Best Safari in Africa for First-Timers & Something Different

Exploring the African bush is a thrilling and unforgettable experience. The suspense, excitement, and adrenaline of each animal encounter…It’s enough to keep you on the edge of your seat, whether you’re a first-timer or game-viewing regular.

Africa is a hugely popular safari destination, and it’s easy to see why with its diverse habitats and wildlife. But Africa is huge. There are so many countries and safaris to choose from, it may be challenging to figure out where to begin.

In this post, we outline the best safaris in Africa for first-timers and a unique wildlife experience for animal enthusiasts looking for something different.

Planning an African Safari: What to Consider

Game drive vehicle in the bush

Similar to planning any holiday, there are some things you need to look at before selecting your safari trip. Here’s a list of things to consider beforehand:

Plan your vacation in advance

Safaris are in demand. Some destinations require bookings of up to 6 months in advance.

Do your research

Search online for the best options and find out the best time of year to plan an African safari. Safarinear has some excellent recommendations to help you plan your trips. Whether you opt for an adventure in Tanzania or a trip to Kenya.

Your budget will affect your experience

In most cases, the bigger your budget, the better the trip. If you want lavish tents, exclusivity, and spa options, prepare to pay more for these luxuries.

Check if it’s a malaria zone

Ensure you are clued up about malaria. If you want to avoid malaria zones, then plan your trip according to malaria-free countries or low-risk seasons.

Best African Safari Tours for First-Timers

Snoozing lion

For first-timers, it’s difficult to know where to start. Where is the best place to go for your first adventure? Below are two brilliant options for safari beginners.

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Cheetah in a tree

Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest game reserves. It measures 220 miles from top to bottom and 40 miles from east to west. Its vast size accommodates plenty of flora and fauna for eager visitors.

The park offers the self-drive safari option. You can take your own vehicle and explore at your own pace. There are plenty of backroads, loops, and watering holes to navigate. This is perfect if you are staying outside the Kruger Park and have your own vehicle.

Large male kudu

A full day Kruger guided safari experience increases your chances of seeing the notorious Big Five. Game rangers are skilled at tracking wildlife and will take you to the best viewing spots. Since they do the driving and animal spotting, you can sit back and enjoy your surroundings.

For first-timers, the Kruger Park is a natural choice because of its diversity of wildlife. Newcomers will have the opportunity to see the Big Five (with both white and black rhinos), cheetah, wild dogs, different buck, herbivores, over 500 bird species, and spectacular plant life.

The Kruger offers a range of accommodation from camping sites to luxury lodges, so it’s an ideal choice for any budget size.

Masai Mara, Kenya

Game drive trail and cloudy sky

The Masai Mara National Park is a neighbor to the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania – famous for the Great Wildebeest Migration. Because of its unfenced boundary, this park offers incredible sightings of the migration – one of the world’s most spectacular wonders.

The Great Migration refers to the significant circular movement of over a million wildebeest searching for grasslands between Kenya and Tanzania. These wildebeest flood into Masai Mara, which in turn, attracts a variety of predators.

As a result, the park has become a top destination for big cats like cheetah, lion, and leopard. These cats are joined by other notable animals, like elephants, buffalo, and giraffe.

Wildebeest grazing by game drive vehicle

Masai Mara is a top safari destination for first-timers because its game viewing is excellent all year round. It has a temperate climate and varied habitats, similar to the Kruger.

One of the best ways to discover the Masai Mara Park is to spend a few days there. Book a three-day African safari tour, and you’ll enjoy:

  • Breath-taking views in Great Rift Valley
  • Guided game drives in the park
  • Fully-equipped tented accommodation
  • Picnics in the reserve
  • Tranquil scenes from the Mara River
  • Optional: Hot-air balloon safari

Best African Safari Holiday for Something Different

Mists hanging over a rainforest

For safari veterans, the Kruger Park and Masai Mara Reserve may have lost their novelty. In fact, the Big Five may have even lost their attraction and challenge. In this case, you may want to shake things up and embark on a different sort of safari.

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

This National Park is dominated by the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated in southwestern Uganda along the Democratic Republic of Congo border.

Located in deep Africa, this biologically-rich park offers safari enthusiasts the opportunity to get up close with a species just as formidable as the Big Five: the mountain gorilla. The Bwindi Park protects approximately half of the world’s population of this species.

Gorilla leaning backwards in a forest

Most people think of the African bush when they think of safaris. Bwindi National Park offers a refreshing change to the traditional safari. Instead of the bush, it offers thick rainforest and unique, unusual animals.

Taking a guided tour increases your chances of seeing gorillas in the wild. Book a three-day gorilla trek safari to experience these impressive animals in their natural surroundings. This African tour includes:

  • A stop at the Equator
  • Views of Lake Bunyonyi
  • Lodging, meals, and transport included
  • A gorilla safari

The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park definitely deserves a spot on your bucket list.

Final Thoughts on African Safari Holidays

Man and woman on a game drive

Wildlife fans have a huge variety of destinations from which to choose from.

One look at the Great Migration in Masai Mara will have you excitedly planning your next trip in no time. If spotting the Big Five is your chief aim, then Kruger Park is arguably the best safari in Africa for first-timers.

Safari regulars will find the Bwindi Impenetrable National Park to be a refreshing change of pace when they experience a gorilla trek for the first time.

Whether it’s your first time or next time, there is a safari vacation for you. Search Safarinear to find the best one.

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