Friday, 19 September 2008 12:00 AM
Whether you want to travel from the Cape to Cairo, or enjoy a classic luxury safari holiday in east Africa, safari holidays give you an unparalleled opportunity to see African wildlife in its natural habitat.
Here travelbite.co.uk brings you a selection of ideas for the best safari holidays in Africa.
Do-it-yourself Namibia safari holiday
It takes at least three days to explore the main sights of the vast Etosha national park in Namibia. Over 22,000 square kilometres of game reserve, the park is home to 114 mammal species, 340 bird species, 110 reptile species and 16 amphibian species.
There are three well-equipped campsites scattered through the park, each offering safe night game viewing at floodlit waterholes.
A matter of minutes from your tent you can watch black rhino, lions, hyenas and the striking Oryx (gemsbok) coming down to drink at night. If you stay awake long enough you may even spot a leopard.
Driving around the park on the network of roads, it is possible to see lions incredibly close up, as well as hordes of animals drinking at the many waterholes, all set in magnificent African scenery.
You can't miss the massive mineral pan that dominates the park. Etosha means "Great White Place" and the springs at the edge of this vast expanse of salt and cracked clay attracts large numbers of wildlife and birds.
The Namutoni, Halali and Okaukuejo rest camps all have tourist facilities; including a restaurant, a basic shop, a car garage for those essential repairs and a swimming pool for cooling off after an exciting game drive.
The best time for a safari holiday in Etosha is between May and September - the cooler months in Namibia.
Affordable South Africa safari holiday
Pilanesberg national park is set amid a beautiful group of ancient volcanic ripples in the earth forming four concentric circles of hills.
For an affordable family safari holiday within a few hours drive of Johannesburg, Pilanesberg is difficult to beat.
This is a great place to see white rhino, as well as the 'big five'. Huge solitary bull elephants stride across the landscape, many of them resettled here from Kruger.
Countless zebra, blue wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck, impala and warthogs will also keep wildlife spotters happy all day.
Guided game drives are available at dawn and dusk, as well as night drives. It is also quite easy to drive your own vehicle - exploring at your own pace, enjoying the scenery and observing the animals.
The comfortable campsite is also full of wildlife - troops of baboons mount scavenging raids on the rubbish bins and hornbills check their appearance in car wing mirrors.
Nearby Sun City with its water parks is another opportunity to keep the kids amused on your family safari holiday.
Catch the Great Migration
The Great Migration is one of Africa's greatest wildlife spectacles. An estimated two million wildebeest travel from the southern Serengeti to the northern edge of the Masai Mara national reserve every year.
They are following the rain and greener pastures and in August the grasslands of the Masai Mara in Kenya are covered by a mass of moving wildebeest as far as the eye can see.
For a luxury safari holiday experience that will put you in a perfect position to view the migration, stay at Olonana with Sanctuary Lodges. Right on the border of the Masai Mara game reserve, this luxury camp offers professional driver guides for exciting observation drives.
You can also experience Kenya's rich cultural heritage by visiting the Masai village which is adjacent to the camp and which Olonana supports.
Walking safari holiday
If you've had enough of being driven about in 4X4s, get closer to nature in Africa on a walking safari holiday.
In the Namib Naukluft national park there are a number of rewarding hiking trails through the ochre-walled canyons, which are guarded by cautious troops of baboons and studded with the ubiquitous Namibian Quiver tree.
This is one of the biggest national parks in Africa and includes the enormous Namib Desert and the Naukluft Mountains. It is also home to many rare plant and animal species.
The Waterkloof trail is a 16-kilometre circular route that takes in some of the highest points of the park and the Olive Trail is a shorter walking safari that brings you out on top of the central massif at 1,500 metres.
Surprise Klipspringer antelope that bound away, making even the most light-footed hiker feel clumsy, and the rare Haartmann's mountain zebra.
The views along the ridgetops across the desert and mountains are exhilarating and the trails are well marked.
Zambezi safari holidays
Finally the Zambezi River, as it flows through Zambia offers fantastic African game viewing opportunities in a relatively undiscovered African safari holiday destination.
A new safari holiday lodge camp was opened at Kulefu this summer by Sanctuary Lodges & Camps, within the Lower Zambezi national park. Luxury tents on platforms and with en-suite bathrooms have been built overlooking the widest stretch of the Zambezi River.
Guests at Kulefu regularly see lion, leopard and elephant. There are guided game drives in 4X4 vehicles and canoeing trips on the Zambezi, as well as fishing and walking safaris through the valley.
The camp also has a swimming pool on the riverbank and a viewing deck overlooking the river.
Words and photography Natasha von Geldern