The birthplace of the safari, Africa remains one of the top places in the world for wildlife encounters. It’s also the only place where it’s possible to come across many of the world’s most-loved species, from hippo and cheetah to giraffe and black rhino.
If you’re wondering why African safaris have such a great reputation, you’ll want to keep reading.
1. Say Hi to the Big Five
Africa is the continent of the Big Five. Consisting of leopard, lion, elephant, rhino and Cape buffalo, the group was so named because they were the hardest animals to hunt on foot.
Now, of course, the only hunting that will take place will be with a camera lens rather than with a rifle. But the Big Five remains a huge attraction for wildlife lovers across the globe.
Found in Africa’s grassland savannahs, the Big Five remain the focus of many safari plans. However, animal lovers also have plenty of other species to keep a watchful eye out for, including hundreds of species of bird, antelope and other big cats such as cheetah.
2. The Chance to Commune with Africa’s Landscapes
Most of Africa’s national parks are located amid the continent’s best and most inspiring landscapes. This means that as well as wildlife spotting, there’s plenty of opportunity to bask in the glory of Africa’s panoramas.
Incredibly diverse, they range from the entangled trees of the perfectly-named Bwindi Impenetrable Forest to the snows of the Rwenzori Mountains and unique vistas of the Ngorongoro Crater.
What could be better than bedding down within these glorious landscapes, dropping off to sleep on a feather-soft mattress to the sound of hyena and hippo?
3. Help Support Conservation and Local Communities
It’s well-known that many of Africa’s most popular animal species are endangered, with the threat to their survival coming from several sources.
What’s less well-known is that the simple act of going to explore Africa on safari helps to protect and conserve these species. The fees you pay to enter Africa’s national parks or obtain a permit to go gorilla trekking are spent on conservation efforts. The money pays the wages of the guides and rangers, some of whom have even lost their lives protecting Africa’s rarest species.
At the same time, heading out on safari helps local communities by providing jobs and financial security in their traditional homelands. In return, you get a lifetime’s knowledge from some of the world’s best trackers, who can not only tell you the direction a lion has headed in, but how long ago they went in that direction!
4. Take a Break from Normal Life
Going on safari won’t just be a change of scene. For most travelers it will also be a change of lifestyle. You’ll soon find yourself guided by nature rather than any manmade timetable, getting up at sunrise to encounter wildlife at its most active.
Safaris also give you the chance to unwind, since the pace of life in Africa is slower. Safaris by their nature have periods of quiet wildlife watching, as well as providing the chance for afternoons by an outdoor pool.
Time to Dust Off Your Sunhats
Want to witness the greatest show on Earth? You’ve got to go on safari! Not only do they allow you to get within a couple of meters of incredible animals, but also embed you in Africa’s landscapes, support conservation efforts, and allow you to take a break from your everyday life. Not sure where to start? Take a look at our guide to how to book an African safari.