The safest African safari destinations
The safety of the wild
The term ‘wildlife alludes to the wildness of the animals and areas you are dreaming of visiting whilst on safari. Very few people have the opportunity to come face-to-face with animals in the wild, living and thriving in their natural habitat and acting as they would if we weren’t there watching them. The best safari encounters are those experienced up-close, from an open game viewing vehicle or even on foot in the African wilderness! Whilst the thought of a fully grown male lion walking past you while you are sitting in a vehicle without a roof or windows may sound terrifying, it does not have to be! Experienced safari guides and trackers share their intimate knowledge of the bush, its wild inhabitants and animal behaviour with you, allowing you to enjoy those magical moments to the fullest with reassurance that your guide will ensure your safety at all times.
As safari planners, we often get asked by guests "What are the safest safari destinations"? Our answer is that generally speaking, most wilderness areas are safe - you are away from the hustle and bustle of busy cities and crime, exploring reserves that are protected by anti-poaching units and you spend your time in the safe hands of a professional safari guide. That said, some destinations are certainly "safer" than others, and that tends to be dictated by the political stability of a country - for example trekking Gorillas in Rwanda or Uganda is deemed a safer bet than travelling to Democratic Republic of Congo, which is currently the scene of one of the world’s longest-running conflicts, crippled by fighting & rebel groups.
Whilst it may seem daunting to explore a continent so rich with different cultures, new surroundings and wild animals, it doesn't have to be! When planned properly, your African holiday will be the adventure of a lifetime. And who knows, you may just fall in love with the pace of life, the friendliness and kindness of its people, the sheer charisma of its wildlife and the endless beauty of its landscapes.
Our Top 3 Tips for a Safe Safari
- Work with an African-based travel planner - there's no one better placed to recommend safe travel destinations and share advice on the current situation in the different African countries than someone who is living there and is connected to what's happening "on the ground".
- Fly instead of drive - don't get us wrong, there is no better way to see a country than to explore by road, but Africa's roads have definitely seen better days and can be dangerous to traverse. By contrast, there is a superb flight network between safari lodges and seeing the wilds from the sky offers a unique perspective of our gorgeous continent! If you are going to drive, make sure you use a reputable transfer company with good vehicles and safe drivers, and if you chose to self drive, try avoid driving at night and seek advise on the best routes to take.
- Travel with a private guide - if you are worried about travelling alone to Africa, don't let it stop you - a great option is to travel with a private guide, who not only adds enormous value to your safari experience but is with you every step of the way, ensuring you are safe and comfortable for the duration of your trip and whose local knowledge will help you learn more about the people and environment you are exploring.
Which are the safest countries for an African safari?
Planning your safari with the help of an experienced travel advisor will ensure the safe, care-free safari holiday with minimal travelling time in between destinations. With a plethora of safari camps to choose from, the choice can be overwhelming. We are here to help you select the right country, reserve and lodge for you, based on your wildlife and activity interests. These are our top destinations for a safe African safari:
Consistently ranked as the safest African safari country, both in terms of political stability and low crime rates, Botswana is also one of the most rewarding safari destinations. From the glistening waters of the largest inland delta in the world; the Okavango Delta, to the vast, arid vistas of the salt pans and Kalahari desert, Botswana's game viewing is as contrasting as it's lands, and it is one of the few "true wilderness" experiences you can have in Africa. Looking to get away from the crowds and get lost in nature? Botswana is your destination.
South Africa, our home country and now officially ‘The Greatest Country in the World’ according to this year’s Telegraph Travel Awards! We couldn’t agree more with the nearly 30,000 experienced travellers who voted for South Africa in 2023. South Africa is a land of contrasts, featuring sprawling savannahs, towering mountains, pristine beaches, and lush forests. This natural diversity allows travellers to experience a wide range of ecosystems within a single journey, as so eloquently put by former South African President Nelson Mandela:
“South Africa is the most beautiful place on earth. Admittedly, I am biased but when you combine the natural beauty, and the fact that the region is a haven for Africa’s most splendid wildlife, then I think we have been blessed with a truly wonderful land.” – Nelson Mandela
Africa’s southernmost city of Cape Town – reminiscent of a European coastal city – is home to the largest population of African Penguins, barely a stone-throw away from the finest vineyards in the Western Cape and the world-famous road-trip mecca of the Garden Route. Journey further up north and you’ll find South Africa’s National Parks and Private Game Reserves teaming with wildlife of all shapes and sizes, offering some of the continents best Big Five safari experiences. Boasting many design-forward, eco-conscious safari lodges offering every conceivable luxury and almost guaranteed game viewing throughout the year, a South African safari is one of the safest safari destinations for all travellers, from last-minute romantic getaways to a sunny winter safari for families. From first-time Africa travellers to seasoned philanthropists taking annual impact trips supporting innovative conservation initiatives, South Africa has it all.
The Kenya safari industry is the most established in Africa. The Masai Mara is home to the Big Five, as well as one of the world’s greatest mammal migrations (from July to December). View the pink flamingos on Lake Nakuru or the famous tusker elephants of Amboseli National Park. Whilst the country is largely safe for travellers, certain areas are to be avoided, in particular the Somalian border area and the northern coast.
Private game reserves and National Park guides often belong to the local Masaai tribes and offer a unique insight into local culture. However, Kenya has several unfenced parks that are open to the public, and during peak season experience a huge influx of vehicles. Working with an experienced safari expert will enable you to avoid the masses and ensure exclusive access to the best game viewing areas in Kenya at the right times.
One of Africa’s wildest and most remote destinations, Zambia’s unspoilt wilderness is also one of the safest places to travel to. Politically stable Zambia is home to some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. It’s no surprise that the US Department of State listed Zambia among the top ten safest countries to visit in 2018 based on the country’s ranking on the peace index. The country is known for phenomenal walking safaris, epic leopard and wild dog sightings, fantastic birding as well as exciting tiger fishing in the Zambezi! It is also home to two extraordinary migrations; the zebra and wildebeest Migration in the East and the Kasanka Fruit Bat Migration. From the mighty Zambezi River to safaris that journey to the remote wilds such as Luiwa Plains, endless awe awaits in Zambia - adventure-filled and unforgettable.
Besides these four African countries, there are many more safe african safari destinations to visit! If you'd like some advice about where in Africa to go on safari, don't hesitate to contact us via email, our contact form or book a 30-minute, free of charge discovery call, to see if we are a good fit for your next journey!