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10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa
Serengeti National Park 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa

Serengeti National Park

Long gone are the days of a big adventure trip to colonial Africa for game-hunting safaris. In the past, the debonair safari suits and sun helmets of Hemingway’s Hollywood era dominated; nowadays, it’s normal to escape on a long weekend safari with little more than casual clothes thrown in a rucksack. Meanwhile, though Kenya and Tanzania remain popular options, Africa’s previously political no-go zones are rapidly emerging as new safari destinations, now that more national parks are being designated and protected while tourism is increasingly welcomed. And there are exciting new safari options, from private helicopters to sailboats in pristine marine reserves to nighttime game drives through voluptuous volcanic lands. Here are our picks for the 10 best sarafi destinations in Africa.

Where: Uganda

Guides ask you not to stare at the mountain gorillas, but it’s tough. The gentle giants have deep mysterious eyes that lull you into a sense of serenity. Home to roughly half the world’s mountain gorillas, tracking is a highlight of Bwindi Impenetrable Forest Reserve.

Gifted with theatrical landscape, volcanoes intersperse jagged valleys and waterfalls shrouded in altitude mist. The principal birding destination bears no fewer than 23 of Uganda’s 24 Albertine Rift endemics, including the spectacularly endangered African Green Broadbill.

Insider Tip: Gorillas often enter Sanctuary Gorilla Forest Camp. Nestled deep inside Bwindi UNESCO World Heritage Site, this camp is remote and atmospheric.


Where: Namibia

Namibia is rousing serious safari attention with its stark beauty, rugged coastlines, and evolving landscapes. Etosha National Park is home to Africa’s tallest elephants, the endangered black rhino, cheetah, and perennial springs luring the big cats. Unique scenes across a shimmering saltpan of mirages are seen via self-drive safaris. Upmarket lodges and camps fringe park boundaries, where guided safaris are inclusive.

Don’t Miss: A stay with a difference, Onguma Treetop Camp is built on stilts amongst treetops, with panoramic views over Onguma Game reserve. The sense of remoteness is unparalleled. Four very intimate thatched rooms feature canvas walls and outdoor showers.


Where: Botswana

Africa’s densest game concentrations lie along a brilliant peacock-blue river, making Chobe National Park a prime game destination. Situated within the Okavango Delta, we recommend Savute marsh: teeming with wildlife year-round, easily accessible and with a wide range of lodgings for all budgets. Chobe is a stronghold of endangered species such as wild dog, cheetah, and brown hyena.

Insider Tip: Take a water safari to watch wildlife huddled around papyrus-clad curves in the river. Meet the original inhabitants, the San Bushmen, to learn their extraordinary culture. Indulgence is paramount at the Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero lodge, with spa, gourmet food, and undisturbed views.


Where: Kenya

Africa’s most popular safari destination boasts effortless vistas and dramatic game viewing. Masai Mara remains most visited, with rolling grasslands and scattered acacia woodland home to the Big Five. July through October is a Mara highlight—annual migration, where a stampede of millions of wildebeest makes the ground vibrate. Naibor Camp is a luxury-tented camp of contemporary comforts, tucked away within riverine woodland on Talek River.

Insider Tip: Spectacular safaris are specialty of Enasoit. Dhow sailing on the serene Lamu archipelago, soaring over deserted beaches and visiting nomadic tribes by helicopter, or traditional Jeep through foothills of Mount Kenya; Enasoit redefines luxury safari.


Where: Zimbabwe

Unrivaled guides and unique backdrops are Zimbabwe’s assets, amidst low-lying semi-desert to lush highlands strewn with lakes and forests. Hwange National Park in the Northwest is the largest. The elephants are world-famed and, here, you’ll find one of the world’s largest populations. The mighty Zambezi River, from Victoria Falls, creates waterholes for thirsty wildlife. Emerging from recent troubles, tourists are flocking in.

Insider Tip: View game from an underground hide at The Hide, which also offers night game drives.Somalisa is an elegant bush camp with six solar powered highly luxurious tents. The pool overlooks the entire pan of wildlife below.


Where: South Africa

Kruger is a classic. One of Africa’s oldest and best-maintained parks typifies the highest variety of wildlife. It’s renowned as the easiest spot to see the Big Five, aided by its unfenced borders with Africa’s finest game reserves. Sophisticated lodges offer the ultimate in lavish luxury and intimate bush hideaways.

Insider Tip: Set in private Sabi Sands Game Reserve, sustained by the Sabi and Sand rivers,Dulini’s six suites ooze elegance. Romance is heightened by a symphony of birdlife and passage of wildlife. The original eco private game reserve, Londolozi, is unashamedly family-run and winning awards for its quality of food, service, accommodation, and ecotourism.


Where: Rwanda

The landlocked beauty of Rwanda stuns visitors. Misty moody rainforest, forested volcanoes, undulating grasslands, and tranquil lakes are ideal for trekking and dugout canoeing. The upper slopes of Virunga volcanoes conservation area comprise three national parks, encapsulating Rwanda, Uganda, and DR Congo—the most famous residents being 350-strong mountain gorillas.

Insider Tip: On the fringes of Parc National des Volcans, Sabyinyo Silverback Lodge is minutes from walking treks. In the dramatic foothills of the Virungas, this residence is beautifully appointed and atmospheric. After a hard day’s trek, luxuriate in a massage to ease aches, or adventure-seekers can head out on mountain bikes.


Where: Zambia

Gloriously wild amidst raw nature and with decadent wildlife viewing—southern Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park is a haven of hippo, elephant, and birdlife. Less frequented than its neighbor, Tanzania, Zambia’s national parks are the essence of wilderness. South Luangwa spawns symmetry of exotica and expanse.

Don’t Miss: Camps are drizzled along the immense valley’s tranquil riverbank.

The Royal Zambezi Lodge Bush Spa is enveloped within nature’s embrace. Try post-safari canoeing or fishing. A quick dip in the pool before a sunset massage at Royal Bush Spa completes a perfect day. Lilayi in Lusaka is a haven for horseback and bush walk safaris.

9 tanzania lamai serengeti camp safari 1 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa


Where: Tanzania

Arguably the most magnificent park in Africa, the Serengeti basks in prolific amounts of game and is invigorating in its sheer vastness and dramatic staging. Annually, 1.5 million wildebeest and some 250,000 zebra migrate through. Prides of lion thrive here, upwards of 3,000, spotted lazing on ‘kopje’ outcrops. Grumeti River houses some of the largest Nile crocodiles in the world.

Insider Tip: Even non-campers can tent overnight without omitting creature comforts. The Lamai Serengeti nestles among rocks of a kopje with expansive views. The elemental theme ensures a back-to-nature feel. Kirawira Serena Camp makes it a glamorous affair with Persian rugs and carved rocking chairs.

10 mozambique girassol gorongosa lodge safari 10 Best Safari Destinations in Africa


Where: Mozambique

With more than fifty coral islands and abundant marine life, the Quirimbas Archipelago has recently been designated a national park. The islands remain an unexplored underwater safari sanctuary.

Gorongosa is the country’s flagship reserve. It once attracted more visitors than South Africa and Zimbabwe combined, but the harshness of war left resources depleted. Hippos, lions, and elephants have recovered following restocking, helping Mozambique regain its reputation as a game-viewing destination.

Insider Tip: Explore Gorongosa leads expeditions on foot or by car. Girassol Gorongosa Lodge & Safari ensures uninterrupted experiences between you and wilderness. The Azura at Quilalea, a private island luxury resort, boasts world-class diving and snorkeling straight off the beach.

Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings at Kasubi tombs constitute a site embracing almost 30 ha of hillside within Kampala district. It is a major example of an architectural achievement in organic materials. The site’s main significance lies, however, in its intangible values of belief, spirituality, continuity and identity.

Buganda Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

Photo: Flickr/Rajarajaraja

 Made with reed and bark cloth with a thatched roof, the Kasubi Tombs are a cultural site of Buganda Kingdom as it is where the four Buganda Kings are buried. They were a popular tourist destination in Uganda and a classified UNESCO heritage site.
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site 1020 Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings


site 1023 Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

Photo: CRAterre


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Kampalas Kasubi Tombs Kasubi Tombs of Buganda Kings

The interior of the MuzibuAzaalaMpanga

On 16 March 2010, some of the major buildings there were almost completely destroyed by a fire, the cause of which is under investigation. The Buganda Kingdom has vowed to rebuild the tombs of their kings and President Museveni said the national government of Uganda would assist in the restoration of the site.

15 Lion facts

15 Lion facts

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Planning Family Safari Adventure

Planning Family Safari Adventure

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What to Consider When Planning a Safari Adventure for your Family

Looking for ideas for your next family Adventure holiday?  Forget Disney World why not consider something fun and educational at the same time.  Take your children miles away from TV, video games and computers and get back to nature with an African Safari Adventure with

Not only will children will be exposed to incredible wildlife but also a vastly different culture. Imagine your children seeing a magnificent Maasai warrior for the first time or learning to make a fire from wood and stone!

What may appear to be a daunting process, planning a safari for the whole family is not as difficult as it may first appear. Here are some things to consider before booking:

Countries such as Uganda, Rwanda, Kenya and Tanzania have more experience in dealing with families so they should possibly be your first port of call.

The safari adventure peak season is June to Oct. If you are looking to save a few pennies and you are tied to travelling during the European school holidays (ie the peak season), consider visiting Rwanda or Uganda which are the exception – having their low season during these months.

If you are worried about long flights consider East Africa (Kenya and Tanzania) where the flights are shorter (around 8 hrs from Europe).  In saying that, an overnight flight and with the time difference either 1 or 2 hours (depending on time of year) there is no jet lag to contend with.

Not all safari lodges take children or allow them onto game drives. You may need to consider a private vehicle or babysitting services. Nature Bound Africa know’s the lodges which are child friendly offering specially tailored child-centred activities which will give parents a break and provide endless hours of fun and learning for the children.

Consider which East African countries require vaccinations and malaria tablets.

Don’t plan for too long on safari, if you are away for 2 weeks combine your safari with a beach break in the likes of Zanzibar or Mombasa. Most of the resorts or hotels on the beach offer kid’s clubs, brilliant activities and water sports as well as family rooms.

Nature Bound Africa has experience in planning family holidays to East Africa in order that it is expertly organized.


The (Mis)Use of Kiswahili in Western popular culture

The (Mis)Use of Kiswahili in Western popular culture

The Kiswahili words and phrases sometimes crop up in western pop culture is not surprising; it is, after all, the most widely spoken African language on the continent. But every so often its use leaves native speakers a little puzzled.

Michael Jackson visits Africa 760 x 435 The (Mis)Use of Kiswahili in Western popular culture

Michael Jackson was made a prince of the Anyi people 1992 in Krinjabo, Cote d’Ivoire, in 1992, but his relationship with the continent began long before that. His use of Kiswahili in a song called “Liberian Girl” was a little odd though.

Kiswahili is a language spoken by more than 100 million people, predominantly in several states of East Africa. The language also has a significant presence in major cities of Europe, the United States of America and the Gulf states where African Diaspora communities are found. As a result of its global reach and millions of speakers the language pervades the lives of many across the globe and is never far away, even if not realised.
For example it is taught in several universities around the world, and many media stations such as the BBC, Voice of America, Radio Deutsche Welle,Radio Moscow International and Radio Japan International all have programmes in Kiswahili.
The African American holiday Kwanzaa takes it names from the Kiswahili phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza’

In the United States the African American holiday Kwanzaa takes it names from the Kiswahili phrase ‘matunda ya kwanza’ meaning ‘the first fruits of the harvest’; ‘kwanza’ is the Kiswahili word for first. If you’re English, American or Canadian you may have also found yourself shouting out a Kiswahili word when playing the popular wooden block game Jenga; Jenga being the Kiswahili root word for build.

In western popular culture Kiswahili has found itself in film, television and music. Sometimes its been used in short snippets, while other times complete monologues of characters have been in Kiswahili. However while its use is apparent the correct use of the language has not always been so.

Hakuna Matata

Disney’s 1994 animated feature The Lion King is perhaps the most popular western film featuring Kiswahili. The film tells the story of a lion cub and future king named Simba. The film is full of Kiswahili words and phrases. The main character ‘Simba’ means lion (in Shona it means strength or power) and the friendly Baboon called Rafiki means friend.

There are also many songs in kiswahiki in the film. One of which is when Rafiki sings to Simba‘Asante sana squash banana, Wewe nugu mimi hapana’, which is Kiswahili for ‘Thank you very much, squash banana, you’re a baboon and I’m not.’

The most famous, though, is Hakuna Matata (sung by comedy duo Timone and Pumba), which they say means ‘no worries’, while a literal translation is ‘there is no problem’. The phrase has become popular among tourist locations in East Africa, though is not often used among native speakers, more common is the phrase ‘hamna shida’.
However ‘Hakuna Matata’ became recognisable through its use in popular culture many years before The Lion King was released. In 1982 the Kenyan band Them Mushrooms released a song called Jambo Bwana (Hello Mister) which went on to sell over 200,000 copies. The song features several phrases, including ‘Hakuna Matatu’, and was later covered by a number of other groups including the German pop group Boney M.
Kiswahili is also featured in other popular children’s films. The 2005 film Madagascar, which tells the tale of four animals escaping from New York Central Zoo, features a granny who beats up the main character Alex the lion.
The granny is wearing a t-shirt that has “Jambo” on it, a popular phrase coming from ‘hujambo’ , meaning how are you?
In the follow up movie, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa, released in 2008, Kiswahili is used again. This time the big sexy male hippo, voiced by, is named ‘Moto Moto’ which literally means ‘Hot Hot’.
There are many other box office hits that have made use of Kiswahili, such as George of The Jungle (1997), Mighty Joe Young (1998), Nowhere in Africa (2001), The Last King of Scotland (2006), The A-Team (2010) and Inception (2010).
Liberian Girl

The use of Kiswahili here is a little odd as Kiswahili is not spoken in Liberia

Kiswahili has also been incorporated into the lyrics of several pop songs. The late great king of pop Michael Jackson first visited the continent in 1974 when he arrived in Senegal as part of the Jackson 5. In the 1990s Michael Jackson spent time in Cote d’Ivoire, Egypt, Gabon, South Africa, Tanzania and Tunisia.

Michael Jackson expressed his feelings for the continent describing Africa as “the root of all rhythm. It’s home.” It’s no surprise then that his love of Africa was written into his lyrics as early as 1987 when he released Liberian Girl, from the album Bad.

The song celebrates the beauty of African women with Jackson singing about a special girl from Liberia. The song opens with South African female singer and anti-apartheid campaigner Letta Mbulu saying the Kiswahili phrase ‘Nakupenda pia – nakutaka pia – mpenzi we’, which translates as “I Love you too. I want you too, my love.” However the use of Kiswahili here is a little odd as Kiswahili is not spoken in Liberia or anywhere in West Africa. Nevertheless his inclusion of East, South and West African elements in this song was perhaps in honour of his love of sub-Saharan Africa.

Lionel Richie, the American singer-songwriter, also used a Kiswahili word in one of his hits from the 1980s. The 1983 song All Night Long featured the Kiswahili word Karamu in the chorus ‘We’re going to party, Karamu, fiesta, forever’. Karamu means ‘party’ in Kiswahili.

The Swahili speaking nations of East Africa have created their own localised forms of hip hop which incorporate Kiswahili, such as Genge in Kenya and Bongo Flava in Tanzania, however Kiswahili has also been used in a number of American hip-hop artist’s songs.

One example is the 2010 hit As We Enter from Nas featuring Damien Marley in which Nas raps “Y’all feel me even if it’s in Swahili, Habari Gani” (meaning whats the news/how are you doing) to which Marley replies“Mzuri sana” (very good). The song called I’m In It from Kanye West’s Yeezus album uses the word“Swaghili”.

While there appears to be no apparent relation to Kiswahili, apart from rumours that Kanye is Kiswahili meaning “the only one”, one commentator decided that Swaghili should be a creole that mashes English with Swahili. Little did he know however that Sheng, a combination of Kiswahili and English, has existed for decades in Kenya’s multilingual environment.

Kiswahili will continue to be used in Western popular culture and through doing so it will spread the culture of East Africa and the beauty of the language. However, as language can be symbolic and have the power to shape the understanding of the world its use, or misuse, should be understood and explored to celebrate Kiswahili and the Swahili culture.
The above are just some examples of the (mis)use of Kiswahili in western popular culture, what are the others.
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