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African safaris, journeys into mysterious, wild and romantic Africa. Nowadays these words prickle the imagination, associating with images of enormous herds of Elephants, buffalo, wildebeest (gnu) and zebra thundering across vast sweeping savanna's, hunted by Lion, Leopard and hyena. Pure magic in the ever present glorious African sunshine.


Compare and choose from 3979 safari tours, 1388 safari tour operators, top 8 safari countries and 140 parks & reserves, to find the best African safari tailored to your needs, preferences and budget. Wait until you have spent your first day in the unspoiled wilderness under the hot blue skies of our African continent. You cannot help but fall in love with Africa.

The most popular safari countries for a great safari experience are Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda in the Eastern Africa region, and South Africa, Botswana, Zambia and Namibia in the Southern Africa region.

An African Safari can be experienced in many ways, from low budget backpacking, self driving a 4x4 vehicle and organized lodge or tent based safaris, to a fly-in safari and a stay in a luxury private lodge where you will be pampered like a king.

There are many types of Safaris, like for instance honeymoon safaris, canoeing safaris, elephant back safaris, walking safaris and adventure safaris, to name but a few. Whatever your choice, your journey into Africa will be one of your greatest adventures ever.

Use the menu below to learn all about African safaris and how to find the one that best suits your interests, preferences and budget

Find the best African Safari

Find the best safari tour to suit your interests, preferences and budget by comparing 4600+ African safari tours, 1600+ specialized safari tour operators, the top 8 African safari countries and 140+ wildlife parks and reserves on THE online resource for planning a safari.

African safaris, yesterday, today and tomorrow

A journey on foot (nowadays in a game drive vehicle) over a long distance, through the African wilderness. That is the essence of the meaning of the word Safari, Swahili language for the word "journey". It was derived from the Arab words "Safariya", meaning "journey" and "Safara", meaning "to travel".

Swahili is an African language spoken by the people inhabiting central Africa, the regions around the great lakes and parts of south-east Africa, including Kenya, Tanzania, Burundi, Rwanda, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Mozambique

The origin of the word Safari is in actual fact Arabian, coming from the Arab slavers, ivory hunters and traders who were the first ones to traverse Central and Eastern Africa extensively on large expeditions (safaris) in pursuit of riches.

To them A "Safariya" was a major and costly undertaking and in those days such an expedition could number many hundreds and sometimes even thousands of people, including large numbers of oxen and mules carrying many tons of goods.

A lonely Elephant wandering in the night. Elephants are the largest mammals living on land in the world. There are two species, the African elephant which is found in Africa south of the Sahara and the Asian elephant that is found in China, India, Sri Lanka and much of south-east Asia. The lone Elephant in this picture is of the African species and most probably a male. The females and their calves live in family groups whereas the males leave the groups when they reach puberty to live alone or sometimes with other males.
Elephant wandering in the night
copyright © South African tourism
Elephant wandering in the night A lonely Elephant wandering in the night. Elephants are the largest mammals living on land in the world. There are two species, the African elephant which is found in Africa south of the Sahara and the Asian elephant that is found in China, India, Sri Lanka and much of south-east Asia. The lone Elephant in this picture is of the African species and most probably a male. The females and their calves live in family groups whereas the males leave the groups when they reach puberty to live alone or sometimes with other males.
copyright © South African tourism

After the slave and ivory traders came the era of the discoverers and their epic exploration expeditions (safaris) unlocking the mysteries and secrets of central Africa, all conducted on foot, many of them taking years to complete. Who has not heard of the great Scottish discoverer and missionary Dr. David Livingstone who, in the 1800's, explored the African interior for more than 30 years.

With the unlocking of the African interior following the slavery and exploration era's, came a new type of safari, the hunting safari. Where initially hunting was just a way and a means to put food on the table for the safari members, it did not take long for people to start looking upon killing wild animals as an adventure and a sport.

And so the hunting safaris came into being with large numbers of trophy hunters killing off huge numbers animals just for pleasure and enjoyment, thereby decimating the wildlife population of central and southern Africa, in many cases even close to extinction.

Fortunately things have changed. Society has changed. And so people have changed, including also in the way they look at the environment and its conservation. And so again a new type of safari. They still involve journeys into the African wilderness, but this time it is a different story. Gone are the days of slavery and ivory trade, gone are the days of mass destruction of Africa's wildlife.

Blue wildebeest (Gnu's) on the African savanna. The two species of Wildebeest, also called Gnu's, are the Blue Wildebeest and the Black Wildebeest. Inhabiting the open woodlands and plains, the Blue Wildebeest is the bigger and more common one and can be found in eastern and southern Africa. It can easily be recognized by its horns curving downwards and then upwards and also the dark grey color with the characteristic stripes and often a bluish sheen. The Black Wildebeest is endemic to the southernmost parts of the African continent, which includes South Africa specifically. Its horns are curving forward, then downward and ending in a curve upwards at the tips. This black species is brown-colored, has a cream-colored tail and carries a mane ranging in color from cream to black. The animals in the picture are clearly of the Blue Wildebeest species.
Blue wildebeest (gnu) on the African savannah
copyright © South African tourism
Blue wildebeest (gnu) on the African savannah Blue wildebeest (Gnu's) on the African savanna. The two species of Wildebeest, also called Gnu's, are the Blue Wildebeest and the Black Wildebeest. Inhabiting the open woodlands and plains, the Blue Wildebeest is the bigger and more common one and can be found in eastern and southern Africa. It can easily be recognized by its horns curving downwards and then upwards and also the dark grey color with the characteristic stripes and often a bluish sheen. The Black Wildebeest is endemic to the southernmost parts of the African continent, which includes South Africa specifically. Its horns are curving forward, then downward and ending in a curve upwards at the tips. This black species is brown-colored, has a cream-colored tail and carries a mane ranging in color from cream to black. The animals in the picture are clearly of the Blue Wildebeest species.
copyright © South African tourism

Nowadays we speak of African Safaris that have become extraordinary once in a lifetime travel experiences, exploring and preserving Africa's awesome wildlife, discovering its scenic places and natural wonders, visiting its highlights and world heritage sites, enjoying its local cultures and participating in the adventure and outdoor activities it offers.

Altogether quite overwhelming, so much so that it makes an African Safari more than just a travel experience. Africa's spectacular wildlife, its incredible beauty, its awesome landscapes, its vibrant people and its great sense of mystery and mystique tends to get into your blood.

Wildlife Safaris as we know them today are conducted mostly in eastern and southern Africa. It is in this part of the African continent where most of what is left of its wildlife, especially the Big Five (Lions, Elephants, Rhinos, Leopards and Buffalo's), is to be found.

For more information, such as how to find the best safari, the many different types of safaris, how to plan a safari, what a typical safari day looks like, the best safari country to go to and how to choose and when to go, see the menu above

Picture Gallery

The Lion shown in the picture below is also referred to as the Cape Lion, one of the 8 subspecies recognized today. It can be distinguished by its thick black mane covering the belly and extending behind the shoulders, a tawny colored fame of hair around the face and black ear tips. Together with its huge size of up to 10 feet or 3 meters in length and weight of up to 500 pounds or 230 kilograms, it is truly a sight to be seen. This picture was taken in the Mala Mala Private Game reserve in South Africa, showing one of their game drive vehicles with the game ranger behind the wheel and the tracker up front on top of the bull-bar.
a black mane male lion
copyright © Sabi Sabi game reserve

a black mane male lion
The Lion shown in the picture below is also referred to as the Cape Lion, one of the 8 subspecies recognized today. It can be distinguished by its thick black mane covering the belly and extending behind the shoulders, a tawny colored fame of hair around the face and black ear tips. Together with its huge size of up to 10 feet or 3 meters in length and weight of up to 500 pounds or 230 kilograms, it is truly a sight to be seen. This picture was taken in the Mala Mala Private Game reserve in South Africa, showing one of their game drive vehicles with the game ranger behind the wheel and the tracker up front on top of the bull-bar.
copyright © Sabi Sabi game reserve

A running Herd of Giraffes in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Although there is no particular group alliance, Giraffes can be quite social animals, often gathering together in groups or herds. The males are nomadic and move between groups of females, while the youngsters stay with the females. Currently the Kruger Park is home to a population of around 7,100 Giraffes.
Herd of running Giraffes
copyright © South African tourism

Herd of running Giraffes
A running Herd of Giraffes in the Kruger National Park, South Africa. Although there is no particular group alliance, Giraffes can be quite social animals, often gathering together in groups or herds. The males are nomadic and move between groups of females, while the youngsters stay with the females. Currently the Kruger Park is home to a population of around 7,100 Giraffes.
copyright © South African tourism

A safari game drive vehicle, its occupants observing two Cheetahs in the Sabi Sabi Private Game reserve in South Africa, one on the left of the game drive vehicle and the other one on the left, both of them eying a herd of Zebras in the distance. As prey a Zebra is actually to large for a Cheetah, but there have been exceptions when there were more than one of them combining forces. Maybe the occupants in the vehicle are lucky and is this one of those rare occasions.
Two cheetahs watching a herd of zebra
copyright © Sabi Sabi game reserve

Two cheetahs watching a herd of zebra
A safari game drive vehicle, its occupants observing two Cheetahs in the Sabi Sabi Private Game reserve in South Africa, one on the left of the game drive vehicle and the other one on the left, both of them eying a herd of Zebras in the distance. As prey a Zebra is actually to large for a Cheetah, but there have been exceptions when there were more than one of them combining forces. Maybe the occupants in the vehicle are lucky and is this one of those rare occasions.
copyright © Sabi Sabi game reserve

Herd of Wildebeest (Gnu's) at daybreak. In many people's mind the word wildebeest is easily linked to the word migration, recalling stories and images of the world renown annual Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, There are two species, the blue and the black Wildebeest, with the blue species being the migratory one, whereas the black species is not.
Herd of wildebeest (Gnu's) at daybreak
copyright © South African tourism

Herd of wildebeest (Gnu's) at daybreak
Herd of Wildebeest (Gnu's) at daybreak. In many people's mind the word wildebeest is easily linked to the word migration, recalling stories and images of the world renown annual Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania and the Masai Mara National Park in Kenya, There are two species, the blue and the black Wildebeest, with the blue species being the migratory one, whereas the black species is not.
copyright © South African tourism

Video Gallery

The following video is about the the 8 major safari countries in Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe) with spectacular wildlife encounters and breathless scenic beauty. An African safari is a truly fascinating and adventures experience.


Next, a short video about safari country Botswana. It is a serious contender when it comes to the number one position under the 8 major African safari countries. It is home to the Okavango delta, one of the seven natural wonders of Africa and also the world famous Chobe national park, Moremi game reserve and the Central Kalahari.


The following video shows South Africa as a great destination for a varied holiday. It offers fantastic wildlife viewing, beautiful beaches, trendy cities and much more. It is also one of the top safari destinations with 21 national parks including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park and the the Kruger National Park as its flagship national park with many self-drive and budget options. With the world renown Sabi Sand, Mala Mala and Hluhluwe-Imfolozi game reserves, it is a top safari destination.


Last video is about young adult Australians visiting South Africa on safari and getting to see the Big 5..., watch and listen to their experiences.


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