Africa safari planning with the experts

Africa is huge and every safari is different. With so many diverse experiences, it can be difficult to decide where is right for you. Luckily, we are here to help whittle down your options to find your perfect safari itinerary. Begin planning by browsing this page, or designing your own itinerary, though nothing on our site will ever be as useful as chatting to one of our safari experts. Your first decision is whether to head to East or Southern Africa…

The best safari countries in Africa

Where to go? East vs Southern Africa 


It would not be right to say “Southern Africa is this” and “East Africa is this” as there are so many varied safaris on offer in each. However, we can identify certain perks of each to help make the decision a little easier. 
 
East Africa
 
East Africa is comprised of Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Rwanda. Kenya & Tanzania is where safari began, and where you get those endless acacia dotted savannahs which are typical of what people picture when they imagine “safari Africa”. Expect huge herds of grazers in the Serengeti’s Great Migration and classic tented accommodation – though these days, luxury is limitless in East Africa. 
 
You can also enjoy gorilla and chimpanzee trekking in Uganda and Rwanda – something which is not available in Southern Africa. This is the focus of trips here, though slowly these countries are becoming safari destinations in their own right. 
 
East Africa, importantly, is the place to combine safari with the beach. It is not so easy to do from Southern Africa, so if this is a priority then it has to be Tanzania or Kenya for your safari. 
 
Southern Africa
 
It would be unfair to categorise Southern Africa into being “this or that”. The safari countries are wide ranging, and there is a lot of them; Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, South Africa and Namibia
 
The highlights of these are the watery and luxurious Okavango Delta, the wild west of Namibia’s Skeleton Coast, the mighty Zambezi River and the action packed Sabi Sands and Greater Kruger in South Africa. From desert adventures to mekoro meanders; there is a lot on offer. 
 
If the Victoria Falls or the bright lights of Cape Town are on your hit list, then it has to be Southern Africa for safari. Technically, a beach extension is possible. But if you wanted to go to the Seychelles, Mauritius or Maldives the added “dead” nights, and expensive, lengthy flights makes it very tricky and the journey will eat up a huge amount of budget. 

The best safaris in East Africa

Tanzania: The "roof of Africa" Kilimanjaro, the famous Serengeti (also jam packed with big 5) and the Great Wildebeest Migration, The Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire, as well as the wild southern parks of Ruaha and the Selous, chimp trekking in the Mahale Mountains and excellent Indian Ocean beach options. A Tanzania safari has so much to offer for a variety of tastes and budgets. 
 
Kenya: From Nairobi and the historic nostalgia of Giraffe Manor, head to activities galore in Laikipia, before your world-class game drives in the famous Masai Mara - all in the country where safari began. For a timeless experience, a Kenya safari is unbeatable across the continent. 
 
Gorilla Trekking – This unforgettable and singular wildlife experience is only available in Uganda and Rwanda
 
Safari & beach – The tropical Zanzibar and beautiful Kenyan Coastline offers an exceptional safari and beach combination. 
 
The Great Wildebeest Migration – In Kenya’s Masai Mara and Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, this natural spectacle can be seen nowhere else in Africa. 

The best safaris in Southern Africa

Botswana: The beautiful and watery Okavango Delta, the big five in private game reserves and uber-luxury accommodation. The creme de la creme of luxury African holidays. 
 
Zambia: Get up close to nature on walking safaris in the South Luangwa Valley and dodging hippos on the mighty Zambezi as well as the famous Victoria Falls. Zambia is rustic, wild and full of surprises for those who are after something a little different. 
 
Zimbabwe: Hwange National Park is an exceptional hidden gem. With world-class wildlife in quiet areas at unbelievable value and with the best guides on the continent, Zimbabwe is Africa's best kept safari secret. 
 
South Africa: Sabi Sands offers exclusivity (contrary to the day safari goers in the busier Kruger National Park) with the bonus of the fabulous Cape Town nearby. If you are looking for a more cosmopolitan experience with a vast array of activities, then South Africa should be on your list.
 
Namibia: The eerie and wild Skeleton Coast and the mighty Namib desert dunes; Namibia is all about dramatic landscapes, starry skies and one of two desert adapted animals along the way. Not a big 5 destination; but one for landscape lovers.    
 
Southern Africa safaris are easy to combine with a lively city break in Cape Town. Drink some of the continent’s best wine and dine in some of the world’s best restaurants. One way to dust off a tiring and action-packed safari, and an amazing add-on. 
 
From Southern Africa you can also see the mighty Victoria Falls in all its glory, from either the Zimbabwe or Zambia side. Victoria Falls is the place for R&R before or after a tiring international flight; or go bungee jumping and take a dip in Devil’s Pool… 
 

How to combine African safari and beach?

From an East Africa safari, heading to the beach could not be easier. 
 
In Kenya, the Indian Ocean Mainland as well as Lamu Archipelago are fantastic options for a beach add-on. However, our favourite is the vibrant Zanzibar Island with all its charisma bundled into some charming boutique hotels. Zanzibar has varied accommodation, beautiful beaches and pristine waters. 
 
Another option for those who want to get more off the beaten track, is Pemba and Mafia islands for the real diving enthusiasts – be wary though, the beaches on both are not very good. 
 
Southern Africa wildlife viewing is most easily combined with a bit of downtime in the diverting Cape Town, or the mighty Victoria Falls – completely unique and an excellent contrast to a safari. 
 
The coast of Mozambique offers some beautiful beach spots, and further afield as does the Seychelles, Mauritius and the Maldives. Though Mozambique accommodation is extremely expensive for what you get, and the others are very costly difficult to get to from safari with “dead nights” and $900 flights... You could also consider Lake Malawi which gives you a unique beach experience, and depending on where you are, could only be a short hop away from your safari. 

African Safari Accommodation

The essence of the safari experience is of course the spectacular African wilderness and wildlife - but your accommodation is a big part of the experience too. Your safari can be simple and rustic (bucket showers, no electricity), or fantastically luxurious, chic and stylish (with fine wines and dining, spa treatments and every creature comfort), with lots of options in between...
 
The "types" of accommodation can be divided into "tented" or "non-tented" options. The difference here is not necessarily between being in luxury and rustic accommodation. Some of the most luxurious lodges in Africa are "under canvas", yet totally permenant and with all the luxuries in the world. On the flip-side, you could have an unauthentic and commercial brick hotel in the middle of the wilderness which is not "tented" or "under canvas", and will not be nearly as luxurious as some of the intimate and high-end tents out there.  
 
Our general go-to distinctions between our preferred lodge styles are uber-luxury costing up to $3,800 pppn, luxury costing around $1,300 pppn, barefoot luxury costing around $1,000 pppn, authentic with a splash of luxury costing upwards from $600 pppn and rustic, bona fide safari camps which cost up from around $400 pppn. 

The cost of a luxury African safari

The minimum cost of a safari depends on your time frame, where you choose to go and the style of accommodation you are after. 
 
The minimum cost for a safari tour is around $4,000/£3,500 per person excluding international flights in order to have a worthwhile safari experience. This would roughly be around 4 nights on safari, then either a beach/Victoria Falls/Cape Town extension. What to expect on such a trip would be very comfortable, usually tented, accommodation – but with no frills! As you increase the “frills” the price also increases. At the very top end of safari, you are looking at spending sometimes over $3,000 per person per night, so there really is no limit. 
 
The best thing to do is to ring us, and we can advise you on which country suits your budget and interests the most. We have been working with lodges and camps in Africa for around 20 years now, so have formed extremely good relationships with the companies there, meaning we can offer some really great deals to keep the cost of your trip down. 

Introducing Odyssey Explorer


Welcome to our new itinerary-building app! Odyssey Explorer allows you to browse a range of popular itinerary templates and tailor them to suit your budget and tastes. Once you are happy with your route template, Odyssey Explorer gives you the freedom to select and change your accommodation in each destination. It is an excellent tool for you to get an instant price for your dream trip before you work with a Tanzania expert to fine-tune it and make it into a reality.

When is the best time for an African safari?

As with most African holidays, the best time to go on safari is usually during the winter months between June and October. This is the dry season when the weather is great, and as the bush becomes less dense and water scarce, it is easier to spot the wildlife as they gravitate towards the water. 
 
Other times are dependent on the country, as Africa is a huge continent! For example, February is the best time to go and see the Great Migration in Tanzania as it is calving season in the southern plains. Just outside the dry season is the best time to go to Botswana, as low season prices make (otherwise inflated prices) a lot less expensive…
 
Much of the time, we think shoulder season is the best. These are different months for every country and park, so it is difficult to say one time of year which is shoulder season throughout Africa. The benefit of shoulder season is that you avoid peak season prices and often free night deals crop up. For the sake of what may be a few days away outside of “peak season” when the parks are supposedly their best, you get exceptional value for money. 
 
As you can see, there are pros and cons with every season and each park is best at completely different times of year. Please see our detailed when to go page for more information, or better still, give us a ring and have a chat through your different options. 

What activities can I do on safaris in Africa?

Depending on the country and area you are visiting, and your own preferences, your safari might include 4x4 driving expeditions, walking, boating in motorboats or man-powered mokoros, or watching wildlife from horseback or a hot air balloon. 
 
Driving safaris 
 
We specialise in private safaris, either with your own driver-guide or as a morning or afternoon game drive from your lodge or camp. Some camps encourage very early morning starts, with a drive lasting a few hours, returning to the lodge for lunch or staying out with a picnic. Invariably the wildlife action and interest of the landscape is such that the time flies. Different parks and reserves have their own rules and regulations; in Tanzania for example, there are predominantly closed-sided vehicles in the north, and open-sided vehicles in the south. In the South Luangwa in Zambia they have open-sided vehicles and the option of night drives. 
 
Walking safaris 
 
Walking safaris offer an exciting and different way to experience the African bush and wildlife from. On foot, not in the cosy confides of a vehicle, suddenly everything feels wilder. You are on the same level as your other four-legged friends, which gives a particularly raw safari experience. It is also a fantastic way to explore the things you don’t see as much of from the vehicle, such as botany and various animal tracks.  
 
Other activities 
 
Driving and walking are the main activities on safari, but boating, horse riding and specialist birding safaris are also popular. Please see our activities page for more details about where to go for each specific activity.  

African Safari FAQs

What can I expect from a safari holiday with Africa Odyssey? 

 
Unlike other types of holiday, safaris in Africa are completely taken care of by us from the get-go. From the moment you inhale that first dose of African air, you do not have to worry about logistics one bit. Everything is prearranged by us, the lodges and the airlines. All you have to think about is having a great time. 
 

Which is the best safari destination in Africa? 

 
We all have our favourites, however the best safaris to go on are all dependent on your personal priorities and expectations. Everyone will have different priorities when going on safari, whether it is how luxurious the accommodation is, or seeing a specific animal; we are able to create itineraries to suit everybody's needs. To find out more and get planning for your best safari, please do not hesitate to contact us. Chatting to an expert is the best way of marrying your expectations with the best trip out there for you. 
 

How to plan a safari trip to Africa? 

 
The best thing to do is to pick up the phone and talk to a safari expert at Africa Odyssey. We really do know safari Africa like the back of our hands and can guide you to the best itinerary which suits your specific expectations and budget. Before chatting to an expert, work out who is travelling, a rough (even very rough) budget, and how long you would like to go for and we can talk you through some appropriate options. Then, we will send you some information and initial itineraries. After that it is a case of tweaking and tailoring your trip until it is just right.

Is it safe to go on safari in Africa? 

 
We would not send our clients anywhere which was deemed unsafe to travel. In 20 years organising holidays to Africa, we have never had any incidents. Where there are wild animals, there is always a certain added risk factor but incidents only tend happen when people are not where they should be – if you do not listen to your guide and try to stroke a lion, or wander around at night alone, then a safari is not safe. If you follow the camp rules, and your guide’s advice then you will have a glitch-free holiday of a lifetime. The government website should be visited for up to date travel advice on visiting certain African countries. 
 

What to take on a safari in Africa?

 
We advise our clients to pack less than you think. Safari lodges have a daily laundry service, so often you will end up wearing the same comfortable clothing a lot. The main thing to keep in mind is for clothes to be breathable and comfortable – colour doesn’t matter too much but be sure to avoid black and blue which attract Tsetse flies and do not bring anything too bright. Other essentials are a sun hat, a warm fleece or two (it can get chilly at nights), comfortable shoes, sunglasses, sun cream, mosquito repellent (Deet), a camera and importantly – binoculars! These are a few of the essentials but read our pre-departure information for further details. 

Client Reviews

[100% BASED ON 9 REVIEWS]

African safari - Reviews

We thank you for your attention to detail and for always answering our questions and being so responsive and personal. We feel like you are a friend!

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Our trip... perfect. Everything was perfect. Organisation, people, accomodation, safaris, guides… 

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Many thanks for a superb holiday – unforgettable.

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We had a FANTASTIC experience and I cannot thank you and your colleagues enough for your help in making it so. Each and every place we stayed were wonderful.

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All of us agree that our trip could not have been better! If there might be in the future a repeat of a trip to Africa, it goes without saying that it would be organized by you.

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I don't normally write reviews but I was genuinely blown away with the holiday but also the level of support from you and the team.

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The trip was a 100% success and we could not be more pleased.

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The experience was simply great! It worth every single GBP we paid. All arrangements ran fantastically.

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We had a wonderful time and we will definitely refer you to those interested in a safari. We had an amazing time and will never forget it! 

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