A national park is a protected area by the state to preserve the wildlife and to allow the visitors to enjoy and appreciate its beauty.
There are over fifty national parks in Africa which include the game reserves as well. When we talk about the best national parks in Africa, it’s quite a difficult process to identify the best as each park has got its own beauty whether it’s the Serengeti in Tanzania or the Kruger National park in South Africa
Let’s look at the top among the best national parks in Africa:
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The beauty of African forests when we compare with some forests in Asian countries like India is its vast savannahs and garnished with some acacia trees over the top and it’s a wonderful visual once can imagine and should not miss in their lifetime. The mesmerizing sight of over 2 million animals hoarding the savannah during the great migration is in itself is a world wonder.
The migration of animals happens normally in June to July and return in Jan and February every year where we can witness about 2 million zebras, wildebeest and gazelles travel to the great Masai Mara in Kenya in search of food and water.
We will also witness the kills by the predators during this journey.
Serengeti National Park has been declared as a world heritage site by the UNESCO.
A trip to the Ngorongoro crater is a must when you travel to Serengeti as you can witness all animals including the big fives such as the Lion, Rhino, Buffalo, Elephant, and Leopard. The sighting of some of them is almost guaranteed as the animals complete the entire life cycle in the crater.
The crater is the largest volcanic crater in the world formed about 2.5 million years ago and it’s estimated to contain about 20,000 large mammals. You can have a one day drive inside the crater before heading to Serengeti.
Allow yourself about 2 to 3 days to fully experience the vast savannah of the Serengeti plains.
You can also learn about all other national parks in Tanzania here
Kruger National Park, South Africa
Estimated to be the biggest national park in Africa, Kruger offers wonderful visuals to any wildlife enthusiast. The beauty of Kruger is that you don’t really need an off-road vehicle to scamper through as the roads are well maintained.
The park has a good lion population of about 1500 plus although the rhino population has come down. For a much better experience, it’s advised to travel to less travelled routes inside the park to unearth unexplored scenes.
Kruger is one of the cheapest and easily accessible National park in Africa. It’s also one of the most visited national parks.
Although and if lucky, you will be able to see white and black rhino here together with the other members of the big five and over 400 different species of birds roam around the park.
Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
Home to millions of flamingos from across due to the tasty feast offered by the Lake Nakuru, this national park attracts bird lovers and watchers from around the world. It also houses other animal species such as rhinos, buffalos, different bird species, giraffes, baboons, etc.
The ecological diversity of the park is gaining attraction among international travelers and the sight of millions of flamingos feeding on the river is an absolutely majestic sight to experience.
Etosha National Park, Namibia
Although Etosha National park cannot be compared with the best of the best in Africa, it offers some distinct visuals for the travelers. Even though a rare sight, a cheetah in action can be framed if you get that lucky.
A good concentration of animals can be seen near the water holes especially during the summer season from July to September.
Night driving is an amazing experience as the roads are well paved and well lit for self-drive in a normal car.
Other than animals, Etosha national park is famous for its scenic beauty including expansive savannas, grasslands, dry lake beds, dolomite hills, and more.
You can also visit the Caprivi Strip which is a crossing point of wildlife from Namibia, Zambia, Botswana and Zimbabwe. But you may need a 4×4 for this trip as the roads are challenging.
Kalahari Dessert, Botswana
This is one wild national park which exists in the southern African country Botswana. The park is quite big at 52,800 square kilometers and the accessibility is quite challenging.
The wildlife is quite spread unlike other national parks and spotting your favorite animal is never going to be easy.
Since the park doesn’t offer many facilities, this is a pure adventure trip and you need a convoy of 4×4 to take care of an adverse event. You don’t need to be alone amid a lion pride looking for food.
You should be prepared for tent camping if you plan to spend the night with the lions.
The elephants roam around in big herds of 400 and above with the chance of rare leopard sightings.
Kafue National Park and South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Kafue national park is twice the size of the South Luangwa national park and it offers great sighting of the rarest antelope species and it’s something which we don’t experience in other national parks in Africa. The lion and leopard sightings also add to the attractions.
South Luangwa national park is small in size and it’s relatively uncrowded with good concentration of wildlife.
Zambia offers good English speaking guides with good knowledge of the vast wildlife. Walking safaris and night safaris are well enjoyed here and the hospitality of the public is quite appreciable.
Zambezi River also offers some amazing visuals of hippos and crocodiles roaming around and it’s a good vantage point.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Chobe National Park is famous for elephants. It offers the highest population of elephants in the whole of Africa. The estimated number of elephants in the national park is about 120,000 to 130,000. You won’t be disappointed after a safari inside the Chobe national park.
Amboseli National park, Kenya
Amboseli national park in Kenya boards 400 species of birds and over 50 species of raptors. It’s also well known for attracting bird watchers from across the globe. This park was developed originally as a rehabilitation point of the African Masais and now developed into a game reserve, it offers a visual treat for the elephant lovers.
The backdrop of the majestic Kilimanjaro and green savannah offers majestic photography opportunities.
Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda
Kidepo valley in Uganda is considered one of the most beautiful national park in Africa due to its greenness and the coldness of Uganda in general.
The valley lies beneath the majestic Mountain of Mount Morungole, it’s an absolute must-visit just for the scenic beauty alone.
Add to that the big herds of buffalos and the elephants roaming majestically around the valley will take the excitement to a different level. Hunting by the predators is often a great sight for the travelers in the valley.
The park lies in about 12 hrs drive from the capital of Uganda, Kampala and you will not feel tired once the beauty of the valley is unleashed in front of you.
Uganda is also famous for its gorillas and apes as well as the chimpanzees.
Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Covering more than 14,000 square kilometers, this park is mostly underrated by the wildlife enthusiasts.
This is Zimbabwe’s biggest national park with a big diversity of mammals with over 108 species. This is by far the best in Africa in terms of diversity.
The big animal concentration is quite high in the park although it’s not well visited when compared to other national parks in Africa. The elephant population alone is estimated at about 50,000.
The lion pack with more than 20 in a pride are termed as super pride as they are powerful enough to attack and kill young elephants. The rhinos and leopards also add to the park’s beauty as well as the painted dogs and the hyenas.
One can also visit the Zambezi national park which lies very close to the Hwange National Park.
Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania
Often knows as a family park, it’s a good visit for children, couple and even the adventure seekers. The park starts from the soda lake in Manyara all the way up to the Gregory rift. The soda lake fills up during the monsoon and covers up Lake Manyara and dries up and disappear during the summer season.
The park has almost all members of the African wildlife such as lions, cheetahs, leopards, blue monkeys, warthogs, wildebeest, gazelles, hippos, zebras, giraffes and many more.
The game drives through the park offers a mesmerizing view of the tree-climbing lions and also the hippos taking the dip in the pool.
Africa is one of the amazing places where we can experience wildlife in its amazing and there are plenty more parks in Africa which are distinct in nature. I have tried to cover the best of them in my view here in this article.
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Please read my article on Adventure tourism in India here.