Visit the Best Private Game Reserves and National Parks in Africa

August 25, 2023
Segera Retreat Safari&Wildlife Game Drive Laikipai County Kenya VisualLanguage (1)

Africa is abundant with life and beauty; it’s a hotbed of biodiversity. This continent, the cradle of our collective humanity, is blessed with multiple climate zones, landforms and biomes – from forest and woodland to savannah, grassland, desert, wetland and majestic marine ecosystems. We all carry an instinctual yearning to rediscover ourselves in nature. Safari answers that call of the wild. And the best safaris in Africa are a symphony, a sum of many parts that rely on each other. Those parts include adventure, awe, stillness, seclusion and, most crucially, unscheduled time in vast, wide-open, wildlife-filled spaces to simply be. But to access all of the majesty described above requires subtle precision, seamless execution, intuitive service, hand-held guiding and the removal of the grind so sadly endemic to travel nowadays. With ROAR AFRICA, you’re safe in the hands of true safari experts. 

As a company of Africa-born specialists, we exclusively work with people (conservationists, partners, guides, pilots) and properties (thoughtful lodges, exclusive-use villas and tented camps) that share our vision. The destinations, national parks and private reserves that top our list are exceptional. And our hand-picked roster of five-star lodges are imbued with that distinct warmth one only finds in Africa. Their level of originality and authenticity are stunning but scarce attributes in our increasingly homogenized world of chain hotels and corporate groups.

For those wondering, where is the best African safari? it’s my privilege to share the very best places in Africa to experience a safari that will change your life forever and leave a positive impact on the ground in your wake. For we travel not just to move but to be profoundly moved. 

Collage of safari lodges in Kenya

The African safari experience

How, where and with whom one travels matters. Every ROAR AFRICA safari is 100% personalized to you; thus, there’s really no “right” time to go or best African country for safari. The destination will depend on your needs and wants and the time of year you choose to travel. Many might say the dry, warm months of June to October are best for Southern and Eastern Africa, but you see fantastic game throughout the year, and the cooler months can often feel more pleasant. In essence, every season holds its own magic. Africa is a year-round destination.

Key considerations

With ROAR AFRICA, discussions with clients always commence with two key questions. What do you want to see? And, more importantly, how do you want to feel? Do you dream of spotting the black-maned lions of the Kalahari, trekking with Rwanda’s last wild mountain gorillas, or catching sight of the first brave wildebeest leaping into the Mara River on the great migration? Do you and your family require the seclusion of witnessing wildlife in a private game reserve without another vehicle in sight? Perhaps you’re craving the adrenaline of a helicopter safari over the floodwaters of Botswana’s Okavango Delta or hot air ballooning across Kenya’s iconic Masai Mara. Maybe you want to rediscover that integral connection with your family or partner and share the joy of experiencing awe and wild natural beauty together. If you’re exhausted and overworked, the peace and solace inherent to Africa’s untouched nature is a balm to the burned-out soul. Whatever you’re searching for, we do the hard work and distil down the best of the best Africa has to offer - our team will match you with a once-in-a-lifetime itinerary entirely unique to you.

Collage of best african safari lodges

Iconic national parks in Africa

In all its spectacular vastness, Africa has over 300 national parks and hundreds of lodges and private villas that run the gamut from rustic to ultra-luxurious. The choice of national parks (administered by governments) or private game reserves (owned and operated by private individuals) depends on several factors, including seasonality, availability and cost. Depending on what you want to see and feel, one isn’t necessarily better than the other, and both have unique benefits. The game viewing in national parks like Kruger in South Africa, Amboseli and Tsavo in Kenya, and Tanzania’s Serengeti are unparalleled. Undoubtedly, one of the most unique and special national parks in Africa is Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park, home to 604 of just 1063 mountain gorillas left on our planet. With poaching and habitat loss due to population growth and climate change posing extreme challenges to the survival of wildlife across Africa, national parks are critical, providing protected space for the wildlife that has roamed these landscapes for millennia alongside crucial income for the communities that call these ancient landscapes home. 

Africa’s exclusive private game reserves

At ROAR AFRICA, we love private reserves for the intimacy of experience, exclusivity, special privileges like off-roading and night game drives, thriving biodiversity and impact-led conservation initiatives they provide. In a private reserve, humans are truly outsiders, creating a tangible feeling of immersion into the stillness and beauty of the wild. It’s worth noting that most private game reserves are located on the borders of national parks or sometimes even within national parks like Sabi Sands and Grumeti, creating key migration corridors for wildlife and leading to outstanding sightings. Private reserve guests also have the option to drive between their reserve and the adjoining national park should they wish. 

What to expect

Naturally, the exclusivity of a private game reserve safari comes at a higher cost. But to spend uninterrupted days with private access to some of our world’s last truly wild spaces, led by the best guides in Africa and unencumbered by the presence of other vehicles, is pure magic. There’s a rare freedom to it. Just imagine setting out in the early morning haze, traversing waterways in a mokoro or in a Land Cruiser with a skilled tracker following a pride of lions you heard roaring at dawn, looping through dense bush off-road and driving across floodplains as anticipation builds, perhaps spotting a herd of elephants or buffalo en route. And when you find that pride of lions with a few cubs tumbling and tussling with one another beneath the shade of an acacia tree, you can sit undisturbed in reverent awe, watching these cats in peace, without the crush of countless other vehicles doing the same thing. It’s a different, more primal, thoroughly immersive experience of the wild. And it’s one that enables guests to get up close to conservation efforts. Whether you’re interested in witnessing the game-changing rhino preservation program at Ol Pejeta, embarking on field studies with scientists at Tswalu or learning about the resurging elephant populations in Laikipia, a private reserve safari with ROAR AFRICA opens up that access.

And of course, many of Africa’s top lodges, like Xigera and Mombo in Botswana, Arijiju and Segera in Kenya, Cheetah Plains and Singita Boulders in South Africa’s Sabi Sands, to name a few of our partners, are all nestled into these vast private reserves, far from the crowds. 

Lesser-known gems: The Africa you don’t know 

Africa’s storied wildlife destinations – Kenya’s Masai Mara, South Africa’s Kruger, Botswana’s Okavango Delta and Tanzania’s Serengeti - are justifiably iconic. But beyond the greatest hits we know and love are lesser-known gems that brim with authenticity, breathtaking beauty and thriving wildlife. Some personal ROAR AFRICA favorites include Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools and Hwange National Park, both renowned for their elephant populations. To see the savannah-adapted wildlife nestled deep within Rwanda’s Akagera National Park, approximately a five-hour drive from Volcanoes National Park, is another exceptional experience taking you deep into a rarely explored region. All the above barely scratch the surface of the many spectacular places, UNESCO World Heritage Sites and experiences Africa holds

Safari lodges in Zimbabwe and Zambia

How to choose the best safari in Africa?

Choosing the best safari in Africa centers on speaking with the right specialists. So much nuance and insider experience are lost in dealing with operators and experts who don’t have a lifetime of lived experience on the continent as we do. For us, this work is personal. Africa is our home; we’re not just selling another destination. 

Become a custodian of the wild 

To stay in ROAR AFRICA’s hand-picked lodges and explore national parks and private reserves operated by visionaries wholeheartedly committed to preserving our planet elevates a trip into a transformative memory you hold close forever. By traveling to Africa responsibly, you, too, become a custodian of the wild, and what a beautiful thing that is. 


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