Africa is among the greatest places in the world to see nature at its greatest, and safaris in East Africa is the last word vacation spot for a wildlife expertise like no other.
Being out in the wild African savannah and forest, observing and listening to the animals, you will always remember it.
The word ‘safari’ is Swahili and means a journey.
I’ve travelled overland from Ethiopia to South Africa two occasions and went on numerous safaris (around 30), as I take pleasure in being out in the wilderness.
I wrote about loads of the experiences from the 2013 journey, and needed to write about all of them along with advice to share my passion for African wildlife and the safari experience general.
Not all safari destinations are coated right here as most people going for a safari in East Africa will solely go on a couple of, so these are just a number of the greatest ones (in my opinion) that you are able to do.
For those who’re simply in what to pack for a safari, then bounce midway down the submit for a guide on safari packing necessities.
Map of East Africa
- 1 1. The Serengeti National Park
- 2 2. The Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve
- 3 3. South Luangwa Nationwide Park
- 4 4. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- 5 5. Tarangire Nationwide Park
- 6 6. Lake Nakuru National Park
- 7 7. Chobe National Park
- 8 Eight. The Okavango Delta
- 9 What To Convey on Safari
- 10 Assets For More Safari Planning
- 11 You might have Successfully Subscribed!
- 12 You’ve gotten Efficiently Subscribed!
1. The Serengeti National Park
The phrase Serengeti conjures up pictures of huge African savannah. Located in North Tanzania overlaying an enormous area, visiting the Serengeti Nationwide Park it’s the quintessential safari expertise.
Actually I might say it’s one of the best African safari you can do. Even probably one of the best safari in the world.
Undoubtedly the perfect safari in East Africa (along with the neighbouring Masai Mara in Kenya).
If I had to tell somebody where to go if they might do only one safari, then the Serengeti is it.
Getting into by a four wheeled drive car, you will see no paved roads, and the dust flies all over the place as you bounce round.
Flat plains slowly give method to savannah with rocky outcrops, and some forested areas good for animals to cover in.
There’s a large amount of wildlife here, and you’ll have a great probability of spotting the elusive leopard. There are many lions to be found, and cheetahs are also widespread.
The savannah and its lengthy grass, with the rocky vantage points to spot prey, is perfect searching floor for the large cats.
If fortunate you’ll be able to see the cats stalking and chasing, or in any case feeding on a kill already made.
At the right time of yr, normally round July and August, there’s the mass migration of wildebeast, one of many biggest wildlife exhibits on earth.
Tenting in the Serengeti is the best choice as there are not any fences around the campsite, leaving you weak to nature, and offering the last word outside experience.
Hearing the sounds of wildlife all around as you attempt to sleep, with just a thin piece of cloth between you and the animals, is completely thrilling.
Especially once you hear the roar of a lion, or the cackle of hyenas very close by.
Most individuals stay in the centre of the park and base themselves in one area, for one of the best probability to see the animals.
If the safari drivers/guides hear of excellent wildlife sightings in different areas, then they may take you there as an alternative.
You would organise a Serengeti safari with corporations online before coming, however it’s higher to organize one on arrival in Arusha, the primary staging point into the Serengeti.
The benefit with arranging a safari on arrival is you will be able to discount down the worth a bit.
With so many safari corporations in Arusha, there’s plenty of competition to choose from.
I might stay at the very least two nights in the Serengeti, the distances are large to journey, and one night time could seem a bit rushed. I’ve personally completed two safaris there, and two nights makes an enormous distinction to the overall expertise.
Easily the most effective Tanzanian safari and among the best safaris in East Africa.
Guide for the region:
Lonely Planet Tanzania (Travel Guide)
2. The Masai Mara Nationwide Reserve
The Masai Mara in Kenya is actually a small extension of the Serengeti in Tanzania.
As such you’ll get an incredible safari, with extensive open savannah stretching throughout the horizon.
It’s also comparatively straightforward to see the large cats there, lions appear to be all over the place, and the occasional cheetah might be seen.
There are large herds of buffalo and wildebeast round, and again in case you are lucky at the proper time of yr, you possibly can see the wildebeast migration.
In fact the place there are giant herds, there are the predators waiting to hunt them.
The Serengeti and Masai Mara are world well-known for a cause, they are prime spots to see predators in motion.
The greatest place to organise a safari is in Nairobi on arrival, the place as in Arusha, you possibly can discount with corporations for a less expensive deal.
A finances safari used to value around $120 a day including every part, however now minivans are not used, so the worth has gone up a bit due to 4 wheeled drive automobiles changing them.
The safari corporations will put you together with a gaggle in case you are by your self, but if there’s four of you already, then you possibly can just take public transport to the doorway to the Masai Mara and organise a car, driver, and permits from there.
That may be a bit of cheaper but just be sure to have a gaggle to achieve this.
In any other case for those who simply want to head out straight on a Masai Mara safari in Kenya then you possibly can ebook a Masai Mara safari here.
The Masai Mara is the perfect safari in Kenya.
A mixture of a Kenya and Tanzania safari is unbeatable happening safaris in East Africa. Or Africa as an entire for that matter.
3. South Luangwa Nationwide Park
Situated in the north of Zambia, South Luangwa Nationwide Park is a very totally different type of safari vacation spot, compared to the Serengeti and Masai Mara.
As an alternative of vast savannah, it’s extra of a forested place, punctuated by grassy areas and the massive Luangwa river.
Don’t anticipate massive herds of zebra and wildebeast, or giant prides of lions, in South Luangwa it feels extra like a private experience, with smaller encounters with the wildlife.
Staying in one in every of South Luangwa Nationwide Parks lodges on the aspect of the river which is the pure border to the park, you possibly can see hippos lounging round through the day, and pay attention to them feed on grass across the camp at night time.
The hippos noisy grunts booming throughout the landscape.
It’s enjoyable waking up to elephants in camp, as long as you keep in your lodge accommodation for security that’s.
You might even come across a hippo in the swimming pool! If there through the dry season the river virtually disappears, and you may see giant groups of elephants crossing it.
In South Luangwa they use automobiles which are all open, they haven’t any roof or sides, as is usually the case in different safari destinations.
This leaves you utterly exposed to the animals round you, making for some fascinating close encounters.
It’s additionally potential to do night time safaris there, one thing not allowed in many locations. You drive around with a ranger on the entrance with a flashlight, scanning the darkness for animals eyes to spot.
The wonderful thing about this experience is you’ll be able to witness some animals which are principally nocturnal, resembling lions, being rather more lively. The massive cats principally hunt at night time, using their night time imaginative and prescient to great effect.
Seeing a large male lion not distant from your uncovered limbs at night time whereas out searching is one thing you’ll never forget.
The greatest means to keep in South Luangwa on a finances is to deliver your personal tent for tenting, in any other case some camps have dorms, however don’t rely on it.
The wonderful thing about the place from a finances perspective, is that you would be able to select what number of occasions you need to exit on safari, as long as you don’t have an all inclusive deal that’s.
A typical four hour safari will value around $40 with a $30 park entrance payment.
It’s one of the extra reasonably priced African Safari choices you can do as you’re not paying to be out on a regular basis.
With your personal tent, cooking your personal food, happening the occasional safari, you will get by relatively cheaply.
Just being there by the banks of the river watching the wildlife round, is greater than enough purpose to keep a couple of days, even with out safaris.
For getting deep into the African bush and having close encounters with wildlife with out breaking the bank.
South Luangwa is very beneficial from a finances viewpoint, and is a very lovely place to be.
Good guidebook for the world:
Zambia (Bradt Travel Guides)
4. Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The Ngorongoro conservation Area is a type of magical locations in the world. Located in North Tanzania, it’s a large crater full off wildlife, with the most important density of lions in Africa.
It’s breathtakingly lovely in all weather.
Typically you’ll get a clear sunny day, and different occasions the clouds will roll excessive of the crater rim, making the place really feel like a fantasy land.
There’s a small lake in the centre, with the remaining being dry grasslands and swamp.
Within the lake there are sometimes many flamingos, and there is a huge herd of wildebeast which might be apparently all the time there.
There are not any cheetahs to be seen, and you’d be fortunate to spot a leopard, but there are many lions.
The real wildlife thrill here can be to spot one of many resident rhinos.
On my first go to there I didn’t see any, but the second time I saw three, so that you by no means know what you’ll get.
That’s wildlife for you when out on a safari in East Africa (or anyplace for that matter)!
All the time unpredictable.
If driving into the Serengeti on a safari from Arusha, you’ll move via Ngorongoro Conservation Area, driving on the craters rim.
Most people going to the Serengeti will do a in the future safari in Ngorongoro on the best way back, as you move by way of that area anyway.
In the future is enough to get a really feel for the place because it’s not that huge.
When sleeping there you may be on prime of the crater rim, the place you’ll be able to see an awesome sunrise if the climate permits it.
On the finances safaris means you may be camping out, once more nice fun for feeling shut to the animals.
Listening to the sound of zebras munching away on grass right subsequent to your tent, or the roar of a lion close by, is out of this world.
Safaris to Ngorongoro are principally the identical because the Serengeti, setting you again round $130-140 for a price range one.
This space is among the most lovely locations in Africa, so be certain to go there on a Serengeti safari.
Guide a Ngorongoro safari right here.
5. Tarangire Nationwide Park
Back to north Tanzania once more, the place Tarangire Nationwide Park is located.
This safari destination just isn’t that removed from the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, so can easily be added on to those excursions. The national park is well known for its giant elephant inhabitants, and it’s straightforward too see why whenever you enter, they’re in all places.
In case you like elephants, this is the place to be.
By the river that runs by way of the park, you’ll be able to see the elephants bathing in the mud to calm down, splashing themselves to hold there back coated from the robust African sun.
There’s additionally the standard mixture of animals, comparable to wildebeast and zebra, and the occasional cheetah.
Tarangire is a very nice place to visit, with timber unfold over grassy areas, but not too dense, allowing for less difficult sightings off animals.
Someday in the park is enough to get a really feel for it, just visiting the northern half, and using the money saved from not visiting the remaining to go to the Serengeti.
You possibly can, as with the Serengeti and Ngorongoro, organise a safari in Arusha.
In case you are in Arusha and making an attempt to work out wether to add Tarangire to a Serengeti safari, and doing only one night time in the Serengeti as an alternative, don’t.
Use that extra cash for 2 nights in the Serengeti, belief me on this. Having stated that, when you can afford it, then Tarangire is value a visit.
Guide a Tarangire safari right here.
6. Lake Nakuru National Park
So when you’ve got been on safaris and not managed to see the elusive rhino, then Lake Nakuru National Park in South-West Kenya is the place you want to be.
It’s well known for its rhino inhabitants and the convenience at which you’ll be able to see them.
You’d have to be very fortunate to see the uncommon black rhino, but the white rhinos are extra simply discovered.
This park is situated round a lake surrounded by hills. It’s quite heavily forested in many places, which may make spotting some wildlife troublesome.
Nevertheless there’s one big grassy area on the southern part of the lake, and this is the place many animals congregate, and offers you one of the best probability to see rhinos.
Flamingos could be seen across the lake as properly.
Don’t anticipate big groups of wildlife that might be seen on the savannah, none of that’s there.
The park itself is spectacular, with the lake shimmering in the sun, waterfalls round, and the deep greenery of the forest.
To organise a safari you possibly can simply present up on the close by city of Nakuru.
A price range safari after performing some bargaining, would value round $120 a day, together with all the things.
You possibly can add a visit to Lake Nakuru to a Masai Mara safari organised in Nairobi in case you are brief on time.
In the future is enough to visit because the park shouldn’t be so massive. It’s value going for the rhino sightings alone, the great thing about the place is a bonus.
Guide a Lake Nakuru safari here.
7. Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is situated close to the Zambian border with Botswana.
I included it here as many individuals visiting South Luangwa National Park will most probably find yourself at Victoria Falls sooner or later in Zambia, because it’s one in every of Zambia’s foremost points of interest.
As such Chobe may be finished as a day safari from there. And it’s enjoyable!
It has a large river operating by means of it which all the time has water, even in the dry season.
This makes it a terrific place to get out on a boat to spot hippos and elephants, and perhaps even some uncommon wild canine in case you are very lucky.
Going out on the river is indeed what most individuals do, as it’s nice to get a special perspective from being on the water, relatively than wanting from a car on land.
Having stated that, a car safari continues to be enjoyable, though the world away from the river is much more forested, making it more durable to see some animals, like in each vacation spot with forest.
Safaris to Chobe are easily organised from within Botswana, and even across the border in Zambia at Livingstone.
Livingstone is the city subsequent to Victoria Falls, which could be very well-liked with tourists, and so lots of them organize day journeys from there.
In reality in case you are in Chobe then you need to undoubtedly do the reverse, and have at the very least a day trip to see the impressive Victoria Falls.
In case you are in Livingstone and need to do a day trip safari from there you possibly can guide a Chobe safari here.
Botswana Safari Guide: Okavango Delta, Chobe, Northern Kalahari (Bradt Journey Guide)
Eight. The Okavango Delta
The Okavango Delta is an enormous delta (hence the identify) full of waterways in the north of Botswana.
Ok, technically Botswana isn’t in East Africa but the Okavango Delta is such a singular place, and close enough to Zambia (in East Africa), that it’s on the record.
Think of it as a bonus destination.
It can be seen from a car, an area canoe referred to as the mokoro, by speedboat, or from the air.
Going by air provides you a the experience of flying in a small propellor aircraft for an ‘aerial safari’.
From the aircraft you obviously gained’t have the opportunity to see the massive cats or any of the smaller animals, but giant herds of elephants are easily noticed.
In any other case for a extra up shut encounter with wildlife in the Okavango Delta take one of many mokoro canoes with an area guide into the waterways.
Just drifting along in the canoe is peaceful by itself, maintaining a tally of the water banks for wildlife.
On shore afterward you possibly can camp in the bush overnight and go on strolling safaris. It’s among the best places to expertise being in the wilds of Africa.
Getting to the Okavango Delta is completed from the primary leaping off level in the town of Maun.
Maun could be reached from Chobe Nationwide Park area fairly straightforward.
Use the same guide mentioned for Chobe to assist plan a trip there.
What To Convey on Safari
Some individuals appear to assume they’ve to get proper clothes for a safari, but the actuality is you don’t need to fear.
Clothes may be costly, so you need to keep away from buying new stuff in the event you may also help it.
You’ll be able to simply simply present up in the garments you have got and go on safari, easy as that.
It’s greatest to attempt to wear the darker colored clothes that you’ve, as animals might be alarmed at the very shiny colors, particularly pink.
You don’t want all green and khaki garments though.
If your complete assortment off clothes solely consists of shiny purple colors, I might first question your trend style, and second recommend at that point no less than buying a green t-shirt.
Undoubtedly take a sunhat with you to shield your head from the fierce African sun.
I just put on a baseball cap myself and put solar lotion on my the neck, however those that burn easily ought to get a large brimmed sunhat.
For footwear don’t hassle with heavy and sweaty boots, just put on operating trainers, rather more snug.
You possibly can even just wear sandals or flip-flops, as you’ll typically be standing up on the seats in the car to view the wildlife.
The only time it’s your decision boots to shield your ft is when you go on strolling safaris lots or have been to spend weeks and weeks out in the bush.
But for most people on safari that gained’t be the case.
Bringing a pair of binoculars is an excellent concept.
In the event you don’t do many safaris then an affordable pair can be fantastic, however invest in an honest pair of binoculars in case you assume you will do loads of wildlife watching in the longer term.
$100 can get you an honest enough pair for those on a finances.
The drivers that take you on safari will normally have a pair of binoculars with them, however it’s greatest they hold that for themselves to assist spot the wildlife for you.
Your fellow passengers might have some binoculars nevertheless it might get messy with just one pair to share.
You want to have a digital camera with a great zoom lens, because the animals will typically be distant.
Most compact cameras have an excellent zoom lens nowadays, and when you have a dslr there will probably be options for tele-photo lenses.
In case you are a long run traveller not planning on many wildlife experiences, then lugging round an enormous tele-photo lens is just not value it.
As an alternative of the massive tele-photo lens, get a cheaper compact digital camera with a superb zoom as a backup for these moments, until you actually need the perfect photographs you will get.
I personally use a Sony Alpha a7II .
That is the right travel digital camera, as it’s not to be huge and heavy, and the zoom lenses are fairly light-weight in comparison to a bulky and heavy dslr’s lenses, whereas nonetheless allowing for good image quality.
Going into more detail for a safari packing record.
These things are all you will have for a safari in Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Botswana, and some other safari destinations in Africa you might do.
Use present gadgets the place you’ll be able to, otherwise you should purchase them on Amazon by means of the hyperlinks included right here (affiliate) if vital, or your local outside store.
These are just options and a lot of the gadgets I’ve used myself.
Tilley Endurables LTM6 Airflo Hat
Tilley Endurables T3 Traditional Canvas Hat
Outside Analysis Swift Cap
The Tilley Endurables range of extensive brimmed cotton hats are a number of the greatest you will get for the outdoors.
It makes for the right hat for a safari in East Africa (or anyplace scorching and sunny for that matter).
Otherwise like myself take a sun cap like the Outside Analysis one, and use robust 50 power sun lotion on any exposed pores and skin.
Whatever you do be sure to have head safety with you.
It’s essential to shield from the robust African solar.
Swanndri Ranger Shirt
The North Face TKA 100 Fleece
These are some good African Safari clothes ideas.
Simply take a daily t-shirt, or shirt for sporting, as long as it’s impartial coloured (no shiny colors as mentioned before).
In the evenings and early morning when you’ll principally be on safari it can be cool, so deliver a light-weight fleece with you just like the north face one.
Or take a superb outside wool shirt like the swanndri for the last word outside shirt, warm and durable.
Fjallraven Vidda Pro Common Trousers
Fjallraven Abisko Shorts
Brooks Sherpa Shorts
You need to feel snug on safari as you’ll be sitting and standing quite a bit. Again put on impartial colored trousers/shorts.
Fjallraven are a Swedish brand that make a number of the greatest outside clothes in the world.
Their Vidda trousers and Abisko shorts are extremely durable for being outside and have mosquito resistant material.
In any other case no matter snug light-weight trousers you could have already will do.
The Brooks shorts are just an example for sporting mild operating shorts for round camp and into your sleeping bag at night time.
Karrimor SF Predator 30 Backpack
Karrimor are a superb brand that make rugged outside gear.
The Predator 30 backpack is a perfect one for an African safari. Durable and powerful material will shield from the rough bush.
30 litres might be sufficient area to carry the garments you want and equipment.
I used a Karrimor Sabre 35 backpack for my journey by means of Africa, however would most certainly get the Predator 30 for the subsequent trip.
Take a backpack for the convenience of carrying.
Wheeled instances haven’t any place in the African bush!
Nikon 7577 MONARCH 5 10×42 Binocular
Bushnell H2O Waterproof/Fogproof Roof Prism Binocular 10×42 mm
Which binoculars to take on safari? Too many decisions! This just provides you an concept.
As mentioned earlier than the guides normally have binoculars with them to spot wildlife for you.
However it’s much, a lot better that you simply convey your personal binoculars for a safari to permit the guides to hold a continuing lookout for the animals.
You critically need binoculars to get one of the best out of an East Africa safari as many occasions the animals will probably be further away to see.
I’ve the Bushnell ones listed right here and they’re an excellent finances selection, averaging around $100.
The Nikon ones are costlier (round $300) however undoubtedly value it from the critiques for its wonderful optics (Nikon being a digital camera manufacturer), and getting a great pair for all times.
These are two good fashions I like to recommend to take, however if you would like extra of an concept on what binoculars to take on safari then take a look at this submit from on binocular evaluations.
Garmont T8 NFS Tactical Boot
Teva Mush II Flip-Flop
Inov-8 Men’s Roclite 325 Trail Runner
Darn Robust Coolmax Micro Socks
That is to offer you a tough concept of the sort of footwear to convey on a safari in East Africa.
The boots are an instance of the sort of rough boots appropriate for lengthy durations of strolling out in the African bush to shield from thorns, and so forth.
Flip flops are good for contained in the safari car and simply lounging around camp. Any will do but I personally love Teva flip flops.
However for most people utilizing a pair of trainers/trainers that you’ve at residence already, or buy earlier than going, will do.
The inov8 ones listed here are just an instance. I exploit inov8 (u.okay. model) for my journeys.
Darn robust are very sturdy socks with a lifetime warranty. Enough stated.
SteriPen Adventurer Opti Mini Pack
Sawyer Merchandise Mini Water Filtration System
Nalgene Stainless Bottle 38 oz (1 litre)
3M Ultrathon Insect Repellent Lotion
Morakniv Companion Heavy Obligation MG Knife
On any safari water is included in the package deal value. Nevertheless it’s all usually in plastic bottles.
There’s approach too much plastic polluting the world as it is, so to help counter my very own impression on plastic waste, each time I journey I purify native water as much as potential.
The Steripen is a uv pen that you simply put in water for round one minute and the uv mild kills any bacteria in the water.
The initial value is excessive (round $80) but when you get many years of use from it it pays for itself in the money saved from having to purchase water in bottles.
It also helps the setting.
A cheaper choice is the Sawyer mini water filtration system (round $25). This attaches to an included water pouch and you squeeze the water via it into one other bottle.
Take a 38 oz (1 litre) water bottle to hold the water in. Nalgene are nicely know for their water bottles and the chrome steel one talked about right here is the one I exploit.
Being out on safari in East Africa you want some protection for any uncovered skin from mosquito/insect bites.
The repellant mentioned here is just a suggestion but in basic any repellant with DEET in it’s going to do from any outside shop.
For those who don’t like the thought of chemical in the repellant (DEET) then you need to use extra natural repellants for a safari which will embrace eucalyptus oil or others.
Remember though the protection won’t final as long, or may be less efficient, then the DEET one.
Next is a wonderful outside knife.
In reality you don’t actually need a knife when you’re doing these package deal safaris, as they’ve cookware with them, and you’re not going to be out in survival conditions.
Nevertheless there’s just something comforting about having an honest outside knife with you in the bush of Africa when on safari.
The one I absolutely love and have used for over a decade is the Morakniv companion.
It’s low cost (around $20) but excellent high quality for the worth, and utilized by outside specialists all over the world as a beginner knife for learners.
Don’t spend masses on an costly knife that wouldn’t get used much, simply get this one. It’s awesome!
As for toiletries for a safari just deliver what you’d usually use, as in toothbrush, toothpaste, cleaning soap, and so on.
However having a helpful hand washing pocket gel with you is sweet to hold your arms clear always before consuming, as you’ll be able to just maintain it in your pocket.
Assets For More Safari Planning
These are some actually good books for helping plan your safaris more, or simply for some enjoyable safari studying.
Fodor’s The Full Guide to African Safaris: with South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Namibia, Rwanda &#zero38; the Seychelles (Full-color Travel Guide)
No matter You Do, Don’t Run: True Tales Of A Botswana Safari Guide
Bushcraft 101: A Area Guide to the Art of Wilderness Survival
The Fodor’s guide has plenty of good info on safaris, and no matter you do don’t run is a hilarious guide from a safari guide about a few of his extra humorous experiences on safari.
When you gained’t want bushcraft expertise as you may be with a safari guide, it’s all the time enjoyable to have a read about bushcraft expertise when out in the bush.
You all the time study something, and who knows perhaps you may give some bush expertise a attempt.
Ray Mears is considered one of my outside heroes. He’s an extended established professional in outside survival and bushcraft methods.
He has achieved many TV exhibits about outside experiences, and two wonderful ones for being in the African bush on safari is: Bushcraft Season 1 E04 Africa Camp and E05 Africa Safari.
There’s masses extra on African experiences as properly, so if you will discover any of his stuff online then it’s undoubtedly value a watch.
So I hope this text was fascinating sufficient for you and my ardour for Africa and its wildlife got here by way of in my words.
Perhaps sometime you’ll get to expertise an exciting safari in East Africa for yourself, you will never regret it.
Until you find yourself eaten by a lion in fact!
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