The world’s best safari companies

The 10 Best Safari Companies in the World…

The listing is based on National Geographic Adventure’s 2009 selection of Best Adventure Travel Companies. Out of hundreds of safari companies and tour operators that were surveyed, only the very top were chosen! The magazine focused on the premise that “In a time when travel dollars are stretched, it’s essential that an outfitter delivers the trip of a lifetime, the first time”.

NB: Click on the screenshots to enter their sites!

Used their services? Why don’t you share your experience in the comments section…

Thanks! 🙂 😉

1. Mark Thornton Safaris

It’s Not Only What You See. It’s How You See It!

Tarangire and Serengeti Walking Safaris, Tanzania.

2. Africa Adventure Consultants

Safaris for the Discerning Traveler!

Destinations (East and Southern Africa): Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia, & South Africa.

3. Thomson Safaris

Our Home. Your Adventure…for Over 25 years!

US-based operator working closely with Thomson Safaris, in Arusha (Tanzania). Destinations include: Mount Kilimanjaro, the Serengeti, Selous Game Reserve, Olduvai Gorge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tarangire National Park and Zanzibar.

4. Micato Safaris

The Travel+Leisure 6-Year Winner!

Focuses on Eastern and Southern African countries.

5. Gamewatchers Safaris

Exclusive Safaris in Africa’s Finest Wildlife Areas!

Mainly operate in East Africa.

6. Deeper Africa

Unforgettable African Safaris!

East Africa Safari Specialist.

7. Volcanoes Safaris

The Number 1 Gorilla Safari Company!

Especially renowned for their gorilla safaris in Uganda and Rwanda. Volcanoes Safaris also organize trips to the DRC and Tanzania.

8. African Portfolio

See Africa Through Our Eyes!

Organize the typical itineraries in East and Southern Africa, but also have trips to Morocco and Egypt.

9. The Africa Adventure Company

Your Passport for a Safari Trip to “Africa’s Top Wildlife Countries”!

East+Southern Africa safari specialist.

10. Africa Dream Safaris

Experience Your Dreams!

Activities concentrated in East Africa.

Other Very Useful Safari Contacts to Have

Abercrombie & Kent – For luxury safaris.

andBeyond Africa – Previously known as CC Africa, the company also specializes in luxury safari travel.

Norman Carr Safaris – THE Zambia Safari.

Wilderness Safaris – Africa’s leading safari tour operator.


10 Responses to The world’s best safari companies

  1. Carol Smith November 6, 2016 at 6:29 pm #

    This is not a definitive, or updated list of the world’s ”best” safari companies. I think A&K should surely make the proper list, along with & Beyond. But someone has rightfully pointed out that these companies are quite expensive. A few years ago, I enjoyed a fabulous African Safari in Kenya with Shoor Safaris ( ) at much cheaper rates using the same properties I was being offered by a top US operator. So do shop around and book wisely.

    • Michael Theys November 8, 2016 at 10:17 am #

      Thanks for your comment Carol. Sure, it’s not a “definitive” list. At the end of the day, it all depends on what YOU’re looking for. Choose wisely and “safari njema”! 😉

  2. Raphael April 22, 2015 at 5:46 pm #

    Based on the dates you posted the article, that was true but now things have really changed. Those tour companies that are not keeping up with the advancement of technology especially online marketing are being overtaken by smaller operators who have invested heavily in online marketing.



  3. Bill February 7, 2013 at 12:20 am #

    Most of the companies listed above are very expensive. I found a newer tour operator based in the US that runs their trips out of an office in Tanzania. They where almost half the price of the quote I got from Micato and 35% less than Thomsons. Our trip was great. I guess that the others charge more because they have a name. Anyway, check them out and see if they can do your trip cheaper

    Good Safari.

  4. Gipson November 20, 2012 at 8:00 am #

    I have gone through the list of safari companies listed and while it is true that they do offer great services, I am not sure that they are the top 10. There are a number of companies operating regionally and internationally that offer just as good or better services.
    Another thing is there are some good companies who have had their names sullied by one disgruntled client over the most minor issue. Tour guides are humans and something like a flat tire is something that is sometimes unavoidable. However, some clients since they book these tours way in advance a few things could have happened in the months leading up to the safari making them wish they hadn’t booked. Take the world economic crisis, a client books his safari one or two years in advance only to lose a job. So reviews by clients should be taken in totality not from one disgruntled client.

  5. George Marshall August 29, 2011 at 5:50 pm #

    Hello Michael.

    I have seen the list of the top 10 safari companies doing safaris in Africa. In Uganda you have listed Volcanoes only. There is another company that deserves space in the top 10 – Advantage Safaris ltd, website They organize the best birdwatching, gorilla tracking, chimpanzee tacking and family holidays in both Uganda and Rwanda. The guides and safari drivers employed by Advantage Safaris ltd are the best in the industry.

  6. Paul Oliver May 26, 2010 at 11:20 am #

    All safari goers should be a little wary of the ‘group style’ safaris on offer. Remember that you are trying to get close to wildlife and be sensitive as well as be educated. Larger groups, of say 16 people or more, in numerous vehicles can find this a little difficult. Large groups are often led by ‘an expert’ with driver/guides in the other vehicles. Whilst this keeps the cost per head down some the overall ‘life time experience ‘ can get a little diluted by sharing one so called ‘expert’ between 16-20 group members.

    Tanzania is a wonderful safari destination but you cannot beat a small group of up to 8 visitors being guided by two excellent guides in two well equipped vehicles. Guides that know the back roads and want to explore.

    Camp in remote locations, don’t be surrounded by cement in a lodge. It costs more but these basic rules can get a visitor closer to that dream vacation.

  7. Brittany December 3, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    I agree that it is impossible to limit the world’s best safari companies down to a list of 10, especially when each safari company is focused on a different region and/or type of trip (adventure, family, honeymoon, luxury, etc.). In many cases it’s like comparing apples and oranges.

  8. africafreak November 2, 2009 at 1:03 pm #

    Hi Johan,

    Thanks for the feedback, you definitely have a point here. Of course, they can't possibly make a "real" top 10 out of the thousands of safari companies out there. But then again, how would you do it? Did you check out their methodology? If not, here it is: Basically, it is based on surveys that follow specific categories: education, sustainability, quality of service and spirit of adventure.

    About the "trip of a lifetime" experience. This goal should always be on top of the list, totally agree with you. The question is: are they all going for it? I don't think so…have read a few stories where people were really not well catered for. In my opinion, there are always companies out there that are looking for a quick buck no matter what…even if it has to be at the expense of their clients…

    Not quite sure what you're trying to imply about the recession bit… Did you read that? Possible but am not aware of it…

    Cheers 🙂


  9. johan knols November 2, 2009 at 7:57 am #

    Hello Michael,

    Interesting topic that is being discussed here. I must say though that the premise of NG a bit of an awkward one is. 'Delivering a trip of a lifetime the first time'?? In my opinion a safari outfitter should ALWAYS try to achieve this goal the first time. Now NG suggests that there are a number of operators out there that are not doing their utmost to accommodate clients the first time and that they will only do so in times of recession.
    I therefore dare to say that this survey is absolute nonsense, as NG will not have the possibility to survey 100's of operators. Why? Because they have other things to do than being a consumer watchdog on safaris. I am not implying that the mentioned companies are no good, I am just saying that out of all the thousands of companies selling safaris, you can not just make a list of 10.
    What do you think yourself Michael?

    Cheers from Holland

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