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Even if you’ve been on a safari in the past, an African photo safari is something you want to experience or at the very list add to the top of your bucket list.
But first, what is a photo safari? The phrase “photo safari” is not a common sentence structure but its meaning can be deduced easily. An African photo safari in general context means going on an adventure with the sole purpose of taking high-quality pictures.
This definition also applies to actual safari destinations in Africa since many people are aiming to take photos during game drives. So, what is the use of a photo safari in Africa? Well, here are just a few reasons to consider a photo safari:
- For the adventure and to preserve the experience for years to come (similar to Northern Lights portraits in the arctic).
- Working as a wildlife photographer for websites and magazines.
- An African photo safari can be done for promotional purposes to advertise safari photography tours. Tour operators use these images in their brochures and websites.
- Educational purposes for schools and conservation projects.
The Best Africa Photo Safari Tours
An analysis was carried out by the website Safari Bookings in June 2019. 157 parks in 11 countries were ranked according to African photo safari reviews from both tourists and experts who work as authors for prestigious travel companies like Lonely Planet and Trip Advisor.
The best places for African safari are clustered in Southern Africa. Here is a list of top 10 parks best-suited for game viewing and photographic opportunities.
- Serengeti National Park, Tanzania, 4.92/5: Abundance of Big 5, especially the big cats, opportunities to view wildebeest migration aka migration safari. (More Details)
- Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe, 4.85/5: A variety of safari tours such as walking, canoe, and classic safaris, an abundance of big 5 except rhino, a large population of wild dogs. (More Details)
- Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa, 4.80/5: Private reserve with luxurious facilities, a high population of wildlife, especially all of the big 5. This park is a must because of the outstanding wildlife viewing opportunity if you visit Johannesburg or Cape Town. (More Details)
- Okavango Delta, Botswana, 4.76/5: A variety of tours such as canoe, boat, and classic safaris, waterway paradise, and presence of big 5. (More Details)
- Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia, 4.68/5: Canoe and classic safari tours, and 4 of the big 5. (More Details)
- Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana, 4.68/5: Large population of big 5 including the rare rhino species. (More Details)
- South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, 4.67/5: Walking and driving safari options, an abundance of the big 5 except rhinos, an abundance of giraffes, and an opportunity to see Victoria Falls. (More Details)
- Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania, 4.64/5: Abundance of wildlife including the big 5 inside the unique landscape of a volcanic crater. (More Details)
- Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa, 4.62/5: With multiple private reserves in close proximity, you will have an exclusive safari experience with an excellent Big 5 viewing. You can request for a private guided tour for a tailor-made adventure to suit your needs. (More Details)
- Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya, 4.59/5: The presence of all members of the big 5, an abundance of big cats and the opportunity to watch the mass migration of wildebeest makes this East Africa destination a must. (More Details)
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Best Month To Go On An African Safari
The best time to go on an African Safari depends on the country you are visiting. Different countries are ideal for different times of the year and for different reasons.
January to February: Tanzania
The Great Migration of wildebeests from Serengeti in Tanzania to Masai Mara in Kenya is the most picturesque event during a safari in Tanzania.
During January and February, you can witness not only river crossings of large herds of giraffes, zebras, and antelopes but also predators like lions attempting to hunt the weakest members of the herds. You can also witness a wildebeest or zebra giving birth.
March-April: South Africa, Ethiopia, Namibia
The best time for game viewing in South Africa is the transition period between summer and winter. The weather is still ideal with mild temperatures. Besides, the summer rainfall from the previous months brings out many members of the wildlife. Kruger National Park is highly recommended.
Ethiopia is another ideal destination since it is about to enter its rainy season just after April. The temperatures will be ideal for both humans and animals to go outdoors. The Simien Mountains National Park is highly recommended.
These two months also see the transition between the rainy season and the dry season in Namibia. The rainfall from March increases the greenery and the temperatures remain quite warm during the day.
May to June: Madagascar, Zimbabwe
May and June in Madagascar see the lowest temperatures and are ideal for viewing endangered species like lemurs and chameleons.
Zimbabwe’s weather displays features of both wet and dry seasons, so you can witness the highest variety of animals. The relative dryness makes the safari a less muddy and more pleasant safari experience. So many animals come out to drink water from watering holes and rivers.
July to August: Rwanda, Botswana
Rwanda’s dry season is the best time for gorilla trekking for viewing mountain gorillas, colobus monkeys and chimpanzees. Botswana’s Okavango Delta also experiences dryness, so safari tours will be more comfortable and less messy. Animals gather around waterholes, making the viewing much easier. The absence of mosquitos is a huge plus.
The Great Migration occurs in the opposite direction from Masai Mara to Serengeti in September
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African Safari Cost
The cost of an African photo safari depends on the package you are purchasing. There are options available for both budget travelers and luxury travelers.
Budget safaris start from 100-125 USD per person per day, while the high-end safari packages can cost more than 700 USD per person per night.
Although the difference is not huge, the cheapest budget safari options are found in Zambia with 150 USD per person for group safaris.
There are also additional costs you need to consider.
- Level of accommodation: Many national parks will have a range of accommodation from campsites to luxurious tents or cottages.
- Self-drive: A great option if you enjoy adventure traveling. Self-drive safari is obviously a cheaper option, but also more challenging when it comes to animal encounters.
- Holiday season: The prices will go up significantly during the school holiday season. You need to find out when the holiday starts and make an effort to visit the parks outside the peak season.
- Vaccination and medication: Depending on the season and the country, you will probably need certain vaccinations and precautions against certain diseases like malaria.
- Visa: Although getting a visa is easy, it does cost around 30-50 USD depending on the country.
- Tips: The safari guides will appreciate a tip between 10-15 USD
Visit here for a detailed breakdown of safari costs.
For more exciting read on everything Safari, checkout our Safari Page
Frequently Asked Questions About African Photo Safari
It is unusual for wildlife and the human race to come into contact during the safari. That being said, the tours are guided by experienced locals who know how to act around wild animals. They make sure of the absolute safety of both parts.
Although safari tours are completely safe, you have a huge responsibility to make sure they stay that way. There are certain rules that you MUST follow.
Leaving the safari vehicle, getting too close to the animals, trying to feed them, and drawing them closer to the vehicles are strictly forbidden and can lead to life-threatening outcomes. Such disruptive behaviors put you and those around you in danger.
The budget safari tours start from 100 USD per person and can go up to 1000 USD. But in general, the cost depends on what you expect from a safari. Refer to the cost section for a detailed explanation.
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