Safest Places to Travel to in Africa

Safest Places to Travel to in Africa

Thousands of travelers visit the sub-tropical continent each year with the core purpose of going on an authentic safari experience in destinations that have become renowned across the world for their natural wonders and pristine game reserves that teem with wildlife.

One of the biggest questions on everyone’s minds when planning these safari vacations however is, is it safe to travel to Africa?

We’re here to tell you that a trip to Africa is safe if done correctly and when the proper precautions are taken. One of the best ways to ensure that you are safe while traveling is through working with a trusted guide with local knowledge. Safety is one of our core focuses whenever we at Safari.com help people from all over the world plan unforgettable vacations and safari experiences.

Here is our guide to the 5 safest places in Africa:

Zambia

Microlight flying over the Victoria Falls
Microlight and helicopter flights offer unbeatable views of the Victoria Falls.

Zambia is generally a very safe country with hotels and lodges based around major tourist attractions such as the mighty Victoria Falls in the Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park, Livingstone – one of the world’s seven natural wonders and place of plenty adventures.

Although only 25 minutes from Henry Mwanga (Livingstone) International Airport, it is always recommended that visitors to the area make use of transfers and tours that have been booked through a reputable touring company versus taking a taxi or self-driving. It is always best to travel with a driver or tour guide who knows the area well and booking private touring avoid airport delays and offers the opportunity to tailor tours to better suit your personal interests.

Zambia is also home to several unspoilt game-filled parks, with the most popular being the Lower Zambezi, South Luangwa, and Kafue National Parks which offer incredible up-close animal encounters and strict park access control.

These relatively undeveloped wilderness parks are best reached by light aircraft from Lusaka. These flights are restricted to certain days and times, so it’s highly recommended that you consult with a Safari expert who can tie your travel arrangements together and help you save money on overnight stays in Lusaka that can be avoided.

Once in the park, there is no further movement other than the transfers from the airstrip to your lodge or camp, and scheduled game drives within the park. Transfers aren’t always included in the accommodation rate but will be pre-arranged by your dedicated consultant.

Overall, Zambia is a country rich in heritage and is home to some of the friendliest people you will ever meet. It’s no surprise that the US Department of State listed Zambia among the top ten safest countries to visit in 2018 based on the country’s ranking on the peace index.

Let’s visit Victoria Falls

 

Botswana

elephants crossing the Chobe River whilst visitors look on from a boat
River safaris in Chobe afford up-close encounters with large elephant herds.

Botswana is considered to be one of the safest places in Africa to visit. The most tourist activity is generally around Maun and Kasane which are gateways to major big game parks such as Chobe, Moremi, Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari, and Nxai Pan.

The road conditions in Botswana vary from good tar to extremely deep sand. Traveling in parts of Botswana can unfortunately not be done without a 4×4 vehicle, and it is for this reason that we highly recommended using charter flights where possible and road transfers provided by your lodge or a reputable touring company. When it comes to street crime, tourists have no reason to be concerned as it rarely happens, especially against tourists.

Border crossings can take some time depending on the traffic traveling in and out of the two countries. It is for this reason that we encourage you to avoid traveling by taxi or self-driving. Touring companies have experience when it comes to border crossing procedures, so having someone assist you will ensure that the process is quick and painless. Our safari experts are even able to prepare you beforehand for this part of your trip and ensure you have the correct information.

Top Safari Hotspots in Botswana

Chobe National Park is one of the very few game parks in Botswana that is easily accessible by road. The closest access point to the park is Kasane, however, Chobe can also be reached from both sides of the Falls as well. The attraction to Chobe is most definitely the Big Five but has become a famed destination for having the largest population of elephants in Africa.  

Moremi Game Reserve, the Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari, and Nxai Pan are accessed best by charter flight, landing at the closest airstrip to your chosen accommodation who will be waiting to collect you and transfer you by road to the lodge or camp.

Moremi and Okavango Delta collectively offer incredible sightings of buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hippo, rhino, cheetah, crocodiles, wildebeest, cheetah, hyena, jackal, impala, red lechwe and the endangered African Wild dog. The Moremi offers both land and water safari activities, whilst the Okavango has many camps that offer water-based activities such as the exclusive mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) safaris and many lodges during the seasonal floods can only be accessed by boat. The Okavango and Moremi are both incredible bird watching destinations with close to 500 species of bird recorded.

The Central Kalahari, particularly Deception Valley, offers incredible game viewing opportunities especially at night when a variety of nocturnal species become active. Nxai Pan is a large salt pan that forms part of the greater Makgadikgadi Pans. The seasonal rainfall attracts large herds of wildlife that migrate from the south – particularly zebra, cheetah, and elephant,  whilst predators lurk in the shadows as they wait on an opportunity to strike.

Let’s go on an Adventure

 

Kenya

tourists in 4x4 safari vehicle get up close to African elephants
Game drives in the Masai Mara bring you within close range of elephants and other members of the big five.

Kenya is a popular choice amongst travelers wanting to go on a safari and is generally safe to visit with the biggest attraction to the area being a safari. Although there is cause for concern in the far eastern reaches of Kenya, it is important to note that the major tourist attractions in Kenya are not in this region.

Although it is possible to drive, it is highly recommended that transfers between reserves be conducted by a touring company that is able to navigate the roads of Kenya, especially in areas where the road conditions are bad. Many of the private reserves do have airstrips which afford easier access, especially when you have limited vacation time. Kenya has several unfenced parks that are open to the public, and during peak season there is generally a huge influx of vehicles. It is best to consult with one of our safari experts who can guide you to the best game viewing areas at the right times.

The Masai Mara is where one can not only see the big five but witness one of the world’s greatest mammal migrations. The soda lake known as Lake Nakuru is where one can view pink flamingos, whilst the Amboseli National Park offers sanctuary to an abundance of wildlife and birdlife. Visitors can interact with Masai tribes, climb Mount Kenya – Africa’s second highest mountain, relax on the gorgeous Diani Beach, or travel to Nairobi to adopt an elephant and visit various conservancies.

When visiting Nairobi, although walking is generally safe, you should always be vigilant and keep your personal belongings close. If you plan on moving around Nairobi, it is best to book transfers with a touring company or consult with your hotel about registered taxi services. Avoid any tours that visit Kibera which is regarded to be the “slum area”.

Fly me There

 

Tanzania

guests exiting a dhow sailing boat on the Zanzibar coastline
The island of Zanzibar is dotted with traditional dhow sailing boats that have become a much-loved activity for travelers.

Tanzania is one of the best places in Africa to experience an unforgettable safari adventure and a relaxing beach vacation with warm turquoise waters, white sand beaches, and pristine coral reefs.

The people in Tanzania are incredibly friendly but visitors are still encouraged to be very aware of con artists who operate mainly in crowded city centers and on beaches. It is important to lock valuables away in the safe provided at the hotel and keep personal items close when out and about. One should never walk alone at night and always use a reputable touring company or registered taxi service recommended by the hotel.

Tanzania has 17 game reserves but the most popular tourist destinations are the Serengeti, Selous, Ngorongoro, and Tarangire National Parks. The Serengeti is most famous for the Great Mammal Migration that occurs each year and its incredible lion population. The park is home to 70 large mammal species and 500 bird species. Selous Game Reserve is the largest untouched wildlife conservancy in Africa, housing thousands of wildebeest, zebra, and impala. It also has a significant number of giraffe, greater kudu, waterbuck, bushbuck, endangered African wild dog, sable and puku antelope. The Ngorongoro Crater is the best place in Tanzania to view the famous big five, whilst Tarangire is a quieter park in Tanzania that is most famous for its elephant migration and bird watching.

Zanzibar is a firm favorite when it comes to beach vacations, boasting gorgeous swimming beaches and an array of water activities, including some of the world’s best diving sites.

Overall, Tanzania is generally a hassle-free country but taking the usual precautions when visiting a new destination is recommended.

Let’s Explore Tanzania

 

South Africa

Safest places in Africa for viewing cheetah
A safari in South Africa is most enjoyable from an open safari vehicle which offers unhindered views of the bushveld and wildlife.

South Africa is a relatively safe destination when certain basic precautions are taken. Most tourists to the country leave without incident and return year on year. Visitors rarely find themselves in high-crime areas when they book their trip through a reputable travel company such as Safari.com who steer guests away from dangerous areas. Places such as Cape Town, the Garden Route, the Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu Natal boast gorgeous hotels and lodges that are centralized around top attractions.

Touring and transfers are best arranged through a touring company who can offer guides that are extremely knowledgeable and are primarily concerned about your safety. But if you choose to self-drive, it is important that you follow some important safety rules such as locking doors and not driving at night. The road conditions are generally very good but when choosing to self-drive, it is imperative that you feel comfortable doing so and that you stick to the planned route and not detour.

Visiting game reserves such as the Kruger National Park, Madikwe Game Reserve, Phinda Game Reserve, and Shamwari Game Reserve are safe for tourists, as these parks are fenced and have strict access control. The private reserves are restricted to guests staying at lodges in the reserves and are therefore not open to the public. Once you arrive, you will generally not exit the reserve until your departure. All safari activities are provided within the parks and guests staying in private reserves are treated to a more exclusive safari experience with a limited number of vehicles per sighting and guests per vehicle. Game drives are conducted in open safari vehicles, allowing guests to truly experience this natural wilderness and its wildlife, including the big five.

Boasting breathtaking scenery, pristine big five game reserves, and gorgeous coastlines, South Africa is packed with adventure and offers a warm hospitality.

Let’s Drive the Garden Route

 

Five handy Safety Tips when traveling to Africa

  1. Be aware of your surroundings and know where you are going before you head out.
  2. Do not leave valuables or cash on display.
  3. Don’t wear expensive jewelry in an ostentatious way.
  4. Keep personal belongings, including passports, locked up in the in-room safe provided at your lodge or hotel..  
  5. Avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless you are with a guided tour offered by a reputable company.

If you’re looking to plan the adventure of a lifetime but need help matching your interests to destinations in Africa, then let one of our Safari Experts get in touch with you today.