Teeming with life, landlocked Botswana is the wild heart of south-central Africa. Countless numbers of animals congregate on the country’s vast salt pans and floodplains, creating an unforgettable spectacle. Add in some of Africa’s most pristine landscapes and it’s easy to understand why travelers often liken this place to Eden.
For wild, arid grandeur, no place in sub-Saharan Africa rivals Namibia. This stark land of towering dunes, petrified forests, tabletop mountains, and star-studded night skies is truly a world apart. Namibia also offers prime opportunities to see some of Africa’s most exceptional mammals, including cheetahs, gemsboks, and the desert-adapted elephant.
Known as the “Land of 1,000 Hills,” Rwanda is an exuberantly green country of terraced slopes and dormant volcanoes whose mist-shrouded heights provide habitat for the critically endangered mountain gorilla. Seeing this remarkable primate in the wild is one of Africa’s great nature experiences. Modern-day Rwanda is also noteworthy for its inspirational recovery from its tragic 1990s history.
South Africa is one of the most dependable places on earth to see the Big Five—but safaris here are just the beginning. This huge, accessible country offers an amazing diversity of landscapes and year-round activities—from lush coastlines to rugged interior mountains, from wine tasting and whale watching to sophisticated urban living.
From majestic Mt. Kilimanjaro to the Rift Valley lakes and the exotic islands of Zanzibar, Tanzania is many worlds wrapped in one. Nowhere on Earth will you find better chances to sight the Big Five (lion, elephant, leopard, buffalo, and rhinoceros), thanks to a plethora of parks, including the world-famous Serengeti.
Zambia is home to one of the world’s best-known natural wonders—Victoria Falls—but its less-visited network of national parks is one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. Whether you’re a seasoned African traveler or a complete newcomer, Zambia’s abundant opportunities for slow-paced, close-to-nature adventure—by foot or canoe—make this a uniquely appealing destination.
Despite its turbulent political history, Zimbabwe has one of Africa’s oldest national park systems, some of the continent’s finest wildlife guides, and one of the planet’s superstar attractions, Victoria Falls. Beyond the falls, Zimbabwe’s high plateaus, wooded savanna, and wetlands offer superb opportunities for wildlife viewing, fishing, boating, and more.