10 Best Africa Safaris for Budget Travelers
When visiting the “Mother Continent”, the first thing tourists should do is be in the presence of wild animals. A safari is the best way to observe the big five animals: African buffaloes, lions, leopards, elephants and rhinos. If that’s not appealing enough, then the other species are ready to put on a show.
Africa is a land of promise, and although many of its nature reserves are threatened by poaching, encroachment and climate change, authorities are working hard to protect wildlife. Tourism is one way to do this because, in addition to income, the public is made aware of the environment. As such, any safari trip is not just a simple trip but a learning experience.
ten Maasai Mara
Visiting the Maasai Mara in Kenya during its high season from June to October means spending more money. As such, those who want to spend less while visiting the residents of this national park should visit either during its shoulder or low season (November to March). This is also the best time to spot baby animals and bird watch without the crowds. It is a famous African destination, so there are lodges and camps in the park. Besides game driving, other popular activities in the area include nature walks, photography and cultural tours, and hot air balloon rides. The Maasai Mara is indeed a must.
9 Bwindi Impenetrable Forest
The name of the UNESCO World Heritage Site, Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, is derived from a local word meaning ‘dark place’, but those who explore it will be enlightened. This Ugandan ancient forest is a popular gorilla viewing spot, so fans of these great apes should not miss a visit. This area is well protected because apart from the gorilla families, it is also home to 25,000 year old rainforests and over a thousand species of plants, butterflies, mammals and birds. Those who want to spend less time exploring the forest should visit during the low season of March to May and October to November. It has the word inscrutable in its name, but Bwindi is welcoming.
8 Northern Kenya
The northern part of Kenya is home to various natural sites that are best explored on a multi-day trip. The region is home to Mount Kenya, the second highest in Africa, where tourists can experience different ecoregions, from savanna to glaciers. After exploring a mountain, they can visit the small Chalbi Desert before heading to Lake Turkana, where welcoming waters await. Another mountain to hike is Ng’iro, the seat of the beekeepers. The final area to explore is Lake Baringo, a thriving area where birds flit here and there. In northern Kenya, nothing goes south.
seven Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti, alongside the Maasai Mara, is among Africa’s most famous safari destinations, so exploring tourists during its high season is not advised for the stingy and those who hate crowds. This Tanzanian park is where one of Mother Nature’s best shows takes place: the greatest migration of mammals. This destination makes it to many bucket lists, deservedly because of the abundant wildlife like the big five, birds and insects. It is possible to visit this world famous place even on a tight budget; tourists just need to know when to arrive.
6 Virunga Mountains
Just like Bwindi, the Virunga Mountains are home to mountain gorillas. There are eight volcanoes in this mountain range which covers Rwanda, Uganda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. This 790,000 hectare park is home to exceptional wildlife. Besides the gorillas, it is also the playground of tens of thousands of hippos and birds migrating from Siberia. Whether guests wish to visit this wilderness of Rwanda, Uganda or the DRC, they will enjoy breathtaking views and majestic creatures that only Africa can offer. The place is hot, literally and figuratively.
5 Nairobi National Park
Another Kenyan attraction, Nairobi National Park, is unique in that it is close to the city. As such, it is an easily accessible destination, perfect for those who want a day-long exploration near the capital Nairobi. It is touristy and even has picnic facilities. Its accessibility makes visits here cheaper than those in remote areas. Dubbed the “only wildlife capital of the world”, the place is home to hundreds of migrating mammals and birds. Indeed, the beautiful things are found in Nairobi National Park.
4 Bale Mountains National Park
Ethiopia is not to be missed when it comes to safari adventures as it has the Bale Mountains National Park. It comprises three ecozones: Grasslands, Afroalpine Plateau, and Harenna Forest. It welcomes hikers, wildlife watchers and nature lovers as it is home to over a thousand species. Plus, tours can also include cultural excursions, making any trip more than just a learning experience, but a shared time with the locals. It may not be as famous as other African parks, but Bale Mountains won’t disappoint.
3 Murchison Falls National Park
Large savannah and lush forests await those who visit Murchison Falls National Park. This safari destination is Uganda’s most popular park, as it should be, as it hosts plenty of activities, thanks to the abundant wildlife. In the early morning, tourists can start with a game drive and then follow it up with a riverboat cruise until they reach the majestic falls. If they can’t get enough of the place, they can even take a night tour to meet some late-night friends. It is easy to fall in love with this Ugandan park, thanks to its wild nature.
For a safari experience beyond land, tourists must travel to Zanzibar, Tanzania. This stunning archipelago is home to the islands of Chumbe and Changu, both offering wonders of the Indian Ocean. The uninhabited Chumbe is perfect for those who want to explore a forest and end their day enjoying the coral reefs. Changuu, on the other hand, is intended for the observation of giant tortoises, in addition to visiting an old prison. Back on the mainland, tourists can also explore Stone Town, a community proud of its history, arts and culture. In Zanzibar, a safari is complete.
1 Amboseli National Park
Another Kenyan attraction, Amboseli National Park, is the perfect place for elephant lovers. In fact, it’s considered the best place to encounter the herds of these gentle giants. There are five habitats at this popular reserve, so guests are sure to have a variety of wildlife wherever they explore. From the swamps and a dry lake to the sky above, the place is teeming with creatures like crocodiles, zebras, and lots of birds, among others. Finding where the wild stuff has never been easier.