September 30

Our “Big 5” Favourites in Africa

September 30, 2023

We like the Big 5, and we cannot lie… But we’re not just talking about the majestic leopard, lion, rhino, African buffalo and elephant. No, we have our handful of absolute favourite African destinations, places to stay, and things to do while you’re visiting our magnificent continent. And, as always, we have a few tricks up our sleeves to add a fair share of cherries on top of your already delicious stay. 

Action never ceases when on a Big 5 safari in the Serengeti

Africa has more than one Big 5, Image Credit: Serengeti Safari Camp

Our Big 5 Dreamy Destinations

Let's talk location, location, location! Africa has many amazing countries and areas, but here are some of our beloved destinations that continually make the list. 

1. Cape Town

Big city lights paired with mighty mountains, powdery white beaches, azure oceans, and verdant vineyards… Yes, it exists! In fact, we call it our home city. Cape Town is arguably the most requested destination by our guests, and we certainly don't blame them. In fact, it's consistently voted one of the best cities not only in Africa but in the whole wide world. 

Cape Town from above

Cape Town offers a wealth of experiences

2. Sabi Sand Game Reserve 

You've heard of Kruger National Park, the world-famous safari mecca, right? Well, meet its more exclusive sister, Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve. And the best part? This slice of safari heaven is renowned for its leopard sightings! In fact, we'll be very surprised if you don't see many of these spotted beauties during your stay! Usually very elusive and difficult to spot in the wild, this in itself makes Sabi Sand a winner.

Cute leopard cub and mother in a tree at Silvan Safari in Sabi Sand

Cute leopard cub and mother in a tree at Silvan Safari in Sabi Sand

3. Victoria Falls

The largest falling sheet of water, Victoria Falls, is a sight that will stay with you for years to come. You can see (and hear!) this massive waterfall from far away already, and once you get closer, it just gets even more impressive! Victoria Falls National Park in Zimbabwe and Mosi-oa-Tunya National Park in Zambia are both great places to see the Falls with many viewpoints from which to admire it (and take lots of photos from different angles!).

Victoria Falls is one of our Big 5 favourites in Africa

The largest sheet of falling water in the world

4. Okavango Delta

Somewhere deep in Botswana is the Okavango Delta, a destination that has fascinated and puzzled even the greatest minds with its ecosystem. Mysteriously flooding during its dry season, it becomes a water wonderland filled to the brim with creatures. Gliding along the mirror-like Delta in a mokoro dugout canoe is the best way to experience this destination.

Birds eye view of the Okavango Delta

Bird’s-eye view of the Okavango Delta, Image Credit: Little Sable

5. Serengeti National Park 

The Serengeti National Park is one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa and is host to part of the Great Wildebeest Migration. If you want an authentic East African safari, this national park in Tanzania is for you! With endless savannah plains teeming with wildlife, there are so many ways to  explore it, from game drives, hot air balloon safaris, walking safaris, and more.

The Great Migration is a must-do Big 5 favourite experience in Africa

The Great Migration moving through the Serengeti Plains

Our Big 5 Favourites in Accommodation

Africa is huge, so choosing the right place to stay can be overwhelming. That's why we've rounded up just a handful of our very best. However, if you book your dream African safari with us, we'll handpick something special just for you tailored to your preferences and bucket lists.

1. Bisate Lodge 

Oh, Bisate Lodge, how we love your special setting! This luxury lodge is not just one of our favourites, but big-name celebs like Ellen DeGeneres also choose it when she's in Africa. Not only is it in the prime position to go gorilla trekking in Rwanda's Volcanoes National Park, but its unique architecture and elevated position in a natural amphitheatre make it a winner.

Domed-shaped, almost nest-like forest villas

Forest villas enjoy striking views of three ancient volcanoes, Image Credit: Bisate Lodge

2. Londolozi Private Granite Suites

Londolozi remains a classic safari destination, and their Londolozi Private Granite Suites are perfect for honeymooners! With only three suites, this is also a great choice if you want to enjoy the exclusivity of not having to share with many other guests. It's also perfect for a small group travelling together who want to book out the entire place for themselves. Celebrating a milestone event? Commemorate it with a private party in the bush! 

Private Granite Suites at Londolozi

Your luxury home in Africa, Image Credit: Londolozi

3. Duba Plains 

Sleeping in a tented camp, with just a layer of canvas separating you from the wilderness, you'll drift off to sleep to a wildlife lullaby. And when it comes to the best tented camps, we simply can't ignore the allure of Duba Plains! Located in Botswana, the only way to reach it is via light aircraft. So, if you're itching to escape the hustle and bustle of modern life, this is it.

Duba Plains is one of our top 5 favourites when it comes to accommodation

Your dreamy setting in Botswana, Image Credit: Duba Plains

4. Tswalu Tarkuni Lodge 

Located in the biggest private game reserve in South Africa, Tswalu Tarkuni Lodge is one of our top choices for guests who love fine dining, as the Michelin chef Jan Hendrik van der Westhuizen opened his Klein JAN restaurant here. Pair this with uber-luxurious accommodation in the middle of a desert crawling with rare and fascinating creatures, and you've got yourself a Tswalu Kalahari safari!

Tswalu Tarkuni luxury interior suite view

Tswalu Tarkuni's luxury interior suite view, Image credit: Tswalu Kalahari

5. Singita Faru Faru Lodge 

Always wanted to see the Great Wildebeest Migration in action? Singita Faru Faru should be at the top of your list of places to stay as it's right on their route. Located in the Grumeti Reserve, you have access to the best views of the wildlife passing through the vast plains. We'll ensure you'll be in the right place at the right time for your Great Migration safari. 

One of Tanzania's luxury safari lodges is Singita Faru Faru

Tanzania has lots of luxury lodges but Singita Faru Faru is one of our favourites, Image Credit: Singita

Our Big 5 Must-Do Experiences 

If you're anything like us, then travel is synonymous with experiencing life-changing new things! And in Africa, there's no shortage of moments that will change you forever.

1. Big 5 Safaris 

You can't have a Big 5 list without the actual Big 5! If you go on safari, the Big 5 wildlife species are usually those you want to tick off your sightings list first. These are the lion, leopard, rhino, African buffalo and elephant, and there are so many places to see them in Africa, with South Africa's Kruger National Park being a firm favourite for your Big 5 safari.

Family of lions resting on a small hill

The Big 5 is a safari-must for all travellers!

2. Great Wildebeest Migration 

What's the big deal with the Great Migration? Well, seeing the vast savannahs of Tanzania and Kenya in East Africa flood with wildebeest accompanied by zebra and other gazelle is a sight in itself. However, add to this throngs of predators lured by this buffet on the move and obstacles the wildlife must overcome, and you've got yourself a show more dramatic than any telenovela! 

The Great Migration in East Africa crossing the Mara River

Experience a dream trip to the Great Migration in East Africa

3. Gorilla Trekking 

Now here we’ve got an experience that very few people will ever get the privilege to enjoy in their lifetime. Rwanda is a popular destination to go gorilla trekking and meet these endangered primates in their jungle home. Watching some of your closest relatives as they go about their business, something will stir inside you, so don’t be surprised if you suddenly tear up! 
Gorilla trekking in Rwanda

Meet gorilla families in their natural habitat

4. Sleepouts Under the African Stars

Can you feel the love tonight? You will if you sleep out under the star-strewn African sky! With no city lights or sounds, you can feel like the only two people left on earth and fall asleep in the open air in a luxury treehouse. We'll recommend the best love nests for this unique activity.

Sleeping out under the stars is a big 5 favourite experience in Africa

Take the romance up a notch by sleeping out under the stars at Lion Sands, Chalkley Treehouse

 5. A Hot Air Balloon Safari 

Take your safari to new heights (literally!) by going on a hot air balloon safari while in Africa. You'll usually head out before sunrise to watch as it rises and paints the vast landscape in rich hues. This is often followed by a bubbly breakfast in the shade of a tree to add a cherry on top of the perfect morning in Africa.

A hot air balloon safari is a must big 5 favourite experience

A hot air balloon safari through East Africa

Book Your Big 5 Favourites in Africa 

This list is just an example of some of the incredible things that await you on our continent. Reach out to our Travel Experts, who'll get to know your likes, dislikes, bucket list, and more to tailor-make the ultimate adventure specifically for you! Contact us today, and let's start planning

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About the author 

Tania de Kock

Tania has always been an avid reader, which ultimately led to her life-long dream of becoming a best-selling author. She loves travelling, super spicy food, South African wine, and cats! When she's not reading with a glass of wine, you can find her at the nearest beach or camping, running or hiking in the mountains.

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