When planning a safari in Africa, your chosen destination will be influenced by which region you are likely to encounter the widest variety of wildlife. There are a number of reserves where you stand a greater chance of sighting the Big 5, or, the leopards, lions, buffalo, elephants, and rhinoceroses native to the continent. Here are the best African regions to see the Big 5.
Africa’s southernmost country is synonymous with safaris and the Kruger National Park is one of the leading locations for wildlife watching. Situated in the northeastern point, this ginormous space covers 7,576 square miles (19,623 km2). Besides the iconic Big 5, the park is the habitat of a grand total of 507 species of birds, 336 types of trees, 147 mammals, 114 reptiles, 49 fish, and 34 amphibians. The premises comprise lodges and game viewing safaris that cater to families, couples, and luxury seekers.
Significantly smaller at 250 square miles (650 km2), the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve is located south of Kruger and shares a border with the park. Despite its humble size, the park features the highest density of Big 5 in South Africa and is one of the most luxurious African safari destinations. Furthermore, you can look out for cheetahs, giraffes, hippopotamuses, and Cape wild dogs.
Heading north, we come to Botswana and the Moremi Game Reserve. Named in honor of the Batawana tribe members, Chief Moremi III and his wife, the region lies on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta and covers 1,900 square miles (5,000 km2). The landscape of the park combines acacia forests, mopane woodland, floodplains, lagoons, and papyrus rivers to create a unique experience. Accommodation options span rustic safari tends through to deluxe chalets and ‘skybeds’ where in place of a traditional blanket you will sleep beneath a quilt of stars.
Occupying 5,700 square miles (14,763 km2), the Serengeti National Park is a World Heritage Site and a major destination for witnessing the Great Migration. Every year, a herd of around 2 million wildebeest trek around 497 miles (800 km) through the park towards the Maasai Mara in Kenya. In addition to the Big 5 and the Great Migration, the Serengeti National Park is also home to hippos, crocodiles, cheetahs, and zebras. Camps and lodges cater to all travel styles and budgets.
Picking up where the Serengeti’s border concludes, Kenya’s Maasai Mara National Reserve is one further place where you can see the Big 5 as well as the Great Migration. The park is named with respect to the native Maasai tribe while ‘mara’ symbolizes the numerous trees that stud the 580 square miles (1,510 km2) of the landscape. Alongside the Big 5, Maasai Mara contains the highest number of black rhinoceroses in Africa. Jeep safaris, walking tours, and hot air balloon rides are the three most popular ways to discover this reserve.
If you would like to find out more about planning a safari vacation in one of these five regions, please sign up for my virtual presentation on the African Safari. This unique event is scheduled for Thursday, August 12th at 5:00 pm, and it is free to attend.
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