If it isn’t obvious enough, there is a vast difference between viewing and photographing wildlife in a zoo and in their natural habitat. From electing to view an animal for hours on end vs having a split second to capture the moment in the wild. So, why do people opt to visit a zoo? They are convenient, and more affordable to the consumer. It allows ample time to view and photograph the wildlife. They are most likely located on the same continent, and ultimately there is a “guarantee” to see every animal that was in the flyer. For the sake of keeping this article short and concise, all opinion on zoos will be omitted and instead, lets focus on the middle ground.

There are countless private game reserves scattered across Africa, which offer the same thrilling game viewing as the National Parks. However, the smaller imprint of land and often controlled animal populations drastically increase your sightings. Acting as a more personal and intimate environment for a safari with guides who know the land inside and out. While there are many issues with these parks as well, there is no denying animal conservation in the wild is far more appealing then the confines of any zoo enclosure.

The downside of spotting the Big 5 all in one day? Well, it may just feel like you’re cheating – it shouldn’t be that easy, right? If there is no build up or anticipation then the reward is diminished in the long run. When travelling through one of Africa’s national parks you may go a whole day without seeing a single animal you had on your list, which makes you want to find them that much more. Makes you excited to awake and hunt for that animal once again, to keep searching with purpose until you find them. It is with this attitude that private game reserves are flawed, where you can be so spoiled by spotting the big 5 around every corner that you expect it on every drive. Although this seems negative, it is still very much a positive experience, there is absolutely no “guarantee” yet your odds of animal sightings are way higher then in a large National Park. It is simply another option for the consumer to choose from.

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As always, the opinion is that of the author.