Southern Africa or East Africa – which to choose for a safari?

South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania

When talking about East Africa for safari we are generally referring to Kenya and Tanzania but for Southern Africa, safari regions include South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Zambia.

Each of these countries offers radically different experiences, so finding the right fit is important and we are here to help every step of the way.

Southern Africa

South Africa offers beautiful lodges with spectacular service and food. It has a slightly more polished feel than many other places and is great for a first-time safari, and for the nervous! There is abundant wildlife in the Kruger, Madikwe and Eastern Cape with the latter two being malaria-free and so perfect for families. It is also great for combining a few areas with popular combinations including Cape Town, the Winelands and with a long stretch of coastline, you can take your pick for some beach relaxation time.

Botswana is the self-styled king of safari destinations with the Okavango Delta commanding global renown, and the semi-arid Kalahari holding mystical appeal. It has phenomenal game and with fewer properties as ‘policy’ it commands an air of exclusivity. Witnessing wildlife from the air, land and water can make an expensive proposition, but if your pockets are deep enough it does offer some of the best game viewing on the planet.

Namibia is a land of landscapes, and this what it is primarily renowned. This shouldn’t detract from its wildlife though, and although you won’t find the same level of game viewing as other countries in Southern Africa, it is rewarding with a focus being on desert-adapted wildlife. If open skies and wide vistas are your thing, then you will love Namibia.

Zimbabwe has sense of infinite wilderness that few places can match. Sadly, its politics got in the way of the tourism for a while, but now back on track it offers safaris to rival neighbours such as Botswana. Its excellent national parks pump with diverse wildlife and Zimbabwean guides are widely recognized as being the finest in Africa with their training taking years longer than in other countries.

Zambia is untamed. Being less well known that some other safari destination gives it a distinct advantage and its able to offers some of the wildest safaris anywhere in Africa. To not see a leopard in South Luangwa would be a rarity and the beauty of the Lower Zambezi is just heart-warming. Zambia has carved its niche as the home of the walking safari which is possibly not best for the faint of heart, but something you would never forget.

East Africa

Kenya is the billed as the home of safari. This has proved to be a double-edged sword with some areas in prime months becoming rather busy. However, it draws people in with its iconic wildlife which is hard to match elsewhere – especially when the migration is in full flow. We take you far from the madding crowd to vast unexplored areas, with stunning landscapes. It is worth noting that the Masai Mara has a huge resident population of game year-round, and there are plenty of other areas in Kenya offer incredible wildlife.

Tanzania is famed for its ‘northern circuit’ which is a lap of dramatically contrasting landscapes around the Great Rift Valley, culminating in the Serengeti. This well-trodden route takes in the most famous sights and best wildlife areas. As with Kenya, beyond the hordes are countless magical places to explore – from cloud forests inhabited by chimpanzees to the wild and woolly parks like Katavi where you can be sure not to see anybody else. The sense of scale of Africa is incredible with just one game reserve in Tanzania equalling the same size as a whole country in Europe!

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Meet The Experts

Ben Oxley-Brown
Ben has been exploring Africa for well over twenty years and is yet to curb his voracious appetite for the continent.