The best National Parks in Africa – which one to chose?
Where is the best place in Africa to go on Safari?!
This is an impossible question, but hopefully the following insider tips help narrow it down…
There are many counties in Africa where one can ‘safari’ and so the first question that you, the potential safari goer needs to ask yourself is what time of year can you travel? This is because a safari in many countries and many national parks is a seasonal pursuit, often dictated to by the onset of the ‘rainy season’. In East Africa, so Kenya and Tanzania for example there are two shorter rainy seasons, whereas in Southern Africa, so Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana there is one longer one.
Generally speaking, in Southern Africa, and let us take our very own Zambia as an example, the rainy season begins in November and continues until around April. The smaller bushcamps in the more remote regions of Zambia have dirt roads which become inaccessible in this period, as such the camps only open up around May when it is once again dry enough on the roads, and stay open until the rains begin again the following November.
So! Say that you would like to travel in October for example, brilliant, all camps are open in Southern Africa, but there are so many parks and camps to chose from?!
The second, and most important questions to ask yourself is – ‘what kind of experience am I hoping to have whilst on Safari?’ This is an important question, because a safari is not only about what animals you may see, it is even more important to know where the experience of seeing wildlife and being ‘on safari’ is best – “it is not what you see, but how you see it”.
Therefore you need to do your research, ask travel experts (and by expert we mean people that are on the ground), garner information on each national park – look at things such as the variety of activities on offer (there is more to a safari than just sitting in the back of a safari vehicle), places like the Lower Zambezi offer walking safaris, boating, canoeing, fishing, etc.! and then once you have narrowed down which national park takes your fancy (they are all so different aesthetically too, a combo of several parks, if time and budget permits is the ideal) then the next question comes in – which camps to stay at!?
Classic Zambia Safaris are an owner-run company and so our camps are non-commercial, personal and built with a love and life-time of work and passion for the areas we operate – it is not a McDonalds franchise! I am saying this because not each camp or lodge is the same. Whilst price of course varies, and this is a huge factor, it does not always mean that ‘more expensive = better’.
'Lodges' are generally larger and more permanent, plus-sides include (very often) WiFi, swimming pools and private meals (no communal dining), down-sides include, WiFi, not meeting other people, rigid meal and activity times (they have to be strict in larger places), less connection to the bush (air-con rooms, brick structures, etc.). Bush Camps are smaller and usually seasonal, with typically 4 or 5 rooms (so no more than 8 or 10 people in camp at once) when owner-run they often have a certain charm and raison d’etre, meals are communal, drinks and breakfasts around a camp fire, activities are more flexible too (no need to rush back to camp), etc.
Other practical considerations which come in to play are: Access – which international carriers fly from and to where?; Heat – how hot do you like it?; Risk of malaria – some countries are safer than others, as are certain times of the year.
Contact us, or your preferred agent for more info on the above and any questions on a potential future holiday with Classic Zambia Safaris.