How Safaris Work

Where are the best places for an African safari and what animals can be seen there?

Each country in Africa offers its own set of exotic beasts and natural wonders. Here's a primer of what you might encounter on safaris in the African countries that are most popular for safari adventures:

  • Kenya -- In the southwest, the Masai Mara National Preserve is a haven for all of the big five animals, and you may see all of them in a single morning. Amboseli National Park has both elephants and spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and Lake Nakuru has flamingos, giraffes and leopards [source: Richards].
  • Tanzania -- This nation's treasure includes the famous Serengeti National Park, where you can see millions of hooved animals -- zebra, antelope, gazelle and wildebeest -- and the Ngorongoro park, located in the crater of an extinct volcano. Another unique attraction is naturalist Jane Goodall's chimpanzee sanctuary in the tiny Gombe Stream National Park near the Burundi border [source: Finke].
  • South Africa -- Most of the large game in South Africa is concentrated in its well-organized national parks, particularly the largest and most famous, Kruger National Park. Kruger's rest camps are built within protected enclosures, its roads are good, and it's easy to tour in a private car as well as in organized groups. South Africa is home to the last substantial populations of black and white rhinos, and also has lesser known animals such as the Kori bustard, the world's largest flying bird [source: Renssen].
  • Swaziland -- This small African monarchy's parks include the Mkhaya Game Reserve, home to black and white rhinos, and Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, one of the few places where you can see wildlife on foot, on horseback and from a bicycle [source: Pinchuck, et al].
  • Botswana -- The Chobe National Park has elephants and a large, lively population of baboons who greet visitors at the park entrance. Gemsbok National Park has the famous black-mane lion and huge herds of gemsbok, a type of horned antelope. The vast Central Kalahari Game Preserve features giraffes, brown hyenas, lions, leopards and cheetahs [source: Main].
  • Zimbabwe -- This nation has spectacular scenery, including the majestic Victoria Falls. But you'll also want to visit Hwange National Park, with its huge elephant herd and 400 bird species [source: Anderson].
  • Zambia -- South Luangwa National Park is a good place to see hippos, while Kafue National Park has large prides of lions [source: Harrison].