This is probably the question I get asked most, swiftly followed by ‘and at what time of the year?’
The truth is, it depends on what you want from your safari, when you are able to go, and inevitably, how much money you want to spend. The answer will be different if you’ve been on safari before, and whether you want to combine a safari with other areas and activities – the coast or Victoria Falls for instance.
But if the safari is the prime driver, to me there are two countries that stand out above all others: Tanzania and Botswana. Yes, if you want mountain gorillas you must go to either Uganda or Rwanda, if you want vineyards or cage diving with great white sharks head for South Africa, for game walks and great chances of good leopard sightings Zambia is renowned and for spectacular desert scenery try Namibia, but for the whole safari experince I believe Botswana and Tanzania have the edge.
Botswana offers great predator viewing, including good chances for the endangered wild dog, huge numbers of elephants, varied safari activities and a pristine safari experience. You can take game drives, including night drives in some areas, boat trips on the Chobe, Kwando and Linyanti Riverr, dug-out canoes in the Okavango Delta, and experience game walks in many areas. It can also be combined easily with the fantastic Victoria Falls and South Africa. Good infrastructure and mainly small, high quality camps, easily accessed by light aircraft make for no long drives and safaris easily arranged for as few as two people. Botswana is at its best, (with high prices to match) during the dry season from June to October.
Tanzania on the other hand has the greatest density of large animals probably anywhere on earth; this is the country to see the huge herds of migrating wildebeest, zebra and gazelle, which in turn attract many predators particularly lion, cheetah, leopard, hyena and jackal. The scenery of northern Tanzania is also hugely varied, from the bulks of Mts Kilimanjaro and Meru, across the Masai Steppe into the Rift Valley, over the Ngorongoro Crater Highlands and down onto the Serengeti Plains, and driving one way of this circuit gives a great insight into the country and its people.
There’s no doubt though that Tanzania is becoming a more popular destination, so if you want to get away from the bulk of other visitors, and experience the magnificent wildlife, scenery and cultures of Tanzania in the best way, you need to plan your safari right. Tanzania is at its best from December to March and from the end of May to October, but the recommended itinerary will be very different depending on the time of the year.
For more help on planning your personal, perfect safari, get in touch at:
For more information on the major wildlife areas on Tanzania and Botswana see: www.journeyintoafrica.com