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The 10 Best Places for African Safari Tours

Male Lion in Ol Kinyei Conservancy

Created by William Cornwallis Harris during the Victorian era and popularized by authors such as Jules Verne (Five Weeks in a Balloon) and Ernest Hemingway (The Snows of Kilimanjaro), African safaris have existed in some form or fashion for nearly 200 years now. 

Named after the Swahili work for journey, safaris in Africa have evolved over time.

Where once they largely involved hunting and “roughing it” in the wilderness, these days they’re mostly about watching and photographing wildlife.

African safaris come in every level of luxury and budget you can imagine, with dozens of countries offering incredible African safari holidays.

And while wildlife safaris have become a global phenomenon (see: Galapagos Islands, Alaska, Costa Rica, and India), Africa remains among the best continents for nature and wildlife lovers to explore.

Here’s a look at 10 of the best places for African safari tours, from iconic East African countries such as Kenya and Tanzania to up-and-coming ecotourism hotspots like Malawi, Namibia, and Rwanda.


Male Lion in Ol Kinyei Conservancy, Kenya, photo by Bret Love & Mary Gabbett

Best Places for African Safari Tours Guide

(listed alphabetically)

  1. Botswana
  2. Kenya
  3. Malawi
  4. Namibia
  5. Rwanda
  6. South Africa
  7. Tanzania 
  8. Uganda
  9. Zambia
  10. Zimbabwe


Best Canoe Trips in the World: Okavango Delta, Botswana. Photo by Dereck Joubert.
Touring the Okovango Delta by Canoe, photo by Dereck Joubert


People seem surprised when we tell them that Botswana is currently #1 on our African safari bucket list.

But the country’s aggressively forward-thinking approach to wildlife conservation and its unique array of national parks and game reserves make it a haven for nature lovers.

The country’s anti-poaching methods are among the strictest in all of Africa. Botswana banned commercial hunting entirely in 2014, and environmental minister Tshekedi Khama launched an unofficial shoot-to-kill policy for poachers. 

Anti-poaching units are overseen by the government-funded Botswana Defense Force, which means they have more training, weapons, and other resources than APUs in other countries.

And since wildlife management is largely left in the hands of local communities (which provides an alternative source of revenue to poaching), poachers are widely treated as enemies of the people. 

As a result, Botswana has emerged in recent years as one of Africa’s hottest ecotourism destinations. The vast elephant herds of Chobe National Park and canoe-based wildlife safaris in the Okavango Delta are among the…

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