The Different Types Of African Safaris for 2024-2025

The Different Types Of African Safaris: Game drives, Walking safaris, Cycling safaris, Horse-riding safaris, Boat safaris/Canoe Safaris, Balloon safaris.

When contemplating a safari, one’s mind is likely to conjure an image of a robust 4×4 Jeep traversing a parched African thoroughfare, accompanied by a group of enthusiastic passengers intently observing their surroundings via the vehicle’s windows, excitedly anticipating the sighting of the next wildlife specimen. Although this particular form of safari is widely popular and has numerous advantages, it is important to consider and explore alternative styles that also hold significant value.

Africa is home to a multitude of exceptional parks and reserves that are renowned on a global scale. Indeed, a significant number of them establish the standard for defining the concept of being truly ‘world-class’!

The diversity of fauna and scenery encompassed within these parks is extensive, fulfilling a wide range of preferences and expectations. The discussion pertains to the Big Five, as well as other popular wildlife species such as giraffes, hippos, and cheetahs, in addition to the Great Wildlife Migration. Additionally, we are discussing the presence of concealed crocodiles and hippos in rivers, wetlands teeming with avian species, and salt pans adorned with various animals. Furthermore, we are discussing extraordinary geological structures such as immense anthills interspersed with nests of bee-eaters, meandering river channels abundant with avian species, and riverbanks densely populated with dehydrated antelopes and elephants.

Types of African Safaris

Game drives

You Won’t Believe What Happened on our Tanzania Safari (Ngorongoro Crater)

Game drives provide an opportunity to traverse expansive regions and observe a diverse array of species in a secure and controlled environment. It is an exceptional adventure, which, when undertaken responsibly, contributes to the promotion of wildlife conservation.

The game drive is highly regarded as an exceptional method for observing the diverse array of wildlife inhabiting the African continent.

Best parks for game drives

Reducing the selection of African parks to a limited number proves to be a challenging task due to the vast number of parks available, each possessing unique and remarkable attributes. With that being stated, presented below are only a limited number of parks abundantly populated with diverse species that we regard as exceptional locations for engaging in game drives.

  • Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is home to the Big Five and has wild beauty that can’t be found anywhere else. You see so much wildlife in one drive that you feel spoiled.
  • In Zambia, Liuwa Plains National Park is far away, quiet, and clean. It is also full of big game. It is also home to the second biggest migration of wildebeest, after the Serengeti.
  • Kruger National Park is a huge park in South Africa that is home to the Big Five and known for having a lot of different kinds of wildlife.
  • Etosha National Park in Namibia is a great place to see a lot of animals. The huge salt pan, which is a sight in and of itself, exposes the animals to safari-goers’ eager eyes.

While nothing beats a classic game drive, there are many other exciting safari options to choose. Now, therefore, let’s have a look at these alternative types of African safari that we think you’ll appreciate.

Walking safaris

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Many national parks and reserves prohibit visitors from engaging in walking safaris. So, always jump at the chance for a walking safari if one is presented!

You can learn more about the animals and their environment on a walking safari, which is always accompanied by an armed ranger. As well as allowing you to approach the animals on occasion.

On a walking safari, it’s fascinating to hear the ranger explain how they keep track of wildlife by examining spoors (animal footprints), droppings, broken branches, and nests.

You can have a walking safari through more rocky, forested terrain in addition to the typical savannah, shrub, and grassland environments. Gorilla and chimpanzee treks stand out among these kinds of walking safaris since they involve taking a guided trip through the animals’ native habitat.

Examples of great walking safaris

Some of the best national parks for walking safaris are:

  • When it comes to walking safaris, one of the best places in the world is Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. You can go on daylong walking safaris or shorter nature hikes led by knowledgeable guides and rangers.
  • South Africa’s Kruger National Park provides excellent opportunities for both short and extended walking safaris. A walking safari in the land of the Big Five is an adventure you won’t soon forget.
  • You can get up close and personal with chimpanzees and 12 other primates, such as red colobuses, Uganda mangabeys, and l’Hoest’s monkeys, during a chimpanzee hike in Uganda’s Kibale National Park.
  • Mountain gorillas can be seen in their natural habitat in Rwanda and Uganda by trekking through tough, isolated forests. Many people have “walking safaris” on their wish lists because of how unusual they are.

Cycling safaris

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From leisurely flat rides across the savannah and grasslands to more strenuous rides in the hills and mountains, Africa offers a wide variety of terrain for cyclists on safari. The lowland parks are the best bet if you want to see the Big Five of Africa: elephants, giraffes, zebras, and antelopes. However, hillier regions are the best bet if you want to view many primate species.

Some varied cycling safaris in Africa

Again, there are too many incredible options for bicycle tours around Africa to list them all. Here are just a few of our favorite things to do at national parks.

  • Tanzania’s Lake Manyara National Park has some of the best cycling in the world along the Great Rift Escarpment. There are large elephant herds and much larger flamingo flocks in the lake, all of which may be seen from here.
  • There are giraffes, elephants, Masai giraffes, hippos, and a variety of antelopes to see as you ride your bike across the grasslands and marshes of Amboseli National Park in southern Kenya. And the magnificent Kilimanjaro stands as a fitting backdrop.
  • You can go on a fantastic cycling safari in Mount Elgon National Park in eastern Uganda if you’re an experienced mountain biker and want to see some of the area’s primates, such as the red-tailed monkeys, black and white colobuses, and De Brazza’s monkeys, as well as some of the park’s incredible birdlife, like the great blue turaco.

The parks and reserves that provide bicycle safaris also typically have walking safaris, so there are usually multiple ways to experience the local flora and fauna.

Horse-riding safaris

Some African game parks also provide wonderful horse-riding safaris, also known as equestrian safaris in the United States. Not many parks provide this service, but if it’s something that interests you, make sure to ask about it. A private reserve offers better opportunities for such a safari than a national park.

You can see more of the landscape and move around more freely on horseback, making it ideal for wildlife observation. And if you’re a horse fan, you can combine your passion of animals with some quality time with a horse.

Safaris on horseback might be as short as a few hours or as long as many days, with guests sleeping in fly camps.

Great horse-riding safaris

Some great examples of horse-riding safaris are:

  • You can go on a quick horseback safari at Uganda’s Lake Mburo National Park. A guided safari in the hills can last anything from two to five hours. Not only can you go on a horseback safari here, but you can also go on wildlife drives, night safaris, walking safaris, birding walks with a ranger, and even lake safaris in a boat!
  • A multiday horseback safari across Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, following the Great Migration’s herds of animals, is an unforgettable experience. To witness a wide variety of species, including predators like lions, you should follow the migration.

Boat safaris

My Botswana bucket list trip | Black-Owned Luxury Safari | Okavango Delta

We’ve found that boat safaris are a lot of fun. gaining out on the lake, in any kind of boat, and gaining a new perspective on the animals is a treat. It’s also a great way to get up close and personal with animals like hippos, crocodiles, and elephants (who enjoy being wet).

A safari by boat or canoe is a serene and fascinating way to explore the park’s wildlife.

Fantastic boat safaris

Many of Africa’s marshes, deltas, channels, and rivers all provide opportunities for boat safaris. Here are some excellent examples:

  • An Okavango Delta boat ride during the rainy season is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. Elephants, rhinoceroses, crocodiles, baboons, and waterbirds await you as you make your way through twisting rivers and into lagoons.
  • South Africa’s iSimangaliso Wetland Park is beautiful, and it’s possible to see big game including hippos, crocodiles, elephants, black and white rhinoceros, wild bush pigs, and buffalos on cruises through the park.
  • Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda is home to a number of animals, including hippos, Nile crocodiles, waterbirds, elephants, and other game that frequent the water for drinking and wallows.
  • Canoeing along the Zambezi River in Zambia in search of wildlife including elephants, kudus, zebras, and crocodiles is an experience of a lifetime. Canoeing is possible on the river and its tributaries both above and downstream of the breathtaking Victoria Falls.

Balloon safaris

Kenya: Hot air balloon safari over Masai Mara

Safaris in hot air balloons are an amazing experience, albeit a splurge. Even though you can’t go too near to the wildlife, the panoramic view from above is stunning. You might gain a new perspective on the area and the abundance and behavior patterns of the local wildlife.

To witness the vast herds of wildebeests, zebras, and antelopes that stretch for kilometers across the landscape during the Great Wildlife Migration, for example, a hot air balloon journey over the Serengeti is a sublime experience.

Incorporating a hot air balloon ride into a traditional safari is the icing on the cake.

Balloon safari spots

Two very special sites for balloon safaris include:

  • The Great Migration is the largest land-based migration in the world, and it is best appreciated from a hot air balloon floating above the Serengeti. This is possible in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park. Masai Mara National Reserve in Kenya is another option during the appropriate times of year.
  • The Okavango Delta in Botswana is the perfect setting for a balloon safari. Elephants, cheetahs, rhinos, crocodiles, and baboons are just some of the animals that can be spotted traversing the delta’s seasonally lush terrain when it is flooded.

Depending on where you go and when you go, it is possible to incorporate all of these thrilling pursuits into a classic safari. If you want to explore Africa from a new angle, discuss the possibility of adding a hot air balloon ride or a canoe trip with your Safari Expert.

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