From gorillas to the great wildebeest migration and Victoria Falls. Where, when and how.
Africa is a lot bigger than Europe and it’s packed with amazing experiences and wildlife. But they’re not all found in the same place. You can’t see all of Europe in a single holiday, nor can you experience everything in Africa in one trip.
Know where and when to find your dream experiences, so you can make the African holiday of your imagination.
Rwanda and Uganda, June to March
Wild mountain gorillas only live in two places. Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda and Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda. Gorilla trekking is the wildest and most intimate experience of all.
We prefer Rwanda, because the logistics are easier and the lodges are better, like Bisate Lodge and One&Only Gorilla’s Nest. The actual gorilla trekking experience is similar in both countries and is possible all year around. However, April and May are the height of the rainy season and best avoided.
The Great Wildebeest Migration
Tanzania and Kenya, year around (depends on the exact location)
2 million mammals migrate from the Serengeti in Tanzania to the Masai Mara in Kenya. It’s actually one unfenced ecosystem, with an unmarked border between the two countries. Despite a popular myth, the wildebeest migration is a continuous, year-round phenomenon so you can see it during any month. But it moves to different places – hey, it’s a migration! – through the year.
- January to March – Southeastern Serengeti. Great for predator action as it’s when the wildebeest have their calves.
- April to June – Central, western and northern Serengeti. Great for seeing huge herds on the move.
- July to September – Masai Mara in Kenya. Time for the famous river crossings.
- October to December – Eastern Serengeti. Good for an off-season, exclusive experience.
Big Five Safari
Tanzania, Kenya, South Africa, year around
The big five safari animals are lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. So called because these five fought back when they were hunted. Elephants, lions and buffalo are common sightings in most of Africa’s good safari destinations.
Rhinos are endangered, especially black rhinos. Leopards are secretive and elusive. So there are not too many places where you’ll easily encounter all five.
Many small fenced reserves have all five but they’re only one step above a zoo. Our favourite suggestions are big wilderness areas, like the Sabi Sands in South Africa, Loisaba in Kenya, and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.
Massive Congregations of the Biggest Animals
Don’t worry if you miss one of the five. Instead, imagine what it’s like to encounter hundreds or thousands of Africa’s biggest animals. To be surrounded by such wildlife is mind boggling, an experience far beyond ticking animals off a list.
- Around 100,000 elephants congregate in Chobe in Botswana, around June to September.
- Tarangire in Tanzania also has insane elephant numbers.
- Sabi Sands in South Africa has an incredible abundance of leopards. Here the safari is best from June to October.
- Botswana’s Okavango Delta sees daily battles between big lion prides and buffalo herds. The dry season of June to September is the best time to go.
- Chimpanzee trekking is possible in Tanzania, Uganda and Nyungwe Forest in Rwanda, all year except the rainy months of April and May.
- For rhinos try Ol Pejeta in Kenya, where you can encounter both black and white rhinos together.
Hot Air Balloon Safari
Hot air balloon safaris are possible across Africa but the most famous places are the Masai Mara and Serengeti. Here you balloon across the grasslands. Perhaps the most interesting of all is ballooning above the Okavango Delta, a seasonal oasis of floodplains, islands and animals.
Famous African Landscapes & People
Mount Kilimanjaro is in northern Tanzania, close to the Serengeti and an international airport.
The Okavango Delta is in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. For big sand dunes and desert experiences travel to Namibia.
Victoria Falls is on the border of Zimbabwe and Zambia.
Cape Town is on the tip of Africa, as far from Europe as you can travel.
Most Exclusive Luxury Safaris
The very best safaris are in private concessions, sometimes known as private reserves. These are large, unfenced wilderness areas that share a boundary with the better known national parks. Anybody who pays the conservation fee can visit a national park. Access to private concessions is restricted to people staying at one of its lodges or camps. So there are far fewer other people.
There are fewer restrictions on activities as well. So you can really be exclusive, by walking and horseback riding in elephant country. And doing nighttime game drives. These concessions are also home to Africa’s best safari lodges.
- Linyanti in northern Botswana
- Sabi Sabi and Londolozi in South Africa
- The Mara Conservancy and Olare Motorogi Conservancy are private parts of the Masai Mara ecosystem in Kenya.
Your African Holiday
So where do you want to go in Africa? What do you want to experience?
We’ll make it easy and comfortable to have the wild African holiday of your imagination.