When it comes to holiday destinations, for many, vibrant and vivacious Africa remains uncharted territory beyond the tourist resorts of the Red Sea and Mediterranean coasts.
This year we suggest listening to the ‘call of the wild’ and indulging in one of these specialities - an adventurous safari! Embarking on an expedition into the savannah is an experience offered in a number of countries, particularly in East Africa. The thrill of spotting animals in their natural habitat is an unforgettable endeavour and helps remind us of some of the grandeur our world offers.
The continent has much to offer the discerning traveller, both in terms of traditional ‘sun, sea & sand’ and rich cultural heritage trips whilst also adding its own specialities, often tied to richness of the landscape, from the verdant rainforests of the Congo Basin to the sheer expanse of the Great Rift Valley.
The Flexicover Team lists some great destinations for safari holidays and some key fauna to look out for other than just the ‘Big Five’ animals (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros).
When: July – October Look for: Cheetahs, hippopotami, crocodiles, spotted hyenas, bat-eared foxes, topi, giraffes
Kenya is one of the best African safari destinations as you can not only easily spot the ‘Big Five’ but also the legendary annual migration of at least a million wildebeest and hundreds of zebras. The most popular wildlife park for a Kenya safari is the Masai Mara National Reserve, bordered by the Serengeti Plains in the south and part of the East African Rift to the west. It’s also home to the indigenous semi-nomadic Maasai tribes. You should also visit the Amboseli National Park, located at the foot of the mighty Mount Kilimanjaro, or take advantage of excellent bird-watching opportunities at Lake Nakuru National Park.
When: April – October Look for: Zebras, eland, giraffes, wildebeest, impala, red lechwes, African wild dogs
Botswana offers the chance for a wide range of safari types – by jeep, boat or on foot. Based on the eastern side of the Okavango delta, the Moremi Game Reserve floods every year which opens up wildlife-spotting by means of a traditional canoe called a amokoro. Moremi is also the site of significant wildlife research and home to over 500 species of birds. Chobe National Park is the most popular Botswana safari destination with one of the highest concentrations of elephants and wildlife game in the continent. The Makgadikgadi Pans and Kalahari Game Reserves also offer excellent animal sighting opportunities.
When: June – November Look for: Hyenas, wildebeest, monitor lizards, aardwolves, baboons, secretary birds, waterbucks
If you’ve ever imagined an African safari, chances are you were probably envisioning the vast plains of the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania. This is another great place to catch the wildebeest and zebra migration, one of its main attractions. Where there’s prey, you’ll also find plenty of predators and a Tanzanian safari offers a wonderful opportunity to view lions at leisure in the wild. The Ngorongoro Conservation Reserve is another popular site where you can see the world’s largest crater along with abundant wildlife. Tanzania is also a great starting point for a trek up Mount Kilimanjaro!
When: June – September Look for: Hippopotami, crocodiles, giraffes, greater kudu, blue wildebeest, black mambas, nyalas
South African safari holidays are immensely popular, especially as here is found the famous Kruger National Park, one of the oldest and largest reserves in Africa with around 147 mammal species and excellent infrastructure. One of the best parts is that you can enjoy a self-drive safari here with a variety of accommodation options to suit your budget. A number of smaller and private game reserves also exist that you can visit such as Phinda Private Game Reserve and the former Zulu royal hunting ground at Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, a leading player in conservation efforts for the white rhinoceros.
When: May – September Look for: Zebras, flamingos, blue cranes, gemsboks, jackals, servals, aardwolves, pangolins
For incredible landscapes and almost surreal scenery, a Namibian safari holiday will take you from the immense sand dunes of Sossuvlei in the Namib-Naukluft Park to the Petrified Forest in Damaraland and down the Skeleton Coast. The best animal sightings are in Etosha National Park, which surrounds a vast salt pan that attracts great numbers of flamingos and other wading birds. The park’s springs and waterholes draw a lot of animals, providing superb spotting opportunities. And whilst most of the ‘Big Five’ can be seen here, the draw is that most are of distinct sub-species differing from those found in East Africa.
Are you planning to go on a safari adventure this year? We don't offer cover for lion attacks... but we'll cover you for the rest. Take a look at Flexicover for all your travel insurance needs. Travel with peace of mind!