The phrase “African safari” evokes images of lions, rhinos elephants and other majestic wildlife roaming exotic terrain. There are certainly some misconceptions about safaris. They are less expensive than you might imagine; if you’ve considered a Caribbean cruise, you can afford a great adventure in Africa. Another concern some people have is comfort. Yet many safaris provide luxury-level accommodations, with fine cuisine and (of course) WiFi. Here’s a look at some of the sights from safaris around that mysterious continent.
10. Hungry Hippo
A hippopotamus rises from the Chobe River. The Chobe National Park in northern Botswana is best known for its large lion and elephant populations, and has one of the greatest concentrations of game animals on the continent.
9. Sand Boks
Gemsbok cross a line of dunes in the Namib Desert in coastal Namibia. Some of the dunes there are almost 1,000 feet high, the second highest dunes in the world.
8. Delta Force
Two male zebras fight for dominance (center of photo) on the picturesque Okavango Delta in northern Botswana.
Dolphins on an African safari? Of course (the continent is, after all, bounded on three sides by oceans). The above dolphins are pursuing sardines off South Africa’s Wild Coast. The annual Sardine Run is one of the great migrations on Earth, with billions of sardines heading north for cooler waters, eagerly pursued by countless avian and marine predators.
6. Water Mane
A lion takes a sip of water in Sabi Sand Game Reserve adjacent to South Africa’s Kruger National Park. The reserve, a collection of private game reserves, is a great spot to find the “Big Five” game animals: Lions, elephants, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffaloes.
5. Survival of the Fittest
A leopard chases down a gazelle at Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Located in the Kalahari Desert bordering South Africa and Botswana, the park is full of predators, from black-maned lions and cheetahs to hyenas and wildcats. Sights like the one above are not hard to find.
An elephant reaches for a meal at Mana Pools National Park in northern Zimbabwe.
3. Run For Your Life
Wildebeests cross the treacherous Mara River in Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve. The annual wildebeest migration is generally regarded as the most spectacular migration on Earth. Thousands of the creatures don’t make it each year, falling prey to crocodiles. Some animal lovers have suggested building a bridge to help the wildebeests, but that would have unintended consequences; a Yale study found those dead wildebeests are an essential part of the river’s ecosystem, fueling plants, fish, birds … and of course, crocodiles.
2. Cool Cat
A puma’s breath mists in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. The reserve is regarded as one of the best spots in the world to view and photograph big cats, and one of the best wildlife photographic destinations in Africa.
A trio of rhinos stands out in sharp relief against the brilliant backdrop of the Milky Way in Zimanga Game Reserve in South Africa. The private reserve is dedicated to photography, with a number of photography hides offering opportunities for photos like the one above. And of course, African safaris in general offer fantastic dark-sky photographic and viewing enjoyment.
All photos courtesy of Tusk Photo, which provides photography tours and safaris around the world.