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Safest Countries for Safari in Africa

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Going on an African safari is a major bucket list item for most travelers. Doing a trip like this can be overwhelming for some because it’s super far-flung and much different than traveling through other regions of the world.

When doing research, it’s important to see what the safari countries for safari in Africa are to make sure you have a once-in-a-lifetime trip with no issues or hassle.

As somebody who’s been on safari over a dozen times, I can help guide you through choosing a safe safari destination for a trip you’ll never forget!

1. South Africa

South Africa is one of the most popular safari destinations in all of Africa, and for good reason. Not only is it a safe destination to go on safari, but the country offers diversified options for locations to visit.

The most commonly visited safari area in South Africa is Kruger National Park, with around 1 million people visiting annually.

There are also some private game reserves near Cape Town. Kruger is definitely the way to go, but out of convenience, opting to go on safari closer to Cape Town could be the better option for your trip.

English is one of the main languages in South Africa, making it really easy to visit for native English speakers.

On top of this, there are many parks that are malaria-free or have a very low occurrence of malaria. Despite the low risk, I still highly recommend reaching out to a travel medicine doctor in your area to plan for the safari.

Two giraffes standing in a grassy savannah, with sparse trees and a bright blue sky in the background, showcasing the wildlife in South Africa.

2. Tanzania

Having been on at least a dozen safaris, I can definitely say that Tanzania is one of the top three most beautiful safari destinations in Africa.

It’s also an incredibly safe place to go on safari. Unlike South Africa, you’ll definitely want to get preventative medicine for malaria ahead of your visit. Make sure to talk to a travel medicine doctor to figure out what you need for your trip.

However, a vaccine for yellow fever is NOT required to visit Tanzania, unlike some of its East African neighbors.

The most popular parks to visit in Tanzania are Serengeti National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, Lake Manyara National Park, and Tarangire National Park.

A family of elephants grazes under an acacia tree in Serengeti National Park, Tanzania. The expansive savannah stretches out with scattered trees and distant hills under a partly cloudy sky.

3. Kenya

Kenya is another incredible safari destination in East Africa. A visit here pairs really well with a visit to Tanzania, as the countries border each other.

Unlike Tanzania, all visitors 1+ years of age are required to get a yellow fever vaccine prior to traveling to the country. While this is the only vaccine required, your travel medicine doctor will likely make additional recommendations prior to visiting Kenya.

While Kenya is most often visited in conjunction with Tanzania, it holds its own if you’re only interested in visiting one country.

The best safari areas in Kenya to visit are the Masai Mara National Reserve, Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Amboseli National Park, and Lake Nakuru National Park.

4. Uganda

Uganda is a really unique destination to go on safari. It has the big five just like its other East Africa counterparts in Kenya and Tanzania. However, it also offers incredible opportunities to see primates you won’t see in Kenya and Tanzania.

The most popular reason to visit Uganda is to go on a gorilla trek to see these incredible creatures up close in the wild.

Uganda is considered to be the Pearl of Africa and is full of gorgeous rolling green hills. Despite its proximity to struggling countries like the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda is a safe country for safari.

The most popular safari destinations in Uganda are Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Kibale National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

A young gorilla sits among the thick greenery of a Ugandan forest, holding a large leaf while nibbling on it. The gorilla's other hand is raised, grasping a vine or branch, surrounded by lush foliage.

5. Rwanda

Rwanda is arguably one of the safest countries on this list, and across the entire continent of Africa as a whole.

It’s no secret that Rwanda has a very rough history, but the country has turned around incredibly. Rwanda is very focused on being environmentally friendly, with a goal of achieving net-zero emissions by 2050.

Similar to its neighbor Uganda, one of the most popular reasons to visit Rwanda is to see mountain gorillas in the wild.

Rwanda tends to be a mostly luxury safari destination, with gorilla permits costing about twice the price of Uganda.

Besides Volcanoes National Park, the area you’ll visit to go gorilla trekking, other popular areas to visit in Rwanda on safari are Akagera National Park and Nyungwe Forest National Park.

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A mother gorilla carries her baby on her back through the dense greenery of a Rwandan forest. The lush vegetation surrounds them, creating a vibrant and misty jungle setting. Another gorilla can be seen in the background, partially hidden by the foliage.

6. Namibia

In the last decade or so, Namibia has emerged as a popular destination to go on safari in Africa. Namibia is up there with Rwanda when it comes to the absolute safest safari destinations in Africa.

While other countries offer opportunities to self-drive on safari, this is arguably the most popular in Namibia. That being said, you might feel safer if you have somebody who knows the area escort you around versus driving yourself.

Namibia provides really unique landscapes compared to the other countries on this list. Unlike the other countries on the list, there’s a good bit more for tourists to see in Namibia than safaris.

That being said, the most popular safari destination in Namibia is definitely Etosha National Park.

A cheetah crouches on the sandy ground of the Namibian desert, intently looking ahead with the clear blue sky in the background.

7. Botswana

Botswana is one of the most special places to go on safari in Africa. It’s a place that you just have to see to believe how incredible it is!

It’s a very safe country to visit, and an even better place to go on safari. Similar to Rwanda, it does tend to be a more luxury-focused safari destination, so it’s not the place to choose if you’re on a tight budget.

Botswana pairs really well with a visit to South Africa. In fact, even if you don’t intend to visit South Africa during your trip, you’ll likely have to fly through Johannesburg to get there.

The best areas to visit in Botswana are Chobe National Park, the Okavanga Delta, Central Kalahari Game Reserve, and the Moremi Game Reserve.

8. Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe might be the last on this list, but don’t count it out! This country has emerged more recently as a popular and safe safari destination.

It often gets overlooked compared to its neighbors South Africa and Botswana, but it has incredible safari parks as well. It’s a great place to visit in conjunction with Victoria Falls, the largest waterfall in the world, that calls Zimbabwe home.

A safari in Zimbabwe can be paired well with South Africa, but stands well on its own too! The best safari areas in Zimbabwe are Hwange National Park and Mana Pools National Park.

An elephant standing near a tree in the foreground, with two people observing from a safari vehicle in the background, in a sunlit setting.

Top Tips for Safety on Safari in Africa

While all the destinations in the list above are safe locations for a safari in Africa, there are some overall tips you’ll want to keep in mind to stay safe on safari.

This list of safety tips includes things you can do before your trip and while you’re on your trip to make sure you have a fun and safe safari.

  1. Visit a travel medicine doctor ahead of your trip to get any required or recommended vaccines or medicines.
  2. Always, always, always purchase travel insurance (especially look at the emergency evacuation coverage!). A lot of safari destinations in Africa are in very remote locations, so making sure you’re covered if you get sick in a remote area is super important.
  3. Make sure to book with a reputable company. There are a lot of companies who are incredible, and a lot that are not so incredible. Booking with a trusted travel agent is the best way to plan your safari.
  4. Make sure you stay in your vehicle! This should be a given, but it has to be said. The animals are used to seeing the vehicle with the people inside as a whole, large creature. If you get out of the vehicle, you’ve now made yourself something much smaller, that may look like a meal to predators!
  5. Always listen to your guides and other staff! They’re the absolute experts and know the animals like the back of their hands, so you want to make sure to follow all their instructions.

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