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Safari is a Swahili word that means journey. A journey that traditionally would include camping overnight in desolate places, where only a burning fire would keep the wild beasts at a distance.

Going on Safari
Going on safari in Northern Kenya is mostly done with special purpose vehicles like a Toyota LandCruiser, Land Rovers and other sturdy 4-wheel drive vehicles – here at a stop in Chalbi Desert

Thanks to the great explorers Livingstone, Stanley, Thomson, Hemingway and Blixen – safari has become synonymous with an adventurous, exotic way of travelling that still today clings to the essence of going on a safari in Africa, and even in the Century it is still possible to get close to the same wildlife they saw.

Tourists photographing a male lion in the Masai Mara Game Reserve. Photo © Mikkel Alexander Grabowski

There are other great safari destinations in Africa but in South Africas Kruger National Park you will be driving on tarmac roads and in Tanzania and Botswana, a safari can be more expensive than in Kenya but with the chance to be in more remote areas of exploration and with some wildlife less accustomed to having people in vehicles around. For example Tanzania has Katavi National Park, Tanzania’s third largest national park, lies in the remote southwest of the country, within a truncated arm of the Rift Valley that terminates in the shallow, brooding expanse of Lake Rukwa. Katavi that boasts enormous congregations of up to 200 hippoes in single spots by the Katuma river. It is during the dry season, when the floodwaters retreat, that Katavi truly comes into its own forming the only source of drinking water for miles around, and the flanking floodplains support game concentrations that defy belief. An estimated 4,000 elephants might converge on the area, together with several herds of 1,000-plus buffalo, while an abundance of giraffe, zebra, impala and reedbuck.

champagne by a fire on the savanna

After a great day of game drives there is something quite special about having a glass of champagne by a fire on the savanna – here in the famous Masai Mara Game Reserve in kenya

The great abundance of herbivores provide easy pickings for the numerous lion prides and spotted hyena clans whose territories converge on the floodplains. Katavi is Isolated, untrammelled and seldom visited, Katavi is a true wilderness, providing the few intrepid souls who make it there with a thrilling taste of Africa as it must have been a century ago. And in Tanzania you also find Gombe National Park, made famous by Jane Goodall and her scientific research on the Chimpanzee’s that lives there. When one goes further down south, Zambias Luangwa Park comes into mind as it is one of the true african wildernesses left mostly untouched. Mozambique is still recovering from decades of civil war and there’s only a few parks to see the typical african wildlife. Botswana is something of a hidden pearl in Africa, the Okavango Delta, the Moremi Game Reserve, Central Kalahari, Makgadikgadi and the “pans” – are all incredible places to visit with rewarding experiences with seeing the best of wildlife in Africa.

Then again Kenya could be argued to boast a more diverse landscape and with that more specialized species of animals in a smaller geographical area, making it possible to see many of the world’s premier places for gamewatching on a one week safari and, as an added bonus, in Kenya you can prolong your safari with a relaxing holiday at the country’s spectacular Indian Ocean coastline. That combined with the Kenyans reknown hospitality, friendliness and service, has made Kenya the premier safari destination in Africa and more than seventy percent of the one million visitors Kenya receives annually, come to Kenya with the sole purpose of going on a safari to have a first hand encounter with the incredible African wildlife.

When going on a safari, you can either choose to stay in a luxury lodge, a luxury tented camp or maybe take your own camping gear along and pitch a tent in the wild. Definitely going on a safari in Africa is a journey of a lifetime and probably nowhere else in the world will you see as much wildlife as here!

In the Masai Mara there is not only competition amongst the animals, but also between the tourists in minibuses as to whom will be the first to spot the game. The drivers use radio communication to share information about where to find the most sought after animals – which is the big cats, black rhinos and elephants

For most safaris in kenya Toyota or Nissan minibuses are being used for transportation though in the rainy season it can be nessecary to have four wheel drive. In Tanzania it is mostly 4-wheel drive vehicles that is being used. For some reason the wildlife don’t seem to take any notice of a car and cheetahs will even use vehicles as a vantage point for a better view of their prey. Also lions wont take much notice of a car full of people, as long as everyone stays in the car! Fatal incidents have taken place, when a foolhardy person wanted to get closer to the seemingly calm and friendly animals, and left the safety of the car. As a warning, leaving your vehicle in Kenyas national parks is strictly forbidden exept if the driver needs to change a flat tire.

Read more : Walking Safari or Balloon Safari

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