two elephants walking on grass covered ground

The Best Safari Destinations in the World

From seeing animals in their natural habitats to camping under the stars in open plains, discover the best safari destinations in the world!

A safari is an incredible way to encounter nature and wildlife in Africa or Asia. From seeking out the big five on a safari in Africa to immersing yourself in grassy plains in Sri Lanka and jungle terrain in India, it’s the experience of a lifetime. We share the best safari destinations in the world.

Travel on: a safari tour

1. Okavango Delta, Botswana

Head to northern Botswana for one of the world’s largest inland river deltas, the Okavango Delta. The wildlife encounters visitors will experience here are remarkable. Amid the grassy plains, the cry of hyenas, the roar of lions, the growl of leopards, giraffes and rhinos will become the melody of your safari. The wetter pastures are home to hippos, elephants, and crocodiles. This is one of Africa’s most epic safari destinations.

aerial photography of body of water snaking through grasslands
Aerial shot of the Okavango River | © Wynand Uys/Unsplash

2. Ranthambore National Park, India

Ranthambore‘s wild jungle scrub is home to many creatures from the animal kingdom, but the fiercest by far is the tiger. You’ll be blown away by the crocodile-filled lakes, the ancient temples and mosques, the beautiful remnants left behind by maharajas that used to hunt here, once upon a time. But nothing will leave you as breathless than seeing as seeing a tiger in the wild for the first time.

Travel on: a Tiger safari

3. Kruger National Park, South  Africa

As one of Africa’s largest game reserves, Kruger National Park tends to get crowded, but there’s a reason for that. This stunning park in northeastern South Africa is one of the best destinations to live out your safari dreams. From big five animals like lions, leopards, and elephants to exotic birds soaring down from the sky, there are plenty of opportunities to spot beasts in their natural habitat here.

brown lion lying on tall grasses during daytime
One of Kruger National Park’s brown lions | © Vincent van Zalinge/Unsplash

4. Serengeti, Tanzania

The Serengeti is considered to be the land that inspired Disney’s Lion King, and it’s not hard to believe. From proud lions stalking across the open plains to beautiful breeds of birds flying above you, this national park is the quintessential safari destination. Every year, the Serengeti becomes the place of migration for over a million wildebeest and zebras in the hundreds of thousands. You won’t forget this trip in a hurry.

5. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

There are many things in this beautiful conservation area of Tanzania that will take your breath away. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is one of Africa’s many wonders. When you are seeking out lions or marvelling at the spectacle of thousands wildebeests and zebras migrating, the rest of the world will fade away. Among the many things you will experience in this epic safari destination, the massive Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge fossils are a must-see.

6. Yala Park, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka’s most famous park is located next to the Indian Ocean. Comprised of dense forest, lush grasslands and blue lakes along with fascinating beasts like leopards, elephants, monkeys, and crocodiles, and hundreds of bird species, Yala Park is a dream safari destination alright. Travellers that go a little deep in the park will be rewarded with a chance to explore pilgrimage sites, caves marked with century-old rock paintings and the ancient Buddhist ruins of Magul Maha Viharaya. 

Travel on: a Yala safari

a leopard stalks through tall bright green leaves
Yala National Park, Sri Lanka | © Patty Ho/Flickr

7. Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe’s largest safari destination doesn’t disappoint. Sprawled across 14,651 square kilometres, you’ll encounter elephant herds, lions and African wild dogs in the grasslands and mopane woods found in the area. While there’s plenty of wildlife to feast your eyes on (107 animal species and 400 breeds of bird), elephants are what make Hwange so magical; the park is home to one of the largest populations on the planet.

Travel on: a Hwange safari

8. South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

There are lots of places to discover the wildlife in Africa, but the sheer density of animals make South Luangwa one of the continent’s best safari destinations. The open plains are home to marching elephants, impalas, pukus, and buffaloes, meanwhile hippos take dips in the river and leopards hunt for their next meal. If that doesn’t delight, look above, and you’ll see hundreds of birds flying above you.

9. Masai Mara Reserve, Kenya

The wilderness of Masai Mara is stunning. The Mara and Talek rivers snake through grasslands, river woodlands and acacia trees, while the animal kingdom’s finest go about their day. Lions, cheetahs, elephants, zebras and hippos can be found in their natural habitat and wildebeest too, pass through these lands for their annual migration. Along with the wildlife, visitors can explore the nearby Masaai villages and learn about their customs from locals.

herd of buffaloes gather by a body of water
Herd of buffalos gather in Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya | © Rohan Reddy/Unsplash

10. Etosha National Park, Namibia

Even if you’ve been on a safari in Africa before, Etosha National Park is a different experience altogether. Firstly, Namibia’s landscape in vivid colours is incredible as it is, but the sight of hundreds of animals flocking to the watering holes is spellbinding. In other parks, visitors go looking for animals, but here, they will make their way to you, lions, elephants, and other creatures will all come out to play.

11. Chobe National Park, Botswana

Chobe is Botswana’s first national park and famed for being biologically diverse. Picture antelopes that gallop across the plains, hippos seeking cool respite in the lagoons of Linyanti Marsh and while herds of elephants and Cape buffalo flock to the Chobe river front. Even when you’re not watching for animals in the wild, camp under the stars and you have different ways to immerse yourself in the wilderness.

Travel on: a Chobe safari

gray elephant under blue sky during daytime
Get up close and personal with elephants in Chobe National Park | © Luke Tanis/Unsplash

12. Bwindi Impenetrable National  Park, Uganda 

Bwindi’s mountainous terrain is home to many of the world’s remaining gorillas. In this biodiverse region, this endangered species has some much-needed peace and can be observed feeding off ancient roots and trees native to the region. Make your way to the dense forests of Bwindi for a rare chance to experience something out of this world: gorillas in the wild.

13. Kalahari Desert, Botswana

Spread across three countries, a considerable mass of Botswana, parts of Namibia and South Africa, the Kalahari is an amazing and surreal safari destination. It’s home to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, which is one of the last unspoiled ecosystems on the planet. It may be arid, but it’s brimming with wildlife, roaring lions and cackling hyenas are just some of the creatures found here.

Based in Toronto, Sahar is a full-time content editor for Days to Come and part-time travel junkie.

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