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10 of the best types of safari in Africa

Safari Type

The word safari conjures all kinds of imagery, from the sweeping plains of the savannah and huge herds of animals to Africa’s big cats stalking their prey. However, there’s a lot more to a safari than this surface vision, dig a little deeper and you will discover safari is very much a blanket term for a variety of different things. There are many different variations, each unique and distinctive, and here, the safari experts at Mahlatini Luxury Travel choose 10 of the best.

Guided safaris

Tanzania Under Canvas

Photo by And Beyond

This is the quintessential safari experience and one well suited to those who have no experience travelling in Africa or those wishing for an exclusive and hassle free experience. Guided safaris are operated by the vast majority of properties across the continent, with expert guides leading you through your safari experience and enhancing your adventure with their specialist knowledge. These safaris usually run day and night game drives into the African wilderness.

Mobile safaris

MOBILE SAFARIS Photo by - Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

Photo by Serengeti Under Canvas Camp

Lose yourself in the heart of the African wilderness and get to grips with how it might have felt for explorers of old, as you hop from one location to another. Guests of mobile safaris stay in tented camps which are moved from place to place across the landscape, an exciting and diverse departure from the norm. Guided by experienced staff this is definitely one for those seeking adventure and those wishing to follow the yearly wildebeest migration in Tanzania.

Walking safaris

WALKING SAFARI Photo by - Norman Carr Safaris

Photo by Norman Carr Safaris

To further that old world experience there’s nothing better than a walking safari. Traversing the Africa bushveld on foot provides a unique thrill; exposed but altogether safe, with guides on hand to look after you and show you the smaller wonders of the flora and fauna that are easily missed on a game drive. Originally pioneered in the 1950’s, these safaris posses a distinctive charm, the traditionalism of which adds to a perfect back to nature experience.

Fly-in safaris

FLY IN SAFARI flying over the okavango delta

Photo by wilderness safaris

For the best views and the ultimate in ease and convenience, a fly-in-safari swoops you from a country’s international airport and takes you directly to wherever you’re staying. Travelling by light aircraft allows you to traverse great distances with ease, particularly useful if you staying in different lodges in a variety of destinations. These handy air transfers also allow for a birds eye view of the landscape below, something that is always spectacular.

Self-drive safaris

Self Drive Safari

Photo by Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp

For independent travellers, this could be for you, although it’s also a good choice for families too. Self drive holidays provide the freedom to decide where you’re going, when you’re getting there and how long you’re staying, driving in your own vehicle around Africa. These kind of holidays are often a cheaper option, with South Africa and Namibia being prime locations for this kind of trip. South Africa is particularly great if you wish to try and track down the Big 5 (elephant, rhino, lion, buffalo, leopard) all by yourself, providing a fantastic sense of achievement should you achieve it.

Elephant safaris

ELEPHANT SAFARIS on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Photo by Sanctuary Stanley’s Camp

As unique as they are special, these safaris allow for a deeper level of interaction with one of the planets most intelligent creatures. To see an elephant in the wild is in itself an amazing experience but here is a chance to walk with a herd as they move through the bush, observe them closely and even ride on their backs through the wilderness.

River safaris

RIVER SAFARI Boat cruise on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Photo by Sanctuary Chobe Chilwero

There are many different rivers that flow through Africa and they can be enjoyed to their full potential through this safari type. Travelling along the winding course of the Okavango Delta provides fantastic sightings of hippo, crocodile and elephants or for those more adventurous, the Zambezi River with it’s rapids and the world’s largest waterfall: Victoria Falls, allows for an action packed river holiday.

Primate safaris

Primate safaris on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Photo by Akorn DMC

For a very different kind of safari, track the fascinating apes of Uganda and Rwanda. Quite unlike the lowlands of Southern Africa, these countries are carpeted in thick tropical rainforest and home to the rare mountain gorilla, chimpanzee and various other species of primate. The highlight of one of these trips is undoubtedly tracking the mountain gorillas, which can involve trudging through the jungle for hours to find them but the reward is an intimate insight into the lives of these very noble creatures.

Horseback safaris

HORSEBACK SAFARIS on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Photo by Okavango Horse Safaris

If you love horses and have a penchant for the African plains this is the perfect combination for a relaxing yet exhilarating escape. Galloping through the beautiful landscapes, dedicated guides lead on through the wilds and benefit guests with their expert knowledge. Perhaps more thrilling than a game drive, there is something incredibly emotive about riding across Africa on horseback.

Balloon safaris

BALLOON SAFARI Masai Mara, Kenya on GlobalGrasshopper.com

Photo by Governors Safaris

Possibly one of the most romantic forms of safari; rise high above the land below as you drift silently through the air with incredible views. These safaris work best in Tanzania or Kenya, due to their vast flat plains and lack of extensive foliage to cause any obstructions. Conducted during the early morning it presents guests the chance to watch the sun rise over some of the world’s most diverse and spectacular landscapes.

For more information on safaris visit their website. For topical news about Africa head over to You Tube to find an interview with Ambassador Ade Adefuye.



    25 April, 2015 at 1:14 pm

    Did you know that Queen Elizabeth National Wildlife Park in western Uganda introduced Baloon Safaris in 2014. Its now possible to combine a game safari, water safari, or primate safari af baloon safari over the expanse Queen Elizabeth NP when planning a holiday travel to Uganda.

    Hope to see you soon in #Uganda. Find out more information http://www.uganda-holidays.com

  • Sabine

    17 November, 2014 at 11:52 am

    Great post. It sums up all types of safaris in Africa, which is a nice idea. I have done many safaris during the time I spend and worked in Africa and I must say, I’m bitten by the safari bug.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Koko Tours

    28 June, 2013 at 4:45 pm

    I am so glad that i came across this post, but what i liked most was the Primate Safaris in Africa. Bwindi Impenetrable National Park that is situated in Uganda and is one of the places to go gorilla trekking. Gorilla Trekking is one of the best and unique experience to tourists who visit East Africa. I found an interesting story of some trekkers on National Geographic (http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2013/05/16/the-woman-with-the-ipad-mars-epic-mountain-gorilla-trek/)who would really give you a good picture of what gorilla trekking Uganda is all about.

  • Thomas Dembie

    10 May, 2013 at 4:00 am

    Great list! I highly recommend visiting the gorillas in Uganda or Rwanda. We spent a day visiting gorillas in Rwanda and also took a day to see the golden monkeys. An unforgettable experience! Permits are quite expensive, but I think it’s worth it.

  • Scott

    10 May, 2013 at 12:06 am

    I haven’t been to Africa yet but I really want to go. As I was scrolling down reading about the different types of Safaris, I kept saying “oh, I would want to do that one” for each one. If I had to pick one though, I think I would pick a horseback Safari. It just sounds so cool see Africa on horseback.

  • Agness

    9 May, 2013 at 3:48 pm

    I’m not very familiar with safaris. The only one place I visited was The Yala Park in Sri Lanka but if I ever went for this kind of adventure, I would definitely go for walking safaris – seems so interesting and you can get so close to some of the animals.


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