At Our Whole Village, we plan meaningful vacations for families who want to create lifelong memories and show their kids the world in a more conscious and intentional manner.
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The term “safari” has long been synonymous with wildlife discovery on the African continent. Of course, Africa is a vast land, encompassing 11.73 million square miles. That’s big enough to fit the United States, Europe, India, Japan, and China. Moreover, the island of Madagascar, located off the coast of Africa, could encompass nearly the entire United Kingdom. With so much territory to cover, a trip to Africa can be incredibly diverse in terms of cultures encountered, wildlife experienced, and terrain explored. In other words, not every African safari will be the same.
This leads to a basic yet vital question: Where to go on an African safari? While we’d need a book to do the entire continent justice, deciding between East and Southern Africa is an excellent place to start. Here’s our breakdown of what you can expect from each geographical region.
Deciding it’s time to start planning your family safari to Africa is a momentous occasion. But it’s one that immediately begs other questions. For example, where should you go? How long should you stay? And what can you expect to see and do?
For people longing for a classical view of Africa, East Africa is often a top choice. The reserves and parks of Tanzania and Kenya are iconic in their own rights, and both nations provide plenty of opportunities for wildlife photography. For first-timers, these locations often check all the boxes.
As for Southern Africa, it represents the gateway to some of the continent’s most dramatic topography. Nations you’ll visit might include South Africa, Botswana, or Namibia, and the landscapes you’ll see vary from sand dunes to mountainside vistas and river tours.
When you work with a professional travel advisor specializing in family travel, they’ll help you select the ideal destination based on your family’s expectations and interests. But you’ll also gain access to unique encounters. Like meeting adorable meerkat families, viewing animal migrations from a hot air balloon, or sharing breakfast with giraffes.
From the golden plains of Tanzania’s Serengeti to the acacia forests of Kenya’s Maasai Mara, the wildlands of East Africa represent a call to adventure. These protected lands also prove massive, encompassing more than 15,000 square miles! They offer habitat for the animals that make ever-popular Big Five Safaris possible, including:
The frontier lands of Tanzania and Kenya also play center stage in the annual Great Migration. During this event, millions of zebras and wildebeests migrate between these two nations in search of water and greener pastures. But you don’t have to plan your entire family safari around the Great Migration to guarantee fantastic wildlife photos and experiences. East Africa teems with animals year-round.
What else do you need to know about East Africa? It’s hard to beat when it comes to your first African safari. Why? Because it boasts diverse ecosystems with impressive animal populations. You’ll see everything from black-crested secretary birds to lion prides lounging in tall grass and leggy giraffes munching on tree leaves. And the parade of wildlife doesn’t stop there.
In the Laikipia Plateau, scope out endangered black rhinos. This area is renowned for its high populations of this elusive mammal. And Kenya’s Amboseli National Park is an excellent location to check out wild elephant herds as they roam the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro.
What if you’re looking for something more unique than the famed landscapes of the Serengeti? Head to Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater, Africa’s eighth wonder of the world, to scope out hippos and huge flocks of pink flamingos on Lake Magdi and nearby swamplands. And Tarangire National Park contains the second-highest concentration of wildlife in all of Tanzania.
Southern Africa offers many safari options. Namibia’s Atlantic coastline showcases unique wildlife, as does South Africa’s tip and landlocked Botswana.
In Namibia’s Sossusvlei, explore stunning crimson sand dunes and search out fascinating desert-dwelling animals like gemsboks, ostriches, and spotted hyenas. The dunes are as tall as the Empire State Building in some spots, and they’ve spent the past millennia shapeshifting. They invite hikers to climb, quad-bikers to peddle, and hot-air balloonists to float above them.
Journeying northward, Etosha National Park provides opportunities to track rare desert rhinos. The park’s expansive plains also contain habitat for some of Africa’s most popular animals. They include elephants, baboons, lions, and antelopes.
Or head to South Africa to explore reserves chock full of wildlife, from the Sabi Sabi to Kruger National Park and Shambala. The most famous of these remains Kruger, and with good reason. Eagle-eyed visitors will enjoy the chance to see the “Big Five” in the park and areas surrounding it. And Greater Kruger Park is another excellent place to see all of these species without the crowds of the neighboring national park.
In Botswana, explore incredible diversity, from the expansive and breathtaking Kalahari Desert to the Okavango Delta, where wildlife abounds. Float on a traditional mokoro (dugout canoe) past verdant, palm-lined islands. Atop the water, colorful waterlilies meet the eye, interspersed with telltale bubbles from submerged hippos. You’ll also have plenty of chances to observe Nile crocodiles along the river’s banks as they wait for prey.
Where to go on an African safari to see some of the globe’s most majestic and beautiful animals? You’ve got endless options. But that doesn’t mean you have to get overwhelmed. We’re here to help you plan the best African safari experience for your family.
Let’s chat about your ideal safari experience and how we can bring it to life for you. Along the way, we’ll help you curate magical cultural activities that make a trip both memorable and unique. Africa offers incredible cultural experiences and a chance to instill valuable lessons about sustainability and conservation. Don’t wait another day to make your safari dream a reality.
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