Guided safaris, or self-drive instead? 4 destinations to help you decide
For some people, the beauty of a safari lies in flying into a remote location and setting out on game drives with guides that know the area like the back of their hand. For others, it’s the sense of adventure that appeals; the idea of being able to take each day’s journey at your own pace, self-driving through incredible landscapes and discovering a country under your own steam. Our Africa specialists argue the benefits of both.
Namibia or South Africa for a self-drive safari
Namibia has endless horizons, a harsh but beautiful coastline and wonderful game reserves. The best way to explore it all is to hire a car and hit the road. The roads are quiet, wide and free of traffic, so you can explore jaw-dropping landscapes with ease. We provide full directions as well as breakdown cover should you need it.
The drive from Swakopmund and on through Damaraland is a major attraction in itself — the landscape changes from the eerie, desolate plains near the coast to breathtaking vistas dotted with volcanic rock formations as you move into Damaraland. Spot herds of oryx and springbok, and if you’re lucky, desert-adapted elephant in search of water.
With all our self-drive Namibia trips you are given a full briefing by our partners on the ground beforehand, along with a Namibian phone that comes preloaded with any numbers you may need. So no matter how remote your location, you can rest assured that we are always just a phone call away.
Get me there
Take a classic self-drive trip through Namibia, exploring the dunes of Sossusvlei, searching for wildlife in Etosha National Park and tracking desert-adapted elephant in Damaraland.
Self-drive in the Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia
South Africa’s Kruger National Park has been a protected haven for wildlife since 1926, and it is one of the largest parks in Africa. My fondest and most exciting memories are of the times I spent in my own vehicle with the freedom to navigate the park not knowing quite what was around the next corner. The real magic of it is that it’s your own personal safari experience, and if you want to stop by a waterhole for the day, then you can.
A great option is to start by exploring the canyons and waterfalls of the aptly named Panorama Region, on the edge of the park. After this, you can drive further into the park itself and stay for two or three nights in simple government rest camps along the course of your route. Finally, spend a couple of nights in one of the exclusive game concessions around Kruger to track Africa’s Big Five.
Get me there
Take a self-drive trip through South Africa and explore the Drakensberg Escarpment, home to some of the most dramatic scenery in South Africa. Combine it with searching for the Big Five in Kruger National Park on a game drive.
Elephant and impala in Kruger National Park, South Africa
Botswana or Tanzania for a guided safari
Botswana’s Okavango Delta offers one of the most diverse safari experiences anywhere in Africa. The guides in the delta are some of the best in the world because they have an excellent understanding of the resident game and where to go for fantastic sightings — ideal for first-time safari-goers who want to seek out the hiding places of some of the Big Five.
Each concession area has a particular wildlife focus, along with its own expert guides. No two concessions are the same, and the guides are permanently attached to a particular camp, so they all know their region intimately.
The highlight of my time here was the walking safari. I’m always astonished at how well the guides are able to point out different tracks and spoors, and spot the smallest reed frog hiding in the grass. Their knowledge of the area and its wildlife is what makes the overall experience all the more enjoyable.
Get me there
Explore Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta on this 12-day itinerary. Head out with a knowledgeable guide to learn more about the Okavango ecosystem and look out for elephant and hippo on a boat safari on the Chobe River.
Mokoro in the Okavango Delta, Botswana
The vast parks and reserves of northern Tanzania lend themselves well to a guided safari. As only qualified guides are allowed to work in the parks, you’ll be able to gain an even greater insight into the region assisted by the people who know it best.
My guide Jonathan’s limitless knowledge and passion for wildlife showed he had real empathy for the animals, joking about their antics and explaining their characteristics in fascinating detail.
Your guide is one of the most important factors on any safari, and we work hard to ensure we use only the best. Having a private guide means you can focus your game drives around your interests. You also get a unique insight into local life, and the chance to discuss diverse topics ranging from education to customs.
Get me there
Enjoy a classic Northern Tanzania safari, searching for the Big Five on private game drives. Experience the Ngorongoro Highlands, the Serengeti's sweeping plains and track endangered black rhino in the Ngorongoro Crater.
Guided safari, Tanzania