When you plan your safari, one of the first questions you should consider is which country you would prefer to visit. This depends on many factors, such as the other activities you are planning for your holiday, your budget, medical requirements, infrastructure, scenery, to name but a few.
In terms of wildlife safaris, Southern Africa includes South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, Zimbabwe and to a lesser extent Malawi and Mozambique.
In Southern Africa, while each country varies, the rains generally fall between November and March with the rest of the year being mostly rain-free. Most of the camps stay open year-round. The rainy or “green” safari season in Southern Africa offers benefits such as herbivores having their babies, lush green landscapes and dramatic skies, all of which combine to create superb photographic opportunities. Temperatures are similar between the regions with May through August being the cooler months.
With about 3 million hectare designated to conservation, South Africa has the largest number of conservation areas in all of Africa.
The country boasts a good infrastructure, safe drinking water, well-supplied tourist amenities, excellent communication and health services, extensive road and air network.
It is the only country that offers malaria-free Big Five game viewing (in the central and Southern areas). Because of the vast conservation areas, South Africa caters for all budgets – from low budget camping and self-drives (in Big Five reserves) to private safaris with luxurious 5-star accommodation in a number of world-class private reserves.
South African travel is also a great idea for family holidays, self drive safaris and activities-based excursions. The Kruger National Park is the most well-known South African game reserve and should most probably be the first to be included if you are a first time visitor to Africa.
Etosha National Park is the country’s most prominent wildlife reserve with the Etosha Pan providing a vital source of nourishment for the wildlife.
Namibia offers the traveller mostly a desert experience with wide open spaces and great scenery. It is excellent for self drive holidays and the country has most of the communication- and health services one might require.
The Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango Delta and the Chobe National Park represent Botswana’s most commonly visited reserves; these areas include flood plains and lagoons, dry bushveld and mopane woodland. The Okavango River Delta is world famous for its pristine beauty and abundance of bird- and animal live.
Botswana offers you the “real Africa” experience – huge game reserves with little or no inhabitants, a low number of visitors and a large number of game. For this quality experience you can expect to pay considerably more.
Guest are flown to the private lodges which accommodates rarely more than 16 people. Game drives are personalised and guest are accompanied during game activities by 2 or even more guides.
More affordable overland camping safaris are sometimes on offer.
Whilst an excellent safari destination, the unstable political situation is restricting safari activities. Victoria Falls remains a popular destination unaffected by the political situation.
Zambia is a developing destination and offers great value for money. Game viewing is excellent and varied, and the Victoria Waterfalls may be viewed from Livingston town.
The popular parks are constantly been improved in the way of roads and infrastructure during the last few years which make them more accessible to the general public.
Safaris combining northern Botswana with southern Zambia are currently the most popular.
Tanzania offered superb wildlife viewing with a well-developed safari infrastructure of operators with both permanent camps and mobile safari circuits.
Major attractions include Kilimanjaro (Africa’s highest peak), as well as the Ngorogoro Crater, the Great Rift Valley and the sprawling open plains of the Serengeti that lie in between. The great Serengeti Game Reserve is famous for its wildebeest migration.
Off the coast you will find the Spice Island of Zanzibar, an excellent destination for a beach and cultural holiday combination.