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Intra-Country Comparison

Luxury safari lodge - Intra-Country Comparison | Luxury African Safari Vacations | Classic Africa

* The five tables below compare the major safari areas within the five countries of southern Africa. The tables do not list all species, activities, and other highlights of any destination, only those that are relative strengths compared to the other options in the table.

 

A) SOUTH AFRICA

KRUGER PARK (PRIVATE RESERVES)
* Biggest reserve in South Africa = the only self-sustaining ecosystem in South Africa
* Regular sightings of the 'Big Five' (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo)
* Year round safari destination
* Some lodges offer visits to nearby villages, providing insight into evolving rural African culture
* If you have time for only one safari destination in South Africa, it should be a private reserve adjoining the Kruger Park

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MADIKWE RESERVE
* Habitat and species diversity - transition zone from bushveld to Kalahari biomes, with species from both ecosystems
* Relatively consistent sightings of wild dogs
* 'Desert' species like ostrich, brown hyena, springbuck, gemsbuck, and kori bustard


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PHINDA RESERVE
* Regular sightings of the 'Big Five' (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, buffalo)
* Concentrated biodiversity
* Water activities (canoeing and boating) on the Mzinene River
* Proximity to Maputaland Coast and St. Lucia Estuary = a wide array of optional extra activities

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WELGEVONDEN RESERVE
* The closest 'real' safari destination to Johannesburg (2.5 hours by road) - logistically easy to work into just about any itinerary
* Rolling hills, open savanna, Highveld woodlands = scenic beauty
* Walking excursions to see San rock art


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B) BOTSWANA 

OKAVANGO DELTA
* Scenic beauty, natural wonder
* Intricate and complex ecosystem
* Dense predator populations: excellent for lion, good for leopard, cheetah, and wild dog
* Land and water activities: game drive, night drive, walking, mekoro, boating, fishing (differs by camp)
* Unique elephant back safari at Abu Camp

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CHOBE / LINYANTI
* Excellent general game-viewing, similar species strengths to Okavango Delta
* Huge elephant population, said to be the largest in Africa

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KALAHARI
* Desert ecosystem and unique Makgadikgadi Pans (natural wonder)
* Desert species, e.g. brown hyena, meerkats, ostrich, kori bustard
* During 'Green Season' (December through April), large migration of wildlife into Deception Valley and Makgadikgadi Pans National Park.
* Star gazing, bushman culture, stone age tools, etc. - a holistic experience

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C) ZAMBIA 

KAFUE
* Vast (largest National Park in southern Africa), remote, and inaccessible for much of the year = the "wildest" big game destination in the region
* Big lion prides that climb trees during the late dry season
* Regular sightings of cheetah
* Large herds of plains game, and several unusual antelope species e.g. puku, Defassa waterbuck, Lichtenstein's hartebeest, oribi and roan


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SOUTH LUANGWA
* Regular sightings of lion, leopard, elephant, and buffalo
* Home of the walking safari
* Large populations of hippo and crocodile
* Two endemic species: Thornicrofts giraffe and Cookson's wildebeest


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LOWER ZAMBEZI
* Zambezi River Valley - end of African Rift Valley, scenic beauty and natural wonder
* Large populations of hippo and crocodiles
* Good concentrations of elephant and buffalo, as well as browsing antelope
* Canoeing, boating, and tiger fishing (catch and release)


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D) ZIMBABWE 

HWANGE
* Excellent species diversity, best general game-viewing in Zimbabwe
* Continuous with the Chobe/Linyanti ecosystem in Botswana = large elephant population
* Fairly consistent rhino sightings = best "Big Five" Park north of South Africa
* Walking

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MANA POOLS
* Zambezi River Valley - end of African Rift Valley, scenic beauty and natural wonder
* Large populations of hippo and crocodiles
* Good concentrations of elephant and buffalo, as well as browsing antelope
* Canoeing, boating, and tiger fishing (catch and release)


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MATUSADONA
* Small black rhino population
* Canoeing, boating, and tiger fishing (catch and release)
* Visit to local fishing village - authentic and sensitive exposure to rural African culture

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E) NAMIBIA 

KAOKAVELD
* Extremely remote, vast wilderness area
* Skeleton Coast, Serra Cafema Mountains, and Kunene River = natural wonders. Probably the most scenically spectacular region in southern Africa
* Desert adapted animals, especially elephant and giraffe. Lion and cheetah irregularly sighted
* Home of the highly traditional Himba people = rare glimpse into a virtually unchanged African culture
* A microcosm of the Namib Desert and just about everything that it has to offer

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DAMARALAND
* Scenic, mountainous desert
* Best place in Africa to see desert elephants and rhinos, as well as variety of other desert species
* Rock art of Twyfelfontein
* Home to some of Africa's leading community-based conservation projects


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SOSSUSVLEI
* Natural wonder - some of the World's highest sand dunes
* Spectacular, other-worldly landscape
* Brilliant colors and contrasts = amazing landscape photography

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ETOSHA
* Best game-viewing in Namibia
* Rhinos (white and black)
* Active watering holes as animals come to drink
* Salt pan is dramatic backdrop for wildlife photography

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