East or South Africa for your 2021 safari?

This year has left people all over the world dreaming of travel, and many have already planned to touch down in Africa in 2021. Most spaces are already filling up fast, and the only thing left to decide is.. where in Africa to go.

The idea of a safari was conceived in East Africa, but soon reached Southern Africa where luxury safaris became popular. Today both parts of the continent offer state-of-the-art designed lodges and camps, unparalleled game viewing and bucket-list-worthy activities. But with so many countries to choose from, it’s not surprising that one would find it difficult deciding where to go – especially if it’s your first safari. Here’s what makes each region a unique and memorable safari destination:

East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda

East Africa is synonymous with the incomparable Mara-Serengeti triangle and the indigenous ecosystems that fall part of these areas. If you want to experience the seasonal Great Migration between Kenya and Tanzania, then an East Africa safari should be right on top of your travel list! The seasonal rain patterns are nothing short of awe-inspiring, supporting over a million wildebeest and other game. East Africa, like other parts of the continent, boasts diverse habitats from lush, green forests to aquatic bodies that see large flocks of flamingos, baobab forests, and gorilla families. Not forgetting Mount Kilimanjaro and the famous Ngorongoro Crater where you will find incredible lodges that offer panoramic views. East Africa has many wildlife sanctuaries and national parks with vehicle trails, ensuring exceptional game viewing at a close range. Unlike Southern Africa’s reserves and parks, off-road and night-drives are less likely unless you are visiting a private concession. However, you can look forward to life-changing bush walks with Maasai locals who will show you the area on foot.

What you can expect from a safari in East Africa:

Massive herds of wildebeest and zebra

Two dry seasons: January to March and June to October

Great for family safaris as most accommodations allow young children; there are fewer internal flights and the interactive game drives keep kids interested

All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals

Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles with English-speaking guides

Hot air balloon safaris over the Mara plains

Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Fun walking safaris in some private reserves

Numerous cultural encounters with local tribes

Click on the links below to see our top luxury destinations in East Africa:

Kenya– Great Migration, Maasai warriors, pink flamingos, Giraffe Manor, hot air balloon safaris.

Mozambique– Snorkelling, diving and untouched coral reefs.

Tanzania– Great Migration, Mt Kilimanjaro, Serengeti and Tarangire National Park, hot air balloon safaris.

iconic-africa-tours-african-balloon-safaris-tours

Rwanda– Gorilla trekking, golden monkeys, chimpanzees and canopy walks.

Gorilla Trek Tours Rwanda Iconic Africa Bambo Forest

Southern Africa: South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe,

Southern Africa has an array of different geographical features and weather conditions. You can tailor-make your safari to include the Kruger’s savannah grasslands, Zambia’s woodlands, Zimbabwe’s thundering Victoria Falls, the dry desert of the Kalahari or the Okavango Delta’s heavy rains. Or combine the rugged mountains and luscious Winelands with beautiful golden beaches and the bustling city life of Cape Town. You can have it all in one Southern Africa trip!

Guests look forward to low -volumes of people and smaller camps or lodges that often only accommodate up to a dozen people at a time. With the abundance of private concessions, you can create a more exclusive and personalised safari.

Contrary to East Africa’s vast open landscapes found in the Serengeti or Mara region and high concentration of wildlife, Southern Africa focuses more on personal encounters and walking safaris which can be done in Botswana and Zambia. You will also have the chance for exciting night game drives to spot elusive nocturnal animals, charming water safaris and nights out under the stars. While cultural experiences are limited unlike the many found in East Africa, you can plan a visit to the San Bushman of the Kalahari which is equally as rewarding.

What you can expect from a safari in Southern Africa:

Varied topography and habitats

A smaller concentration of herds in private concessions

One dry season: May to October

South Africa is great for family safaris with some lodges and camps located in malaria-free areas

Many camps outside of South Africa require a minimum age of eight years old unless you reserve the entire camp

All of our safari guides and spotters are exceptionally trained and experienced professionals

Enjoy overland expeditions in 4-wheel-drive vehicles

Choose from many small, remote and exclusive private camps with limited guests of 8-12

Guides usually share meals with guests at small lodges/camps developing close relations

More private concessions with fewer tourists which makes for great wildlife viewing

Wider variety of safaris activities such as walking safaris, mokoro tours, night drives, hot air ballooning, kayaking and food safaris

Click on the links below to see our top luxury destinations in Southern Africa:

Botswana–, , Mokoro trips in the Okavango Delta, Big 5 safaris, hot air balloon safaris, boating trips.

South AfricaKruger National Park, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Big Five safaris, marine safaris, hot air balloon safaris, Garden Route.

Ivory Lodge Sabi sands Kruger Park Safari

Zambia– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls, village tours, safaris in South Luangwa.

Zimbabwe– Adventure activities in Victoria Falls and Mana Pools.

Both East and Southern Africa offer amazing opportunities to spot the Big 5 wildlife, amongst other game and indigenous fauna and flora. Each region has its own unique wildlife and landscape attractions, but East Africa definitely has a higher density of animals in one area – especially considering the Great Migration and gorillas. Needless to say, you will see plenty of cool animals in both parts of the continent and Southern Africa will entice you with its diverse topography in a single city such as Cape Town. So which is better for safari? Whether you’re interested in seeing tens of lions on your first day or basking in opulence at small, private lodges with low visitor concentration, you can’t go wrong with either choice.

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