Jeroen Beekwilder
Netherlands NL
Jun 13, 2018 June 13, 2018

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.

Categories: SafariBookings News, Travel Tips

SafariBookings.com conducted an in-depth analysis of 2,530 reviews to determine the best African Safari Parks. With an outstanding overall rating of 4.9 out of 5, Serengeti National Park in Tanzania came out the clear winner (Serengeti also topped the Best Safari Parks list in 2015, when we last carried out this analysis). Rounding out the Top 3 parks in our list were Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa, and Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, which jumped a spot higher in 2018 (it came 4th in 2015).

In total, 139 parks in the 8 major safari countries were in consideration for a place in the top 50. The analysis was based on 2,530 park reviews collected through the SafariBookings.com website. 1,670 reviews were contributed by safari tourists from 72 countries around the world. The remaining 860 reviews were written by renowned industry experts, most of whom are guidebook authors working for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer's, Bradt and Footprint.

Top 10 African Safari Parks and Destinations

  • Serengeti National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    4.90/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present (rhino rare), many big cats, wildebeest migration
    Ranks #1 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Mala Mala Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.88/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, abundant wildlife- including the Big 5
    Ranks #2 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Mana Pools National Park   Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

    4.87/5
    Walking, canoe and classic safaris, 4 of the Big 5 and wild dogs present, no rhino
    Ranks #3 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Okavango Delta   Botswana Botswana

    4.77/5
    Canoe, boat and classic safari, waterway paradise, Big 5 (rhino in Moremi)
    Ranks #4 of Africa's top 50 safari parksparks

  • South Luangwa National Park   Zambia Zambia

    4.71/5
    Walking and classic safari, giraffe, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), abundant wildlife
    Ranks #5 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Moremi Game Reserve   Botswana Botswana

    4.66/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present (rhino rare), partly located in the Okavango Delta
    Ranks #6 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Sabi Sand Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.64/5
    Area consisting of multiple private reserves, excellent Big 5 wildlife viewing
    Ranks #7 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Masai Mara National Reserve   Kenya Kenya

    4.61/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present (rhino rare), many big cats, wildebeest migration
    Ranks #8 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Selous Game Reserve   Tanzania Tanzania

    4.60/5
    Walking, boat and classic safari, Big 5 present, healthy population of wild dog
    Ranks #9 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

  • Ngorongoro Crater   Tanzania Tanzania

    4.59/5
    Classic safari, abundant wildlife in the volcanic crater includes the Big 5
    Ranks #10 of Africa's top 50 safari parks

Top 11-50 Best African Safari Parks

  • #11 Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park   South Africa South Africa

    4.59/5
    Classic safari, transfrontier park with Botswana, all big cats present

  • #12 Ruaha National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    4.55/5
    Walking and classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), cheetah and wild dogs

  • #13 Chobe National Park   Botswana Botswana

    4.52/5
    Boat and classic safari, Big 5 present (rhino very rare), abundant elephants

  • #14 Kruger National Park   South Africa South Africa

    4.51/5
    Classic safari, great abundance of all major safari animals including the Big 5

  • #15 Sabi Sabi Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.50/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, Big 5 present

  • #16 Etosha National Park   Namibia Namibia

    4.49/5
    Classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no buffalo), abundant wildlife during the Dry season

  • #17 Hwange National Park   Zimbabwe Zimbabwe

    4.46/5
    Classic safari, abundance of all major safari animals including the Big 5

  • #18 Ol Pejeta Conservancy   Kenya Kenya

    4.46/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, Big 5 and chimpanzee sanctuary present

  • #19 Phinda Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.44/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, abundant wildlife- including the Big 5

  • #20 Tsavo East National Park   Kenya Kenya

    4.42/5
    Classic safari, adjacent to Tsavo West, Big 5 present, low wildlife density

  • #21 Samburu National Reserve   Kenya Kenya

    4.41/5
    Classic safari, 4 of Big 5 (no rhino), adjoining Buffalo Springs without fences

  • #21 Amboseli National Park   Kenya Kenya

    4.32/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present, famous for its views of Mount Kilimanjaro

  • #22 Madikwe Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.29/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, Big 5 present

  • #23 Central Kalahari Game Reserve   Botswana Botswana

    4.29/5
    Classic safari, wildlife scarce except after summer rains, all big cats present

  • #24 Queen Elizabeth National Park   Uganda Uganda

    4.23/5
    Boat and classic safari, abundant wildlife, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), no giraffe

  • #25 Murchison Falls National Park   Uganda Uganda

    4.23/5
    Boat and classic safari, waterfall, abundant wildlife, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino)

  • #26 Tarangire National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    4.18/5
    Classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), abundant wildlife in the dry season

  • #27 Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.16/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present, famous for its rhino population

  • #28 Shamwari Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    4.15/5
    Classic safari, private reserve, Big 5 present

  • #29 Makgadikgadi Pans National Park   Botswana Botswana

    4.10/5
    Classic safari, wildlife scarce outside wet season, Big 5 present (rhino rare)

  • #30 Tsavo West National Park   Kenya Kenya

    4.09/5
    Classic safari, adjacent to Tsavo East, Big 5 present, low wildlife density

  • #31 Tembe Elephant Park   South Africa South Africa

    4.00/5
    Classic safari, the Big 5 is present, famous for its big tuskers

  • #32 Lake Manyara National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    3.92/5
    Classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), big cats difficult to spot

  • #33 Lake Nakuru National Park   Kenya Kenya

    3.91/5
    Classic safari, black and white rhino, family-friendly park

  • #34 Mkhuze Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    3.90/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present

  • #35 Waterberg Plateau Park   Namibia Namibia

    3.88/5
    Walking and classic safari, rhino, leopard, cheetah and antelope species

  • #36 Addo Elephant National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.87/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present, but only elephant are regularly seen

  • #37 Pilanesberg Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    3.82/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present

  • #38 Kafue National Park   Zambia Zambia

    3.77/5
    Walking, boat and classic safari, cheetah, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), no giraffe

  • #39 Aberdare National Park   Kenya Kenya

    3.77/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present (lion difficult to spot)

  • #40 Marakele National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.69/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present

  • #41 Arusha National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    3.68/5
    Classic safari, hiking, several antelope species and black-and-white colobus

  • #42 Augrabies Falls National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.68/5
    Scenery, animals scarce, some antelope species, giraffe and leopard

  • #43 Nairobi National Park   Kenya Kenya

    3.67/5
    Classic safari, Big 5 present, small park, lacking wilderness vibe, close to city

  • #44 Golden Gate Highlands National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.60/5
    Scenery, hiking, animals scarce, mainly antelope species, none of the Big 5

  • #45 Ithala Game Reserve   South Africa South Africa

    3.58/5
    Classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no lion), cheetah present but rare

  • #46 Karoo National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.56/5
    Classic safari, mainly antelope species, black rhino and lion (rare) present

  • #47 Hell's Gate National Park   Kenya Kenya

    3.56/5
    Cycling, walking and classic safari, mainly antelope species, lion very rare

  • #48 Mikumi National Park   Tanzania Tanzania

    3.53/5
    Walking and classic safari, 4 of the Big 5 (no rhino), predators rarely seen

  • #49 Mountain Zebra National Park   South Africa South Africa

    3.50/5
    Classic safari, Cape mountain zebra, cheetah, lion, black rhino and antelope

  • #50 Lake Bogoria National Reserve   Kenya Kenya

    3.44/5
    Classic safari, mainly antelope species, no Big 5, famous for its flamingos

How we created this list

  • In total, 139 parks from the 8 major safari countries (Botswana, Kenya, Namibia, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe) were included in the study.
  • Only parks recognized for classic wildlife-viewing safaris were considered. Parks mostly known for scenery or gorilla/chimp tracking (and not other wildlife) were not included.
  • Parks with less than 10 reviews were excluded from the top 50.
  • The overall review score of a park consists of 50% expert reviews and 50% user reviews.
  • The reviews of individual Sabi Sands reserves were merged into one overall Sabi Sands rating because those reserves collectively brand themselves as the Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Interesting Insights

  • Serengeti National Park in Tanzania was rated Africa's best safari park. The sheer numbers and variety of wildlife, abundance of predators and spectacular wildebeest migration are the reasons why this park deserves the number one ranking.
  • Rating second is the privately-owned Mala Mala Game Reserve in South Africa. It is renowned for its excellent wildlife viewing, luxurious accommodation, and top-class guiding. Mala Mala is one of 13 South African parks in the Top 50
  • The pristine wilderness of Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe rounded out the Top 3. This sublime park appeals to the adventurous with canoeing a popular way to see the animals. The quality of the guides here ensures wildlife watching is a joy.
  • It is remarkable that Kenya, although having 10 parks in the top 50, has only Masai Mara National Reserve ranking in the top 10.
  • Kruger National Park in South Africa ranked 14th, which came as a surprise to the SafariBookings team. We expected this top-class park to rank higher.
  • The fastest climber was South Luangwa National Park which went from 11th in 2015 (when we last conducted this exercise) to number 5 in 2018. A just reward for a fabulous park, famed for its wildlife density, stunning landscapes and wonderful walking safaris.
  • South Africa had 19 parks in the Top 50, by far the most of any country.

Demographics of the reviewers (all parks)

User reviews: 1,670
Expert reviews: 860
Nationalities: 72

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