best safari country

Travel Forums Africa and The Middle East best safari country

1. Posted by davidef (Budding Member 2 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

I'm planning a trip to Africa and I'm looking for a country with the best compromise between good safaris and authenticity (not-too-touristy) where you get to feel the African culture and traditions.

Best safaris are apparently Kenya and Tanzania. The latter's itinerary for example sounds amazing to me: Safari + Kilimanjaro + Zanzibar. Though, based on some videos I saw online, I'm afraid they could be pretty touristy.
Another one I liked, mainly because of the Gorillas, is Uganda but then I'd probably get to see less 'savana big fives' wildlife.

Any experiences, thoughts, advices?

2. Posted by BeateR (Full Member 183 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

safaris always are touristy. i'd suggest Tanzania, but not Zansibar. there are much better and cheaper beach-destinations around the world.

3. Posted by berner256 (Moderator 1276 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

If you want to see masses of animals -- and perhaps all of the Big Five -- there's no better place than the Serengeti. For that reason you'll see lots of tourists. It's unavoidable.

For mountain gorillas, the best places are Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of the Congo. The permits for Rwanda are the most expensive, followed by Uganda and the DRC. Visits are strictly limited in all three, so while you will be with other tourists, they will be few in number. If you want the fewest numbers, suggest you explore visiting Virunga National Park in the DRC. Know, however, that many governments advise their citizens to reconsider travel to the DRC. The U.S. State Department, for example, has a "Do Not Travel" advisory for North Kivu, where Virunga is located, because of ebola and terrorism.

Why not do the Serengeti and mountain gorillas on the same trip? if interested, inquire about the East Africa Tourist Visa that will get you into Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda.

If you really want to avoid tourists suggest you see lowland gorillas in Central Africa. They are in Cameroon, Gabon, Equatorial Guinea, Central African Republic, the DRC and the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville). I've been to all except the latter three. Getting to the gorillas takes effort. In Gabon, for example, one either has to fly or take a lengthy road trip to Tchibanga, where you continue by road and boat to hike through rain forest and savanna to Moukalaba-Doudou National Park. You camp there, since their are no hotels, no conveniences and no other tourists except those with you plus your guide and porters.

Africa is diverse, so you'll get excellent cultural experiences wherever you go.

4. Posted by davidef (Budding Member 2 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

that was a lot of informations, thanks so much!!

5. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1434 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

A few years ago we climbed Kili, then toured the northern Tanzania parks including the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti and then went to Uganda for the chimps and the gorillas. Magical! If I hadn't done it already, I'd do exactly that now.

6. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 1w Star this if you like it!

My brother-in-law climbed Killi some years ago. It wasn't altogether a sanguine experience. I went to Tanzania with my granddaughter in 2018. We went off-season (i.e June) and there weren't that many tourists and most of the ones that there were, were European - Italian, French etc. (I'm from the USA). ToonSarah was in Kenya about the same time,

7. Posted by Ray hammond (Budding Member 12 posts) 2d Star this if you like it!

Last year in mid-july I went to Tanzania for work, I would recommend you to go there!

8. Posted by Borisborough (Moderator 1434 posts) 2d Star this if you like it!

Quoting greatgrandmaR

My brother-in-law climbed Killi some years ago. It wasn't altogether a sanguine experience.

Agreed! Definitely glad we did it but also a 'never again!' experience.

[ Edit: Edited on 14-Feb-2020, 18:11 GMT by Borisborough ]

9. Posted by bex76 (Moderator 3967 posts) 1d 1 Star this if you like it!

I went to Tanzania for a safari in December and it was amazing. I can't compare it to Kenya personally as I haven't been, but a couple in my group had done a safari in Kenya and they said Tanzania was way better in their opinion: less touristy, more authentic and better wildlife viewing.

Also, December is the shoulder season which therefore means way fewer tourists. Often we only saw a handful of other jeeps all day. As an example, on one occasion we stopped to see a pride of lions and there were perhaps 6 or 7 other jeeps who had stopped too. Our guide said that in high season (which is June to October as this is the dry season) there would have been 100 other jeeps. The experience would have been completely different so I'd highly recommend going in December. You may get a small amount of rain, but most of it will be at nights. I absolutely loved Tanzania.

I think your safari + Kilimanjaro + Zanzibar itinerary sounds great: wildlife, something active and then relaxation.

This guide explains the best and worst times to visit Tanzania.

10. Posted by greatgrandmaR (Travel Guru 1447 posts) 1d Star this if you like it!

We went to Tanzania in June 2018 and it was not crowded at all. We saw some cheetahs and there were only about 3 other jeeps. It was pretty cold in June too which was unexpected.