This story originally appeared in the March/April 2018 issue of Elite Traveler.
Few trips hold the tantalizing allure of a safari. The chance to be completely removed from everyday life, surrounded by stunning vistas and having close encounters with wild animals in their natural habitat calls to people from around the world. It’s said that visiting Africa will change your life, and we agree. There are endless ways to explore the continent, and with so many options it’s important to think about your priorities.Whether you want to focus solely on seeing animals and go on as many game drives as possible, fit in culture and historic visits, or find relaxation on a beautiful beach, Elite Traveler has the ultimate list of top safaris. And while safaris are closely associated with Africa and seeing the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo) and mountain gorillas, there is incredible, and endangered, wildlife to be seen around the globe. So we’ve included a tiger safari in India and a global safari that visits 12 countries to ensure you can see it all.
South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania,
Botswana, Namibia, Egypt
If you want to see everything and do it all, a flying safari is the only way to go. Black Tomato, known for its attention to detail and over-the-top experiences, offers a two- or three-week itinerary from Cape Town to Cairo that ticks every box on your African bucket list, and perhaps includes some activities you didn’t even know existed. Traversing the continent in a Cessna 208 Caravan, the experiences span nature, wildlife, culture and history. Wildlife highlights include traditional game drives in the savannas of East Africa, where you’ll see wildebeest, zebra, giraffe and endangered black rhino, and flying at low altitude across the Okavango Delta in Botswana, home to nearly 900 species of animals including elephants, buffalo, hippopotamuses and African wild dogs. Instagram-ready sights await in Namibia, where you’ll watch the sun rise over the towering sand dunes in the isolated Namib desert, and at the volcanoes in the Great Rift Valley. End your trip in Egypt and explore the Valley of Kings, home to many a pharaoh’s tomb, and get reacquainted with city life after your incredible journey.