Since February is known as the most romantic month of the year, we reflect on the romance that travel brings. It’s hard not to fall in love with enchanting destinations and this month we are highlighting the wild romance of Africa. When you start to plan your dream African safari, the first question is simple: Where to? The continent’s two main safari regions are East Africa and Southern Africa. While each destination is incredible in its own right, the experiences differ.
East Africa’s parks and reserves in Kenya and Tanzania are home to many of the wildlife and photo ops that first-timers crave. Southern Africa’s dramatic topography across Namibia, Botswana, and South Africa can enhance the safari experience with river rides, sand dunes, and mountainside views. Luxury Lodges by Singita offer classic and custom safaris in both regions, whisking travelers away to some of Africa’s most interesting wildlife preserves and safari camps. Track desert rhinos on foot, get up close with elephants by boat, or watch the Great Migration from the sky.
What to Expect on a Safari in East Africa
The untamed and protected lands of East Africa – from the acacia forests of Kenya’s Maasai Mara to the golden grasslands of Tanzania’s Serengeti – span more than 15,000 square miles. This cross-border region plays host to both the “big five” (lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffalo) and the annual Great Migration. Millions of wildebeests and zebras make seasonal moves between Kenya and Tanzania throughout the year in search of greener pastures.
East Africa’s parks and game reserves deliver year-round wildlife-viewing opportunities. However, the best time to witness the mass migration is in the dry season (June through October) and during calving season (January through March), when wildebeests gather in the Serengeti plains before making the journey up north.
SantaBarbaraTravel Bureau advisors agree that East Africa isa perfect safari introduction, thanks to its diverse ecosystems and large wildlife populations. The quintessential scenes are all here: big cats lounging in the tall grass, giraffes snacking on leaves, and black-crested secretary birds taking flight at a moment’s notice. A typical itinerary might include visits to Kenya’s Amboseli National Park – known for elephant herds strolling along the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro – or the Laikipia Plateau, an under-the-radar stop home to a high concentration of the endangered black rhino.Beyond the classic safari scenes in northern Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, the landscape changes significantly as travelers venture farther south. A 3,200-square-mile, UNESCO-recognized conservation area surrounds the Ngorongoro Crater – nicknamed Africa’s eighth wonder of the world – where flocks of pink flamingos pose and preen on Lake Magadi and hippos hang out in nearby swamplands. Conservation-focused safari goers can visit the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust’s elephant orphanage in Nairobi, Kenya. In Tarangire National Park, which features the second-highest wildlife concentration of any park in Tanzania, majestic baobab trees shade luxe tented camps where travelers can spy wildlife with a sundowner in hand.
Going on safari isn’t just about wildlife viewing: Africa’s communities are the lifelines of these destinations, and Singita Safaris make sure to provide opportunities to respectfully interact with, learn from, and support local culture. In Kenya’s Samburu National Reserve, for example, visitors can meet members of the Samburu, a semi-nomadic people who graze their cattle and goats on the savanna. On select safaris across Kenya and Tanzania, travelers can speak with a Maasai village elder, a keeper of tradition who shares customs, history, and hopes for the future.
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