East Africa vs. Southern Africa: Which one is better for 2023/2024 safari Tour? We are frequently asked where people should go on safari, and whether you choose to go to Southern Africa or East Africa will largely depend on your goals. Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, and Rwanda make up the region of East Africa, which is renowned for its fascinating native tribes and breathtaking wildlife encounters like the Great Wildebeest Migration in Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park and the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya, as well as the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda’s Bwindi Impenetrable National Park and Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park.

5 days Tanzania wildebeest migration safari

Southern Africa consists of Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa. Southern Africa offers a variety of safari experiences, from the lush Okavango Delta in Botswana to the plains of the Kruger National Park in South Africa. Beyond safaris, the area has a lot to offer, including the Victoria Falls, a natural wonder located on the border of Zambia and Zimbabwe, and the exquisite beaches of Mozambique.

Regardless of what you’re looking for, the safari experiences available in Southern and East Africa are absolutely spectacular and inspirational, whether you’re traveling on a low budget or a luxury budget, or if you’re a solo traveler, family, or honeymooner. Whether you’re an experienced tourist or a first-time visitor, every part of Africa is unique in its own right.

The diversity of the continent makes it a great place to visit more than once so you can completely take in its singular splendor and check each nation off your bucket list. Travelers should think about their ideal itinerary so they can choose which portion of Africa is best for them to visit. In particular, the regions of East Africa and Southern Africa provide magical yet distinctive experiences. These deciding variables largely boil down to the types of wildlife, landscapes, and safari-related activities you are most interested in.

We nevertheless advise you to visit both East Africa and South Africa if your time and budget permit, even though they both provide wonderful wildlife safari experiences. Exploring both south and east Africa will undoubtedly guarantee you an experience you won’t forget because these two regions are wonderful and provide exciting safari tours. But what if you don’t have the money or the time to visit and explore both? And among the two, only one region needs to be visited? Which of South Africa and East Africa would you pick? Even though this is the most difficult option to choose, we’ll describe the differences and similarities between these two amazing regions in this article so you can decide which one is ideal for you.


One of our main suggestions is for travelers to make the most of their time by avoiding lengthy trips within Africa. This requires you to restrict your travel to regions that are somewhat close to one another. It is advisable to combine Eastern African countries like Kenya, Tanzania (and Zanzibar), Rwanda, or Uganda, where one can go gorilla and chimpanzee trekking, take a traditional safari game drive through the magnificent Masai Mara and Serengeti, climb Mount Kilimanjaro, or simply unwind on white sand beaches of Zanzibar. With stops in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, the Southern Africa circuit offers possibilities that are as thrilling and diverse. You can see and do it all on this circuit, from breathtaking water safaris in the Okavango Delta to scaling the red sand dunes in Sossusvlei to wine sampling in the Cape Winelands.

 It is normal for visitors to see both circuits during the same trip, especially if they have made the difficult journey from the United States (which often takes more than 24 hours to cross the continent of Africa alone). But typically, this entails extending the vacation and adding a few extra travel days to the itinerary. We strongly advise that you experience them both if you have the time, East Africa Vs. Southern Africa.


Your typical “out of Africa” safari scene can be found in East Africa. It includes expansive grasslands and savannas that stretch as far as the eye can see, sizable drinking holes where animals congregate, and beautiful mountains.

Kenya and Tanzania

The Masai Mara and the Serengeti are the two most well-known safari parks in this area, both renowned for their excellent game watching and abundant wildlife. Visitors can interact with the local Maasai tribes to learn more about African culture and tribal life. Furthermore, the Tanzanian Ngorongoro Crater, known as “the Garden of Eden,” offers stunning views of animals from the bottom of a volcanic crater and is frequently likened to In this region of Africa, the bulk of the national parks are open to the public and subject to strict regulations; therefore, your safari vehicles must be enclosed with a pop-up top and roll-down windows for viewing. However, you can travel to private game reserves in these locations for night drives and off-road safari excursions. Although you will have plenty of chances to encounter the “Big 5” (lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffalo), big herds are typically the main draw in this region of Africa.

Visitors can experience the Great wildebeest Migration in East Africa, which is the annual movement of millions of wildebeest and zebras between Kenya and Tanzania. Visitors come to this event from all around the world because it is such an amazing spectacle. Your game drives may last only a few hours, or you may need to pack up and embark on an all-day expedition to follow the migration along its route, depending on where your safari camp is located.

Rwanda and Uganda

Primate trekking in Rwanda, Uganda, and some regions of Tanzania is another exciting experience in East Africa. One of the most breathtaking and close wildlife interactions a person can have is trekking with habituated mountain gorillas, which is possible in both Rwanda and Uganda. The habituated gorilla families are easier to approach in Rwanda than in Uganda, where the treks to the animals are much more difficult. There are other places where visitors can hike to meet wild chimpanzees. Another popular activity is taking canopy tours through the luxuriant forests, which can provide you with a bird’s-eye perspective of the surroundings and fauna. With parks like Murchison falls, Kidepo Valley, Queen Elizabeth National Park in Uganda and Akagera National Park in Rwanda, both countries provide wonderful traditional safari experiences.


We advise visiting the stunning white-sand beaches and island of Zanzibar to fully experience it all. For the ultimate in relaxation and limitless water sports, such as world-class scuba diving, snorkeling, swimming with dolphins, boating, and more, you may also explore small private islands off the main island. Overall, the East Africa circuit gives visitors the chance to enjoy exhilarating primate trekking together with classic wildlife safari and beach locations.

East Africa Vs. Southern Africa


Southern African nations offer a wide variety of cultures as well as a wide range of opportunities for adventure and wildlife viewing, East Africa Vs. Southern Africa, East Africa Vs. Southern Africa

 South Africa

South Africa has some of the most densely populated parks (with wildlife and animals) and offers visitors the option to view the Big 5 in a single game drive. Because of the variety of lodgings, it is also an excellent choice for safari veterans as well as first-time visitors because it guarantees that they will see “everything.” In addition, Cape Town is a very sought-after destination for tourists no matter which circuit they take because of its magnificent beaches, breathtaking treks (such as those on Table Mountain and Lion’s Head), Cape Winelands, and superb eating.


Incredibly beautiful Chobe National Park and the Okavango Delta may be found in Botswana, where mokoro rides are an exhilarating means of transportation (weather and water levels permitting). Here, a safari typically seems highly untamed and action-packed, offering the chance to witness enormous elephant herds in addition to a ton of other family-friendly activities. The best places to see cheetah, leopard, and wild dogs are in Botswana and South Africa (while wild dogs are sadly regionally extinct in most parts of East Africa).

Zambia and Zimbabwe

Zambia and Zimbabwe are wonderful destinations for all kinds of tourists because they are home to the magnificent Victoria Falls, which offers breathtaking vistas of one of the seven natural wonders of the world. Visitors can go rhino tracking on foot, engage in thrilling sports like bungee jumping or white water rafting, or take a helicopter trip. Sundowner cruises on the Zambezi River, which runs perfectly into Victoria Falls, are stunning. In specific regions of each nation, traditional safari game drives and some of the best walking safaris on the continent are also offered.


Last but not least, Namibia is a completely unique kind of safari with stunning coastlines with shipwrecks (great to view by helicopter), desert-adapted wildlife for a distinctive safari experience, incredible stargazing due to the lack of light pollution, and hiking or surfing up and down extraordinary red sand dunes in Sossusvlei.

It is crucial to remember that safari game drives typically last a few hours in the morning and a few hours in the evening, as this is when animals are most active during the drier parts of the day. While safaris in East Africa can go all day long if they travel farther from camp to follow the migrating herds, they normally don’t in Southern Africa. Long game drives are uncommon in Southern Africa, which may help break up the day nicely and makes it an excellent choice for elderly tourists or families with guests who prefer not to spend a lot of time in a car.


Lodges in southern Africa

Southern Africa’s lodges have a wide range of distinctive experiences to offer, from up-close encounters with elusive animals in South Africa’s Sabi Sands Game Reserve to stargazing on Botswana’s Makgadikgadi Pans.

Photographers can spend time at Sabi Sands capturing photographs of the sought-after “Big Five.” The Ngala Safari Lodge in Kruger National Park, which is well-liked by families, offers kid-friendly activities and has roomy family suites. Madikwe Game Reserve is the best option for families looking for a safari destination because it is malaria-free.

The magnificent Victoria Falls is one of the main tourist attractions in Southern Africa. A tranquil way to enjoy the fall is to combine animal viewing along the Zambezi at the Royal Chundu River Lodge with the distinctive African experience of dining alfresco at a traditional boma. One of the most romantic hotels in the area for newlyweds is the warm Tongabezi.

With a stay at the storied Jack’s Camp in Botswana, you can step back in time and enjoy social media-free stargazing over the vast salt pans of Makgadikgadi. Experience a private game drive from the Kalahari Plains Camp if wildlife is more your thing. You might see anything from cheetah to gemsbok during this drive. Another excellent approach to getting a genuine look at local life is to go on a walk with the local San Bushmen.

Lodges in East Africa

The Safari Collection’s opulent villas in Kenya are a terrific opportunity to combine an elite getaway with a genuine adventure. Sasaab Lodge in the Samburu region provides tranquility with its own Spa Saab as well as uncommon views into the daily routines of neighborhood families, East Africa Vs. Southern Africa.

 The Great Wildebeest Migration, arguably East Africa’s most alluring attraction, may be seen from northern Tanzania’s Singita Mara Camp. One of the most environmentally friendly accommodations in East Africa, Singita is an off-the-grid camp with year-round chances for wildlife viewing.

Another East African event that should be on everyone’s bucket list is tracking the critically endangered mountain gorillas and golden monkeys in Rwanda’s breathtaking Volcanoes National Park. Six forest villas at Bisate Lodge, which is located inside an eroded volcanic cone, offer panoramic views of the surrounding hills and guided village tours with the locals.


The best time to visit southern Africa

When deciding where to go on safari, the weather is frequently a key consideration. Plan your trip to South Africa during April and May or September and October for the most consistent weather, when temperatures are generally moderate across the entire continent. Due to fewer grasses and excellent visibility, May to October is a particularly wonderful time of year for safaris in the Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve. But during the wetter summer months, when drinking holes also fill up more, young animals frequently abound.

Botswana is a fantastic place to travel on a safari year-round, but July and October are the best times to avoid crowds. The best weather is from April to May because it’s neither very hot (from October to November) nor overly rainy during that time (January to February). Be advised that some campgrounds close during the low season, which is from December to April.

The dry winter season in Zimbabwe lasts from April to October, with the Victoria Falls’ peak occurring in April or May. Game viewing is excellent at this time of year since there is more visibility, making it easier to see animals congregating near waterholes. However, remember to carry appropriate clothing because the nights between June and August can be chilly. In September and October, Hwange National Park is a must-visit location to witness enormous herds of elephants. The rainy season in Zimbabwe, which lasts from November to March, is best avoided unless you enjoy watersports because the wet weather makes it impossible to negotiate park trails and roads.

Zambia, Zimbabwe’s neighbor, also has two seasons: a dry season from May to November and a wet season from December to April. The best time to observe Victoria Falls from the Zambian side is from March to May, when the rainy season has ended and the water level is at its highest. While the rainy season is normally quieter for parks, some do close during this time, so keep that in mind when making travel plans. The best time to see animals and take pictures of wildlife is from May to October, since during the dry season there is less vegetation.

Namibia, a haven for landscape photographers, offers plenty of chances to see wildlife throughout the dry winter months (May to September). Animal gatherings around waterholes are easier to see when there hasn’t been much rain. Aim to visit between December and April if you’d prefer to experience a less crowded atmosphere and don’t mind your wildlife sightings being a little erratic. Landscape photographers can find inspiration here year-round because southern Namibia has little precipitation.

Wide beaches may be found in Mozambique, which are best enjoyed from May to October. Between January and February is cyclone season, and travel might be challenging due to the heavy rains. The neighboring waters of Mozambique, which are a fantastic diving location and home to over 1200 kinds of fish, are most intriguing from May to September.

The best time to visit East Africa

Kenya experiences a variety of weather conditions throughout the year, so the ideal time to visit will largely depend on your travel objectives. You’ll have the best chance of spotting the Big Five during the months of June through October, when the bush is less dense. The best time to travel is from July to September if you want the best chance of seeing the magnificent Great Wildebeest Migration through the Maasai Mara.

Most likely in June and July, you can see the Great Migration leave Tanzania’s Serengeti. The dry season, which lasts from late June to late October, might feel crowded in parks like the Serengeti’s Seronera and the Ngorongoro Crater, but it’s the best time of year to visit parks in the south or west. The wet season, which runs from November to February, when the foliage becomes lusher, is ideal for birding safari. The wet season is a fantastic time to view animals gathered at drinking holes and rivers, even though general game spotting may be difficult, East Africa Vs. Southern Africa

Due to Rwanda’s two dry seasons and two wet seasons, the country has a variety of weather. Travelers are naturally drawn to Rwanda because of its gorilla trekking options. The best time for this is during the dry season, which lasts from mid-December to early February, when the terrain in the forests is less hazardous than it is during the rainy months. The low danger of developing malaria is another benefit of dryer conditions. However, due to the equatorial temperature, the weather is constantly unpredictable, so it is advisable to bring waterproof clothing at all times.


We truly feel that no other place on earth can compare to Africa’s magic. You will undoubtedly leave the southern or eastern safari circuit (or both) with more life-changing experiences than you could ever anticipate.

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