African Safari Ideas: 5 Unforgettable Vacations

Go on safari and beyond with local hosts who know this land of wonders.

The dream of visiting Africa often elicits visions of a safari. The marvel of this wide-open continent is that there is so much more: Beyond the savannas and their majestic animals lie regions steeped in culture and iconic wonders that you simply won’t forget.

Where to begin your African safari? Expert AAA Travel Advisors and trusted partner African Travel can help you carefully craft a journey with your well-being and desires in mind. Here is inspiration to get you on your way: five experiences to inspire your dream trip to Africa.

1. South Africa and Victoria Falls

First-time visitors to Africa, families and culture lovers may want a destination that offers something for everybody, and South Africa—with its blend of wildlife and city life—is great. Begin your trip in Cape Town, where you can find a centerpiece waterfront and coastal adventures. Ride a cable car to the top of 3,500-foot-tall Table Mountain—the view dazzles.


A short flight and you are ready to view wildlife in a private game reserve in the Kruger National Park area. At Kapama Southern Camp, morning and afternoon game drives offer opportunities to see the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros and Cape buffalo. Take bush walks with skilled game rangers, who provide interesting anecdotes along the way.

Fly to Victoria Falls for a radically different waterfront experience. The crown jewel of southern Africa’s natural wonders, Victoria Falls awes visitors with the world’s largest curtain of falling water (roughly twice the height of Niagara Falls). Take a guided tour through the magnificent rain forest and see a plethora of birds and plants.

2. South Africa at Leisure

Take your time and explore more of the region’s sites and culture with the South Africa at Leisure tour. Your personal driver guides you around Cape Town—from the penguin colony at Boulders Beach to the breathtaking scenery of the Cape of Good Hope. Five days in Cape Town offer plenty of time for exploration—including a unique taste safari and drumming session; a ferry ride to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned; and tastings in the area’s winelands.


The trip is not without the animals that call South Africa home. A visit to Shamwari Private Game Reserve offers luxury amongst expansive natural beauty and majestic wild animals. Twice-daily game drives led by expert guides provide prolific opportunities for wildlife sightings in this malaria-free reserve.

At Shamwari, long-term ecological sustainability is a priority. Meet with the reserve’s passionate on-site vets, who care for young, injured and abandoned animals until they can be released back into the wild. Be sure to ask your guide about what you can do to help support sustainable tourism.

3. Epic East Africa Wildlife Safari

For a truly life-changing experience, travel to Kenya, known as the land of the original safari. The Kenya Wildlife Safari takes you to some of the most amazing game-viewing locations in Africa. Game drives across the Samburu National Reserve offer encounters with the “Samburu five”: reticulated giraffe, beisa oryx, gerenuk, Somali ostrich and Grevy’s zebra.

There are plenty of other wildlife experiences to be had on this journey, including learning how orphaned elephants are cared for at the famed Sheldrick Wildlife Trust orphanage, seeing the famous flamingos at Lake Nakuru and watching lions in the Maasai Mara National Reserve. You will also get a taste of Kenyan culture in Nairobi and meet Samburu and Maasai people, including spending an evening at the lodge witnessing a colorful Maasai dance and cultural performances.

4. Tanzania Explorer

Dreaming of an epic Serengeti adventure? Then you’ll want to visit Tanzania. Head out on game drives in search of tree-climbing lions. Drive among the ancient baobabs in Tarangire National Park, known for its many elephants. Relax at beautiful Lake Manyara, the domain of elephants, flamingos and more.

Continue your journey to the Ngorongoro Crater, home to both predator and prey. Descend 2,000 feet through the early morning mists to explore the floor of this extinct volcano.

The Tanzania Explorer tour is a great option for solo travelers—there is no added charge. You can even add Tanzania’s island of Zanzibar to your tour for the ultimate beach and bush outing, or combine trips to Tanzania and Kenya.

5. A Bold New Safari Experience

For travelers looking to celebrate a special occasion—or for those who simply want to witness the best in Africa—a visit to Botswana and the new Xigera Safari Lodge should top your list. The lodge blends into its surroundings in the Okavango Delta and offers a flexible safari experience. Enjoy the view from above in the baobab treehouse; rising almost 32 feet above the floodplain, it offers 360-degree views from each of its three levels.

Take a walk on the wild side, enjoy high tea in the bush, float through the waterways in a glass-bottomed boat or stop for a feet-in-the-water sundowner. Each safari is an opportunity to explore a wonderland teeming with creatures, from crocodiles gliding stealthily among the lilies to agile monkeys in their palm tree playground.

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