The Top 5 Places to See Animals on a Micato Safari

By Micato Staff July 12, 2023

Let’s face it. At the end of the day, an African safari is all about the animals.

At Micato Safaris, we have 60 years of experience in getting our guests front row seats to the greatest animal spectacles on earth.

And while it is possible to see multitudes of animals within a single day in a single place, we like to cover our bases here. It’s why every one of the 10 safaris in the Micato Classic Safari Collection ventures to more one than one park. It’s why every Micato Private Classic Safari and Private Custom Safari ventures to more than one park.

Visiting multiple parks and reserves puts you face to face with all manner of captivating animals and landscapes, and we don’t mind telling you that, from time to time, we play favourites here when it comes to our safari lands.

So here, in no particular order, are our top 5 places to see animals on a Micato African safari.

1. Amboseli National Park

Amboseli National Park, a natural wonderland almost as large as Delaware and Rhode Island combined, is famous for its beguiling views of Kilimanjaro and deservedly just as famous for its abundance of game.

Game drives in Amboseli are exceptionally rewarding: the park’s five distinct habitats (ranging from savannah to woodland and sulphur-springed wetlands) support what is probably Africa’s largest population of free-ranging elephants, along with the Cape buffaloes, impalas, lions, cheetahs, hyenas, giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest who—in addition to two score or more other mammal species and 600 bird species—make their domicile in and around the park.

What Micato loves about Amboseli

  • Gazing throughout the day at Kilimanjaro, the most massive mountain on earth.
  • “The morally edifying” sight of Amboseli’s famous elephants, which made Isak Dinesen feel “that I had been shown black stone sculptures of the four major Prophets.”
  • Leisurely, unscripted game drives, reminders that no matter how many times we’ve seen lions, and giraffes, and elephants, it’s only when we see them up close, in their natural home, that we recognize them for the almost unearthly creatures they are.
  • Enjoying beautifully arranged picnics under a cooling acacia tree.

2.The Maasai Mara

The Maasai Mara is, no question, the classic Africa of our imagination and likely yours, too, brought to joyous life.

Abounding with rolling grasslands, expressive acacia trees, sweeping vistas teeming with wildlife, the Maasai-Mara-Serengeti ecosystem is where unforgettable game drives all began.

With your Micato Safari Director leading the way you’ll make leisurely runs through the Mara, gandering at the pleistocenic crocodiles and hippos who frequent the Mara River and its tributaries (seeing a big pod of hippos gambol and thrash about can be as moving and beautiful in its gloriously hefty way as a performance of Swan Lake by the Kirov Ballet, as Walt Disney showed us in the immortal Fantasia, long ago). And we’ll have sundowners in the evening’s gentle warmth, breathing clean and guileless air, watching Africa’s showy stars come out to dazzle.

What Micato loves about the Maasai Mara

  • Watching miles-long trains of wildebeest and zebras in their endless migration in the aformentioned Maasai-Mara-Serengeti ecosystem, which happens to be Earth’s largest animal homeland.
  • Enjoying early morning tea on our veranda as a herd of elephants patiently waits in line for a frolicking dip in the Mara River.
  • Ballooning over the gorgeous Mara as the sun rises, feeling a magnificent and worthy intoxication-by-grandeur.
  • Watching lion cubs play hide and seek among grassy tussocks.
  • Game drives in peaceful search of the Big Five (and maybe the elusive Little Five:  rhinoceros beetles, buffalo weavers, leopard tortoises (not so mini, really; they can weigh as much as three standard bowling balls), ant lions, and extremely shy elephant shrews, which weigh not much more than an elephant’s tear.
  • Camel treks in the Mara’s hills (a sight you’ll never forget: a stoic camel calmly chomping down on knife-sharp thorns as if the spiky bush were a crunchy treat).

3. The Serengeti

The Serengeti is without a doubt the earth’s greatest wildlife spectacle. Three million or more large mammals–elephant, cheetah, wildebeest, zebra, lion, gazelles by the gazillions, rhinos, giraffe, and going on 60 more large mammal species inhabit the great plain, its riverine forests, and bustling set-piece kopjes.

The Serengeti is amazing in its enormity, its almost infinite skies and long, golden reaches, its million-year quiet.

What Micato loves about the Serengeti

  • Flying to the planet’s most populous animal kingdom over the Great Rift Valley (which “makes the Grand Canyon look like a line scratched with a toothpick,” John Gunther wrote).
  • Watching a lion lolling on its back, warming its furry belly atop a rocky kopje.
  • Picnicking under a cooling acacia tree before heading out to see more of the Serengeti’s charismatic creatures—elephants, cheetahs, gazelles by the gazillions, giraffes floating across the plain, miles-long processions of wildebeest and zebras tracing ancient migratory paths.
  • Quad biking, horseback riding, guided walks with our Micato Safari Director, followed by dips in our lodge’s pool.
  • Scintillatingly airy early morning balloon flights over the Plain.
  • Watching a cheetah as it sits on a boulder, its eyes attuned to every shifting Serengeti molecule.
  • Paying respectful, heartening visits to traditional Maasai villages.

4. Laikipia Plateau

Grandly and gorgeously lifted above the equator to an average (and nicely cooling) altitude of 6,500 feet, the Laikipia Plateau is graced with views of lordly Mount Kenya, the densely green northern Plateau, the remote Northern Frontier District, and on to infinity.

Its landscapes are varied and dramatic in the traditional African style, but Laikipia’s cast of animal and avian characters is positively theatrical; it’s home to some of East Africa’s most endangered (and up here, well-protected) species: black rhinos, Grevy’s zebra, and an extremely rare population of wild dogs.

All that in addition to the Big Five (lion, Cape buffalo, elephant, leopard, and both black and white rhinos) and a long (and partial) list that once again reminds us of the incredible diversity and richness of East Africa’s gamelands: oryx, serval, cheetah, baboons, eland, Grant’s gazelle, Jackson’s hartebeest, vervet monkeys, hippos, impala, plains zebra, bat-eared fox, silver-backed jackal, and the wily and surprisingly sympatico hyena.

What Micato loves about the Laikipia Plateau

Laikipia is perennial favourite that never fails to tug at our hearstrings. But if we had to pick one thing, it’s the way giraffes play peek-a-boo amongst the tall trees when gazing at the lush sides of the plateau from not too afar.

5. Kruger National Park and Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve

Kruger is South Africa’s most famous and its largest park—almost 5,700 Central Parks would fit neatly into its classic, golden veldt, river-crossed, acacia-dotted African landscapes.

Classic is a good umbrella word for Kruger. Founded in 1926, it’s a source of great South African pride, as a conservation model, and as the beautiful home of all the Big Five, along with 142 other mammal species, quite probably the most of any African park.

Adjacent to and linked with Kruger is the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, a collection of private game reserves which share Kruger’s prolific wildlife. Sabi Sand’s lodges and camps are among Micato’s favourites, offering top-notch game viewing, quiet luxury, and a serene privacy sometimes lacking in Kruger itself.

What Micato loves about Sabi Sabi and Kruger

Really, what don’t we? To learn more about any of the astonishing safari lands talked about in this article, or any of the other amazing places where we love to safari in East Africa and Southern Africa reach out to one of our Micato Safari Specialists.

(And we don’t like to nag, truly, but maybe contact us soon so that you can secure the perfect Micato Safari dates for 2024!)


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