Welcome to the Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.
Have you dreamed of being able to visit Africa? To set your sights on a Big 5 Safari, explore the many protected reserves of biodiversity, bask in the magic of an African sunset and connect to wholesome communities and culture?
Visit Africa: 54 countries that hold indisputable natural wonder. Emphasizing some of the Southern African Development Community ( SADC) countries that offer unique wildlife experiences
Follow our focus to the DRC, Tanzania, Zambia, Botswana, Namibia,Zimbabwe, Southern Africa’s sardine run, kenya’s Wildebeest migration and the special feature of the famous big 5 safari game!
Enjoy reading on Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa:
1. Democratic Republic of the Congo
Why visit the Congo? The Democratic republic of Congo is a blessed country as it holds the few remaining species of 3 types of animals that is the endangered mountain gorillas, the Okapis, and the lowland gorillas.
Lockdown in the congo: Story time
We were drawn to the DRC through a story like none other. Lockdown tales of wildlife.Follow the story of Nick and Kate who were stuck for 45 days in Virunga National Park in the DRC by reading below, or skip to the different headlines you are interested in:
Nick and Kate (of Woza Rafiki) took a trip to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). They planned to complete a four-day gorilla trekking tour in the DRC but this turned into a 45-day stay, with experiences afforded to them that no other tourist could dream of. A great visit when Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.
Virunga national Park:
Virunga National Park is a national park in the Albertine Rift Valley in the eastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It was created in 1925 and is among the first protected areas in Africa. In elevation, it ranges from 680 m in the Semliki River valley to 5,109 m in the Rwenzori Mountains
is this a safe place to visit? It is better to caution tourists to be aware of the political state that may influence safety. The park lies at the extreme east of the DRC, adjoining Uganda and sharing the Rwenzori Mountains. The Foreign Office warns: “Armed groups are sometimes active within the park.”
For more into the story of Katie and Nick, their encounters with Primates and trips into the density of the Virunga National park during lockdown, have a look at our blog featuring lockdown in the DRC.
Visit Africa ‘s Tanzania: a country of natural prestige, astounding wildlife, seductive beaches, charming ancient towns, archaeological sites and geological wonders. Africa’s highest mountain, Mount Kilimanjaro, rises from lush, grassy plains and towers over the land.Serengeti, Mount Kilimanjar, Maasai culture, the big 5, beaches of Zanzibar, the great wildebeest migration and so much more…
Tanzania contains some 20 percent of the species of Africa’s large mammal population, found across its reserves, conservation areas, marine parks, and 17 national parks, spread over an area of more than 42,000 square kilometres and forming approximately 38 percent of the country’s territory. Dominated by the annual wildebeest (and zebra) migration, visitors are blown away by the prolific herds of plains game that also include large numbers of topi, eland and gazelles. Predators are abundant here too with lion and cheetah dominating the sightings, although leopard sightings are also reliable and wild dogs are making a strong comeback. The critically endangered East African black rhino of Ngorongoro and Mkomazi, giant elephant tuskers of Tarangire and abundant flamingos seasonally visiting Lake Manyara round off a wildlife smorgasbord second to none.
Arusha National Park
Arusha National Park covers Mount Meru, a prominent volcano with an elevation of 4566 m, in the Arusha Region of north eastern Tanzania. The park is small but varied with spectacular landscapes in three distinct areas. In the west, the Meru Crater funnels the Jekukumia River; the peak of Mount Meru lies on its rim. Ngurdoto Crater in the south-east is grassland. The shallow alkaline Momella Lakes in the north-east have varying algal colours and are known for their wading birds.
Kavati National park
a Tanzanian national park created in 1974 and is located in Katavi Region, Tanzania. It is a very remote park that is less frequently visited than other Tanzanian national parks. The park is approximately 4,471 square kilometers , which makes it the third largest national park in Tanzania. The park encompasses the Katuma River and the seasonal Lake Katavi and Lake Chadafloodplains.
Kilomanjaro National Park
Kilimanjaro National Park is a Tanzanian national park, in Kilimanjaro Region, Tanzania. The park is located near the city of Moshi. The park includes the whole of Mount Kilimanjaro above the tree line and the surrounding montane forest belt above 1,820 metres (5,970 ft). The park is administered by the Tanzania National Parks Authority (TANAPA).
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is a Tanzaniannational park in the Serengeti ecosystem in the Mara and Simiyu regions.It is famous and well known for its annual migration of over 1.5 million wildebeest and 250,000 zebra and for its numerous Nile crocodile and honey badger. The park is Tanzania’s oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country’s tourism industry, providing a major draw to the Northern Safari Circuit encompassing Lake Manyara National Park, Tarangire National Park, Arusha National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
There are few – if any – other African safari destinations where nature lovers can experience enormous herds of buffalo and elephant, giant tuskers, the world renowned wildebeest migration, the Eden-like Ngorongoro Crater, habituated chimpanzees, swimming with whale sharks and dolphins, and climbing Africa’s highest mountain all within the confines of a single spectacular country.
A must have when looking for Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa: Visit Africa’s Zambia: a landlocked Southern African country bordering the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania, Malawi, Mozambique, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, and Angola. Lusaka is the capital. The estimated population of 2019 Zambia stands at 18.14 million.
Hunter-gatherers, known as the Khoisans inhabited the area for thousands of years, making it the culturally rich and diverse heart of Africa. Even Zambia’s name is of significance, derived from the formidable Zambezi River which flows throughout the country.
By the late 1800s, most of the Zambian communities were established.The earliest European to visit the area was Francisco de Lacerda in the late 1700s. Other Europeans followed, including David Livingstone. He was the first from Europe to see the Zambezi River’s waterfalls, which he named Victoria Falls.With over 70 ethnic groups, Zambian Culture is highly diverse. Each cultural group is acknowledged and celebrated each year in colorful festivals. Before the colonial days, Zambia’s different ethnic groups lived in their own communities, each with their own culture.
Predators abound in Zambia. Zambia is home to the big 5 of Africa. Kafue and South Luangwa are some of the best places in Africa to see leopard, large prides of lion and wild dog.
Zambia proudly boasts 12 beautiful national parks, however we have three favorites for you to consider: Vast, unspoiled South Luangwa is Zambia’s premier safari park, one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world.
Favorite Tours ( Absolute Zambia Safari tour)
Canoe Tour Zambezi :
What to expect on a canoe safari: Encountering safari game such as elephants, hippos and crocodiles in the water. A canoe on the water won’t disturb the buffalo, kudu and eland, and predators including lions and other large mammals can be seen along the river banks and shorelines. You’ll find a fantastic array of resident animals and birdlife through the season. The October to March period that has the most migrant animals travelling through the area.
Guided safari Walks:
A very popular, guided safari walk is an emotive and exciting experience to connect with wildlife in an intimate setting, from a safe distance( Of course). Although you may be able to travel further in a vehicle, on foot you can reach places that a 4×4 can’t. Nothing compares to personal interaction with the wildlife without the constraint that vehicles create. That is why a walking safari is so unique!
Walking Safari options: Mobile walking safaris These are multi-day bush walking adventures, and you are immersed in the wilderness day and night. Temporary base camps are set up in different spots each night. Bush walks These are short, guided nature walks while staying at the lodges and are ideal if your health or vacation time don’t extend to a full walking safari.
In tasteful bush style, head out in the early mornings and late afternoons for some spectacular game viewing from the comfort of an open vehicle. Your game guide and tracker will ensure you don’t miss a thing, and will reveal fascinating insights about all you see, from the tiniest insect, the vegetation and the seasons. A spectacular experience of close up wildlife in their natural habitat.
A brilliant way to indulge in a taste of the African Safari experience. A success since pioneered hundreds of years ago.
With its warm and vibrant, diversified culture and welcoming hospitality, world wonders and cascading landscapes of Safari wildlife, Zambia offers a unique and unforgettable experience of a lifetime! Does Zambia sound inviting? Have a look at our blog that features everything you need to know about a trip to Zambia!
One of the best travel destinations when able to visit Africa, Botswana is known for its great safaris, incredible wildlife, and exciting adventures. Those who visit Botswana experience a place like no other. Its breathtaking landscapes cover a vast variety of habitats, from the sands of the Kalahari Desert to the lush Okavango Delta. Good to have in Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.
The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is one of Botswana’s major tourist attractions. It is known for its extensive grassy plains, which flood seasonally, becoming a lush watery animal habitat. It is surreal to watch how animals adapt to their wet surrounding. Elephants are often seen swimming from island to island in search of more lush vegetation to devour, and the lions even learn to hunt in the shallow waters.
Chobe National Park
Visit Africa in the Chobe National Park. The park is in northern Botswana near the vast, inland Okavango Delta.
It’s known for its large herds of elephants and Cape buffalo, which converge along the Chobe Riverfront in the dry months. Lions, antelopes and hippos inhabit the woods and lagoons around Linyanti Marsh. The floodable grasslands of the Savuti Marsh attract numerous bird species, plus migrating zebras.
The best reason to do a budget Chobe National Park safari is, of course, for its abundant and diverse wildlife. Chobe’s different habitats – river wetlands, dry savannah, lush floodplains, marsh areas, dense woodlands, sandveld, rolling grasslands and lagoons – support an astonishing array and concentration of animals.
The Kalahari Desert that covers much of Botswana, and parts of Namibia and South Africa is a large semi-arid sandy savannah extending 900,000 square kilometres. The Kalahari sand dunes compose the largest continuous expanse of sand on earth. The dunes are covered with a relative abundance of vegetation because of a rainfall of between 5 and 10 inches annually, of which over four hundred species of plants have been identified in the Kalahari Desert.
Central Kalahari Game Reserve is the second largest wildlife reserve in the world and the largest and most remote reserve in Southern Africa. Large herds of wildebeest, eland, giraffe, hartebeest, springbok and gemsbok can be found in these vast stretches of land with scrub bushes and dwarfed trees. Central Kalahari Game Reserve is home to the second largest group of indigenous hunter-gatherers in Africa – the bushmen or San.
Do you believe us when we say Botswana offers it all?!
With the intensity of the Atlantic Ocean to one side, and the world’s oldest desert on the other, Namibia is a seriously rugged destination. … So, if you’re after one of the great road trip adventures, keen to see the Big Five, or to have an adrenalin kick of epic proportions, Namibia is absolutely worth visiting! If you ever visit Africa, make sure to include Namibia on your destinations bucket list!
The country is home to diverse wildlife, including a significant cheetah population. The capital, Windhoek, and coastal town Swakopmund contain German colonial-era buildings such as Windhoek’s Christuskirche, built in 1907. In the north, Etosha National Park’s salt pan draws game including rhinos and giraffes.
Etosha National Park
Etosha meaning ‘Place of Mirages’, is one of Africa’s best game reserves. Since Etosha National Park is the gateway to Northern Namibia and Ovamboland, it’s a very popular stop on any Namibian tour. Above all, it is known as Namibia’s foremost wildlife sanctuary.
The landscape is unique and varied and subsequently home to a wide variety of animals. For example lion, elephant, leopard, giraffe, cheetah, hyena, springbok, two kinds of zebra, eland and many more species.
Do more research here
Once travel opens up again, take the plunge and explore Namibia’s beautiful expanses!
Visit Nature Safari Nambia tours to get inspired by the opportunities that exist to connect with wildlife.
Visit Africa through Zimbabwean beauties; Tourism in Zimbabwe provides employment to most of the people of Zimbabwe. It is the main industry in the resort town of Victoria Falls. … Tourists should visit Zimbabwe because it has a vast number of attractions, diversity in culture, abundance of wildlife and people are very hospitable.
Zimbabwe’s national parks are amongst the finest in Africa and offer something special that should not be missed with a real remote and unspoilt feel to them. The national parks are really diverse, showcasing some of Africa’s best wildlife viewing – relax on the shores of Lake Kariba, hike the slopes of the Eastern Highlands or sit in the secret hides found throughout Hwange National Park whilst you watch herds of elephants and buffalo congregate around the waterholes. These are all great ways to experience Zimbabwe’s diverse landscapes. A great part of Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.
Hwange National Park
Hwange National Park is in west Zimbabwe. Its grasslands and mopane woods are home to large elephant herds, lions and African wild dogs. In the northwest, animals gather at Mandavu and Masuma dams, where there are concealed lookouts. Bumbusi National Monument includes 18th-century ruins and pre-colonial rock carvings. In the southeast, waterholes include the Nyamandhlovu Pan.Roaming Hwange’s savanna grasslands and woodlands are the Big Five and 100 other species of mammals – the park has the biggest diversity of mammals out of the world’s national parks. The Belgium-sized park is also home to some 50 000 elephants and is known for regular sightings of cheetah, leopard and lion, as well as one of Africa’s largest populations of the endangered wild dog and rare species such as roan and sable. Birdwatchers will be impressed with the 500 species recorded here.
The Victoria Falls
The Falls has earned its place as one of the seven natural wonders of the world and since 1989 has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site. This natural phenomenon known as Mosi-oa-Tunya – literally ‘the smoke that thunders’ should be top of any Zimbabwean, or even African, bucket list.
The steep gorge that the Zambezi has created is an adrenaline junkie’s heaven, with plenty of thrilling activities to entertain the whole family.
More to offer?
Zimbabwe is home to five different UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including Mana Pools National Park, Matobos National Park, Victoria Falls, Great Zimbabwe and Khami Ruins. Mana Pools National Park boasts some of the best safaris, with a plethora of wildlife including lions, elephants, giraffes, hippos and more.
Sadly Zimbabwe is one of the most underrated countries that Africa due to political instability… Before conducting a tour to one of the most naturally beautiful and hospitable countries in Africa, it is advisable to research itinerary carefully with political hostility and resource depletion in consideration before arriving.
7. Sardine Run
The Sardine Run along the South African coast is one of the largest marine-life migrations on earth. An incredibly experience to include in your itinerary if you can visit Africa! Have a look at our blog which features all the details about this amazing geographical phenomenon that occurs annually!
How does this work?
Sardines mate and spawn on the Agulhas banks off the southern Cape coast and their fertilised eggs are left to float on the waters of the open sea, where they are carried north west.
The numbers of sardine create a feeding frenzy along the coastline. The run, containing millions of individual sardines, attracts a diverse array of marine predators. And when predator meets prey, a feeding event of unmatched proportions begins!
Of which, notable featured sea life are the common dolphin, gape gannet sea birds, cape fur seal, dusky shark and the bryde’s whale. Many of the larger marine animals play cornerstone roles in the run as herders of the sardine into schools known as bait balls, a phenomenon that the predators take advantage of.
When does this occur?
Every year between May and August, billions of sardines spawn in the cool waters of the Agulhas Bank and travel along the east coast of South Africa. They follow the cool Benguela current as it moves up the east coast of South Africa from Agulhas Bank to Mozambique.
This natural phenomenon is caused by the movement of currents and certain weather patterns. Therefore, it’s important to know that there are no guarantees to see sardine bait balls. There are, however, regular close-up encounters with sharks, dolphins, whales and seabirds, which makes this a once-in-a-lifetime experience regardless.
The Sardine Run is a bit like a Safari. Instead of a jeep you have a speedboat and instead of the savanna you have the ocean. It is the largest biomass migration on the planet – outweighing even the annual wildebeest migration in the Serengeti.
Is it possible to experience this phenomenon from the sea? YES. In fact many travel from afar to dive with the marine life that is attracted to the Sardine run. Take a look at the opportunities below!
Join Aliwal Dive Centre for an amazing fun-filled trip on the Sardine Run.
Offshore Africa has been operating on the Wild Coast for many years and has extensive home-based knowledge.
8. Wildebeest Migration
Visit Africa to witness the beauty and majesty of an annual wildebeest migration!Their migration is one of the largest ungulates on earth. And they are not alone, around 400,000 antelopes and 200,000 zebras join them. A journey of around 3,000 kilometer.
In February and partly in March the wildebeest find rest and give birth to their calves in the in the grassy plains of the highlands of Tanzania. Around half a million calves are born within a few weeks.
The route of the animals varies every year and is therefore impossible to predict. The Serengeti is also a vast area, so herds are sometimes difficult to find. So seeing the Great Migration is partly a matter of luck. A good safari guide is also essential.
- Serengeti, Tanzania
- Maasai Mara, Kenya
The Serengeti and Masai Mara belong to the same ecosystem. The animals, however, naturally know no national borders and move to those places where they find food and water.
hey follow the rain, the fresh grass. Studies show that wildebeests can locate precipitation from 50 kilometres away. Do they follow lightning or clouds? Do they hear the thunder? Do they smell the water? Scientists have not yet found the answer. But not only the wildebeest, the entire ecosystem benefits from their migration: they produce 420 tons of dung per day. This fertilizer and the grazing of the grass allows the vegetation to grow faster.
Best places to witness the migration / Tour operators
If you want to see the most spectacular part of the Great Trek, it is best to travel to the north of the Serengeti or to Masai Mara during the period from June to September. The days of travel in the north of the Serengeti are long, so it is recommended to stay for a few days in one of the mobile camps. This increases your chances of seeing the crossing.
The climate in the Masai Mara is determined by its location in the Kenyan highlands and by the occurrence of two rainy and dry seasons.
Thousands of tourists visit the migration every year. For more information about the Wildebeest migration you can refer to our very own blog with all the information you need to know! An amazing motivator to visit Africa!
9. Big 5
Visit Africa’s Big 5! While every person coming to Africa on safari has their sights set on the Big 5 – African Elephant, Cape Buffalo, Lion, Black Rhino, and Leopard – Africa has much more than just those majestic five animals to see.
The term ‘Big 5’ was originally coined in the 19th Century by big game hunters who listed African elephant, Cape buffalo, African lion, leopard and rhinoceros as the five most dangerous creatures to hunt on foot in Africa.
The Big 5 are now protected in national parks and private game reserves, and today’s tourists contribute directly to the conservation of these magnificent animals across encroachments like poaching, wildlife trafficking, and habitat destruction.
The Big 5 are Africa’s undisputed super stars and the reason tourists set out eagerly on dawn and dusk game-viewing excursions. Seeing any of the Big 5 living wild and free in their natural habitat remains an unforgettable thrill at the top of most travelers’ safari tick list.
The African elephant is the largest animal walking the Earth. Their herds wander through 37 countries in Africa. They are easily recognized by their trunk that is used for communication and handling objects. And their large ears allow them to radiate excess heat. Upper incisor teeth develop into tusks in African elephants and grow throughout their lifetime. There are two subspecies of African elephants—the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the Forest elephant. Cant miss on the list of Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.
|Scientific name: Loxodonta|
|Height: African bush elephant: 3,2 m|
|Gestation period: African bush elephant: 22 months|
|Mass: African bush elephant: 6 000 kg, African forest elephant: 2 700 kg|
|Lifespan: African bush elephant: 60 – 70 years, African forest elephant: 60 – 70 years|
Best places to see elephants
- 1. Chobe National Park, Botswana
- 2. Etosha national park, Namibia
- 3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
The African buffalo made its way into the Big 5 ranking because of their size, moody behavior and their ability to charge with no warning. The living African buffalo has evolved from a much smaller ancestor that entered Africa roughly 5-6 million years ago, the status of the buffalo has seen much decline over the years as the battle for land and livestock (cattle) continue.
|Mass: 590 kg (Adult)|
|Scientific name: Syncerus caffer|
|Gestation period: 11 months|
|Length: 2,5 m (Adult)|
|Trophic level: Herbivorous|
|Conservation status: Least Concern (Population decreasing)|
Best place to see them
- Kavati National Park, Western Tanzania
African lions once roamed most of Africa and parts of Asia and Europe. But the species has disappeared from 94 percent of its historic range and can only be found today in parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
|Lifespan: 10 – 14 years (Adult, In the wild)|
|Speed: 80 km/h (Maximum, In Short Bursts)|
|Scientific name: Panthera leo|
|Mass: Male: 190 kg (Adult), Female: 130 kg (Adult)|
Top 3 countries to see them
Black rhinos are browsers rather than grazers, and their pointed lip helps them feed on leaves from bushes and trees. They have two horns, and occasionally a third, small posterior horn. Populations of black rhino declined dramatically in the 20th century at the hands of European hunters and settlers.
|Scientific name: Diceros bicornis|
|Height: 1,3 – 1,8 m (Adult, At Shoulder)|
|Gestation period: 15 – 16 months|
|Mass: 800 – 1 400 kg (Adult)|
Top 3 countries to see them
- Etosha National Park, Namibia
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
|Speed: 58 km/h (Running)|
|Lifespan: 12 – 17 years|
|Scientific name: Panthera pardus|
|Mass: Male: 31 kg (South Africa’s coastal mountains population), Female: 23 – 27 kg (Somalia population)|
|Height: Male: 60 – 70 cm (Adult, At Shoulder), Female: 57 – 64 cm (Adult, At Shoulder)|
Top 3 countries to see them: Visit Africa
- Kruger National Park, South Africa
- South Luangwa National park, Zambia
- Maasai Mara, Kenya
General Tour Operators
Tourists contribute directly to the conservation of these animals from poaching, wildlife trafficking and habitat destruction. Therefore as much as it is a privilege to witness the Big 5 in their natural wilderness, your tourism continues to their conservation! Read more about the BIG 5!
Summary on Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa
Do you feel convinced that you have to visit Africa at least once in your lifetime?
We’ve shown you some of the best Southern African Development Community countries, their wildlife, natural parks, culture and attractions. From the Kilimanjaro Mountain to the Okovango Delta of Botswana, Africa holds a richness of life and beauty within its people and wildlife. A myriad of destinations await.
Tread lightly in respect for the many that have walked before you and the many to come after you. Ancient majesty exists in deep roots under the African Sun.
Have you been able to visit Africa? Do you want to visit Africa? Let us know in the comments below!
Thanks for reading Top 9 Best Places to See in Africa.