Choosing the Perfect Safari in East Africa

Witnessing, firsthand, nature’s most powerful animals roaming free in the unspoiled natural beauty of Africa is truly awe-inspiring! Game reserves and national parks in East Africa are brimming with wild elephants, lions, giraffes, cheetahs, rhinos, and more. Venturing into these areas on a safari offers a chance to get up close and personal for a life-changing experience. Spectacular parks and reserves such as the Maasai Mara in Kenya, and Serengeti and Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, are world-famous for their exotic wildlife, adventure, and top-notch lodges.

Cheetah brothers drinking in the Serengeti

The annual wildebeest migration between mid August and late October sees thousands of animals across the grassy plains of East Africa in search of food and water as the seasons change. More than 200,000 zebra and 300,000 Thomson’s gazelle join the wildebeests’ trek for fresh grazing, and the spectacle is unforgettable.

Check out this video on the wildebeest migration:
The Greatest Show on Earth… in One Minute

Wildebeest in Serengeti National Park
Wildebeest in Serengeti National Park

In Kenya and Tanzania, there are three options when it comes to choosing a safari tour: fly-in safaris, road safaris, and walking safaris. Each is a fantastic way of seeing a variety of African species interacting in their natural habitats. Here, we take a quick look at the advantages of each.

Road Safaris

Road safaris are a leisurely way to enjoy the sights and sounds of Africa. A typical safari day starts with a morning wake-up call, light breakfast, and a game drive into the wilderness. Morning can be the best time to get out in the bush as this is usually when the big cats are active. After a lovely lunch at camp, you’ll have time to relax and take in the view, or participate in activities, like archery or at camp. After tea time, you’ll set out on an afternoon or evening game drive. Expert trained guides who are tuned in to the animals’ habits and locations will maximize your chances of seeing as many species as closely and safely as possible. Sundowners – cocktails served with stunning views of the savannah as a backdrop – are the perfect ending to your game drive before returning to your lodge for dinner.

Road safaris can be private or part of a small group. They can be a great way to meet new people, especially for single travellers. The vehicles are built for comfort in the rugged landscape, with pop up roofs to protect from the hot sun and blowing sand, and maximize the spectacular view.

Suggested Itinerary:
8-Day Essential Kenya Super Special

Serengeti traffic jam
Serengeti traffic jam

Fly-In Safaris

If you are short on time, consider a fly-in safari, which will minimize travel time and allow you to get right to the reason you came – viewing the free ranging Big 5 animals. Imagine your anticipation as you take in the view of the great plains of the Serengeti from the air, with the added bonus of the thrill and excitement of flying in a small aircraft. Landing strips are located conveniently close to African safari lodging, allowing you to get unpacked and ready to go as quickly as possible. Luggage restrictions can apply, but fly-in trips are generally shorter than road safaris, so you can pack lightly. Also, many African safari tours offer laundry services.

Suggested Itinerary:
3-Day Fly-In Kenya Safari – Masai Mara

Photographer at airport in Tanzania
Photographer at airport in Tanzania

Walking Safaris

A walking safari is a unique experience that can compliment a road or fly-in safari and give you the opportunity to focus on the smaller details of the bush while achieving the thrill of stalking larger game on foot. Game walks typically take place at dawn and last about three to four hours. In the late afternoon, game drives take you further afield in a more traditional safari setting. During a walking safari, your trained guides will keep a sharp eye out for predator and prey, allowing you to take in the excitement and capture amazing photographs of wild animals, birds, and reptiles in their natural habitat.

Suggested Itinerary: 
5-Day Campfire Adventures in Tanzania

Game viewing in Masai Mara
Game viewing in Masai Mara

Visit our website at for more ideas on safaris and Africa tours!

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Kirsty Perring
Kirsty Perring

Africa Experts Product Manager – Although British born and now Toronto based, Kirsty grew up in South Africa and is completely passionate about all things Africa. She finds it hard to choose a favourite destination, but lists Zimbabwe, Zambia, Mozambique, and Botswana as some of the most special places she has visited, and feels it’s not just about where you go and what you see, but who you get to experience it with. Kirsty is always up for an adventure and will try anything once. As such, she has para-glided in South Africa, zip lined in Mauritius, dived the Red Sea, hot air ballooned in Egypt, and even swam in the Okavango Delta. Next on Kirsty’s bucket list is to climb Kilimanjaro!

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