Ashlyn @ The Lost
I'm spending six months minimum in Africa, with plans to do Southern and Eastern Africa. I'm wanting to do a Safari and looking for recommendations on where to do it.
My budget is small, I'm traveling solo and don't mind roughing it/getting off the beaten path.
I will be in South Africa/Namibia/Botswana but also have plans on getting up to Kenya/Tanzania. I have the opportunity to wander through any and all countries - wherever my heart leads me.
Any recommendations on which country to Safari in? Both price and experience wise?
"Whether you are travelling solo or looking for a family trip, Kenya has plenty of options to suit. Think in advance about whether or not you’d like to join an organized safari group, or have your own private transport and guides." by Magical Kenya. If you want to get safari experience, try Kenya or combine Kenya and Tanzania. You can go on safari, meet the locals, take part in local activities, live with them...many things to do as they say Kenya is the cradle of safari. Kenya
The price depends on your taste; there is luxury or high end, middle spending and budget. You choose.
I will give a Kenya section safari proposal since you also want to do Southern Africa.
Kenya offers Beach holidays, culture visits, wildlife experience, village experience and city tours.
A typical safari starts from Nairobi JKIA Airport which the biggest port of entry in Eastern Africa. You have a choice of city tours, museum/gallery visits, daily excursions and park visits since Nairobi city has a park nearby. Nairobi National Park Which is a bushy grassland park with patches of rolling plains suitable habitat for tropical wildlife species. Nairobi National Park is wildlife park with approximately 400 species of birds and several mammals. Mammals: Eland, hartebeest, wildebeest, zebra, wildebeest, black rhino, lion, hyena and hippo among several others. Nearby attractions include Nairobi safari walk, Girrafe manor and Orphanage. Activities in Nairobi include picnics, hiking, city nightlife, sports, city tours and curio/traditional gallery visits.
After Nairobi it will be a start of a wilderness safari, there are many itinerary options:
1. Nairobi-Olpejeta Conservancy(Sweetwaters)-Samburu Game Reserve-Nakuru National Park-Hell's Gate(Lake Naivasha combined)-Maasai Mara(Wild theatre)-Nairobi.
2. Nairobi-Lake Nakuru-Lake Bogoria(Baringo combined)-North Rift-Naivasha-Maasai Mara-Nairobi.
What itineraries entail(Attractions): Highlights.
Chimpanzee sanctuary, White Rhino sanctuary. Wildlife species include Grevy Zebra, Lion, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, elephant, jackal, impala, baboon, hippo, eland etc. Sweetwaters Game Reserve
Nakuru National park offers great safari experience. Famous for birdwatching, one can expect to see flamingoes, pelicans, white rhino, black rhino, rothschild giraffe, buffalo etc. Lake Nakuru National Park
Maasai Mara Game Reserve: Large concentration of wildlife no wonder it is called "theatre of the wild" and the home of the big five mammals. Wildlife species here include Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant, buffalo, cheetah, jackal, hippo, crocodile, impala, topi, hartebeest, gazelle, roan antelope etc.
Balloon safaris are offered over the plains in Mara. Maasai Mara National Reserve
Welcome to East Africa.
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In my opinion a safari is one of the highlights of Africa and you shouldn't just do the cheapest one because it will affect what you get. My favourite safari destinations in the Southern countries you listed (it seems East Africa has been covered!) are Kruger National Park, Addo Elephant National Park, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, Etosha National Park, Chobe National Park and Okavango Delta. Some of these you can self-drive which brings down the cost if you know someone with a car or are hiring in a group but if it is your only safari I would make sure you get a guided trip anyway. My top three of these are Kruger - unrivalled for incredible animal sightings, Etosha - incredibly diverse landscapes and great sighting also, Okavango - different to anything you will do as it is mainly done via dug-out canoe on a huge flood plain - although depending on the season will affect if you see anything. (I didn't but I have heard amazing stories of people that saw everything and I still had a fab time).
To give you an idea for comparison - Southern Africa has much more diverse landscapes, generally thicker bush - good for leopard, and better guides/tourism infrastructure in my honest opinion. Eastern Africa has the famous huge plains which harbour the large herds and numerous lion/cheetah. It is arguably more impressive but you don't get the awesome open-top land-rovers that make you feel like you are in the middle of it all. Wherever you go, I'm sure you will love it!
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Are you planning on using a tour company for the safari? We did our Safari last Dec/Jan in Tanzania. After a ton of research, we ended up booking through Enchanting Africa because we thought it was really affordable for all that we wanted to do. However, we definitely weren't roughing it but they can really build you a safari however you want it to be and at any budget. They used Kibo Safaris as the ground operator in Tanzania and we were really happy with our guide and bush limo. We traveled to a couple other countries while we were in Africa and met a lot of people along the way and it seemed that a lot of people shared the opinion that Kenya/Tanzania/Botswana offer the best safaris. While we didn't safari in any other country than Tanzania, it was definitely our favorite stop on our trip (we also were in South Africa and Zimbabwe). I can't say enough good things about our safari experience there and the people we met. We hit 4 National Parks while we were there - Tarangire National Park, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater & the Serengeti Nationalpark Tarangire National Park is THE place to see Elephants - it was incredible how surrounded by Elephants we were. The landscape is gorgeous, too - full of Baobab and Acacia Trees. The only downside to Tarangire is the tsetse flies, which are a pain but still totally worth it to visit the park. Ngorongoro Crater is incredible - its a completely different experience than Tarangire and a different landscape, but equally as beautiful. The park is literally in the crater of a collapsed Volcano - its the largest crater in the world, if I'm remembering correctly. The park is definitely crowded with lots of safari vehicles but you can see every single one of the Big 5 here, including Rhinos. We drove through Lake Manyara on a day trip and it wasn't the highlight of our trip. The Serengeti National Park was, in my opinion, the ultimate safari experience. Of the four parks we went to it was the only one where the drivers can off-road and really maneuver to get the best views and to get in close proximity to the animals. It is HUGE and was exactly what I always pictured our safari would be like before arriving in Africa.
I hope that helps - I cannot say enough good things about my safari experience in Tanzania and I really hope you make it there! So jealous of your trip!
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