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Safari game drive vehicle driving down road beside herd of zebras

Tips for Planning an African Safari

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Caroline Costello

Caroline Costello's travel accomplishments include surviving a 2 a.m. whitewater rafting excursion in the Canadian wilderness, successfully biking from Dusseldorf to Cologne without a map, and gaining access to a covert pizza speakeasy in New Orleans.

Caroline is an active member of the Society of American Travel Writers (SATW). Her work has appeared on USA Today , the Boston Globe , AOL.com, MSNBC.com, ABC News, TODAY Travel, and CruiseCritic.com, among other publications.

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An African safari is a true adventure—imagine thousands of zebras migrating across emerald grasslands, flocks of florescent flamingos creating a field of color across a shining lake, and lions feasting on a hard-earned kill.

With 54 different countries more than 11 million square miles between them, Africa is a very large and very diverse place. The types of safaris are endless. And while there’s no right way to go on safari (it all comes down to personal preferences), there  is  a lot to consider when it comes to picking out your perfect experience. Here’s how to make the right choice.

Many travelers trek to Africa in search of the “Big Five”: buffalo, lions, leopards, elephants, and rhinoceroses. The chance to get close to these animals in their natural habitats is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but your trip to Africa is anything but a trip to the zoo. Safaris can be physically taxing and strenuous, and you may not see all the animals you expected. Travelers must take certain safety and health precautions. If you’re planning a safari (or just dreaming about it), be as prepared as possible. Get some good guidebooks, talk to friends who’ve been to Africa and research, research, research. We’ve outlined some important African safari tips, from choosing a destination to getting vaccinated, to help you start planning a successful adventure.

Types of Safaris

For the most part, safaris are a costly kind of vacation. But as with any other type of travel, you can tailor your safari to suit your personal budget. The length of your safari will affect its cost—although you may want to cut your trip short to save cash, the longer you stay, the less you will probably pay on a per-night basis. If you’re looking for luxury digs (think private butler or plunge pool) on your safari (or even just hot water and a comfy bed), prepare to pay more. Budget-minded adventurers should seek self-drive or overland safaris (see below) as opposed to all-inclusive package tours—but be prepared to camp in tents or navigate a 4×4 through the African bush. If you’re traveling alone, you’ll probably have to pay a single supplement, as most package pricing is based on double occupancy.

Also don’t be afraid to extend your vacation in Africa to include an island vacation in Zanzibar, a chance to see the thundering Victoria Falls, or discover ancient history in Egypt—many tour operators will offer extension programs to their safari offerings.

Bucket-List Trips to Take in Africa

Luxury Safaris

A luxury safari offered by a well-known tour operator typically costs thousands (sometimes tens of thousands) of dollars per person, per week, with all-inclusive prices covering tours, food, drinks, and excursions. Fully catered luxury packages offer travelers the comforts of home in the wilderness. Accommodations range from air-conditioned suites to stylish tents (you’ll feel almost like you’re camping—aside from the hot running water, rich linens, and first-rate service). Ultra-luxurious safari lodges can cost more than $1,000 a night.

Belmond Safaris offers several luxury safari packages exploring the natural beauty of Botswana. Book a tour with Abercrombie and Kent if you’re looking for a wider range of destinations, including Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia, South Africa, and more. This company has been operating upscale African safari tours since 1962. African Travel, Inc. works in 14 destinations in Africa, the majority of which you can find the Big Five, as well as endangered species. For an affordable luxury safari trip, look towards Lion World Travel ; at a $5,000 price point, you can enjoy luxurious lodges and incredible wildlife experiences.

Overland or Mobile Safaris

Overland (also known as mobile) safaris are generally the cheapest type of organized tour safari. An overland safari will involve campsite accommodations, and you will most likely travel in a group with other travelers. Overland safaris are usually participatory—you may be expected to pitch in with chores such as cooking meals or setting up camp.

Intrepid Travel sells a number of participatory camping safaris, including the Kenya Wildlife Safari with trips to tiny Tanzanian villages, the Masai Mara National Reserve, Lake Nakuru, and more. Tours range from four to eighteen days and can include game drives in Botswana, sliding down sand dunes in Namibia, a visit to the Khama Rhino Sanctuary, among other stops. G Adventures offers similar trips, including coasting along South Africa and trekking Mt. Kilimanjaro.

Acacia Africa is a reputable overland safari provider that offers a variety of affordable packages for different budgets and travel styles.

River Cruise Safaris

A river cruise might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you’re considering a safari, but spotting wildlife along the river banks is an amazing sight to see. The Chobe and Zambezi Rivers in Southern Africa are teeming with wildlife and are home to the largest elephant population on the continent. There are plenty of companies that sail on these rivers, but CroisiEurope’s African Dream boat and Amawaterway’s Zambezi Queen stand out as two of the most luxurious river cruise options in Southern Africa.

5 Reasons to Take This Southern Africa River Cruise

Are you the adventurous sort? Pick a public game park, rent a car and tour the African bush on your own. Since self-drive safaris are only possible in public parks that usually have paved roads and signs, you need not worry about getting lost in the plains of Africa or becoming food for a hungry lion. For the cheapest possible safari, self-drive is your best bet. You can pay for a la carte for meals, tours, and accommodations, enabling you to opt for the most inexpensive lodging you can find or tour the bush on your own instead of hiring a guide.

One potential drawback of a self-drive safari is that without a knowledgeable local guide, you may miss some wildlife. To remedy this problem, read guidebooks on spotting wildlife in your destination, bring a field guide or stop and ask other travelers where they’ve seen the best game (this is easier to do in the popular public parks).

National Parks vs. Game Reserves

Whether you’re selecting a tour guide or planning the trip yourself, you’ll need to get more specific about the type of environment you want for your safari. You can’t just vaguely drive into the wild, so it’s important to know the difference between a national park and a private game reserve.

A national park is landmass protected by the government and can be quite large, like South Africa’s Kruger National Park (which is the size of Israel and has  six different ecosystems ). With a place like this, there’s no way you’ll be able to see it all on a short trip, so you’ll have to do your research to make sure you’ll be visiting the regions of the park that you want to see. The benefit of visiting a landmass of this size is the potential to see large herds of animals in their migration, like the  Great Wildebeest Migration  in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park.

On a private game reserve, the fenced-in land is much smaller than the national parks (though it should still be large enough for the animals to happily roam) and the population is mostly controlled by the owners. For example, the  Karongwe Reserve  offers 21,000 acres of land. Your game drives are included in the price of your lodging, and because the reserve works as one operation, the safari guides communicate with one another about the animals’ whereabouts, ensuring that you’ll see as many animals as possible. Private reserves also do not operate under the same rules as national parks, which means an opportunity to safari in an uncovered vehicle and even stay out past sundown.

Where to Go

Each country in Africa is different. We acknowledge that it is impossible to capture the spirit and culture of an entire country in one paragraph, but below is a brief overview of some popular African safari destinations to get you started. The best and most popular areas in Africa for safaris are East and Southern Africa, which offer vast plains and roaming packs of extraordinary wildlife. We talked to specialists from Lion World Travel, African Travel, Inc., and smarTours for their recommendations and tips.

Kendra Guild, Director of Operations & Product at smarTours breaks down where to go based on what wildlife you want to see: For elephants, head to Chobe National Park in Botswana; for gorillas visit Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda; for lions go to Serengeti in Tanzania; for rhinos go to Hluhluwe-iMfolozi and Kruger National Park in South Africa; and for rare birds, Kruger National Park has the largest and most diverse collection of birds in South Africa.

East Africa

Kenya: Kenya’s most abundant wildlife can be found in the Masai Mara National Reserve (a part of the vast Greater Serengeti), where massive herds of animals make an annual migration across the plains. But beyond Masai Mara and the Serengeti lie plenty of other quality parks with abundances of wildlife, including the soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley and Lake Bogoria, where thousands of colorful flamingos reside. You can also find the “Samburu Special Six” in northern-central Kenya which are Grevy’s zebra, the Somali ostrich, reticulated giraffe, the long-necked gerenuk, Guenther’s dik-dik, and the beisa oryx. Though Kenya is one of the more popular safari destinations, still be sure to check State Department advisories before planning a trip to Kenya or any country.

Tanzania: Like Kenya, Tanzania houses part of the Serengeti National Park—the best park in which to see great herds of wildlife in Africa. Other noteworthy sites include Mount Kilimanjaro; marine parks off the coast; and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, site of the Ngorongoro Crater and Oldupai Gorge (also known as the Cradle of Mankind). The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest volcanic craters on earth. Over 30,000 animals live in the crater; it has the densest lion population in the world.

Uganda: The most famous safari destinations in Uganda are the country’s many primate reserves. Bwindi Impenetrable Forest and Ngamba Island offer visitors the unforgettable opportunity to get a close look at gorillas, chimpanzees and other primates in their natural habitats. Travelers can also see crocodiles, hippos and exotic birds, and witness the thundering water of Murchison Falls at Murchison Falls National Park on the Nile River.

Rwanda: Most people safari in Rwanda for the country’s outstanding gorilla trekking as well as for the over 600 bird species. “There’s also the incredible comeback Rwanda has made after the genocide 25 years ago—that in itself, is reason to visit,” says Sherwin Banda, president of African Travel, Inc.

Southern Africa

Botswana: Probably the most expensive destination in Africa due to the government’s push for high-end tourism, Botswana has smaller crowds than most other safari destinations, and is a common locale for luxury packages. See wildlife in game reserves such as Chobe National Park, famous for an abundance of elephants, or Moremi Wildlife Reserve, which offers plenty of the famous “big five.” You can also visit the Okavango Delta in Botswana—look for crocodiles, buffalo, zebras, hippos and many other animals in the delta’s tangled waterways and islands.

Lucille Sive, president of  Lion World Travel says her ultimate safari trip would be to Botswana, “it’s a bit rawer than South Africa or Kenya and Tanzania. Special experiences there include gliding along in a mokoro in the Okavango Delta, or hanging out with meerkats at Jack’s Camp, or staying at the ultra-luxurious Xigera Lodge . Probably the ultimate ‘second safari’ trip for anyone who has already been to Africa!”

Namibia: Namibia is under the radar for many safari travelers—expect less upscale game parks—and is dotted with incredible natural wonders from the Fish River Canyon to the Namib Desert. You’ll find more than 100 species of mammals in Etosha National Park, including endangered animals like the black rhinoceros, as well as the largest cheetah population on the continent. Desert elephants and zebra roam the arid landscapes of Skeleton Coast National Park in Nambia—the driest place in Africa.

South Africa: This is a particularly popular destination for safari travelers, so you can expect a well-organized and modern tourist infrastructure—as well as plenty of other travelers in the high season. Sive recommends South Africa as an ideal family destination since the game drives are shorter and there are malaria-free lodges and game parks. The best-known park is Kruger National Park, which is home to an impressive variety of African animals and is situated in the largest conservation area in the world. Go to a private game lodge if you want a less-traveled safari, but prepare to pay—these pricey digs can run well over $500 per night. Other parks outside of Kruger include Sabi Sands Game Reserve, Dinokeng Game Reserve and the Shamwari Private Game Reserve (located in the Eastern Cape).

Africa is an immense continent with safari opportunities available across thousands of miles, so the best time to travel to Africa depends on your specific destination. Overall, it’s best (but most expensive) to travel in the dry season, which corresponds with the region’s winter. Since safari destinations are in the Southern Hemisphere, their seasons run opposite of North America. Winter is from June to September, and summer is from December to March. You’ll also want to consider the migration patterns of animals, such as the Great Migration through Tanzania and Kenya. Annual patterns of animal migration often vary, so it’s a good idea to research animal migration predictions for the season during which you plan to travel.

Some insider tips from Sive: “If you love baby animals and don’t mind hot weather—go to Cape Town, South Africa from December to February. But if you don’t mind the rain—go to Kruger National Park to experience its lush, wet season—balmy but perfect conditions for spotting migratory birds and newborn wildlife. Africa’s winter (June through August) brings just the opposite for both places.” And for those looking to go on a safari on a budget, Guild recommends traveling during the shoulder or low season, which for South Africa is in May and October. 

If you’re a bird-lover, it will be best to visit during wet-season (December to March), which is when birds make their nests and are more likely to be seen at home.

But if nothing could make you happier than seeing the adorable babies of the animals you’ve traveled so far to see, it’s best to time your trip accordingly. Most babies are born in November, so peak baby-watching season is December to February.

Also, ask about the “green season” for good value when you’re safari planning. This varies by each reason but “for East Africa, it’s the low season and a great time to avoid the crowds and the value of the dollar is higher so overall you can stay longer,” advises Banda. “Also, not all the animals are migratory so you will see wildlife and spend more time with your guide viewing animals. While there can be rain, it is scattered and that is why you work with a safari outfitter like us to tailor other experiences like high tea or spa treatments.” African Travel, Inc. even waives solo traveler supplements during the low season on certain trips, like this journey to Botswana and Zambia.

Visas and Vaccines

Of course, you’ll need a passport to travel to Africa. But for some other countries, like Kenya or Tanzania, you will need a visa too. Visit the State Department website for more information on visa requirements. Apply for a visa at least two months before your departure date.

Find a doctor who specializes in travel health care and tell him or her about your African travel plans, or visit a travel clinic . You’ll need to get certain immunizations before heading to Africa. Malaria is common there, but there is no vaccine for the disease. You can protect yourself from malaria by taking an anti-malaria treatment or avoiding mosquitoes; use a mosquito-repellent spray and mosquito nets. You will need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to East and Southern Africa. Other vaccinations you may need include hepatitis A, hepatitis B, and typhoid. Visit the Centers for Disease Control’s website for destination-specific health information. In light of the pandemic, you should also ensure that you have the necessary COVID vaccine and/or negative COVID test in accordance with your destination’s policies and ensure to follow all rules and regulations while there. You can look up country specific restrictions here . Keep in mind that many vaccinations take several weeks to provide full protection, so don’t put off your shots until the last minute.

5 Important Vaccine Card Tips for Travelers

Staying Safe on Safari

You may imagine that hungry crocodiles or packs of ravenous lions are the biggest dangers of a safari. The truth is that humans rarely get attacked by wild animals (just watch out for baboons if you have open food), but they routinely fall victim to safari scams, dehydration, illness, or crime while traveling to Africa.

Safari Scams

When selecting a package, beware of safari scams. Research your prospective safari package provider; ask them for references and if they belong to professional organizations such as the American Society of Travel Agents or the United States Tour Operator Association. Also, look for user reviews on sites like TripAdvisor before you book. And keep in mind that if something sounds too good to be true (like a $50-per-night safari in luxury bungalows), it’s likely a scam. Finally, always be aware of your package provider’s cancellation policy (or lack thereof).

Staying Healthy on Safari

Safaris can be physically strenuous and mentally taxing with early morning wake-ups to see active wildlife and unpredictable weather. Travelers to Africa are at risk for dehydration while on safari; your body may not be accustomed to the hot sun and dry air of the bush and you may not even realize that you’re becoming dehydrated. Drink lots of water, protect yourself from the sun, get the proper vaccines, and wear bug spray. For more on staying fit and healthy on your travels, read our guide to health care abroad .

Sive recommends a rain jacket, a safari hat with neck cover or flaps, and to wear neutral colors, like khaki, brown, or safari green, to blend in with your surroundings.

Politics and Crime

Political unrest is an unfortunate fact of life for many nations. Be aware of your surroundings when staying in major cities on either end of your safari trip. When traveling to populated areas, familiarize yourself with local customs and take measures to keep your money and valuables safe. And always check State Department advisories before planning a trip to another country. Also, be sure to ask about the company’s emergency assistance program so you’re aware in case of any emergency situations and register with STEP .

Since you will be in a remote location and will probably be spending a significant amount of money on a safari, travel insurance is a necessity on an African safari. (Many safari tour operators actually require customers to purchase travel insurance in order to reserve a package.) Be sure to look for emergency medical coverage and financial protection when booking your policy. For more information, read our guide to travel insurance .

Editor’s note: This story was originally published in 2017. It has been updated to reflect the most current information. Quotes have been edited for clarity. Jamie Ditaranto and Ashley Rossi also contributed to this story.

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The ultimate guide to planning your first safari adventure

By Lydia Bell

Couple on safari excursion in africa

Where to start when booking your first safari

For first-timers, starting to plan a safari may feel overwhelming, because of the sheer amount of choice. The biggest destinations in terms of infrastructure, variety of parks, breadth of lodges and big-five habitats, are South Africa , Kenya , Tanzania , Namibia , Botswana , Zimbabwe and Zambia . Before interrogating an operator, or going down a Google rabbit hole, it can be helpful to start with vision-boarding the basics.

Is it a classic Big Five East African safari you’re seeking (‘big five’ refers to the term coined by hunters to describe lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo)? Or something wilder and more undefinable? Ask yourself what you are seeking from the trip, and how you want to feel. Write down the wish list and get as specific as possible. Is it important to have the best guides in Africa and to sate your thirst for knowledge? Or is the focus sumptuous lodges and a soft landing, as much as wildlife? Will the safari be combined with Robinson Crusoe-style beach-time, or an epicurean road trip? Or is the dream to drill down into the different habitats of a single country, with a camp in each region? Do you crave the bloody drama of the great migration that passes through the Serengeti and Mara ecosystems every July and August ? Or is the answer a long chopper ride far away from CB radios and mobile reception, in a pop-up tent with a private guide? Is your ideal of wilderness the brutal expanse of the Kalahari? Or is the ideal landscape a watery delta, deep jungle, dense bush or grassy savannah?

Giraffes herd in savannah

How to book your first safari adventure

Now take it to a specialist operator . The Africa safari crew’s bread and butter is matching travellers’ nebulous desires with a concrete plan on the open grassy plains and acacia woodlands of the Masai Mara, amid the high drama of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, in the oldest desert on the planet, Namibia’s Sossusvlei – or somewhere else way off the radar.  When it comes to safari, the expertise, knowledge and know-how of the specialists comes into its own. They know the granular details of animal migrations in various countries, the right seasonal information that will change the footprint of a trip, and can lead guests off the beaten track for a more remote, adventurous, or exclusive experience.

Major travel planners in the field include the likes of Journeys by Design, Aardvark Safaris, Africa Travel Centre, Green Safaris and Yellow Zebra Safaris. Expert Africa and The Explorations Company. They can advise with great expertise on lesser-known areas or parks to avoid the crowds, and may suggest game-rich countries that are less obvious – such as Zambia and Malawi, or even Congo, Gabon, Angola or Chad. They can tap into walking, horseback and bush-biking options, or air safaris, and know how to access the less iconic migrations – zebra crossings through Botswana’s Linyanti and Savute regions; or pink flocks of flamingos floating over Tanzania’s salt lakes. Major lodge operators (often booked by the operators listed further up) include Great Plains, African Bush Camps, Wilderness, andBeyond, Natural Selection, Ultimate Safaris, and Asilia Africa, representing some of the top echelon of lodge owners and operators.

Luxury Safari Tent in a Tented Camp in the Okavango Delta near Maun Botswana Africa under Large Trees

Sustainability and conservation

Fortunately, the safari field is populated with largely excellent, responsible operators and impressive lodge owners committed to sustainable travel and cultural integrity, and extending their conservation footprint to guard against poaching and the effects of climate change – the likes of Expert Africa, Aardvark Safaris, The Explorations Company and Journeys By Design. Most of the major lodge players have extensive conservation foundations and philanthropic wings to their businesses. But a good way to check on the ethics of lodges and operators is by requesting published reports on their work and sustainability policies to gauge their meaningful engagement in local culture, livelihood and community.

Where to stay

Safari options tend to be built lodges (bonafide buildings of stone, timber, or  concrete structures) or tented camps under canvas. There is also the possibility of mobile tented camps , or even pop-up tents on walking safaris led by private guides and trackers. In the past decade or so, some of the most glamorous camps have added exclusive-use villas serviced by private chefs, dedicated guides and vehicles. Multi-generational groups, privacy-hungry families and celebrities hiding from paparazzi tend to snap these up.

What happens on a safari day?

On a regular safari, days in the bush follow a predictable schedule. Expect to be awakened at the crack of dawn with a wake-up call and caffeine, before heading into the bush with a guide in an open-air game vehicle (probably wrapped in a warm blanket with a hot water bottle for warmth). In the early morning, the air is still cool and the big cats are heading home from a busy night on the prowl.

Breakfast or lunch is served out in the bush, or back at camp after the morning game drive. Then afternoons are for resting, massages, reading, or walking safari excursions, community visits or other cultural immersions, before heading out again in the late afternoon. Hot-air ballooning takes place at dawn or dusk and would take the place of the evening game drive .

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By late afternoon, the predators are waking up from their afternoon snooze, ready for action anew. There’s usually a sundowner at a beauty spot before the game vehicles return just before dark, in time for pre-dinner drinks and dinner. If it’s a private reserve and nocturnal game drives are permitted (which is prohibited in national parks), then a late-afternoon drive may morph into a night-time one, in search of more elusive night-time creatures such as leopards. Dinners can be private or communal, sometimes including a gathering or a celebration in a boma enclosure. There might be a fireside chat or a spot of astronomy. There may also be the possibility of bush or tree house sleep-outs, or star beds for galaxy-gazing. Whilst the days and nights are structured, each drive, day, moment and season is different – and that’s the beauty of safari.

Zebra and her cub crossing the road in Serengeti National Park .

The lowdown on safari guides

Being a top-notch safari guide is a life-long vocation of honed skill. These are the people who bring the experience alive with their lived knowledge and understanding of the ecosystem, its wildlife and the landscapes. The best lodges and ground handlers run ranger schools and training programmes across the continent that are second to none. Some of the top lodges host visiting experts and conservationists for even more magic.

Other practical tips

• When picking a safari lodge , think about how remote it is, and if other lodges are close by. Private reserves on the edge of parks tend to be more intimate, as there’s the chance to go off-road during the day (and night), instead of sticking to a pre-ordained track.

• Having a private vehicle is ideal and in terms of wildlife viewing, for some, it’s more important than the lodge, as it means being free to decide which sightings to prioritise.

• Think hard when it comes to getting from A to B. That perceived romantic road transfer might just be a nine-hour spine-shuddering journey from hell.

Luxury Safari Tent in a Tented Camp in the Okavango Delta near Maun Botswana Africa under Large Trees

• Check what the baggage allowance is and choose a suitcase accordingly: if travelling in a small plane such as a Cessna, luggage will have to be rationalised, possibly to between 12-15kgs.

• A safari (unless it’s a biking, riding or walking safari ) is not about exercise: there’s a lot of sitting around. Those who get restless when not able to do cardio should choose a lodge with a small gym or yoga on offer. One can’t go running off into the bush, and guests are accompanied by guides (Masai in parts of Kenya and Tanzania) back to the tent at night.

Taking pictures

Now is the moment to crack out that single-lens-reflex camera gathering dust in the wardrobe, and perhaps a 300mm lens, beanbag or monopod (easier to fiddle with in a game vehicle). Consider the season of the country as this will affect photography prospects. Zambia in the rain, for example, is green, lush, and beautiful, but the nellies like to hide in the undergrowth. In October , everything is the colour of mud and sludge, but the wildlife viewing is premium. Just pointing and shooting with an iPhone will produce incredible images and reels.

Kirurumu Manyara Lodge

Can I take my children on safari?

Bringing children on safari imbues in them a sense of grand adventure and an understanding of the natural world and the importance of protecting it. There are generally no hard and fast rules, but most lodges welcome children from about the age of six, though families may be expected to have a private vehicle. To simplify travelling with younger children , it may be easier to pick a malaria-free destination (to avoid having to medicate them), from Madikwe Reserve in South Africa to Etosha National Park in Namibia (but check the  NHS’s Fit For Travel web pages to check the malaria maps of each country). Ideally, choose a lodge with a kids' programme. Most of the major lodge players take children into account. Wilderness’ programmes, for example, are designed for ages 6 to 12 and include walking safaris, star identification, treasure hunts, football games, basket weaving, helping in the kitchen and drumming lessons. Fifth-generation family-operated Cottar’s 1920s Camp in Kenya’s Masai Mara, one of only nine accredited Global Ecosphere Retreats, recently developed a special Budding Conservationist experience for kids to join the female conservation rangers on their daily patrolling, identify vulture nests, join a Masai warrior “school” and visit a local primary. &Beyond has launched WildChild Eco-Guide Challenge Itineraries for teenagers (14-18 years) along with their parents, including trips to Botswana, Mozambique and South Africa . Stubborn Mule creates worldwide family-led adventures, including off-radar safari adventures from gorilla trekking in Rwanda to fly camping in the wilds of Northern Kenya. Whichever journey you choose, encourage the children to keep a diary for posterity.

A tipping point

As a rough guide, up to 10-15 per cent of the total cost of the safari should be budgeted for tips. The guide is generally tipped US$15-20 per person per day, which can also be handed directly to the guide at the end of the trip. Although voluntary, it’s routine to tip and lodge staff, from cooks to cleaners. This can be added to the bill at the end; lodges then distribute it to all staff members. Pre-check if the bill excludes alcohol, or includes tips, to avoid surprises or confusion.

Wild African elephant in the savannah. Serengeti National Park. Wildlife of Tanzania. African landscape.

Immunisations and medicines 

Some African destinations require yellow fever, typhoid or hepatitis A and B jabs. Malaria is a risk in some countries, but as this is a shifting scenario, it’s best to check the  NHS’s Fit For Travel web pages for the malaria maps of each country. A one-size-fits-all approach to a country is rarely needed. Refer to our safari packing list to find out more about what to pack and for tips from safari old hands.

Visa requirements

For current and up-to-date information about visas refer to the  government’s foreign travel advice pages .

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Nairobi to Zanzibar: Serengeti & Sunsets Tour

Safari Beach Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Big Five Christmas & New Year +3

Nairobi to Zanzibar: Serengeti & Sunsets

"Amazing sights and locations to experience. Fellow travelers were also good company." Shivani, traveled in March 2023

16 Days of Intensive Adventurous Safari through Magical Uganda and Rwanda ( Private tour) Tour

Safari Wildlife Trekking Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Gorilla Trekking Big Five Christmas & New Year +5

16 Days of Intensive Adventurous Safari through Magical Uganda and Rwanda ( Private tour)

"Excellent, amazing, memorable. The owner Richard was terrific and very supportive." MARCI, traveled in December 2023

13- Day Uganda Expedition: Experience Moments with Gorillas, Wildlife and Cultural Experiences ( Private tour) Tour

13- Day Uganda Expedition: Experience Moments with Gorillas, Wildlife and Cultural Experiences ( Private tour)

"From reading the wonderful reviews (which do not exaggerate) and after some emails with Richard, we knew we could trust this company." Aliceogden, traveled in February 2022

11 DAY COMBINED KENYA & TANZANIA WILDLIFE SAFARI Tour

Safari Family Camping Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Christmas & New Year +3

11 DAY COMBINED KENYA & TANZANIA WILDLIFE SAFARI

"It was a great and unforgettable stay. Very well organised." Nicole, traveled in September 2015

15 DAYS ESSENTIAL KENYA & TANZANIA EXPEDITION Tour

Safari Family Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Great Migration Big Five Christmas & New Year +4

15 DAYS ESSENTIAL KENYA & TANZANIA EXPEDITION

"Our experience from inquiry point was first class, very quick to respond to questions and help accommodate our requirements." EddieWilliams, traveled in July 2022

Big Five Luxury Safari in Tanzania **Sustainable Approach to Travel Tour

Big Five Luxury Safari in Tanzania **Sustainable Approach to Travel

"An experience to be recommended. It more than met my expectations." Judith, traveled in June 2024

18-Day Best of East Africa Safari – Visit 4 Countries Tour

Safari Wildlife Trekking Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Gorilla Trekking Big Five +4

18-Day Best of East Africa Safari – Visit 4 Countries

16 Days Best Of Kenya & Tanzania Luxury  Safari Tour

16 Days Best Of Kenya & Tanzania Luxury Safari

"From the moment we arrived in Nairobi to the final farewell, every day was filled with awe-inspiring moments and unforgettable experiences." Ali, traveled in October 2023

12 Day Wildlife Safari and Culture Tour Tour

12 Day Wildlife Safari and Culture Tour

"We learned a ton from him. He always provided world-class service, being timely, kind, and helpful." Bened, traveled in March 2023

Tanzania-Kenya-12-Day Spirit and Soul of Africa Safari Tour

Tanzania-Kenya-12-Day Spirit and Soul of Africa Safari

"Just like my friend said would happen, 2 weeks later I was on a plane to Kenya." leilita, traveled in February 2024

Premium Kenya & Southern Africa Highlights Tour

Safari Camping Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Big Five +2

Premium Kenya & Southern Africa Highlights

East Africa In-Depth Tour

Safari Wildlife Trekking Wildlife Jeep & 4WD Gorilla Trekking Christmas & New Year +4

East Africa In-Depth

"This really was a trip of a lifetime. I'm already planning my next G trip and I will never hesitate to tell everyone about you." Joshua, traveled in September 2022

What people love about African Safaris

A bit late with the review... The trip was November 2019 and it was the best trip ever!!! Simon best guide, stunning places, welcoming locals and amazing experiences! the flight over the Okavango Delta is highly recommended.
My 6 day safari with Bon Voyage Safaris to Maasai Mara and Serengeti was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. The professionalism, expertise, and passion displayed by the staff, coupled with the breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, made it an experience beyond compare. I highly recommend Bon Voyage Safaris to anyone seeking an unforgettable safari experience in East Africa.
Safari was a great time with Serengeti African Tours, The safari was wonderful, we slept in cabins and tent. Food was very delicious and our guide Kelvin was amazing he had alot of knowledge of wild animals and general knowledge... Highly recommend Serengeti African Tours

Safari Tours

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4x4 in Africa

Africa Safari Tours & Vacations

  • Africa Safari Tours & Holidays

Take a walk on the wild side on an African safari.

The word “safari” means “journey” in Swahili. And a safari in Africa is all about the journey. While seeing a leopard munch on a freshly caught gazelle or spying a curious lion cub venture away from its mother’s protective embrace will be highlights of your trip, you’ll discover the journey is as much a part of your trip as the destination.

The road-trip games you play with your new travel mates, the feeling of the wind (and maybe a little dust) in your hair when you’re travelling down long, winding roads, and the young Maasai boy who waved at you as you passed him along the road will stay with you long after you return.

Our African safari tours

Okavango experience, 10 days from 1778.

Tour through Johannesburg, Maun, Chobe National Park, the Okavango Delta and Victoria...

Explore Southern Africa

18 days from 3315.

Spend some time exploring Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe with included safari...

Gorillas & Game Parks

16 days from 3682.

Encounter the wildlife of Kenya and Uganda on this overland adventure including a...

Cape Town to Vic Falls

22 days from 2835.

Spend three weeks exploring South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, from Cape...

East Africa Highlights

10 days from 4122.

Explore East Africa, like Kenya, Masai Mara National Reserve, Serengeti National Park...

safari adventure 2

Tailor-Made trips

Take four or more on an exclusive trip and tailor your itinerary

Kenya Wildlife Safari

8 days from 1515.

Experience Kenyan wildlife on an adventure from Nairobi to Lake Naivasha. Visit the...

Botswana Highlights

9 days from 2518.

Discover the culture, wildlife and waterways of Botswana on an adventure that visits...

Road to Zanzibar

12 days from 2695.

Experience the beauty of the Ngorongoro and Serengeti, Usambara Mountains and Zanzibar...

The Masai Heartlands

15 days from 3424.

Uncover Kenya and Tanzania on a 2 week trip with Serengeti safaris, Ngorongoro, Nakuru,...

Serengeti Trail

8 days from 2040.

Roam the Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater and Amboseli National Park to spot Africa's Big...

Vic Falls to Kruger

9 days from 1534.

Take on a safari adventure through Hwange National Park, Matobo National Park, Kruger...

Gorillas, Game Parks & Beaches

27 days from 7213.

Go deep in East Africa on this epic trip, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zanzibar.

Botswana Adventure

10 days from 4332.

Visit Africa and travel through Botswana, Namibia and Zimbabwe on a tour from Windhoek...

Namibia Discovery

13 days from 4267.

Travel from Cape Town in South Africa to Namibia’s Windhoek through coastlines, sand...

Amazing Southern Africa

22 days from 9689.

Jump onboard an exhilarating journey from Cape Town to Victoria Falls through the...

Vic Falls to Cape Town

22 days from 2992.

Discover the unique and contrasting lands of Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia and South...

Remarkable Rwanda & Gorillas of Uganda

9 days from 5067.

Travel through Rwanda and Uganda in search of natural beauty and the gentle mountain...

Garden Route Adventure

14 days from 2140.

See Africa from Durban to Cape Town on a 14-day adventure. Tour Tsitsikamma, Addo...

Best of East Africa

20 days from 4469.

Step out onto the Serengeti and keep your eyes out for rhinos, lions, leopards and a...

Cape Town to Zanzibar

41 days from 5364.

See Africa on this incredible overland adventure from South Africa to Tanzania. Soak up...

Serengeti & Kilimanjaro

15 days from 5848.

Explore the wonders of Tanzania and Kenya, including a trek to the summit of Mt...

Okavango & Beyond

9 days from 2074.

Travel from Zimbabwe to South Africa via Botswana. The Okavango and Beyond trip is the...

Vic Falls to Stone Town

17 days from 1928.

See East Africa in 17 days including Victoria Falls, Matobo, South Luwanga, Lake Malawi...

Southern Africa Adventure

30 days from 4446.

Take a month long southern African adventure from Cape Town into Namibia, Botswana and...

Essential East Africa

10 days from 1845.

Hit the (dirt) road through Kenya and Tanzania. Safari in the Serengeti, Ngorongoro...

Africa Encompassed Northbound

64 days from 12505.

This epic journey with explores Southern Africa in detail including Botswana, Kenya,...

Johannesburg to Kenya

37 days from 7010.

Travel the waterways of Botswana, the beaches of Zanzibar and the savannahs of the...

Cape Town to Kenya

49 days from 6912.

Experience the ultimate African adventure on this epic trip including Kenya, Botswana,...

Kruger & Coast

9 days from 1258.

Explore diverse southern Africa on this nine-day adventure, including Kruger National...

Gorillas to Vic Falls

42 days from 9244.

Explore Kenya, Malawi, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe on this epic trip that included a...

Safari to Kilimanjaro - Machame Route

16 days from 5992.

Explore the wonders of Tanzania and Kenya including a trek to the summit of Mt...

Africa Encompassed Southbound

63 days from 11875.

Set out on a mighty African adventure through Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zimbabwe...

Vic Falls to Kenya

28 days from 3983.

Discover East African wilderness and the animals that call it home on an adventure...

Zanzibar to Cape Town

40 days from 5048.

Explore Africa on an epic wildlife-rich adventure from Tanzania to South Africa while...

Kenya to Cape Town

48 days from 8384.

Tour Africa's best from Kenya to Cape Town through Tanzania, Zanzibar, Malawi, Zimbabwe...

Stone Town to Nairobi

9 days from 1768.

Explore Tanzania on this trip travelling to Nairobi via the Serengeti and the Usambara...

Stone Town to Vic Falls

16 days from 1999.

Track rhinos on foot and embrace the sights and sounds of Eastern Africa on this unique...

Johannesburg to Gorillas

52 days from 11780.

Experience the waterways of Botswana, the beaches of Zanzibar, the savannahs of the...

Kenya to Vic Falls

27 days from 5078.

Explore the wilds of East Africa on a trip from Nairobi to the Serengeti, Usambara...

Kilimanjaro & Serengeti Adventure

15 days from 6755, beaches, game parks & gorillas, 27 days from 7255.

Spend 27 days exploring the wonders, wildlife and tribal cultures of East Africa to...

Zanzibar to Vic Falls

19 days from 2352.

Explore East Africa from Zanzibar's beaches to the roar of Victoria Falls, seeing...

Johannesburg to Zanzibar

29 days from 4575.

From Johannesburg to Botswana, Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Lake Malawi and...

Zanzibar to Nairobi

12 days from 2803.

Get a true taste of eastern Africa on a 12-day trip to Zanzibar, the Serengeti,...

Vic Falls to Zanzibar

20 days from 2288.

Travel from the thundering Victoria Falls to the spice plantations of Zanzibar via...

Vic Falls to Gorillas

43 days from 9172.

Take an epic trip through eastern Africa, via Victoria Falls, the Serengeti and...

Africa safari h ighlights

Elephants in Kruger National Park

Spot the Big 5 in South Africa

Go on safari through Kruger National Park, one of the largest game reserves in Southern Africa . This massive park is one of the premier safari spots in all of Africa and for good reason; it’s home to over 500 bird species, 100 species of reptile and 150 mammal species, including the Big Five and the endangered African wild dog.

Gorillas in Uganda

Go gorilla trekking in Uganda

Venture deep into the steamy jungles of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in search of the rare mountain gorilla. With a local guide to lead you, you’ll trek into the forest to spend one unforgettable hour watching and hanging out with a family of gorillas. A close encounter with these gentle giants is an extraordinary African experience that will always stay with you.

giraffes on the Serengeti in Tanzania

Float over the Serengeti

The only thing more magical than witnessing the great wildebeest migration across the Serengeti? Seeing it from the sky in a hot air balloon. As the herds of wildebeest and thousands of other animals travel from Serengeti National Park to the greener pastures of the Masai Mara National Reserve, you can watch their journey and enjoy incredible views from a unique perspective.

Okavango Delta

Canoe in the Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta has a unique system of waterways that are home to an immense array of wildlife. The best way to explore it is in a mokoro, a traditional dugout canoe. Visit in May to September, when animals are confined to small islands created by the annual flood, making it easy to spot great herds of elephant and antelope, hippos, crocodiles, lions, cheetahs and more. 

Popular safari destinations

A group of cheetahs lying in the African sun

Kruger National Park

A lone lion blends in with the brown grasses of the Serengeti

Serengeti National Park

A safari guide rowing a boat through a swap at sunset in Okavango Delta, Botswana

The Okavango Delta

Two travellers looking at an elephant on a Serengeti safari in Tanzania

Region comparisons

The waterways and greenery of the Okavango Delta from up high

Chobe or Okavango?

A herd of zebra walking along the grassy plains of the Serengeti in Tanzania

Serengeti or Masai Mara?

Gorilla in the forest

View our range of gorilla treks

Where we stay on safari.

Camping in Africa

On our safari trips you’ll stay in billion-star accommodation. That’s our way of saying you’re sleeping under the night sky, camping in the great outdoors. On our Basix and sections of Original trips, you’ll stay in two-person canvas tents that our crew will help you set up. And on our Comfort trips, you’ll be staying in permanent tented camps and lodges (think glamping instead of camping).

Campsite facilities can sometimes be basic, but wherever possible, we make sure there are Western-style toilets and warm water available. But you’ll find it’s worth sacrificing a warm shower or two when you’re waking up to sunrise over the Masai Mara.

How we get around

Africa overland truck

On our safari trips, your main mode of transport is an overland truck, a purpose-built vehicle made for driving through Africa’s winding, and sometimes bumpy, country roads. While the trucks don’t have air conditioning, they do have sliding windows which let in the breeze and make it even easier to take spectacular snaps of the local wildlife. The trucks are also equipped with power outlets to charge your camera, phone and other devices on the go.

For more info on our overland trucks, see our Africa overland page .

African Safari FAQs

When is the best time to go on safari.

Generally speaking, January, February and June to October are the best times to go on safari in Africa. This is the dry season, so animals tend to come out into more open spaces in search of water, making them easier to spot. However, you’ll be able to spot animals all year round and you’ll enjoy fewer crowds if you travel outside peak season.

Read more about the best time to go on safari .

Where is the best place to go on safari?

The best place to go on safari depends on what kind of animals you’d like to see and what other activities you’d like to do in destination. We offer safaris to some of the best safari destinations in eastern and southern Africa, like Kenya, Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia and more.

Read more about how to choose your ideal African safari . 

Am I guaranteed to see animals on safari?

While we can’t guarantee you’ll spot the Big 5, you’d have to be profoundly unlucky to see no animals at all. On our trips, you’ll explore some of the best game parks and national reserves in the world. These protected areas are filled with a huge variety of different species and your expert driver and local leader will help you spot animals.

What are the “Big 5”?

The “Big 5” used to refer to the five big game animals that were the most difficult to hunt. Now that most shooting is done on a camera, the Big 5 are the most exciting animals to spot while on safari: the lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo.

What should I pack for safari?

Loose, light clothing in neutral colours is the best attire for a safari (dark colours will get hot in the sun and can attract the Tsetse fly). You’ll also want a sun hat, some good walking shoes, a camera, sunscreen and bug spray. For more details, check out our ultimate Africa packing guide . 

What type of food will be served on safari?

On our Basix trips you’ll have a cook travelling with you while you are on safari who will whip up a variety of local flavours and Western-style dishes. Along your route, your cook will stop to purchase fresh, locally sourced food for your meals. You can expect a variety of things for breakfast like fruit, eggs, toast and cereal; lunch is often sandwiches and salads; and dinner is usually a hearty meal like pasta, curry or a BBQ.

On our Original and Comfort trips there will be more meals at camps and lodges along the way. No matter what you’re craving, you definitely will not be going hungry on safari.

What are the toilets and showers like on safari?

Most of the permanent tented camps will have a private bathroom with flushing toilets and showers with warm water. 

Many of the campsites we stay at have communal facilities with flushing toilets and showers with warm water. However, in some of the more remote areas, there may only be basic facilities (toilets and cold running water). 

Can you accommodate accessibility requirements on your safari tours?

We are committed to making travel accessible to everyone, so we will work with you to assess whether you will be able to complete an existing itinerary, or whether we will be able to make reasonable adjustments to meet your needs before you book. Please see our accessible travel page for more information. 

What is internet and phone access like on safari?

Some of our hotels and campsites will have Wi-Fi, however Internet and phone access may be limited in more remote areas. But you won’t miss it when you’re watching a pride of lions prowl through long grass or enjoying a drink around the campfire with your group. 

Responsible travel

safari adventure 2

Our stance on Animal Welfare

This world and the animals that call it home are precious, and we believe it’s our responsibility to help preserve them. We do not include or condone any activities that exploit animals on our safari trips, including hunting, feeding or interacting with animals in any way. We believe that wild animals should be observed in the wild, from a respectful distance. 

Some tips for being a wildlife-friendly traveller include never buying animal products, not participating in activities that include contact with the animals, and not including location tags on social media posts (some poachers have gone high-tech and use social media to track rare animals’ locations).

Read more about our Animal Welfare Policy here . 

Read more about African safaris

safari adventure 2

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Protect Your Trip »

12 Top African Safari Tours

Cross this must-do activity off your bucket list.

Top African Safari elephant

Courtesy of Micato Safaris

Spot the big five on your safari adventure.

Safari tours in Africa are just as diverse as the continent itself, though these types of trips typically require a large sum of money. Whether you want to spend a few days gorilla trekking in Uganda or a couple weeks spotting the "big five" – lions, leopards, African elephants, rhinos and Cape buffalos – in South Africa, you'll find an array of tours to best suit your needs. To help you narrow down your options, U.S. News compiled a list of 12 can't-miss African safari tours. Read on to find your once-in-a-lifetime trip.

Note: Some of the African countries in this article may require travelers to get an entry visa and certain vaccinations in order to visit. Jump to the list of visa and vaccination requirements by country at the bottom of this page for more information.

&Beyond

African Safari vacation

Courtesy of &Beyond

Visitors who don't want to sacrifice creature comforts while on safari will appreciate &Beyond's offerings. During the tour operator's 10-day Kings of the Jungle safari – which starts at $11,340 per person – travelers will see breathtaking natural wonders like the Ngorongoro Crater and the Maasai Mara savanna. But the highlight of this journey is its four-night stay at Tanzania's Serengeti National Park . After watching animals like wildebeest and zebras partake in the great migration while also spotting lions, giraffes and more, vacationers retreat to high-end tents and lodges with private bathrooms.

[See more of Serengeti National Park: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Wilderness Safaris

African Safari camp vacation

Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

For some of Africa's most jaw-dropping scenery, opt for the seven-night Namibian Adventure Safari tour offered by Wilderness Safaris. This weeklong trip features visits to the Namib Desert's dune-filled Sossusvlei region (which you may recognize from the film "Mad Max: Fury Road") and the mountainous Palmwag Concession – a protected area with springboks, giraffes, black rhinos and more. The package's per person fee starts at $6,725, which covers most meals, park entrance fees, and transfers from Namibia's capital Windhoek and between the safari destinations. It also covers your stay at properties like the fully solar-powered Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp and the five-star Little Kulala lodge amid the stunning desert.

Wild Rwanda Safaris

African Safari gorilla in Rwanda

Courtesy of Wild Rwanda Safaris)

Adventurous travelers sticking to a more conservative budget should consider Wild Rwanda Safaris' Bwindi Gorilla Safari. The three-day package features a full day in southwestern Uganda's Bwindi Impenetrable National Park (a haven for silverback gorillas) and an adjacent Batwa Pygmy community. Wild Rwanda Safaris allows guests to choose between midrange, luxury and super luxury accommodation, which can help keep costs down if necessary. The company's packages include the $700 permit required to visit the gorilla park. The round-trip journey by safari vehicle to and from Kigali, Rwanda, and English-speaking guide services are also covered in all rates. The tour can begin from Kampala, Uganda, as well, although you'll spend longer on the road to the park.

Nomad Tanzania

African Safari in Tanzania

Courtesy of nomad-tanzania.com

Sign up for Nomad Tanzania's Southern Tanzania safari and you're bound to get an up-close look at Tanzania's diverse wildlife. Offering eight days of activities, including game drives and boat trips in Ruaha National Park and Nyerere National Park, this safari gives you prime opportunities to spot lions, cheetahs, leopards and elephants, among other species. What's more, lodging at the company's campsites, select meals, and flights to and from Dar es Salaam are factored into the package's prices. Expect to pay a minimum of $5,700 per person; prices vary depending on the time of year, and the tour isn't offered in April and May.

Micato Safaris

(Courtesy of Micato Safaris)

If you want to explore multiple destinations while on safari with plenty of comfort (but a price tag to match), book the 15-day Micato Grand Safari. This outing by Micato Safaris starts with a two-day visit to Nairobi, Kenya, before continuing to the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Maasai Mara National Reserve, and the Amboseli and Serengeti national parks for wildlife-viewing excursions. During your trip, you'll see Mount Kilimanjaro as zebras, gazelles and more roam in the foreground. The package costs at least $22,450 per person (based on double occupancy rates) and includes a hot air balloon ride, a camel tour led by members of the Samburu tribe, and lodging at upscale properties like Serengeti's Four Seasons outpost. The company also offers various extensions allowing you to explore other parts of Africa, from the island paradise of Zanzibar to the deserts of Namibia.

Rothschild Safaris

African safari vacation

Courtesy of Rothschild Safaris

If your ideal safari vacation consists of customizing your trip from start to finish, consider an outing with Rothschild Safaris. The company offers itineraries in locales like Zambia and Madagascar , but if you're hoping to catch a glimpse of the big five animals, the Essence of Tanzania safari is a good bet. This nine-day experience, which embarks from Arusha and returns there by plane, includes game-viewing drives in Tarangire National Park and accommodations like canvas tents and farmhouse lodges. Elephants, zebras and lions are just some of the animals you may spot during your journey. You'll also have the opportunity to go on a nighttime safari to spot nocturnal wildlife.

Lion World Travel

African safari vacation

Courtesy of Lion World Travel

As the trip name implies, Lion World Travel's 10-day Best of Cape Town & Botswana vacation package combines sightseeing in Cape Town, South Africa , with a classic safari in Botswana. During the latter half of the itinerary, visitors will explore Botswana's Okavango Delta (home to cheetahs, crocodiles, hippos and more) and Chobe National Park, which is believed to have Africa's largest elephant population. Prices start at $4,299 per person and cover game drives; many of your meals; and stays at luxury hotels, camps and lodges. You'll need to pay an extra charge for the flights within the tour (Cape Town to Botswana as well as Botswana to Johannesburg ).

[See more of Cape Town: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Bearded Heron Safaris

African safari vacation

Neil Heron | Courtesy of Bearded Heron Safaris

Travelers keen on seeing South Africa's Kruger National Park through the eyes of a local naturalist will appreciate the 15-day safari with Bearded Heron Safaris. Led by Neil Heron, a nature guide and wildlife photographer and writer, Bearded Heron Safaris' longest option features small game drives that may include lion, rhino, zebra and leopard sightings throughout all corners of Kruger. Rates are inclusive of in-park cottage accommodations and all breakfasts, dinners, snacks and drinks. Flights and park fees are not included. For a 15-day safari, expect to pay 76,900 South African rand (about $4,500) per person.

[See more of Kruger National Park: Things to Do | Hotels | When to Visit | Photos ]

Discover Africa

Black rhinoceros in the african savannah

Getty Images

For an inside-out trip through the natural wonders of Botswana, Discover Africa's nine-day Epic Botswana Adventure is a formidable option. You'll start out at a riverside lodge on the Chobe River – a great location for elephant spotting – before moving onto the marshy Okavango Delta, a wildlife-rich area where you can spot a huge range of animals from leopards to rhinos. The safari ends at the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, a good place to admire wildlife like zebras and buffalo on the savanna as well as salt pans from a former lake. You'll stay in upscale lodges and campsites within close reach of the wilderness. All meals and transport along the tour are included in the price tag (which starts at $4,800 per person), but international flights are excluded.

Wild Wings Safaris

safari adventure 2

If you're looking to have a broader experience that mixes in some history and beach time, consider Wild Wings Safaris' eight-day Battlefields, Bush and Beach Safari. You'll start off visiting some of South Africa's historic sites from the Boer wars, before moving on to the Phinda Private Game Reserve, which doesn't allow day visitors, so you should be able to look out for the big five without too many crowds. The tour wraps up at Thonga Beach Lodge, where you can snorkel or scuba dive near coral reefs in the Indian Ocean. As far as safaris go, this one is an affordable option, starting at about $2,795 per person with all meals included as well as a rental car; for the cheapest price, you will need to drive yourself between the destinations, but it's possible to pay an additional fee for a driver to guide you instead.

Cuckoo Safaris

Aerial few of the world famous Victoria Falls with a large rainbow over the falls. This is right at the border between Zambia and Zimbabwe in Southern Africa. The mighty Victoria Falls at Zambezi river are one of the most visited touristic places in Africa.

This tour company kicks off its tours from the majestic Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, with a host of safaris that range from two days to nine, across Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana, including some family-friendly choices. For an affordable option, there's the four-day Discover Victoria Falls, Chobe and Hwange Park safari, which will take you on two full-day tours to Chobe National Park (across the border in Botswana) and to Hwange, Zimbabwe's largest national park, where you should keep your eyes peeled for lions, elephants and more. This safari also includes a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River. The price starts at $900 per person, which includes the tours plus breakfast, lunch and lodging in Victoria Falls; travelers will need to pay for entrance fees to the parks and dinner.

Compass Odyssey

safari adventure 2

Courtesy of Compass Odyssey

Explore the savanna and deserts of southwest Africa with Compass Odyssey's eight-day Namibia Wildlife Safari. You'll visit a community-based conservation area in Damaraland – known for its desert-adapted elephants, oryx, giraffes and other wildlife – while staying in the rustic-chic Doro Nawas Camp. You'll also spend two days in Etosha National Park, seeking wildlife at the park's bustling waterholes by day and embarking on an evening game drive as well. Starting at $3,750 per person, the tour includes most meals and all park entry fees, but not flights; the company does allow the tour to be customized on request.

Vaccination and visa requirements for African countries

Some popular safari destinations may require you to have received certain vaccinations in order to enter the country as a tourist. Inoculation requirements can include vaccination against COVID-19 and yellow fever, and you'll need to get these vaccines before departing on your trip. Be sure to bring proof of vaccinations with you. If you are transiting through another country en route to your safari tour, you must check that you also meet immunization requirements for the stopover location.

Note that, outside of what's required, there are a number of other vaccinations that are recommended, so ensure you're up to date and fully protected before you travel. In addition, many safari locations are prone to malaria; you should consult with your doctor to see if you need to bring anti-malaria medication on your trip.

Safari countries have varying visa requirements for travelers from the U.S. – these are detailed below. Depending on your itinerary, you may need a single- or multiple-entry visa, and some visas require you to apply in advance of traveling and/or have a certain number of blank pages in your passport. Regardless of your destination, your passport should be valid for at least six months before you leave for your trip.

Here are the vaccine and visa requirements for major safari destinations as of November 2022:

Botswana: If you have recently visited a country where yellow fever is common, you will need to be vaccinated against this illness. This does not include the U.S. but does include a number of countries in Africa, Central and South America. Consult the World Health Organization's website for a list of countries with risk of yellow fever transmission, including Kenya and Uganda.

U.S. citizens and nationals can stay in Botswana for 90 days without a visa.

Kenya: Travelers to Kenya must have been vaccinated against COVID-19 with the last shot administered more than 14 days before arrival in the country. Unvaccinated visitors can enter with a negative PCR test, conducted no more than 72 hours before departure. Proof of COVID-19 tests or vaccines must be uploaded to an online system called Panabios. Kenya is a country where you'll be at risk of yellow fever transmission; it also requires those traveling from other places with yellow fever or cholera outbreaks to be vaccinated against these illnesses. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you protect yourself against yellow fever before your trip here.

Americans need an e-visa to enter Kenya. You should apply online at the eVisa government website no more than eight weeks before your trip, as visas are not available upon arrival in Kenya. See more on the U.S. Department of State's website .

Namibia: Those traveling from a country where yellow fever is common need to be vaccinated against it. No visa is required as long as you're staying for 90 days or less.

Rwanda: If you're coming from a country where yellow fever is endemic, a yellow fever vaccination is required before departure.

U.S. citizens and nationals can be issued a 30-day visitor visa on arrival in Rwanda or through the Rwandan Embassy in Washington, D.C. A single-entry visa costs $50, and it's recommended you bring sufficient cash in U.S. dollars to pay for this (although credit card payment may be accepted at Kigali International Airport). Consult the State Department website for more information.

South Africa: A yellow fever vaccination is required if you're traveling from a country with a risk of transmission. No visa is required for stays of 90 days or less.

Tanzania: Travelers must be able to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination with a QR code to enter Tanzania. Unvaccinated travelers must take a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure, and the test results should be accessible by QR code. Yellow fever vaccines are mandatory if you're traveling from a location where yellow fever is present – including if you spend more than 12 hours in transit in such a country.

Visas are required for tourism in Tanzania. You can apply for a single-entry, 90-day visa online for $50 – and be sure to print a copy of the approval to bring with you. The processing period takes up to 10 days. You can also obtain a visa on arrival for a $100 fee; it's recommended you bring cash to cover this. Find more Tanzanian visa information on the State Department website .

Uganda: To enter Uganda, you must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or present a negative test taken no more than 72 hours before departure. Like Kenya, Uganda is a country with risk of yellow fever transmission. All visitors must show proof of vaccination against yellow fever to enter Uganda, regardless of where you're traveling from.

American visitors to Uganda must apply online for an electronic visa before departure; arriving in Uganda without completing this process could result in your detainment. Visit the State Department website to learn more.

Zambia: Visitors who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 must show proof of vaccination but do not need a test to enter Zambia; unvaccinated travelers must undergo a PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure. Yellow fever vaccines are only required if you're coming from an area considered at risk.

Visas are required to visit Zambia, but these can be obtained online before your departure or at a port of entry. Check the State Department website for more details.

Zimbabwe: To enter Zimbabwe, travelers must either be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or must take a negative PCR test no more than 48 hours before your departure. As with other countries on this list, visitors from countries with yellow fever outbreaks also require a vaccine against this illness.

U.S. visitors can obtain a 30-day, single-entry visa upon arrival in Zimbabwe for $30. If you're taking a tour that requires you to leave and reenter Zimbabwe, be sure to get a double-entry visa for $45. You can learn more from the State Department website .

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African Safari Adventure

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African Safari Adventure Guided Tour

14 Day African Safari Tour from Kenya to Kilimanjaro

14 days, 2 countries and 12 cities

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13 Breakfasts, 1 Welcome Reception, 1 Be My Guest, 12 Lunches, 11 Dinners, 1 Farewell Dinner

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Explore the wilderness of Kenya and Tanzania, crossing the landscapes where thousands of wildebeest make their brave pilgrimage. Navigate lakes in search of resting hippo and savor the spicy flavors of Swahili cuisine – all on this East African adventure of a lifetime.

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14 days itinerary trip from Nairobi to Kilimanjaro International Airport visiting 2 countries and 12 cities Extend Your Tour

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Sightseeing highlights.

Visit Solio Game Reserve, Lake Nakuru National Park, Lake Naivasha, Maasai Mara National Game Reserve, Lake Victoria, Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Manyara National Park and Tarangire National Park

View Thomsons Falls in Nyahururu

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Driver Guide in Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia

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On occasion, hotels of similar standard and location may be utilized.

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Every one of our tours includes at least one conscious travel experience that supports one or more of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGS). Look out for yours within the day-by-day trip itinerary.

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No Shoes or Strollers on Carpet Socks required for ALL

Riverhead, NY

Our huge 18 foot tall soft playground is for children to explore and have fun! Our play equipment is great for children between the ages of 1 and 10. We have giant inflatables, a hands on area, calming spa, plus over 30 video games and skill games to appeal to children of all ages. Our children’s play center has a trading post, where children can trade the tickets they win at these games for all kinds of fun prizes!  PLAY ALL DAY PRICING! Child Age 1 & 2: $16 Child Age 3-10: $25 Infant under 12 months: Free with older sibling Adult: Free If sibling is brought without older sibling, Age 1 & 2 pricing applies. Don't forget to join our Loyalty Rewards  Program during your next visit!

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Our memberships offer a great way to save and have fun all at the same time with a membership, you will enjoy unlimited open play, discounts to birthday parties, and exclusive discounted pricing to our special events.

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Giraffe's nibble turns into airborne safari adventure for Texas toddler

A Texas family got a brief scare when a nibble from a giraffe turned a 2-year-old's safari visit into an airborne adventure

GLEN ROSE, Texas -- A Texas family got a brief scare when a nibble from a giraffe turned a 2-year-old’s safari visit into an airborne adventure.

Paisley Toten was in the bed of a pickup truck on June 1 when her family drove through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, where visitors can see exotic animals such as zebras, giraffes and sable antelope, and feed some of them from their car.

The family had stopped to feed a giraffe when it grabbed Paisley's shirt with its mouth and lifted her several feet. Paisley's mother was in the pickup bed with her and shouted, prompting the giraffe to drop the toddler into her arms unhurt. Video of the encounter taken from the car behind went viral. The girl's family also shot their own video.

“Paisley was holding the bag and the giraffe went to go get the bag, not get her, but ended up getting her shirt too and picking her up,” Jason Toten, the girl's father, told television station KWTX.

“My heart stopped, my stomach dropped … it scared me," Toten said.

The family then took the girl to the shop and bought her a toy giraffe.

Park rules when the family visited allowed riding in an open truck bed as long as an adult was riding with any children. The park on Thursday changed its safety rules to require everyone to stay inside their vehicles with doors closed.

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Safari Adventure

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Kristen W.

“ Super clean , so much to do and what I love most is that they offer a sensitive safari hour once a month for children with autism. ” in 4 reviews

Gee P.

“ We decided to come back today because it's scorching out and I wanted a play space with air conditioning. ” in 2 reviews

Elle D.

“ Best place to go any day of the week for your kids to let off some steam . ” in 2 reviews

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1074 Pulaski St

Bldg 1, Ste 2

Riverhead, NY 11901

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Business Owner

Safari Adventure is the premier children's fun and party place on the east end of Long Island. We focus on keeping our facility extremely clean and all equipment safe and up to date. With a wide variety of attractions, children have tons to do. Not only can they play in our 18 foot tall soft playground and 3 awesome inflatables, kids have have a blast playing arcade games or stimulate their mind and creativity in our hands on play area. From an interactive kinetic sand table to a magnetic gear wall and custom Thomas the train table, children can't get enough of Safari Adventure. We also over a full cafe with organic and gluten free menu options. Open play is all day everyday so just come anytime. Just don't forget your socks. Birthday parties are also available with booking with one of our party planners. …

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Photo of John B.

Great spot for the kids. Clean. Fun. Good energy. Staff is great, happy and attentive. Coffee is really good. Def check it out

Photo of Lawrence G.

Spent three hours there playing and spending $. When it came time to eat, we ordered the food with one person before us. After 40 minutes we still didn't get our food which was just one chicken fingers and fries. Was told by the "manger" that the party rooms take priority over us and we would have to continue to wait. Absolutely unacceptable response and being it was our first time there, we will never be going back to spend our time or $ again. Plenty of other places to go where they appreciate their customers who choose to spend it with them.

Photo of Gee P.

WOW!!! This place has improved so much in the past few years. We came here a few times about 3 years ago and stopped coming because it was dingy and dirty, half the people were wearing shoes in the play area. We decided to come back today because it's scorching out and I wanted a play space with air conditioning. This place is perfect! The AC cranking. The place looks so much cleaner, thanks to them enforcing the no shoes rule in the play area. Everyone had their shoes off and the equipment was much cleaner. We had a great time and loved it! Perfect place for when the it's too wet or too hot out!

Photo of Melissa D.

We went on a Tuesday afternoon. The guy at front desk was on phone and wasn't very helpful. He continued to talk on phone while collecting my money not explaining anything to us about the rules, place, lockers and shoe rules. Smaller than what I expected. Appeared clean. Not many people there. I went specifically for the toddler section because my daughter is only 15 months. This section was super small. It contained a double slide with a climbing section and the rest of the toys were like foam plastic covered blocks. There was nothing for her to do but go on a slide a million times. The fee was $10 which isn't bad for just her. I would of been really disappointed if they charged the adults. But kids are $10 during the week for open play. I expected more activities in the toddler section as they described on their website. More tactile and sensory toys. But there wasn't anything. I was able to take her on the big kid bouncy slide but that was very strenuous carting her up and holding on for dear life myself. The slide was fun and she enjoyed it. Me.... not so much. She wanted to do it a trillion times so I got a work out in for my $10. The food was very expensive. I bought a mini Honest juice box and bottled water and it was $2.44 each. I looked at prices of food but we didn't eat anything. Wasn't the best place for a toddler. Definitely for kids a bit older.

safari adventure 2

I took my 15 month old child here for the first time today and was very happy with the experience. The main play area has a huge indoor playground, a small toddler area, three large inflatables and many arcade games. There is a smaller play area off by the food which had a train set, duplo/lego table, a large sand table, a playhouse and a light table with blocks. The place kept my son busy for a good two hours and he slept well afterwards. It was a rainy Friday afternoon during the summer so it was very crowded which I expected. My son didn't go in the larger play area because so many older and bigger kids were playing wildly in there. Which is nobody's fault really, kids will be kids and when they're excited like that, they're not necessarily looking out for the small babies. I would LOVE if this place would do a designated toddler hour or something so that my son could explore the whole area without having to worry about being trampled by excited kindergarteners. The staff member told me I was allowed to go into the larger inflatables with my son which I appreciated because it can be nerve-wracking when you can't see them in there or other kids are playing rough nearby. It was $10.16 for my son to enter (adults are free- awesome). I can imagine it would get really expensive if your kid wanted to play all the arcade games but luckily toddlers are happy to just stare at the screen and press buttons without actually doing anything. All in all, it was a good experience and I'll definitely be back.

Photo of Tom M.

Lots and lots of stuff to do. Super clean. Could probably keep your kids busy the better part of a day. Life saver.

Photo of Jonathan G.

Looking for something to do with kids while you are in the Hamptons? Of course your first thought would be to drive to an industrial park in Riverhead where you would pay $12 to go on a safari adventure...wait, not on a safari adventure - to Safari Adventure which has absolutely nothing to do with a safari or much general adventure at all, BUT it is a viable rain day activity even if you have seen it all before. Safari Adventure is Chuck E. Cheese lite, but seemingly cleaner and better taken care of. In place of zebras, elephants and lions there is food, bounce houses, bounce slides, a small assortment of video games and then all the games you can win tickets at to later purchase small plastic items for hundreds of said tickets. However, your kids will have a ton of fun here. Safari Adventure is not large, but can hold a fair amount of kids. The bounce slides are literally balloons and bubbles in that any kid up to around 7 will go down them 20 times and enjoy every slide. There is also a play structure/ladder and ropes course which is good for kids of all ages. While the general premise of trekking out to a warehouse in Riverhead is strange, the price is right (adults don't pay, $12 for kids) and every kid appears to have fun there. Bring socks, even in the summer, as there are no shoes (for adults or kids) in the play area and no bare feet allowed. The bathrooms here were very clean and for a place with this many kids running around, it was kept tidy and in order.

safari adventure 2

Our grandaughter looks forward to her annual trip here. She talks about it for weeks before and will tell everyone she sees for the next few weeks how much fun she had once she is back home with her parents. It's a bit pricey , but she loves it. The staff is absolutely wonderful and they do a great job keeping it clean. It's basically an arcade with a bouncy house and some huge slides.It also has a play area with trains, sand box, books, and play house.Lots of fun for younger children...just remember to bring sox!

Photo of Sam G.

Thr place is pretty small. We drove out here in hopes it was much bigger. However for a 2 year old, it didn't matter because he had a blast. It is like a chuck cheese version of arcades, a few slides, and a maze. The place is definitely way cleaner than the other kiddie places we have been to. The price isn't bad and they don't charge adults which I feel it should be that way.

Photo of D1men S.

Clean and safe ! My kids loved it and they even let me go up on the equipment with my son. The games are not worth playing most of them don't work and are missing pieces. The prizes are garbage. It's $1 per play for every game. Would go again. Food is expensive.

9 other reviews that are not currently recommended

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Giraffe’s nibble turns into airborne safari adventure for Texas toddler

Video captures the moment a giraffe at a drive through wildlife park in Texas picked up a toddler from the rear of a truck

  • Copy Link copied

GLEN ROSE, Texas (AP) — A Texas family got a brief scare when a nibble from a giraffe turned a 2-year-old’s safari visit into an airborne adventure.

Paisley Toten was in the bed of a pickup truck on June 1 when her family drove through the Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, where visitors can see exotic animals such as zebras, giraffes and sable antelope, and feed some of them from their car.

The family had stopped to feed a giraffe when it grabbed Paisley’s shirt with its mouth and lifted her several feet. Paisley’s mother was in the pickup bed with her and shouted, prompting the giraffe to drop the toddler into her arms unhurt. Video of the encounter taken from the car behind went viral. The girl’s family also shot their own video.

“Paisley was holding the bag and the giraffe went to go get the bag, not get her, but ended up getting her shirt too and picking her up,” Jason Toten, the girl’s father, told television station KWTX.

“My heart stopped, my stomach dropped … it scared me,” Toten said.

The family then took the girl to the shop and bought her a toy giraffe.

Park rules when the family visited allowed riding in an open truck bed as long as an adult was riding with any children. The park on Thursday changed its safety rules to require everyone to stay inside their vehicles with doors closed.

safari adventure 2

Animals Around The Globe (US)

Animals Around The Globe (US)

10 Best African Countries for Safari

Posted: April 30, 2024 | Last updated: April 30, 2024

safari adventure 2

Unleash the explorer within and embark on a journey that echoes with the rhythmic heartbeat of the wild! If you’re craving the ultimate safari adventure, look no further. We’ve meticulously curated the ultimate guide to unveil the 10 Best African Countries for Safari, designed especially for intrepid travelers yearning to witness nature’s grandeur up close.

Investigate the 10 Best African Countries for Safari below:

safari adventure 2

#1 Botswana

Recommended Tours:

Thus, poachers are seen as enemies of the people. As a result, Botswana has come into view as Africa's most sought-after ecotourism destination. Starting from the Chobe National Park to the Moremi Nature Reserve, you'll be able to witness numerous gems all around the country.

Back in 2014, Botswana widely banned the hunting of wild animals and implemented strict laws which are still in practice. The country resumes its zero-tolerance for poaching and their very own environmental minister, Tshekedi Khama, has even launched a shoot-to-kill policy for poachers.

Botswana, with its wildlife conservation and natural parks, is a haven for nature lovers. It is currently in the top 5, as its approach to the protection and conservation of wildlife is worth the praise. As a country, it is very forward-thinking, some may even call it aggressively forward-thinking when it comes to its preservation and anti-poaching laws.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours: </strong></p> <p>Not only do they have some of the best conservations, but Kenya is also home to 1100 different species of birds, 115 amphibians, 280 reptile species and not to mention 390 species of mammals. It is without any doubt, one of the best places to go for a Safari and witness wildlife.</p> <p>When it comes to parks and national reserves, Kenya houses 16 national reserves and 25 national parks. Along with that, the country also boasts numerous private conservations which are open for visitors.</p> <p>Kenya, as a country for Safari, is a force to reckon with. Its stunning wildlife environment is too phenomenal to put into words. Most of the African countries will not be able to even compete with their national parks and wildlife conservations. If you don't visit there at least once in your life, you're missing out on a huge chunk of excitement.</p>           Sharks, lions, tigers, as well as all about cats & dogs!           <a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/channel/source/Animals%20Around%20The%20Globe%20US/sr-vid-ryujycftmyx7d7tmb5trkya28raxe6r56iuty5739ky2rf5d5wws?ocid=anaheim-ntp-following&cvid=1ff21e393be1475a8b3dd9a83a86b8df&ei=10'>           Click here to get to the Animals Around The Globe profile page</a><b> and hit "Follow" to never miss out.</b>

Not only do they have some of the best conservations, but Kenya is also home to 1100 different species of birds, 115 amphibians, 280 reptile species and not to mention 390 species of mammals. It is without any doubt, one of the best places to go for a Safari and witness wildlife.

When it comes to parks and national reserves, Kenya houses 16 national reserves and 25 national parks. Along with that, the country also boasts numerous private conservations which are open for visitors.

Kenya, as a country for Safari, is a force to reckon with. Its stunning wildlife environment is too phenomenal to put into words. Most of the African countries will not be able to even compete with their national parks and wildlife conservations. If you don't visit there at least once in your life, you're missing out on a huge chunk of excitement.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours:</strong></p> <p>Its fertile land provides a safe and comforting home to around 200 mammal species. This includes elephants, hippos, monkeys and so much more. Along with 650 bird species and 5,500 plants. Even though the country is still underdeveloped and most of the population live in rural households, its national parks, and sight-seeing destinations are on the top 10 of our lists.</p> <p>Even though many would face some difficulties in locating Malawi on a map, given how tiny it is, the country is home to the world-renowned Lake Malawi National Park. This is practically one-third of the country and is the most biodiverse lake in the world.</p>           Sharks, lions, tigers, as well as all about cats & dogs!           <a href='https://www.msn.com/en-us/channel/source/Animals%20Around%20The%20Globe%20US/sr-vid-ryujycftmyx7d7tmb5trkya28raxe6r56iuty5739ky2rf5d5wws?ocid=anaheim-ntp-following&cvid=1ff21e393be1475a8b3dd9a83a86b8df&ei=10'>           Click here to get to the Animals Around The Globe profile page</a><b> and hit "Follow" to never miss out.</b>

Its fertile land provides a safe and comforting home to around 200 mammal species. This includes elephants, hippos, monkeys and so much more. Along with 650 bird species and 5,500 plants. Even though the country is still underdeveloped and most of the population live in rural households, its national parks, and sight-seeing destinations are on the top 10 of our lists.

Even though many would face some difficulties in locating Malawi on a map, given how tiny it is, the country is home to the world-renowned Lake Malawi National Park. This is practically one-third of the country and is the most biodiverse lake in the world.

safari adventure 2

Most of the land in Namibia is occupied by the Kalahari and Namib Deserts. Along with that, the country also has 12 national parks and many other areas which are protected. So, if you go there for a safari, you'll have many rich areas to see and explore.

When it comes to countries with the least amount of population, Namibia is one of them. Which proves to be a good thing for nature. This is because most of the land in Namibia is still unspoiled by human filth or any sort of development, giving nature a chance to breathe.

safari adventure 2

In the country's Volcanoes National Park, you'll find 10 habituated gorilla families. Groups of 8 trekkers can visit them for one hour per day. But that's enough to get the best African safari experience. And as a nature lover, you'll enjoy the experience to the max.

If you've been around for some time, you'll be familiar with Rwanda's mountain gorillas. They were famously broadcasted and their fight for survival was shown on  National Geographic . This was all thanks to the late  Dian Fossey  back in the 1970s who advocated for the rights of these mountain gorillas throughout her life.

Considering the tragic history surrounding the mass genocide of the people of Rwanda back in 1994, it's truly a blessing what the country has achieved in the past 25 years. There have been countless investments in infrastructure. This has resulted in the country being a very fast-growing destination for ecotourism.

safari adventure 2

#6 South Africa

But given all the advantages, it's safe to conclude that South Africa also suffers from over-tourism. I mean, if you have so many great attractions, people will flock towards it. Chances are that you'll find yourself in the middle of dozens of unruly visitors who are not too keen on obeying the rules. This occurs mostly during the peak seasons.

Annually, the country has one million visitors. Its biggest attraction is the Kruger National Park with its enrichment in biodiversity. Visitors there also have the liberty to self-drive, thus, getting a first-person private but superb experience. 

For some time now, South Africa has been climbing the charts to become one of the most popular destinations for African safaris. Given its location, South Africa is a very convenient and cheap destination for people from the United States. Besides that, the country also boasts a well-developed infrastructure which makes it perfect for luxury travelers as well.

safari adventure 2

#7 Tanzania

One of the most popular locations would be the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The country is also a haven for 1100 different bird species. It's no wonder that Tanzania gets this much rep. Especially when the country boasts so many wonders.

We talked about Kenya being the top destination for Safari. Now Tanzania here takes second place in being the continent's most popular safari destination. And why shouldn't it? The country has 16 national parks and an extraordinary amount of wealth and wildlife wonders for the people to witness.

safari adventure 2

Some of its natural attractions include housing the highest mountain range in Africa. It also has the world's largest free-standing volcano and the second-largest freshwater lake. With its 30 national parks and other wildlife reserves, Uganda boasts many more sanctuaries which are worth the visit. Especially if you're a lover of nature and wildlife.

Often called "The Pearl of Africa", Uganda is certainly a great pick for an African safari. Its reputation as being one of the best ecotourism destinations comes from the country's natural attractions and wildlife.

<p><strong>Recommended Tours:</strong></p> <p>Out of its 20 national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to many wildlife animals such as African elephants, Angolan giraffes, Cape buffalo, etc. Other than that, there are many private ownerships of National parks, notably the Kasanka National Park which is near the basin of Lake Bangweulu. It's a safe place where visitors can see 400 different avian species.</p> <p>Zambia may be a bit far down the list of popular destinations for your African safari, but many consider it to be a destination for diversified and immersive safari experiences, and making a notable feature on our 10 Best African Countries for Safari guide. The country is steadily focusing on conservation as their president has shown a keen interest and is working on building the nation's economy as well as the infrastructure.</p>

Out of its 20 national parks, the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park is home to many wildlife animals such as African elephants, Angolan giraffes, Cape buffalo, etc. Other than that, there are many private ownerships of National parks, notably the Kasanka National Park which is near the basin of Lake Bangweulu. It's a safe place where visitors can see 400 different avian species.

Zambia may be a bit far down the list of popular destinations for your African safari, but many consider it to be a destination for diversified and immersive safari experiences, and making a notable feature on our 10 Best African Countries for Safari guide. The country is steadily focusing on conservation as their president has shown a keen interest and is working on building the nation's economy as well as the infrastructure.

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Chemmy Alcott re-creates her African safari honeymoon with husband and two sons - see the magical photos

The ski racer tied the knot with dougie crawford in 2014.

Emily Horan

After making her name hurtling down snow-covered mountains, former Olympic skier Chemmy Alcott found herself in very different surroundings to experience a moment she'll never forget. 

The Ski Sunday presenter was celebrating her tenth wedding anniversary in Africa with her husband Dougie Crawford and their sons Locki, seven, and Cooper, five, when together they watched a magical sunset over the Serengeti. 

The family of four soaked up magical views of the Serengeti on their African adventure

"It was incredible to watch the magic through their eyes and to see how enchanted they were," she tells HELLO ! , exclusively sharing photos from the family holiday, which re-created the couple's honeymoon to Tanzania ten years ago. "It felt like the boys' first proper adventure. I know they will remember it forever."

Chemmy, 41, and fellow professional skier Dougie, 37,  tied the knot on 6 June 2014 in a fairytale ceremony  at West London's Syon House, followed by a honeymoon safari, which marked the beginning of their "adult life" – made all the more poignant by the fact the pair had just retired from competitive racing. "This trip reminded Dougie and me of our new beginning we had ten years ago," says Chemmy. 

Locki, 7, and Cooper, 5, helped their parents re-create moments from their Tanzanian honeymoon

The family stayed at Nimali Tarangire and Nimali Mara, sleeping in beautiful safari lodges, with the glass-fronted tented suites offering stunning panoramas of grassy savannahs. 

Safari offered thrilling sightings of lions, giraffes, baby elephants and hyenas

Excursions into the wild brought thrilling sightings of lions, giraffes, baby elephants and hyenas. "We also saw a rhino, which sparked a conversation with the boys about extinction and how important it is to protect the world around us," Chemmy says. "The one thing we didn't see was a leopard, so we'll have to come back."

Organised with the help of Stubborn Mule Travel , which specialises in holidays tailored for families, and the   Tanzania Tourist Board , the trip saw Chemmy and Dougie re-create memories from their honeymoon. Among them were visiting a Maasai village, where the boys were "enthralled" to meet a warrior who had lost his fingers to a lion, and a primary school helped by the children's charity   Right to Play . 

Chemmy took her two young boys to see the work of charity Right to Play

"We're very fortunate for the incredible life we have, so I wanted my boys to see other children their age who are living with challenges. They got so much from it. We had a two-hour drive back from the school and they asked Dougie and me questions the whole way."

Chemmy and her family ended the weeklong trip in Zanzibar, at the archipelago's Lux* Marijani hotel,  where they enjoyed snorkelling, dolphin-spotting and climbing coconut palms - and even feasted on a luxurious floating breakfast in the resort's pool. 

The Lux* Marijani hotel offers incredible floating breakfasts

It was the perfect way to celebrate a decade of marriage, says Chemmy, and the couple's love has only grown stronger over the years. 

"We're team-mates," she says. "There's a silent understanding that we'll always support each other through everything and that's become ingrained in our love after ten years. What I love most is how Dougie brings out the best in me. He's the gel that keeps our family together and happy. I'm so lucky to have found my soulmate." 

The African adventure was the perfect way to celebrate Chemmy and Dougie's ten years of marriage

A two-week holiday for a family of four in Tanzania, including safari and beach, costs from £19,000. For further information or to book, visit  nimaliafrica.com ,  luxresorts.com/en/zanzibar/hotel/luxmarijani  or  stubbornmuletravel.com . For further information on Tanzania, visit  tanzaniatourism.go.tz .

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World's Best Adventure Holidays

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Joanne Owen

written by Joanne Owen

updated 11.06.2024

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Dreaming of a fantastic adventure holiday? We’ve hand-picked ten destinations that deliver exactly that. Here is our list of places that offer unforgettable opportunities to enjoy pulse-quickening experiences of a lifetime. Take your pick from ice-caving glacial lagoons, ziplining tropical rainforests, trekking sweeping desert landscapes, and soaring over cliffs and canyons in a copter.

1. Croatia: best adventure holidays in Europe

2. iceland: active holiday with stunning scenery, 3. cuba: best adventure holidays for cyclists, 4. south africa: unforgettable wildlife holidays, 5. costa rica: best adventure holidays in central america, 6. yellowstone national park: most adventure holidays in the us, 7. oman: active holiday for sightseeing&snorkeling.

  • 8. Sri Lanka: adventure family holidays

9. Mexico: perfect holiday for explorers

10. kauai, hawaii: best hiking holidays, 11. galapagos islands: island-hopping adventure holidays.

The information in this article is inspired by the The Rough Guides guidebooks — your essential guides for visiting the world.

That said, adventure isn’t only about satisfying cravings for high-octane kicks. Adventure also means getting off the beaten track for extraordinary wildlife-watching experiences , spending nights star-gazing in remote wildernesses or finding your new favourite food in local markets.

Travel ideas for South Africa, created by local experts

Cape Town and Garden Route - a luxury guided tour

7 days  / from 4800 USD

Cape Town and Garden Route - a luxury guided tour

Cape Town and the Garden Route have it all - a fascinating culture, safaris, chocolate and wine tasting, and much more. Discover the coastal city of Cape Town and the Peninsula before heading out to the Garden Route with Knysna and Mossel Bay, where you'll experience some game drives.

The Cape Peninsula and Safaris in Kruger and Pilanesberg

15 days  / from 4000 USD

The Cape Peninsula and Safaris in Kruger and Pilanesberg

Wildlife in South Africa is still truly wild, a fact that you'll be able to discover in this fascinating two weeks trip. Enjoy whale watching in Cape Town and first safaris in Aquila before heading up north: the famous Kruger and Pilanesberg national parks with all its wildlife await.

Explore the North of South Africa: Sun City and Madikwe game reserve

7 days  / from 3000 USD

Explore the North of South Africa: Sun City and Madikwe game reserve

For those short on time, staying close to Johannesburg may make sense. On this trip, you'll arrive and depart in Johannesburg and then transfer to the theme park Lost City before continuing to Madikwe for a few days of game drives to spot plenty of wildlife.

Secret gem in South Africa - Northern Cape Self Drive

17 days  / from 4500 USD

Secret gem in South Africa - Northern Cape Self Drive

Embark on an epic self-drive adventure from Cape Town to the Northern Cape. Witness the breathtaking floral displays of Namaqualand, marvel at the diverse wildlife in Karoo National Park, and be captivated by the awe-inspiring cascades of Augrabies Falls.

A family self drive in South Africa & Swaziland

7 days  / from 950 USD

A family self drive in South Africa & Swaziland

Take the family on an African adventure in your own rental car, it's the ideal companion to discover Kruger National Park at your own pace. Further on to Swaziland and then Hluhluwe, this trip focuses on wildlife and exploration, all at your leisure.

A Kruger adventure

3 days  / from 1000 USD

A Kruger adventure

Kruger National Park is one of the best known national parks in South Africa and always worth a visit. Starting and ending in Johannesburg is the most convenient one, the perfect stop to then take a domestic flight towards George or Cape Town for the rest of your trip.

Adventure awaits: hiking, cycling, river-rafting and quad-biking 

WhiIe spectacular UNESCO-designated  Dubrovnik  understandably attracts a whopping number of visitors each year, as does the country’s  beaches  and islands , Croatia’s adventure offerings are every bit as epic, not least in  Plitvice Lakes National Park , another UNESCO World Heritage Site. 

This emerald wilderness of mighty mountains, lakes and waterfalls offers twelve hiking trails through pristine landscapes that’ll take your breath away. 

More untouched wilderness awaits in Northern Velebit National Park. The Velebit massif, Croatia’s longest mountain, rewards hikers with a mind-blowing mix of craggy cliffs and limestone peaks, wildflower meadows, and pine forests that seem to extend to infinity. 

Plitvice-croatia-shutterstock_369113063

Croatia's Plitvice Lakes National Park - a place to enjoy adventure holidays in epic surroundings © Shutterstock

If you fancy picking up the pace, head to the glorious Gacka River valley or the Konavle region for bone-juddering, off-road quad safaris, while white-knuckle experiences can be had rafting the white-water rapids of the Cetina River, taking in canyons and karst fields along the way. 

For more inspiration — and to take the hassle out of planning — take a look at our 100% customisable  ultimate adventure trip around Croatia and the Rough Guide to Croatia .

Meanwhile, newbies will want to read our  first-timers guide to Croatia , find out about the best things to do in Croatia and gaze upon the best beaches in Croatia . Been there, done that? Discover  unusual things to do in Croatia . 

Where to stay in Croatia

Ethno Houses Plitvice Lakes  offers rustic elegance a mere 400 metres from the park’s highest waterfall.

Adventure awaits: ice-caving, glacier-hiking, lava-caving and intercontinental snorkelling

With frozen glaciers, dramatic fjords, mighty volcanoes, and the  northern lights ,  Iceland  is a ruggedly majestic stunner of a country. But don’t just take our word for it — see for yourself in our  gallery . 

Given the drama of its landscapes, it’s little wonder that Iceland is one of the world’s top hiking destinations, whether you head to the glacial valleys and lava fields of the  enchanting east , or fancy exploring the remote waterfalls of the  wild west . 

Serious hiker? Discover Iceland’s most  extreme trail .

Iceland also offers unique opportunities to find adventure in bona fide fairy tale landscapes. You could, for example, take a Crystal Ice Cave Tour from Jökulsárlón Glacier Lagoon. The enchanting cave is part of Europe’s biggest glacier, Vatnajökull Glacier, and presents itself as a sparkle of heavenly blue hues.

Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

Extraordinary landscapes yield extraordinary adventures in Skaftafell, Vatnajokull National Park, Iceland © Jens Ottoson/Shutterstock

Iceland is also a hotspot for unforgettable water experiences. Head to the Silfra Fissure to snorkel between North America and Europe and try lava caving. Then there are all those bubbling geothermal springs to relax in after you’ve flexed your muscles. Before you take the plunge, discover  Iceland’s best hot pools , and read up on the  dos and don’ts of Icelandic spas .

With so much to see and do, you'll want to be informed about the best travel experiences in Iceland . Or, if you like to do things your own way, read our rundown of  the best things to do in Iceland . For more inspiration, take a look at the best places to stay in Iceland and Rough Guides'  Iceland itineraries .

Where to stay in Iceland

Just 10 minutes from the Blue Lagoon, boutique  Silica Hotel  boasts its own lagoon, with room verandas overlooking lava fields.

Adventure awaits: biking, hiking, wildlife-watching and water-sports 

If you think of  Cuba, chances are your mind’s eye will conjure images of idyllic Caribbean beaches , classic cars, colonial architecture, revolution, and the  romance of Cuba . But alongside its coastal and cultural attractions, Cuba offers a tonne of exhilarating adventure experiences. 

To truly get off the beaten track, you could consider taking a  Cuban bike trip . After exploring intoxicating, off-beat Havana and fuelling yourself at the  best restaurants in Cuba , head to the Las Terrazas Biosphere Reserve for an undulating 200m climb through spectacular scenery before a speedy downhill run to Soroa.

Going it alone? Discover the  best places to cycle in Cuba  and read our tips for backpacking through Cuba . Serious cyclists might also want to discover the world’s most  epic cycle routes . 

For more biking or hiking adventures,  Viñales  National Park is a must-visit, with its striking landscape of boulder-like hills exuding decidedly prehistoric vibes. Satisfying trekking can also be enjoyed in the pine-forested  Sierra del Escambray and the cloud forests of the Sierra Maestra.

Already started planning your holiday in Cuba? Explore your options for the best ways to get there .

Morning view to Vinales valley, Cuba © Zaruba Ondrej/Shutterstock

Feel revitalised in Cuba's Vinales Valley © Shutterstock

Want to watch wildlife? The Península de Zapata National Park is an unspoilt paradise for birdlife, including the endemic Zapata rail and the Cuban pygmy owl, along with plenty of boars, iguanas and crocodiles.

The  Peninsula de Zapata  is also a hotspot for excellent scuba diving and snorkelling, as is the  Jardines del Rey . Fringed by 400km of coral reef, this archipelago has over forty dive sites to explore — think enchanting forests of colourful sponges teeming with tropical fish.

Ready to dive into Cuba’s diverse delights? From  family-focused adventure itineraries to extended off-the-beaten-track tours , Rough Guides’ tailor-made trips have a host of activity-based ideas for Cuba. You might also want to discover the  best places to go in Cuba on a first-time visit and the best beaches near Havana and get your hands on our in-depth guidebook .

Adventure awaits: safaris, cycling, hiking, climbing and road trips

Going on  safari in South Africa  is one of those unforgettable adventure experiences of a lifetime, with Kruger National Park offering one of the world’s widest diversity of wildlife. Around 140 species of mammals — including all the Big Five — and 500 species of birds call Kruger home.

Covering an area the size of Wales, you could spend days here and still not see everything, so read our  first-timers guide  to give yourself a decent shot at it, and consider opting for a private guided tour of the park. It's also worth taking the time to discover how to safari safely and ethically .

Kruger Park, Limpopo, South Africa © Rich T Photo/Shutterstock

Roving rangers in Kruger National Park, South Africa © Rich T Photo/Shutterstock

Alternatively, if you fancy having more freedom to truly immerse yourself in the region, consider a  self-drive tour – check out the best road trip routes in South Africa . That way you can spend as long as you like in Kruger National Park before exploring the likes of Blyde River Canyon, and Dullstroom’s highlands, where pretty fishing villages serve as gateways to hiking trails and rock-climbing sites.

Want to give your kids an unforgettable safari experience? Read everything you need to know about travelling to South Africa with kids .

Need convincing about self-drive breaks? Here is a host of  reasons to choose a road trip for your next adventure . 

Another exhilarating way to experience South Africa is to  cycle the Garden Route  — ideal for adventurers who want the challenge of cycling a variety of terrain while taking in  outstanding scenery , with  fine food and wine  on hand to provide post-ride replenishment. 

From tours covering  safaris and culture to discovering wildlife, wine and whales around Cape Town , check Rough Guides’ customisable South Africa itineraries for inspiration.

Where to stay in South Africa

Kicking off your South African adventure in Cape Town?  Cape Grace Hotel  is flanked by Table Mountain and has a private quay.

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mexico-city-national-palace-shutterstock_104705381

Adventure awaits: ziplining, hiking, surfing and wildlife-watching

One of the world’s most biodiverse countries, it’s not for nothing that  Costa Rica  features in our  best places on earth . It also happens to be among the world’s best destinations for adventurous nature lovers. 

Whether you’re into wildlife watching or more high-octane experiences, Costa Rica sure isn’t short of  beautiful national parks  for walks on the wild side. Experienced hikers might want to tackle a 20km trek through Parque Nacional Corcovado. Alive with toucans, sloths, howler monkeys, and the thrum and shimmer of hummingbirds, you might get lucky and glimpse an ocelot or jaguar. 

For a less hardcore (but every bit as rewarding) hike, head to Parque Nacional Rincón de la Vieja in  Guanacaste , where a 6km circuit unfolds in the shadow of a smoking volcano. 

Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Costa Rica

Wild waterfalls await walkers in Rincon de La Vieja National Park, Costa Rica © Shutterstock

Meanwhile, alongside being a great place for birdwatching, Monteverde cloud forest delivers pulse-quickening kicks. Take a  mega-mix adventure trip  to experience the whole kit and caboodle of ziplines, swings and climbing thrills.

Want to get wild on the water? Costa Rica’s Pacific coast is a prime surfing spot, but since the country spans both the Pacific Ocean and  the Caribbean  Sea, it offers a huge variety of coastal experiences, so it’ll be worth reading up on the  best beaches in Costa Rica . 

If that wasn’t enough, Costa Rica is also the perfect place to put your plans to travel more sustainably into practice. For decades, Costa Rica’s eco-lodges and activity offerings have been blazing a trail for responsible tourism. 

To help choose your base, discover the  best hikes in Costa Rica . Keen photographers might also want to know where to see the country’s  best waterfalls . Our  Costa Rica travel tips  and customisable  eco-adventure itinerary might also come in handy for pre-trip inspiration.

Interested in adventuring around the wider region? Read our overview of Central America’s top adventure experiences . And, if you’re planning to go it alone for longer, arm yourself with  tips for back-packing Central America and top tips for visiting Costa Rica .

Where to stay in Costa Rica

Want to be close to the beach and forest? Locations don’t come better than  Lapa Rios Eco Lodge .

Adventure awaits: hiking, diving, kayaking, horse-riding and wildlife-watching

Included in our round-up of the best places in the USA to visit (discover all 100 in the  picture-packed Rough Guide ),  Yellowstone National Park  offers a staggering range of landscapes and activities. 

The mountain scenery makes a stunning backdrop for all those hiking and horse-riding excursions. Take a trip to the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone to experience that glorious diversity — from the Mammoth Hot Springs and Old Faithful Geyser to Azure Yellowstone Lake and sub-alpine Hayden Valley. 

Alternatively, you could go all out and take an immersive safari driving tour, staying in lodges that are primely located for kayaking and wildlife-watching. Expect to see grizzly bears, huge herds of heavy-bearded bison, elegant horned elk, prairie dogs, eagles, coyotes and wolves. 

Grand Prismatic pool spring in Yellowstone National Park © Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

Grand Prismatic pool spring in Yellowstone National Park © Lane V. Erickson/Shutterstock

All that considered, it’s no surprise that Yellowstone attracts over four million visitors a year, so you might want to find out how to  avoid the crowds in Yellowstone  and curb the pitfalls of over-tourism. And don't miss Rough Guides look at the truth about tourism in Yellowstone National Park .

Sticking with the sustainable travel theme, consider taking a railroad trip to explore the wider  Rockies  region or more of the USA, for that matter. To start planning, read our  tips for travelling by train in the USA . 

Want to know more about America’s great outdoors? Read our overview of the most stunning national parks in America , and take a look at the inspirational  Rough Guide to the USA’s National Parks . 

Where to stay in Yellowstone National Park

To be close to the action, browse hotels  near Yellowstone National Park’s west entrance.

Adventure awaits: desert trekking, turtle-watching, snorkelling and star-gazing

If you’re looking for fresh adventures in a genuinely lesser-visited location,  Oman  might just be your cup of saffron-spiced coffee, best served from a traditional dallah pot.

Before heading off on your desert-to-coast adventures, you’ll want to make time to explore Muscat , which offers unforgettable opportunities to discover ancient Arabic culture alongside cutting-edge, contemporary architecture, courtesy of its Grand Mosque.

To experience Muscat’s diversity,  take a Muscat tour  that includes a visit to the ancient city of Nizwa (don’t miss the market), and Bahla, a UNESCO World Heritage Site with a formidable 13th-century fort at the heart of its oasis settlement. But that's not all this city has to offer — discover more reasons to love Muscat .

Muscat is also the ideal base from which to visit the otherworldly Wadi Shab pool, cave and Bimah sinkhole , and to enjoy  whale and dolphin-watching excursions and snorkelling . The idyllic, UNESCO-protected Dimaniyat Islands are guaranteed to stir your soul as they present an astounding array of marine life. 

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Oman's desert in atmospheric night mode © Shutterstock

For the ultimate Omani experience, head to Wahiba Sands to see undulating dunes shift from gold to burnished orange before heavenly star-gazing opportunities unfold. 

Meanwhile, nature lovers won’t want to miss exploring Ras Al Jinz bay. Happily, this important nesting site for green turtles is within reach of Wadi Bani Khalid, where curving canyons and cooling pools show Oman in sublime light. 

If the country is new to you, read our  guide for first-timers to Oman , and find out what you  won’t want to miss in Oman . To cover more ground without the stress of planning, you could consider booking a  tailor-made Omani adventure trip .

Alternatively, if you want an all-out independent experience, discover more about  wild camping in Oman , and dig into the in-depth  Rough Guide to Oman .

Where to stay in Oman

Offering sunset camel rides, sweeping desert surroundings, and stirring star-gazing experiences,  Sama al Wasil is a delight.

8. Sri Lanka: adventure family holidays 

Adventure awaits: trekking, abseiling, climbing, safaris and surfing

Though modest in size, jewel-shaped  Sri Lanka  is a diamond of a destination for adventurous travellers, especially those who want to get to know the culture and wildlife of the destinations they visit and enjoy  Sri Lanka's great food . 

One of the most rewarding aspects of visiting this dramatic Indian Ocean island is the fact that its hiking trails also afford incredible wildlife-watching opportunities. This certainly holds true while trekking to Single Tree Hill. Starting in Shanthipura, Sri Lanka’s highest village, the trail traverses the forest habitats of wild boars, sambar deer and leopards. And don't miss 10 reasons to discover Sri Lanka's east coast .

You’ll be spoiled for choice when it comes to full-on safaris. For  first-time visitors to Sri Lanka , we especially recommend Yala National Park  and Gal Oya National Park, both of which teem with birds, elephants, sloth bears, leopards, jackals, marsh mugger crocs, and much more besides. For added atmosphere (and lively birds), you can’t beat taking a golden hours safari through Yala .

Want to have an unforgettable experience on a family vacation to Sri Lanka? Read our guide to Sri Lanka with kids and pick up some useful tips.

Talking of golden hours, southern Sri Lanka features in our round-up of the best places to visit in winter for the sun .

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Look out for leopards in Yala National Park, Sri Lanka © Shutterstock

Experienced climbers will want to tackle K1 (also known as Kirigalpotta), the highest point of the Horton Plains Sanctuary. Traversing grassland, marshland, cloud forest and rocks, the trail is nothing but diverse, and you might just see leopards along the way. 

But Sri Lanka’s adventure activities aren’t limited to its interior. The island’s coastline offers  incredible surf , with  beautiful Sri Lankan beaches  to rest upon between riding those waves. There are plenty of  places to go whale-watching in Sri Lanka , too, with  trips from Mirissa  of longstanding repute. 

Planning family adventure holidays? Find out  why Sri Lanka should be the next place you take your kids . If you’re going it alone, read our tips for solo travel . Or, to skip the pain of planning, Rough Guides’  Sri Lanka for adventure-lovers trip can be customised to your exact spec.

Where to stay in Sri Lanka

For rewarding walks, Queenswood Cottage  is well-located in Nuwara Eliya, Central Sri Lanka, and beautiful with it.

Adventure awaits: Mayan exploration, hiking, canyoning, cave-diving and wildlife-watching  

If your idea of adventure holidays involves intrepid treks through dense rainforests to explore ancient cities — with a whole lot of wildlife wonders to be wowed by en route — Mexico should be top of your wish list. 

To experience exactly that in a single trip, you might want to take the  Mayan Trail .  Tulum’s  archaeological treasures aren’t exactly off the beaten track, but their spectacular (and unusual) coastal setting makes them a must-visit. 

What’s more, Tulum is within reach of the beautiful Bacalar Lagoon, and the lesser-visited Kohunlich ruins. Located deep in the jungle, and best known for its Palace of Masks, this ancient Mayan city exudes a truly magical atmosphere. 

With over 360 bird species recorded here, and being home to over 100 species of mammal, Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is the perfect place for wildlife watchers. Find out  where else to see animals in Mexico . 

In addition, given that this sprawling site also includes over 6000 Mayan structures, most of which are still being excavated, Calakmul Biosphere Reserve is also a sure-fire winner for wannabe explorers.  

Chichen itza sunset, Mexico © Shutterstock

A stunning sunset over Chichén Itzá, Mexico © Shutterstock

Hailed as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it’s worth devoting a day to exploring  Chichén Itzá . Alternatively, if you’re staying in the  Cancun region  and find yourself hankering for activities beyond the beach, book a Chichén Itzá tour with added adventure  — take your pick from ziplining, driving amphibious vehicles, and rafting underground caves. 

Talking of caves, if you’re feeling brave, the  Yucatán  Peninsula is known for its cenotes — underwater limestone caves that deliver refreshing dive experiences. Discover the  cool places to visit in Mexico . 

Meanwhile, Sumidero Canyon National Park, located in the state of  Chiapas  and accessed via boat, offers a smorgasbord of outdoor activities, from kayaking and abseiling to zip-lining and mountain biking. Or you could always book a nature-oriented trip that includes visiting Chiapa de Corzo , where craft markets and ancient ruins await. 

Given the country’s diverse offerings – we haven’t even mentioned all those  beautiful Mexican beaches  and   Mexico's incredible food  — you might want to read up on  things not to miss in Mexico  before booking your trip. 

Rough Guides’  customisable Mexico itineraries  also offer plenty of inspiration, whether you want to immerse yourself in Mayan culture during a  self-drive trip around Yucatan , or fancy an  authentic experience in Central Mexico .  If you're travelling with little ones in tow, don't miss our guide to visiting Mexico with kids .

Where to stay in Mexico

The perfect base from which to explore the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve and a tonne of Mayan sites, eco-minded, jungle-surrounded  Casa Kaan Calakmul  is a top place to rest your head.

Adventure awaits:  hiking, helicopter-riding, kayaking and feasting

Known as Hawaii's Garden Island ,  Kauai  is a lush and lesser-visited destination that made it into the Rough Guide to the 100 Best Places on Earth . 

With over half its 550-square miles reserved for conservation and preservation and tonnes of tropical forests, hiking trails, zip lines, and excellent surf, Kauai epitomises adventure, with its iconic Na Pali Coast delivering peak pulse-quickening activities and scenery. 

Often featured in Hollywood adventure movies, the Na Pali Coast is inaccessible to vehicles, which means you’ll have to get into Jurassic Park mode to see its staggering rock spires. Take your pick from paddle-boarding, kayaking, or booking a  private plane or helicopter trip  that offers exhilarating views of both the coast and  Waimea Canyon . 

Hardcore hikers will want to consider hiking Na Pali’s Kalalau Trail. Definitely not for the inexperienced or faint-hearted, this showcases why Kauai is regarded as one of the world’s best hiking destinations. 

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The Na-Pali coast of Kauai, Hawaii, is like no place on earth © Shutterstock

Starting alongside Kee Beach, the 11-mile trek to Kalalau Valley involves increasingly challenging scrambles and climbs. The first two miles of the trail to Hanakapiai Beach aren’t too tricky, though you’ll still have to clamber through dense vegetation to reach it. From the beach, a sub-trail leads to the thundering, jungle-bounded Hanakapiai Falls. 

Keen to up your hiking game? Discover hiking tips  that’ll serve you well wherever you are in the world.  

After spending your day surfing, hiking, or  zip-lining Kauai’s tropical forests , you might want to enjoy fine food while learning about local legends and history at an  Island Dinner and Luau Kalamaku Show . Though known as an adventure holidays destination, Kauai’s certainly not short of cultural experiences.

If Kauai’s unspoiled remoteness and sense of adventure have sparked your interest, you might also fall for the  surfer’s holy grail of the remote Marshall Islands , an archipelago located between Hawaii and the Philippines. Alternatively, get the lowdown on all six of  Hawaii’s freely visited Islands .

Where to stay in Kauai

Set near crescent-shaped Poipu Beach (great for safe swimming, novice surfers, and snorkellers),  Hideaway Cove  offers laidback comfort in stunning surroundings.

Hanalei Bay and pier on Hawaiian island of Kauai ©  Steve Heap/Shutterstock

Hanalei Bay and Pier on Kauai, Hawaii © Steve Heap/Shutterstock

Adventure awaits: volcanic islands, matchless wildlife, stunning scenery and unique history.

It’s quite humbling that thirteen scarred volcanic islands and more than a hundred islets, scattered across the ocean should have been so instrumental in changing humanity’s perception of itself. Yet it was the forbidding Galápagos Islands that spurred Charles Darwin to formulate his theory of evolution by natural selection, catapulting science into the modern era.

Galapagos Island still gives an unparalleled insight into the mechanics of nature at one of the world’s most treasured wildlife destinations . Today the archipelago’s matchless wildlife, stunning scenery and unique history make it arguably the world’s premier wildlife destination.

The animals that have carved out an existence on the dramatic volcanic landscape have a legendary fearlessness. This results in close-up encounters that are simply not possible anywhere else on Earth. Witnessing first-hand the mating dance of the blue-footed booby and snorkelling with sea lions, turtles, penguins and sharks are just a couple of the unforgettable experiences that await you.

The Galapagos is undoubtedly one of the most tempting destinations for adventure holidays in South America. You'll find even more ideas for your holiday in our guide to incredible South American journeys .

Besides all the other benefits, the Galapagos is also great for a family vacation. To prepare for such a trip, read our guide to Ecuador with kids .

Follow in Charles Darwin's footsteps with this compact tailor-made trip to the Galapagos Islands . Spot the giant tortoise, marine iguanas, blue-footed boobies and sea lions. All in their natural habitat, lounging and feeding as you walk or swim by. You can also find more ideas for your trip in our Galapagos itineraries .

To get the most out of your trip, also read our guide on the best time to visit Galapagos Islands .

Interested in adventuring around the wider region? Also, read our Rough Guide to Ecuador & The Galápagos or Rough Guide to South America on a Budget .

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Galapagos iguana © Shutterstock

Where to stay on Galapagos Islands

Puerto Ayora is the nerve centre of the conservation programme, and headquarters of both the Charles Darwin Research Station and the Parque Nacional Galápagos. Home to more boats, tour brokers, hotels and restaurants than anywhere else in the islands, Puerto Ayora is also the best place for budget travellers to find last-minute places on cruises.

Inspired? Discover where else to find  serious adventure in some of the world’s wildest places . And remember, wherever you’re thinking of heading, there’ll be a Rough Guides guidebook or ebook to support you along every step of your journey, while our  tailor-made trips  take all the hassle out of planning.

Finally, to support you through your post-adventure comedown, you might want to bookmark our  advice for adjusting to life after travelling   — you can thank us later. 

Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet in the Galapagos Islands with an amazing viewpoint at the top © Seumas Christie-Johnston/Shutterstock

Bartolome Island, Galapagos, Ecuador. Bartolome Island is a volcanic islet in the Galapagos Islands with an amazing viewpoint at the top © Seumas Christie-Johnston/Shutterstock

After discovering a full gamut of places to go for fantastic adventure holidays, you might want to arm yourself with  ways to find more adventure during all your travels. Our gallery of seriously weird places around the world also offers inspiration for adventurous travellers seeking alternate experiences.

We may earn a commission when you click on links in this article, but this doesn’t influence our editorial standards. We only recommend services we genuinely believe will enhance your travel experiences.

Header image: diving adventures in Mexico © Shutterstock

Joanne is a Pembrokeshire-born writer with a passion for the nature, cultures and histories of the Caribbean region, especially Dominica. Also passionate about inspiring a love of adventure in young people, she’s the author of several books for children and young adults, hosts international writing workshops, and has written articles on the Caribbean and inspirational community initiatives for Rough Guides. Follow her @JoanneOwen on Twitter and @joanneowenwrites on Instagram.

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