There are many game parks in Africa, but deciding which one to visit for a safari can be challenging. The world’s second-largest continent has a plethora of top-notch safari destinations. It is known for its beautiful wildlife sanctuaries and adventure-packed safari activities, as well as its selection of luxury accommodations. Moreover, every national park and game reserve offers something unique. So, where will go? To help you decide, we’ve compiled a list of African game parks that we feel provide the best overall safari experiences.
The Top Safari Game Parks in Africa
Maasai Mara National Reserve
Maasai Mara, or simply ‘The Mara’, is one of Africa’s most important wilderness and wildlife conservation sites. It is also one of its most famous. Situated in south-west Kenya, the reserve is home to an abundance and diversity of wildlife. Notably, it has large populations of bird, cheetah and Big Five animals, particularly the African lion, bush elephant and buffalo. Leopards reside here, as well, although they’re harder to spot.
The Maasai Mara is named after the Maasai people and connects to Serengeti National Park. It has vast rolling plains with lone thorn trees and purple hills in the distance. The landscape is inspiring. The sunsets are breath-taking! In terms of accommodation, the park offers everything from mid-range tented camps to high-luxury lodges. Safari activities include game drives, nature walks, cultural tours and hot-air balloon rides.
Serengeti National Park
Serengeti National Park, in north-western Tanzania, is very similar to Maasai Mara. Like The Mara, it is one of the top game parks in Africa, housing an abundance of wildlife. The biodiverse Serengeti is much bigger, though. In the park, visitors can view jackals, wolves, honey badgers, baboons, big game, reptiles and many other creatures. However, the park is best known for the Great Migration that it hosts annually.
There are three main regions in Serengeti National Park: the Serengeti plains, western corridor and northern Serengeti. Together, they cover 14 750 square kilometres (5,695 square miles) of beautiful grassland plains, open savannah, riverine forest and tangled woodland, under endless sky. It’s a photographer’s paradise! The park offers accommodations and safari activities to suit most budgets and expectations.
Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is Africa’s oldest conservation park and one of its largest. Additionally, it is one of its most diverse, boasting several thriving ecosystems and more species of large mammal than any other game reserve in Africa. The Kruger, which lies between Limpopo and Mpumalanga in South Africa, is a Big 5 and big game hotspot! It’s also a great destination for those who want to view birds, reptilians and invertebrates.
What to expect on a Kruger National Park safari – An authentic African safari experience in a massive national game park. The reserve covers an expansive area of 19 633 square kilometres (7,580 square miles), remarkably. It is bounded by flowing rivers and is studded with giant trees, rocky hills, watercourses and other natural elements. The private lodges at Kruger Park offer 5-star accommodation, services and game activities.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
Sabi Sands is a popular game reserve that shares a fenceless border with the Kruger National Park. Unlike the Kruger, though (and the other game parks in Africa on this list), the reserve is private and not open to day visitors. Sabi Sands actually consists of a group of privately owned and managed reserves. Each of these sites offers magnificent Big Five and wildlife sightings. Leopard sightings are particularly common here.
In addition to fantastic wildlife viewing opportunities, the reserves for safaris in Sabi Sands offer exclusive upmarket accommodation and thrilling safari activities. Some of these activities, such as off-road game drives, are not permitted at Kruger Park. Sabie Sands derives its name from the South African Sabie and Sand rivers. They flow through the 65 000-hectare (160,000-acre) game park, adding to its rich biodiversity.
Chobe National Park
Chobe National Park is a 11 700-square-kilometre game park (4,517 square miles) in northern Botswana that has one of the largest game concentrations in Africa. Big game such as impala, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and kudu are common in Chobe. The park also has large populations of elephant, buffalo and lions. On the riverfront, guests can spot hippos, crocs, leguvaan and more. The birdlife in Chobe is incredible!
Botswana’s Chobe National Park, named after the Chobe River, consists of Ngwenzumba Pans, Linyanti, Savute and Serondela. These areas have their own booming ecosystems, with sandy terrain, lush floodplains, dense mopane tree forests and vast broadleaf woodlands. Chobe accommodations include unfenced camping, tented camps and luxury lodges. River boat cruises and game drives are popular safari activities.
Still feeling unsure about your African safari destination? Contact our safari specialists for more info on the best game reserves and game parks in Africa. We can offer expert advice and even help plan your trip!