Where to Find the Top Ten Parks in Africa
The highlights of any African holiday are unforgettable wilderness experiences in the very best national parks for African safaris. From Kruger National Park in the south to Lake Nakuru up north, read all about our hand-picked list of the top ten national parks in Africa. Combine a few thrilling destinations in tailor-made tours to suit your budget and time frame and we will customize the itinerary to please your travel group. Get ready for your once-in-a-lifetime safari and know when to go, what to pack and where to find the top ten parks in Africa.
Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve, Kruger, South Africa
The Kruger National Park in South Africa is a veritable sanctuary for all things living, mixed habitats hosting diverse wildlife in a vast region. Private game reserves on the border of Kruger have dropped their fences to extend the wildlife territory and one of them is the renowned Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve. Here aspirant Big 5 seekers will find Mala Mala, Londolozi and Singita private luxury lodges, to name but a few. The Sabi Sands was once a farming region whose landowners agreed to form the conservation area in 1934. Today, this private reserve shares a 50 km unfenced boundary with Kruger and extends a vast 65,000 ha. Guests are privileged to drive off-road on safari to track the Big 5 and other rare and exciting animals. Sabi Sands offers better leopard sightings than anywhere else in Africa and boasts a choice of uber-luxury lodges and camps dedicated to conservation and ecotourism.
Recommended lodge: Londolozi Varty Camp
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Hwange National Park (formerly Wankie Game Reserve) is the largest natural reserve in Zimbabwe, stretching a vast 14,600 square km in area – and it’s easy to get to, just off the main road between Bulawayo and Victoria Falls. It’s close to the edge of the Kalahari desert, a dry region dominated by gorgeous Zambezi Teak trees, mopane woodland, seasonal wetlands and grasslands. Not only does the Park host more than 100 mammal and 400 bird species, but so too does it contain all of Zimbabwe’s specially protected species. See gemsbok, elephants and brown hyenas while the African wild dog population in Hwange is thought to be one of the larger surviving groups in Africa today. Stay in decent safari camps offering game drives and exciting wilderness trails.
Recommended lodge: Khulu Bush Camp
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
For a wildly unexpected adventure in Africa, South Luangwa National Park is a walking trail highlight on your bucket list. For prime game viewing in a vast passionately conserved landscape, look no further than the uncrowded camps in South Luangwa, Zambia. The strongly flowing Luangwa River forms one boundary, the lifeblood for the nearly 10 000 square km region. Look out for 60 different animal species and 400 bird species, but sadly, the rhino is no more. Visitors seek the secretive leopard and African wild dog here while elephant herds are common, kudu, bushbuck and Zambia’s very own Crawshay’s zebra herds. An astonishing variety of 400 bird species, and 39 different raptors delight all walking safari participants. Stunning pioneering bush camps made for walking safaris dominate this inspiring park.
Recommended lodge: Kafunta River Lodge
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The compelling Serengeti is synonymous with the Great Annual Wildebeest Migration and is one of Africa’s most popular safari destinations. Luxury safari lodges and camps cater for privileged tourists who are driven to see the Big 5 as part of extended tours into Kenya and Botswana. These visitors say a few days to witness the spectacle of some 2 million wildebeest stampeding across huge open plains in search of food and water. Game rangers and local trackers share their innate knowledge of the biodiversity and conservation ethos in this famous UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the mind-blowing Natural Wonders of the World. The name “Serengeti” is derived from the Maasai word siringet, meaning “the place where the land runs on forever”. Extreme weather conditions haunt the land, especially the epic blend of heat and wind and it is thought that ancient volcanoes transformed these diverse habitats.
Recommended lodge: Serengeti Pioneer Lodge
Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya
Africa’s best-known and most traversed private game reserve, the famous Masi Mara in Kenya is a wildlife fantasy and dream destination for all safari lovers. Rather than being a national park, it’s a famed national reserve that belongs to the Maasai people and is managed by local county councils. This enormous haven of biodiversity harbors nearly 100 mammal species and more than 570 bird species, including colorful predators feeding off the millions of wildebeest and zebra which join the great migration every year. Tourists flock here to witness the epitome of Africa in the endless grasslands, starkly standing acacia trees and rich wildlife sightings. They want to meet real Maasai warriors and see how their cattle merge with the wildlife on the edges of the reserve. Hundreds of majestic big-maned lions, splendid leopards, sprinting cheetahs and spotted hyenas all compete for prey.
Recommended lodge: Elephant Pepper Camp
Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana
Moremi Game Reserve is one of those top safari destinations adjacent to the Okavango Delta that you don’t want to miss. A pristine region of open grasslands, magnificent floodplains and wetlands and endless blue skies, the Moremi offers shady islands, tranquil lagoons and so much wildlife it will leave you stunned. Visiting the Moremi can best be enjoyed as a self-drive tour or a fly-in experience to see white and black rhinos, leopards, African wild dogs and water-adapted antelope such as the striking red lechwe and semi-aquatic sitatunga. Drive into the heart of Moremi at Mboma Island, Third Bridge and Xakanaxa to experience the grasslands meeting the delta in an explosion of sounds, colors, textures and fragrances. Chief’s Island is more select with its upmarket lodges and elite clientele flying in and out but it is equally splendid on the eye.
Recommended lodge: Sable Alley Camp
Etosha National Park, Namibia
There is something enticing about Etosha National Park in Namibia, a dry and open landscape fringed with lush bushveld areas and plenty of private lodges accommodating global tourists on life-changing safaris in Africa. The enormous salt pan is a magnet for wildlife therefore one of the best spots to see the Big 5 and plenty of other mammals and reptiles, birds and rodents. Not only is Etosha very easy to get to on good roads, but so too is it a malaria-free safari destination, adding enormous value for tourists and locals alike. Rest camps provide a range of accommodation as well as restaurants, viewing decks, shops and petrol stations. Etosha may not offer as much wealth of wildlife as Tanzania or Kenya, but its active waterholes reveal close-up game viewing of diverse wildlife day and night. Etosha actually means ‘Great White Place’ in the Ovambo language (after the salt pan) and the original Etosha was the largest national park in the world.
Recommended lodge: Ongava Tented Camp
Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique
The astonishing Gorongosa National Park in Mozambique is the latest go-to wildlife conservation destination in Africa. Surrounded by mainstream East African safari destinations, Mozambique’s flagship national park breaks away from the mass tourism model to offer responsible tourists their first real in-depth, ecotourism escapade in a reserve that took 35 years to rebuild. Wildlife rangers and tour guides give guests the best safari experience they could wish for, showing them anti-poaching benefits, wildlife sightings galore and community-driven projects on Mount Gorongosa. The rare Mount Gorongosa pygmy chameleon (Rhampholeon gorongosae) is found only in the forests here. The Park lies in the heart of the country, a refuge for spectacular wildlife, diverse habitats and scientific discoveries. A pack of painted wolves (African wild dogs) released here in 2018 has grown to over 40 wild dogs roaming the Park.
Recommended lodge: Muzimu Tented Camp
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP), Uganda
The Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (BINP) is part of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and is situated along the (DRC) border next to the Virunga National Park on the edge of the Albertine Rift. Only accessible on foot, this 321 square km indigenous forest zone is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The park is most notable for the 400 Bwindi gorillas, half of the world’s population of endangered mountain gorillas, and is a sanctuary for colobus monkeys, chimpanzees, and many birds such as hornbills and turacos. From the forests to the banana, tea and coffee plantations, green is definitely the dominant color in Uganda! Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is home to over 1000 species of plants and 200 different types of trees. Many are endemic to the region.
Recommended lodge: Chameleon Hill Lodge
Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi
Majete Wildlife Reserve was mostly an unknown reserve in Malawi before 2003 when African Parks took it over – wildlife had been hunted out and the park was barren. Soon, a collaborative team founded a great relationship with local communities and animal relocations began – rhinos and elephants in 2006, lions in 2012, giraffes in 2018, cheetahs in 2019, and wild dogs in 2021. As a result, wildlife numbers grew meaningfully and by 2016, Majete was stocking wildlife in other parks in Malawi! Today, Majete Wildlife Reserve is a haven of biodiversity, excellent game viewing, wonderful wildlife activities and safari accommodations. Local people are being supported through ecotourism initiatives to benefit conservation and people.
Recommended lodge: Mkulumadzi Lodge
Plan a trip to Africa based on our top ten national parks for an African safari, from Kruger in South Africa and Etosha in Namibia to the famous Serengeti and Masai Mara in Tanzania and Kenya. The choice is yours and we can customize your combo tour overland to several thrilling game viewing and bush-walking safari destinations.