5 July 2012 by Alex Stewart
Nothing gets the spine tingling more than the smouldering gaze of a lioness; nothing pulls on the heart strings like the first unsteady steps of a baby giraffe or gets the blood pumping as much as the scuffle of hoofs and the clouds of dust of the great wildebeest migration.
If you are a wildlife lover, it's hard to beat watching the daily routine of the most powerful animals on the planet. Whether you join a pack of hungry lions searching for an afternoon snack, marvel at a herd of elephant while away the morning, or race alongside playful impala as they bound and leap over the parched landscape, an African safari will leave you with lifelong memories.
Most people imagine endless plains covered with big game when they think of wildlife in Africa. But the quintessential savannah of the Serengeti and Masai Mara is just one facet of the continent's rich kaleidoscope of habitats.
Kenya will not disappoint first-time safari-goers. With its long-established safari scene, superb wildlife and options for a range of budgets, Kenya is the perfect place to whet the safari whistle. A good introduction should combine the Masai Mara and Lake Nakuru with somewhere more off the beaten track, such as Laikipia.
If you are looking for diversity, Tanzania should be top of the list. From wildlife-rich game reserves and the snow-capped peak of Kilimanjaro to the coral reefs of Zanzibar, you will never be short of things to explore. In just two weeks you can combine the Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks in the celebrated 'Northern Safari Circuit'.
Zambia, where walking safaris were pioneered, is great for a real 'off-the-beaten-track' adventure. This is the best way to capture the magic of the Luangwa Valley, although it'll require a mini-expedition just to reach the remote Liuwa Plain; but your efforts will be well rewarded. At the end of October the national park is transformed into an oscillating carpet of exhausted creatures as one of the most spectacular events on earth, the great wildebeest migration, reaches its climax. Catch yourself rooting for every exhausted beast that rushes past.
With pixel-popping desert scenery, Namibia is the place for any keen photographer. If you rent a car and combine a few days in Etosha National Park with a visit to the giant red dunes at Sossusvlei and Cape Cross seal colony on the Skeleton Coast, you will be sure to fill many a memory card.
The absence of malaria and the presence of the Cape's family-friendly game reserves makes South Africa the perfect place to head with children in tow. A drive along the Garden Route towards game reserves such as Kwandwe comes highly recommended and will leave you and your kids wide-eyed and full of exciting tales.
These are of course just a handful of the options available to the safari or wildlife enthusiast and there are also great options in Botswana and Madagascar for instance. Regardless of whether you're a wildlife enthusiast, travel addict or lover of once-in-a-lifetime experiences, an African safari is guaranteed to be life changing and have you coming back time and time again.
To learn more or to start planning your own tailor-made safari, contact us to talk to a Wexas destination or safari specialist.
This guest article was contributed by leading publisher Footprint Travel Guides, who have been producing comprehensive guidebooks to destinations all around the world and providing expert insights into over 150 countries since 1924.
Browse the inspiring pages of their outstanding Footprint Guide to Wildlife Travel and then give us a call once you've wheted your appetite for the wild.