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Elephants bathe and drink at a watering hole
7 February, 20234 minute read

What other safaris in Africa are there?

Think African safari and you’ll probably picture Kenya’s Masai Mara or South Africa’s Kruger National Park. But while they’re the poster pin-ups for safari holidays, they aren’t the only options for a wildlife trip.

If you’re looking for a safari with a bit of a difference, there are some fantastic alternative safari destinations out there. We’ve pulled together our pick of the bunch, from gorilla-trekking trips to off-the-beaten-track adventures in Madagascar.

River safaris in Zimbabwe

The Big Five are all present and correct in Zimbabwe, a country that’s back on its feet tourism-wise after years of turmoil. It’s a great time to go – national parks and game reserves are refreshingly uncrowded, and locals are keen to welcome visitors back to their beautiful country.

Zambezi River Cruise at sunset, Zimbabwe

Where can I go on a river safari?

Lots of the country’s wildlife can be found around its waterways, in particular around Lake Kariba and the Sengwa River system. We include a three-night cruise on our tour of Zimbabwe. Being on a small boat (just nine cabins) and having a tender vessel at our disposal, we can explore some of the narrower channels that feed the lake – so you’ll get the chance to try game viewing from the water. Look for hippos sunning themselves on the banks, and all sorts of fantastic birdlife flitting to and from the water.

What other wildlife can I see in Zimbabwe?

The tour also includes time in Pamuzinda wildlife reserve and Hwange and Matusadona national parks. Here, you’ll be able to go in search of elephants, hippos, black rhinos and more.

Find out more about our Zimbabwe escorted tour.

Gorilla-trekking in Uganda

Without a doubt, the stars of the show on a Uganda safari are mountain gorillas. These majestic animals roam free in the rainforested mountains here, and catching a glimpse of them as they go about their lives is a moment that’ll stay with you forever (as product manager Phil found out when he visited Uganda).

Adult female gorilla with baby Gorilla in the lush foliage of the forest, Uganda

Where can I see gorillas in the wild?

Bwindi Impenetrable Forest is the best place to see gorillas. These mist-shrouded mountains are a national park and a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and home to around half of the world's wild population of mountain gorillas. Coming face to face with these majestic creatures is incredible, especially as there are so few left in the wild. Expect to walk for five or six hours on trekking days. Terrain can be rough and trails steep, but observing the world’s largest living primates in their natural habitat is certainly worth the effort.

What else can I see in Uganda?

Gorilla trekking isn’t the only wildlife highlight in Bwindi. Be on the lookout for the park’s other residents too, including forest elephants, chimpanzees and more than 350 species of bird.

Desert wildlife & whales in Namibia

Namibia is all about untamed wilderness, with scenery on an epic scale. In the Namib Desert (the world’s oldest at around 43 million years old), dunes the size of small mountains ripple across the landscape and long-dead trees dot sun-cracked ground. Etosha National Park, meanwhile, offers grasslands, watering holes and salt pans as far as the eye can see.

Where should I go in Namibia?

When it comes to the wildlife, Etosha is the big name. Animals congregate around the park’s watering holes, so you’ll have a good chance of spotting elephants, black rhinos, zebras, giraffes and more.

On the coast, the waters off Walvis Bay play host to seals, dolphins, sunfish and (from June-November) whales. We’ll search for marine life in style on our tour of Namibia, with a champagne and oyster cruise.

It’s not just game drives and cruises, either – as we travel between destinations, the wildlife continues to pop up. Keep a look out and you might spy baboons, oryx, springboks and hornbills.

Find out more about our Namibia escorted tour.

Quirky creatures in Madagascar

Madagascar really is a one-off – a huge percentage of its flora and fauna can’t be found anywhere else in the world. So while you won’t be spotting the Big Five here, you will be on the lookout for a unique roll call of animals, birds and insects.

Mother and baby lemur

Where's best to see lemurs?

Our Madagascar tour gives you plenty of opportunities to clap eyes on the island’s most famous residents: lemurs. We’ll look for greater bamboo and golden bamboo lemurs in Ranomafana National Park, ring-tailed and sifaka lemurs in Isalo National Park, and rare indri lemurs in Andasibe-Mantadia National Park.

What other animals are there to see?

Madagascar is more than just lemurs - a huge variety of wildlife calls this island home. Keep an eye out for curly-tailed chameleons in Andasibe National Park, their colours constantly shifting to match their surroundings. Watch endemic birdlife darting between baobab trees in Reniala Reserve. And in Ranomafana National Park, spy a number of different lizard and butterfly species (many love the area's natural thermal springs).

Find out more about our Madagascar escorted tour.

For more wildlife holidays and safari ideas, take a look at our nature & safari tour holidays.

Image of blog author Laura Weeden

Although she loves a lie-in at home, Laura is often up and about before dawn on holiday. She’s watched the sun rise over the Grand Canyon, Uluru and Angkor Wat, but her favourite was seeing the first light of the New Year sweeping across the yacht-dotted waters of Sydney Harbour.

Laura | About the author

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