WHATUP AFRICAN SAFARI
African sunsets over the endless plains – decorated by silhouettes of giraffes feeding in the horizon. Hippos yawning, lions roaring, cheetahs hunting and elephants playing. Iconic imagery of Africa’s wildlife and the major draw to every tourist who decides to partake in a safari. To feel the adrenaline that is accompanied by close animal interactions and the thrill of spotting the regions top predators. Every destination is unique in it’s own regard, yet some are unforgettable for very specific reasons. Below are some of nadaCliché’s favourite animal kingdoms to embark on an adventure of a lifetime.
SERENGETI | TANZANIA
SIZE – 14,763 km²
COST – $60USD pp/pd (Non resident adult)
HIGHLIGHTS – The great migration which takes place between December-July
BIG 5 – Yes
You know the opening scene from The Lion King, where Rafiki (meaning “friend” in Swahili) steps out onto pride rock to reveal Simba (meaning “Lion” in Swahili) to the kingdom? It’s a symbol of triumph, a moment of glory, and Simba is looking cute as shit. Well, this is exactly how you’ll feel the second your land cruiser enters the Serengeti (meaning “endless plains” in the Maasai language of Maa). Driving with the fresh air blowing in your face, it is easy to feel like you are the king of the world, but in reality you are merely a visitor, a guest in the animal kingdom.
ETOSHA | NAMIBIA
SIZE – 22,270 km², Salt pans 5,000 km²
COST – 80 Namib pp, plus vehicle charges
TIME – Sunrise to sunset, exact times vary throughout the year
HIGHLIGHT – Evening game viewing at waterholes
BIG 5 – No buffalo
More then 22,000 square kilometres make up the incredible Etosha National Park, with nearly a quarter being the Etosha pan, a shining white salt pan that is the areas greatest geographical identifier. Amongst these grounds exists an abundance of wildlife which can be viewed throughout. Unfortunately, it is not possible to view “The Big 5” here as Buffalos have not been in the park since the 1950’s, however the rest are out there if you’re lucky enough to find them.
OKAVANGO DELTA | BOTSWANA
SIZE – 6,000-15,000 km²
HIGHLIGHT – One of the worlds last true wetlands
BIG 5 – No Rhinos
The Okavango Delta has the rare distinction of being the 1000th site added to the UNESCO World Heritage List, in addition to being one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa. It is a vast flat landscape with varying heights of less then two metres across it’s 15,000 square kilometre imprint. It’s comprised of narrow crystal clear waterways which can best be seen from scenic plain rides and hot air balloons. However, the only true way to experience the Delta is navigating through winding channels in a Makoro while embracing the surrounding flora and fauna.
CHOBE | BOTSWANA
SIZE – 11,700 km²
TIME – 06:00 – 18:30 (May – Sept) 05:30 – 19:00 (Oct – April)
HIGHLIGHT – Highest concentration of Elephants in the world
BIG 5 – Very rarely spotted Rhinos
Perfectly located in the Northeastern district of Botswana, and a stones throw (if you can throw 100km) from Victoria Falls, Chobe National Park is a fantastic safari destination. With the highest concentration of elephants found on the planet, it is where 120,000 of the worlds largest land mammals (Kalahari elephants) call home. An easy tick off the ol’ “Big 5” list.
PILANESBERG | SOUTH AFRICA
SIZE – 580 km²
COST – R20 per vehicle + R65pp
TIME – 06:00 – 18:30 (April – Aug) 05:00 – 19:00 (Sept – March)
HIGHLIGHT – Accommodates an abundance of every mammal in Southern Africa
BIG 5 – Yes
Short on time and eager to set your eyes upon Africa’s big 5? Well, you can greatly increase your odds in Pilanesberg National park, a densely populated 550km² reserve just a couple hours outside of Pretoria and Johannesburg. Situated in the crater of a volcano which erupted 1.2 million years ago, the rich ecological environment is now complimented by a man made lake and the Mankwe Dam.
KRUGER | SOUTH AFRICA
SIZE – 19,485 km²
COST – R264pp
TIME – Times vary throughout the year
HIGHLIGHT – Houses 147 species of Africa’s large mammals
BIG 5 – Yes
One of the largest and most iconic national parks in all of the world is located in Northeastern South Africa, you may have heard the name before – Kruger. It is here, in the land of nearly two million hectares, where an unrivalled diversity of wildlife coexists and world-renowned environmental policies are set. It maintains a well earned reputation during any visit throughout the year and remains South Africa’s flagship destination.
PRIVATE GAME RESERVES
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.
If you enjoy wildlife and all the thrills that eradicate from the bush, it is not a difficult decision to venture to Africa on your next holiday. The decision of which part of Africa however, is a very different story. There are a handful of really incredible national parks, endless amounts of private game reserves and countless lodges promoting “The Big 5”! While it can all be overwhelming at first, by simply comparing a few key features you can easily narrow down your search to one or two that best suits your interests. If you can’t make up your mind from there…well, you’re just gonna have to flip a coin.
Have you visited any of Africa’s incredible game parks? Got any photos or stories to share? Spread the word in the comments below.
“THE ONLY MAN I ENVY IS THE MAN WHO HAS NOT YET BEEN TO AFRICA – FOR HE HAS SO MUCH TO LOOK FORWARD TO.” – RICHARD MULLIN
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As always, the opinion is that of the author.