort, or discover the remote and romantic beauty of the Quirimbas and Bazaruto Archipelagos in Mozambique.
For a taste of culture, why not explore Zanzibar or Lamu , islands that easily to combine with a Tanzania safari? And speaking of safari and beach combinations, it doesn’t get much easier than in Kenya where you can mix the Masai Mara with mainland beaches or hideaway islands.
Where to go in Africa for Romantics
If you’re on honeymoon, celebrating an anniversary or simply enjoying a romantic getaway, an African holiday is just what you need. Our top recommendations include a 5-star safari in the Kruger Park, a spa retreat in the Seychelles or a stay on a private island in Zanzibar or the Quirimbas Archipelago.
Where to go in Africa for Families
Believe it or not but Africa was made for family holidays – there are child-friendly safari destinations, family beach resorts with kids clubs and golf courses plus independent-minded self-drive itineraries. We highly recommend East Africa’s: Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania, the malaria-free, Big 5, Eastern Cape and Madikwe Game Reserve as well as the got-it-all Sun City Resort and ever-popular Mauritius.
When to go
When planning your African holiday it’s wise to do a bit of research on when to go for the experience that you want; you don’t want to start your beach holiday in cyclone season or find that the migrating herds you’ve arrived to see have moved on!
As a general rule, Africa is warm and sunny throughout most of the year but certain countries and even regions within a country experience a variety of climates. The key thing to remember if you’re planning a safari is the difference between the dry and wet seasons.
When to go on an East Africa safari
The seasons are more complex in East Africa and deciding when to go depends on what safari experience you have planned.
Gorilla trekking in Uganda , Rwanda and Congo is a year-round activity but if you’re hiking the rainforests, you’ll certainly appreciate the drier and cooler months of January and February and again from June to September. Game viewing in Uganda is at its best, especially in the hotter, drier months at the end of the season. Thirsty animals congregate at waterholes, trees are often bare and vegetation is sparse – all of which makes it much easier to see wildlife.
Most Kenya safari destinations are at their best between January and the end of March when the climate is mild and dry and game viewing is at its peak. However, for the Masai Mara migration you’ll need to go between mid-August and late October when the herds have returned.
General game viewing in Tanzania is at its peak during the June to October dry season but the best time to go to Tanzania for the Serengeti wildebeest migration is between November and August. It’s a huge park so make sure you’re in the right place at the right time to catch all the action.
The East African landscape is beautifully green at this time of year, the bird watching is exceptional, and many animals give birth, offering a special game viewing experience, not least when marauding predators move in for an easy kill.
When to go on a Southern Africa safari
The winter dry season in Southern Africa is between May and October and this is when game viewing is at its best, especially in the hotter, drier months at the end of the season. Thirsty animals congregate at waterholes, trees are often bare and vegetation is sparse – all of which makes it much easier to see wildlife. It’s often cold at night during mid-winter but daytime temperatures are mild and the risk of malaria is at its lowest.
The summer wet season is between December and March, a hot and sometimes humid period with short but intense bursts of rain. The Southern African landscape is beautifully green at this time of year, the bird watching is exceptional, and many animals give birth, offering a special game viewing experience, not least when marauding predators move in for an easy kill.
When to go on a beach holiday
Our beach holiday destinations in Kenya, Tanzania, Seychelles, Mozambique and Mauritius are generally considered year-round destinations, while the December to March months are the best time for a beach holiday in Cape Town and the rest of South Africa,.
That said, if you’re planning a beach holiday, you are strongly advised to read the country-specific ‘when to go’ guide as there are several months you will want to avoid thanks to heavy seasonal rain, the risk of cyclones and extreme heat and humidity.
Africa Travel Advice
With over a decade of experience behind us, we are the experts in safari travel but this means more than just information about destinations and accommodation. Get our tried-and-tested tips on flights, getting around, what you should pack and what you should spend – it’ll all come in handy when you’re on your trip!
Flights & Getting Around
Africa is well served by international airlines and international airports in all countries. Once you’ve arrived, we can easily arrange a group or private transfer that will take you directly to your city hotel or we’ll show you how to connect with your ongoing flights.
Our top safari destinations are usually accessed via a scheduled flight to the nearest airport and then a pre-arranged transfer to the lodge; however, private charter flights can also be arranged which will take you to the nearest airstrip, often just minutes away from camp. Feel free to contact us for more information on airports as well as flying into and around Africa.
For the more independent-minded visitor, most of our destinations are rustic self- drive destinations, however South Africa and Namibia are great self-drive destinations and suitable vehicles can be hired and dropped off at their major airports.
Health & Safety
A question often asked by first-time visitors to Africa is: “is it safe?”. Well, our recommended African destinations are actually some of the safest in the world and many are ideal for families travelling with children. We have many child-friendly safari lodges to offer you, malaria-free Big 5 reserves, and beach resorts with professional kids clubs. Medical facilities in Africa’s cities and major tourist destinations are fine and staff at safari lodges will brief you about camp safety on arrival.
Security issues are no worse in Africa than the rest of the world: it’s simply a case of using your common sense and not exposing yourself to risk. Our African Safari Experts will give you all the advice you need, and it always pays to ask for local advice once you’re in Africa.
One thing that you will need to take care of is any medication that’s needed for your trip, whether it’s malaria prophylactics or a yellow fever injection. Consult your doctor during your planning or simply check with your African Safari Expert.
Money & Spending
With ATMs and bureau de changes found throughout Africa’s major towns, you can access cash pretty much anywhere. Most African countries accept US dollars as their currency of choice (as well as Euros and Sterling in some countries) but you’ll need Rand (ZAR) for South Africa.
As for cards, Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted across the continent but be aware of incurring high transaction fees in certain countries. For peace of mind, we’d recommend purchasing a world currency card or cash passport card before you leave.
While tipping and gratuities are not compulsory on your African safari, they are always appreciated. Ask your African Safari Expert for details on tipping, check out our country-specific travel advice pages or simply ask your lodge manager or host on arrival.
What to Pack
Packing for Africa depends on where you’re going as well as what time of the year you’re travelling.
If you’re going on safari, it’s wise to pack decent walking shoes, light or neutral coloured clothing (not white) and a warm top or jacket for the evenings. A sunhat is vital, as are sunglasses, binoculars, a camera, spare batteries or a charger, insect repellent, sunscreen and malaria prophylactics if necessary. An international plug, small daypack and personal water bottle are also recommended.
You may also need several items of warm clothing if you’re on a winter safari in places like Botswana and Namibia as night time temperatures can dip below freezing. Conversely, if you’re heading off on a beach holiday then we recommend you bring along a bathing suit, sarong, wide-brimmed hat and flip-flops.
Passports & Visas
It is essential to ensure you have the right paperwork in place before flying to Africa. Generally all passports need to have a number of blank pages available while visa specifications differ depending on nationality and destination. Note that visa regulations can sometimes change without much warning.
We recommend contacting the relevant authorities in good time or simply chat to your African Safari Expert before you go – they’ll have all the answers.
For more expert advice on where to go, what to see and what to do on your African vacation, take a look at our Contact us.
Types of African Trips
Africa affords you the luxury of many options when it comes to choosing the experience you want but you’ll need to choose between three main trip types: tailor-made holidays; packaged vacations; and scheduled tours.
Tailor-made holidays are planned in conjunction with your Africa Safari Expert and will take into account your budget, preferred destinations and activities plus whether you’re travelling with children, your partner, a group of friends or just on your own. Needless to say, this is the best way of getting exactly what you want from your trip.
Packaged vacations are holidays that have been pre-packaged by our experts. Flights, accommodation, local tours and transfers are all put together into tried-and-tested itineraries making them great ‘off-the-shelf’ options – affordable safari packages, yet often very luxurious.
Scheduled tours are itineraries to popular destinations, run by well-established operators and featuring set departure dates. On our scheduled & overland tours, you’ll travel with a group of like-minded travellers together with a guide – it’s usually the most affordable way to experience Africa’s highlights and the perfect option for solo travellers.
The accommodation you’ll be staying in depends of course on the type of trip you are on, your budget and the destination itself. Our wide range of holidays and safaris takes in an equally wide variety of accommodation types from 5-star hotels to holiday resorts, safari lodges to tented camps, and private villas to boutique city guest houses. Have a look at our Accommodation in Africa guide for more details.
For more expert advice on where to go, what to see and what to do on your African vacation, take a look at our Contact us.