A Safari Primer: Where to go, What to Expect

By Sarah Gold September 18, 2023

Planning your first African safari can feel dizzying. The African continent is so chockablock with spectacular safari destinations, so abundant in widely differing safari experiences, that it can be hard to know where to begin. How can you start putting together your dream safari itinerary, the one that meets—even exceeds—your wildest expectations?

Micato’s safari planners are, of course, always on hand to help you with this process. But even before you speak to the experts, it can be useful to have a preliminary understanding of some of Africa’s most popular safari destinations, and the particular adventures you’ll be able to enjoy in them. With that in mind, we’ve compiled the following mini guide to help you get started.
grevy's zebra in east africa

Where You’ll Go

Like many other outfitters, Micato offers both small-group and private luxury safaris in national parks, conservation areas, and concessions (private game parks) all over Southern Africa and East Africa. But the short list below includes some of our most justifiably popular safari destinations.

Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The vast plains of the Serengeti are a prime choice for many safari goers. The main reason? This is the stage where one of the world’s great natural dramas unfolds: the Great Migration. Whether you view it from the ground or the air, it is awe-inspiring to witness the sight of two million wildebeest—along with zebra, antelopes, and the lions and leopards who stalk them—moving across the grasslands in herds that stretch beyond the horizon.

Kruger National Park, South Africa
A favourite for family-friendly safaris, Kruger is South Africa’s largest game reserve, encompassing savannah, woodlands, canyons, rivers, and lakes. Its sheer size and variety of landscapes, make it home to an enormous profusion of wildlife. You’ll have excellent chances of seeing the Big Five here, as well as every other iconic African creature you can imagine—including rarer species like painted African wild dogs, caracals, and aardwolves.

Okavango Delta, Botswana
The world’s largest inland delta, the Okavango’s lush maze of wetlands, channels, lagoons, and floodplains spreads across northwestern Botswana like a glittering jewel. Here, you’re just as likely to spot wildlife from a mokoro (traditional dugout canoe) as from a safari vehicle. Along with quintessential bucket-list creatures like elephant, rhino, lion, leopard, giraffe, you’ll also spy wetland species like hippos, crocodiles, fish eagles, and kingfishers.

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
The largest intact volcanic caldera on Earth, the Ngorongoro Crater is also a natural sanctuary with one of the densest populations of wildlife in all of Africa. Within its unique enclosed ecosystem, more than 25,000 wild creatures make their homes. Just beyond the crater, the surrounding conservation area also houses two of the most important archaeological sites in the world: Olduvai Gorge and the 3.7-million-year-old Laetoli footprints.

mother cheetah with cub

What You’ll Do

Game Drives
The mainstay of every Micato safari itinerary are wildlife-viewing excursions in our specially outfitted safari vehicles. Your superbly knowledgeable local Micato Safari Director (aka safari guides) will take you to a different area or park each day, so you’ll have the best opportunities to see a wide variety of creatures and landscapes. Pack your sense of adventure, as you never know what you’ll spot on a game drive. They can range from downright thrilling to relaxing, serene and awe-inspiring as you track a leopard through rough terrain or sit silently watching and listening as a mother and baby elephant interact a few feet from your vehicle.

Night Drives
These after-dinner drives, in which you traverse the savannah lit only by your vehicle’s headlamps, let you take in some of Africa’s most amazing nocturnal creatures (and the dazzling African night sky). Bat-eared foxes, hyena and lions can be spotted on night game drives.

Hot-Air Balloon, Helicopter Flights and Bush Plane Rides
Some safari sights—like the Great Migration, or the magnificent waterworld of the Okavango Delta—are just as breath-taking from above as they are from the ground. So many Micato safari-goers choose to include an aerial tour as part of their itinerary and all Micato safari itineraries incorporate time-saving ‘bush flights’ between camps which are ‘about as flying as flying gets‘.

Walking Safaris
The indigenous peoples of southern and East Africa have navigated their terrain on foot for millennia. These guided walking tours let you do the same—and learn about tracking, hunting, and traditional bush medicine from local tribe members.

Village Visits
Numerous indigenous communities exist within Africa’s game parks and conservation areas, and nearly all Micato safaris include visits to them. You’ll be welcomed warmly and get to meet local families, see their traditional dwellings, play soccer with the kids and watch their ceremonial performances.

Special Excursions
If there’s a particular passion or interest you’d like to explore on safari, your Micato team can make it happen. The special requests we’ve fulfilled for our guests include birding and photography tours, mountain-bike and horseback-riding adventures, golf games, winery tours and visits to animal sanctuaries and conservation organizations. We can even arrange post-safari sojourn at an African beach resort.

Feeling ready to take the next step in planning your dream safari? Speak to one of our safari experts today.

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