Jeroen Beekwilder
Netherlands NL

Jeroen is co-owner of SafariBookings.com. His desire to feel connected powers his love of travel. He has traveled all over the world with his wife and two children.

Category: Other

At SafariBookings.com we receive thousands of safari reviews via our website. And once a year we scrutinize them to determine which country should be crowned Africa’s best country for safaris. We are passionate about highlighting excellence in the safari industry, and we find that there are usually a handful of countries that are neck-and-neck in the race to be voted the best.

We have studied this year’s reviews to discover the popular vote for the continent’s best safari country. Go on, take a guess, who do you think won?! A country that is surely safari paradise – from its steaming, ancient deserts to its meandering, water drenched landscapes – claimed the crown as the continent’s number one safari country. Congratulations Botswana!

More than 4,000 reviews were analyzed in this comprehensive study. Safari-goers from all over the planet made a valuable contribution. The analysis of reviews also included reviews from a bunch of travel journalists, mainly guidebook writers who contribute regularly to Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Bradt and Footprint. These industry professionals populate the SafariBookings expert panel.

Botswana rated the best safari country

Botswana – a study in alternating landscapes, from the stark, arid beauty of the Kalahari Desert with its bellowing black-maned lions to the Okavango Delta, famed for its shimmering, winding waterways and profusion of elephants – on average had the highest scores, though Tanzania was not far behind. A closer analysis of the results throws up a surprise: when broken down the results tell us that the industry experts rated Botswana the highest, but that there was a preference for Zimbabwe amongst safari-goers.

Ratings for the major African safari countries

  • 1 Botswana

    4.61/5  (Experts: 4.42/5 - Users: 4.80/5)

  • 2 Tanzania

    4.55/5  (Experts: 4.41/5 - Users: 4.69/5)

  • 3 Zambia

    4.46/5  (Experts: 4.23/5 - Users: 4.68/5)

  • 4 Zimbabwe

    4.38/5  (Experts: 3.92/5 - Users: 4.83/5)

  • 5 Kenya

    4.36/5  (Experts: 4.06/5 - Users: 4.66/5)

  • 6 South Africa

    4.34/5  (Experts: 3.96/5 - Users: 4.72/5)

  • 7 Namibia

    4.27/5  (Experts: 3.95/5 - Users: 4.59/5)

  • 8 Uganda

    4.22/5  (Experts: 3.95/5 - Users: 4.65/5)

  • 9 Rwanda

    4.07/5  (Experts: 3.97/5 - Users: 4.17/5)

  • 10 Swaziland

    4.03/5  (Experts: 3.38/5 - Users: 4.68/5)

  • 11 Mozambique

    3.96/5  (Experts: 3.42/5 - Users: 4.50/5)

  • 12 Malawi

    3.88/5  (Experts: 3.42/5 - Users: 4.33/5)

Botswana retains the number one title

Tanzania was the winner in 2013 when SafariBookings conducted its first study to determine the best safari country in Africa. We got the same result in our second study in 2017. But that changed in 2018 when Botswana narrowly defeated Tanzania in that year’s analysis for Africa’s best safari country.

This year has seen Botswana strengthen its grip in the number one spot, although Tanzania remains a close second. It’s an understandable result given the unforgettable wildlife-viewing in Botswana, a country that epitomizes luxury in the bush and exclusive safari experiences.

The Okavango Delta is an iconic name as is the Kalahari Desert – these are big drawcards for visitors and both certainly live upto their safari-legend status. A status enhanced by this year’s big win as the continent’s leading safari country.

Botswana was also rated as the best country overall for wildlife, bird-watching and for its bush vibe, which really consolidates its position as the best in Africa.

463 Botswana Tours

What the experts say about Botswana

  • Anthony Ham From AustraliaAU - Author for travel magazines and Lonely Planet guides, incl. Botswana.

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “Botswana is the sort of place where even your average safari feels like stepping into a documentary by National Geographic, one where so many of the great dramas of the African wild are played out on a daily basis.” Full review
  • Emma Gregg From United KingdomUK - Author for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller and more.

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “No other African country has such a rich mosaic of pristine habitats, from russet-coloured dunes to glittering seasonal wetlands.” Full review

Want to do a safari in Botswana?

Home to the Great Migration, Tanzania wins best country for scenic value

Tanzania is the best country in Africa for its scenic value according to our analysis. And we think it’s a deserved winner of this category with Ngorongoro Crater, possibly its greatest scenic treasure. An incredible sight, gouged out of the earth it is also a wonderland of wildlife and one of the only places you have an excellent chance of spotting a black rhino in the wild.

And, all over the country magnificent savannah grasslands unfurl like giant green ribbons stretching over the horizon…iconic Africa from childhood daydreams.

1,615 Tanzania Tours

What the experts say about Tanzania

  • Sue Watt From United KingdomUK - Sue is an award-winning writer who specializes in African travel

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “Tanzania is justifiably regarded as Africa’s premier safari destination. It’s one of my favourite countries, not just for the bush, beaches and big peaks, but also for the genuine warmth and friendliness of its people.” Full review
  • Philip Briggs From South AfricaZA - Author of 7 Bradt guidebooks to Africa, incl. Tanzania.

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “There is arguably no better safari destination than Tanzania. And, to be honest, I’m not even sure I should be using the word ‘arguably’ here! Tanzania’s superb network of wildlife reserves is the most extensive in Africa.” Full review

Want to do a safari in Tanzania?

Zambia gets an honorable mention

Zambia has risen considerably in popularity since our last study of reviews, rocketing into third position, just behind Botswana and Tanzania. It’s great to see this wonderful country begin to get some credit for what is a magnificent collection of parks, wildlife and ‘wild’ experiences. Safari-goers also rated the country as the best for birding too.

Here’s a brief look at some of Zambia’s outstanding natural assets:

  • South Luangwa National Park: The country’s best known park and for good reason – its sheer natural beauty rivals any other park on the continent. It’s also more accessible than many other parks in Zambia and is packed with wildlife.
  • Kafue National Park: One of the largest in Africa (almost the size of Belgium), it’s the closest ‘wild’ point to Lusaka. It’s also known for its leopard population as well as tree-climbing lions.
  • Liuwa Plain National Park: Remote, hard to visit, and perhaps Zambia’s best kept secret. The wildlife is as good here as anywhere in the country, and the birdlife is spectacular. When the first rains come the plains are packed with wildebeest and antelope species as far as the eye can see.
  • Lower Zambezi National Park: On the other side of the Zambezi from Mana Pools in Zimbabwe is this dreamy park. It has a reputation for big game, and elephants and buffalo cross the river regularly. For adventure seekers, canoeing on the Zambezi, dodging hippos as you go, should get the adrenalin pumping.

173 Zambia Tours

What the experts say about Zambia

  • Stephen Cunliffe From United KingdomUK - Author for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller and more.

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “It is only in the last decade that Zambia burst back onto the African safari scene, re-building its safari reputation on the back of some epic national parks and outstanding wildlife.” Full review
  • Alan Murphy From AustraliaAU - Author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks to Africa, incl. Zambia.

    Rating:

    5/5 stars

    “Watching Zambia’s prolific wildlife in classic safari country with stunning landscape, churning rivers and wide horizons may just be a life-changing experience. It was for me.” Full review

Want to do a safari in Zambia?

Demographics of the reviewers (interactive charts)

User reviews: 2,837
Expert reviews: 1,183
Nationalities: 97

Percentage of reviews by country
All user reviews. Move your cursor over a country to get the number

Age and gender (Percentage)
All people who wrote user reviews. Move your cursor over the chart for more details

Safari Experience Level (Percentage)
All people who wrote user reviews. Move your cursor over the chart for more details

 

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