What Type of Safari Is Right for You?

Are safaris safe

While there are many exciting, interesting, educational, and adventurous types of vacations to take in Africa, the most popular is clearly the safari. The word, which means “journey” in Swahili, is on millions of bucket lists and electrifies our imaginations of wide open spaces and awe-inspiring animals.

Whether you’re deep into the planning of your expedition or just dreaming about it, you’ll want to know the different types of safaris to choose from. Each offers a unique way to experience the continent’s diverse landscapes and wildlife, which encompass all of our senses. 

Some of our favorite types of African safaris include:

types of safaris
Photo by Hu Chen on Unsplash
  • Game Drives

Game drives are a popular way to get up close and personal with the landscape and wildlife on a safari. Travelers typically ride in a 4×4 vehicle or a specialized safari vehicle, directed by a trained driver or guide who is knowledgeable about the local wildlife, ecosystem, and history of the area. 

Game drives allow travelers to see a variety of animals in their natural habitats. This includes smaller animals like antelopes, birds, and reptiles, as well as the Big 5, including lions, elephants, and cape buffalo.

Types of safaris
Photo by Delano Ramdas on Unsplash
  • Walking Safaris 

Walking safaris offer a more immersive and intimate way to experience the African wilderness. On a walking safari, travelers are led by an armed and trained guide on a hike through the bush to provide safe travel and navigation through the varied terrain. 

Walking safaris allow travelers to get up close to the animals and plants of the region to learn about the local ecosystem and traditional way of life. For example, your guide can help you learn how to recognize animal tracks and scat and share which trees provide food, shade, or even medicine. They can also steer you away from poisonous plants and dangerous animals to help keep you safe.

Walking safaris are a great option for travelers who want to get off the dusty roads and experience the African wilderness in a more authentic way. They’re usually combined with other types of safaris and can last anywhere from a couple of hours to a few days.

Types of Safari
Photo by Harshil Gudka on Unsplash
  • Horseback Safaris 

Horseback safaris offer another unique way to experience the African wilderness and are a terrific option for folks who are comfortable riding a horse for several hours.

On a horseback safari, travelers ride horses through the bush and are again guided by a trained guide who can share information on the local wildlife, ecosystem, and history of the area. Horseback safaris allow travelers to see the animals and landscapes of the region from a different perspective. They’re a more active and adventurous way to experience the African wilderness.

Types of Safari
Image by frimufilms on Freepik
  • Cycling Safaris

For those who are comfortable in a different type of saddle, cycling is another great way to travel through the African landscape, stay more active, and enjoy viewing a variety of animals, like antelopes, impala, zebras, elephants, giraffes, and bat-eared fox. 

Just make sure you’re in a cycling-safe area, such as parts of West Kilimanjaro in Northern Tanzania or Amboseli National Park or Hell’s Gate National Park in Kenya, and traveling as part of a group to stay protected from animals who may confuse you with their next meal. 

Types of Safari
Photo by Birger Strahl on Unsplash
  • Boat Safaris 

If you’re more comfortable floating on water, boat safaris offer another unique way to experience the African wilderness for folks who want to see the region’s waterways and wetlands. 

On a boat safari, travelers journey by boat along rivers or lakes. Alternatively, they may canoe or kayak through more shallow waterways. Boat safaris allow travelers to observe a variety of animals and birds found near the water, including crocodiles, hippos, and waterbirds.

Types of safaris
Photo by Andrew Kayani on Unsplash
  • Camping Safaris

Camping safaris offer the opportunity to stay with the game—for example, you can experience herd migration or hunker down near where the animals have most recently been observed. Depending on the trip chosen, you may pack up and carry your own tent and pitch in for cooking and cleaning. Or you may have the tent moved by your camp hosts and enjoy more luxurious meals, activities, and accommodations prepared for you. 

Either way, you’ll be close up to the African wildlife to hear the sounds of lions and hippos at night and see the wide-open expanse of stars while staying on the move during the day to remain closer to the animals. 

Photo by Josh Nezon on Unsplash
  • Train Safaris 

Train safaris offer another unusual way to experience the scenic African landscape. There are several destinations to travel by train to observe wildlife and experience the natural beauty of the region. 

Train safaris offer a more relaxed and comfortable way to experience the African wilderness than many other avenues. Plus, many include stops at national parks or other protected areas where travelers can observe a variety of wildlife and learn about the local ecosystem and the surrounding communities.

Types of safari
Photo by Uzuri Safaris Tanzania on Unsplash
  • Luxury Safaris

Sometimes you just want to be pampered, and with luxury safaris, you can be indulged with silver tea services, white linens, gourmet foods, fine wines, and evening espressos or cocktails. 

With every detail being taken care of and every amenity available, you can relax in a plush, top-of-the-line property with vehicles (including trails) that provide privacy and comfort for you to live in the lap of luxury, even if only for a few weeks.

You may even be able to book some time to view the open plains from up high in a hot air balloon! 

There are many different types of safaris in Africa, and the best option for a particular traveler will depend on their interests and preferences. Each type of safari offers a unique way to experience the African wilderness and observe the region’s incredible wildlife and landscapes. No matter how you choose to travel through Africa on a safari, you’ll experience an amazing adventure and bring home memories that will last a lifetime!

Featured image by Cédric Dhaenens on Unsplash 

Leave a Comment

Scroll to Top