Africa is vast, and home to incredible fauna and flora. The wildlife found on the continent makes up approximately a quarter of global biodiversity and provides unsurpassed wilderness areas that mostly protect these beautiful animals. Africa’s natural areas include a series of UNESCO World Heritage Sites, national parks, and reserves, most of which are home to a diverse variety of species.
Across the continent, many animal species call different regions home. Deserts, mountains, forests, jungles, and other varying habitats provide food and shelter across a number of countries, while those that wander into the extremes have adapted to their surroundings over the years.
Visitors planning a trip to Africa will encounter a wide range of wildlife depending on their country of choice. Southern Africa, a natural gem, is home to the Big 5, while North Africa attracts wildlife such as the leopard, the dama gazelle, and the striped hyena. Those looking to encounter all species can head to Central Africa, home to primates, big cats, reptiles, and a vast array of birdlife.
The Big 5, a term coined by game hunters decades ago, call Africa home. The Big 5 includes the lion, the leopard, the elephant, the rhino, and the buffalo. It is generally rare to see these mammals together. However, Africa offers an unforgettable Big 5 experience.
In addition to the Big 5, visitors to Africa will encounter the gregarious Mountain gorilla. Nestled in the forests of the mist-shrouded mountains of Central Africa, these curious and intelligent primates are making a significant comeback, yet remain critically endangered. The experience visitors encounter when they embark on a trekking adventure to see these social beings in action, is profoundly moving, and unlike any other wildlife experience.
Below we provide a just a few of the immense wildlife encounters visitors will discover in Africa.
If visitors to Africa take the necessary precautions, whether self-planning or making use of a reputable safari operator, the continent is generally a safe travel destination. It is advisable to check with the visitor’s home country if any travel advisories have been issued for the intended destination.
The type of camera needed for a safari to Africa is dependent on the main objective of the trip. If one has opted for a photographic safari to the continent, one or two digital SLR cameras with the appropriate lenses (wide angle for landscape; telephoto zoom for animals in the distance) should be packed. If it is a general safari excursion, travellers can use anything from a smartphone with a built-in camera, a small ‘point-and-shoot’ camera, or a mid-level digital camera.
The word ‘safari’ in Swahili means a journey and originated from the Arabic adjective ‘safar’, also meaning journey. An African safari usually encompasses game viewing (guided or self-drive) and walking excursions in national parks or private game reserves, visiting historical sites and experiencing the local culture.
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