Botswana and Tanzania beat South Africa hands down for wildlife safari tourism.
This is according to a study by SafariBookings.com of more than 4,000 reviews written by tourists and Africa safari experts.
Botswana has been crowned Africa’s best safari country for the second year in a row.
“The diversity and concentration of wildlife in Botswana is found in few other places in Africa,” the citation reads. “The Okavango Delta is a draw for many and boasts Africa’s biggest elephant population, while hearing the roar of a black-maned Kalahari lion will stay with you forever.”
In second place, by a close margin, is Tanzania. “Given the exceptional wildlife-viewing opportunities in parks such as the superlative Serengeti and the wildlife-rich Ngorongoro Conservation Area, including the stunning annual wildebeest migration, this was unsurprising. On top of this, Tanzania shone through as the overall favourite for its scenic value.”
Botswana, which supports 550 recorded bird species, was also rated as the best country for birdwatching.
Zimbabwe, Zambia and Kenya all placed ahead of SA, which was in sixth place.
The positives for SA were “excellent and easily accessible wildlife viewing”, the range of self-drive, package or custom safaris for any budget, a wide variety of habitats and scenery, excellent service and a well-run tourist industry, good infrastructure and shops.
The negatives were listed as “less wilderness appeal and fenced parks, overcrowded popular parks and high crime rates in cities”.
Here’s a snapshot of some of the traveller reviews on SA:
“Avoid popular game reserves. Too many vehicle safari travellers. Go to minor reserves … ”
“Apart from the bad roads, worn down farms/buildings next to the road, rubbish everywhere, just like in Namibia, in some towns, and that we were almost hijacked in Kimberley, I was pleasantly surprised! We got great and friendly service from everyone right from the start, good food and drinks, except from one place, best/affordable accommodation, clean malls, clean bathrooms … Every town is different. Every landscape is different.”
“The trip was full of excitement at every turn. We wanted to see something different than our usual ‘city or beach’ vacation and South Africa delivered on everything we were hoping for.”
“What a beautiful country! Wildlife (we were in Kruger for one week), scenery (Cape Town area is fantastic), great weather, friendly people with true hospitality, high level of service, fantastic food … We fell in love with this country.”