105 best national parks in Africa – Safari, wildlife, & game reserves

Land Cruiser driving through the plains of Kidepo Valley National Park in Uganda

Africa is the second largest continent, astoundingly diverse in its natural wonders. With an array of endemic wildlife walking its savannas, jungles, deserts, and marshlands.

Governments and individuals’ admirable attempts to conserve the native fauna and flora have resulted in numerous protected areas. Domestic and foreign tourists flock to these reserves with the hopes of glimpsing some of Africa’s creatures on a thrilling safari.

From the tip of South Africa to the northern forests of Congo and even the island of Madagascar, hundreds of African parks span the continent.

We’ve worked hard to dive into every corner of the web, trawling trusted sites such as Tripadvisor and Google reviews, and reading hundreds of descriptions from countless web pages. All to find the best of the best when it comes to national parks in Africa.

We looked for spots with at least four-star reviews from happy visitors and write-ups by reputable publications, such as National Geographic, for the lesser-known areas.

We’ve sifted through the parks spanning the entire continent and have included not only amazing classic safari destinations but also natural wonderlands, bird paradises, and incredible up and coming wildlife reserves.

We’ve taken what we’ve learned and whittled it down to the top 105 game reserves and national parks in Africa. The following reserves are not ranked in any particular order, yet each one is certain to inspire a wildlife adventure.

Table of Contents

1.   Serengeti National Park, Tanzania

Herd of wildebeest during the migration, Serengeti

Easily one of the most famous African national parks, the Serengeti is undoubtedly a wildlife haven. As a safari destination, it boasts the opportunity to see unbelievable predator sightings. Look out for fascinating animals such as serval cats and aardwolves.

The park is also the site of a mysterious wildlife phenomenon that happens every year – the great migration of millions of wildebeest.

2.   Moremi Game Reserve, Botswana

Located in the globally renowned Okavango Delta, the reserve is unbelievably rich in wildlife. Moremi encompasses Chiefs Island, which is the biggest area of ground in the delta.

This is the only area in the Okavango with rhino residents, making it an incredible Big Five destination. Packs of wild dogs, huge herds of elephants, and many predators are prevalent here.

3.   Masai Mara National Reserve, Kenya

Lone cheetah on the lookout for prey, Masai Mara

Much like its neighbor, the Serengeti, the Masai Mara is a famed wildlife sanctuary in Africa. Here, too, on the vast savanna grasslands that make up the park, you can witness the Great Migration (usually in June or July).

The stunning scenery and concentration of wildlife make this an incredible safari destination. There is a very high chance of seeing the Big Five roaming around,  as well as water-dwelling animals in the river.

4.   Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Large and beautiful, this protected land is part of the Serengeti and encompasses the massive Ngorongoro Crater. Besides being an awe-inspiring natural wonder, the area is teeming with wildlife.

Volcanic craters, lakes, rivers, and expansive plains make for a spectacular place to see wildlife in natural habitats. Guests can also visit two important archeological sites, Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli.

5.   Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe

Aerial photograph of Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe

Situated on the Zambezi River banks, teeming with crocodiles and hippos, Mana Pools is simply breathtaking.

Canoeing and walking safaris are popular here and wildlife congregate in large numbers around the numerous watering holes. Many regard it as the best park in Zimbabwe and it is definitely one of the most beautiful parks in Africa.

6.   South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The bodies of water in this park, from the Luangwa River to the abundant oxbow lakes and lagoons, attract a plethora of wildlife.

South Luangwa Park is the perfect place for remarkable animal sightings without the crowds and is known for walking safaris.

7.   Mala Mala Game Reserve, South Africa

Two white rhinos next to a waterhole in Mala Mala, South Africa

Located within the Sabi Sands, Mala Mala, meaning ‘Kudu‘ in Xitsonga, is one of the oldest and largest private game reserves in South Africa.

There is an abundance of kudu, as its name suggests, as well as other Big Five game. Photographic safaris are particularly popular at this stunning reserve.

8.   Lower Zambezi National Park, Zambia

For those searching for a raw, wild, and pristine wildlife safari in Africa, Lower Zambezi National Park is ideal. The fauna, including mopane forests and broadleaf woodland, is simply spectacular.

Wildlife sightings are abundant along the valley floor and tremendous herds of elephants are often seen bathing in the river.

9.   Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Leopard staring into the camera, Elephant Plains, Sabi Sands

South Africa is undoubtedly the best country for private game reserve safaris. And Sabi Sands is probably the most renowned game reserve in the country.

The safari experience is extremely exclusive. Game drive vehicles can go off the road, allowing close-up sightings of the park’s top stars. The frequent leopard and predator sightings are what make the game reserve so popular.

10.   Kidepo Valley National Park, Uganda

Kidepo Valley is high up on the list for one of the most beautiful wildlife parks in Africa. The varying scenery, including imposing mountains, deep valleys, and sweeping plains, is breathtaking.

It is an isolated park, though well worth the journey. The scenery alone is reason enough to visit, and the abundance of wildlife and lack of crowds is the cherry on top.

11.   Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe

Herd of elephants at a waterhole, Hwange, Zimbabwe

For those in search of Africa’s giants, Hwange Park – Zimbabwe’s biggest safari national park – is the place to go. It has the greatest global concentration of large land mammals, including a massive elephant population of almost 50 000.

It is a special place with over 500 bird species, ‘super prides’ of lions, and biodiverse forests.

12.   Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger Park is one of Africa’s most popular national parks. And for good reason too. It’s a massive reserve, roughly the same size as Wales, and is home to many wildlife species.

The incredible road network spanning the park makes it a fabulous self-drive safari destination. The landscape is as diverse as the fauna, and the countless camp options are appealing to every type of visitor.

13.   Chobe National Park, Botswana

Boat cruise safari on the Chobe river, with elephants having a drink

Intersected by the gushing Chobe River, Chobe National Park is famous thanks to the vast populations of elephant and Cape buffalo that call it home.

Visitors can hop into a dugout canoe and putter along the river, spotting wildlife in the water and on the banks. This is a spectacular way to view wildlife, immersed in your surroundings.

14.   Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Tanzania’s Selous is the biggest game reserve in Africa, yet it attracts much fewer visitors than other countries’ reserves.

Intersected by the largest river in Tanzania, Rufiji River, this wildlife paradise offers an escape from the usual tourist crowds. Activities are plentiful and include boating safaris, fly-camping tours, and hot air balloon safaris.

15.   Etosha National Park, Namibia

Zebra at the Etosha Pan

The spectacular feature of Etosha National Park is its dramatic landscape. It encompasses dolomite hills, grasslands, and the impressive Etosha Pan.

This is one of Africa’s best national parks to see elusive desert species, such as the speedy cheetah or the unique Hartmann’s mountain zebra.

16.   Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

This park is an underrated safari secret in Southern Africa. The arid and desert landscape attracts migratory herds and desert-adapted lions.

Kgalagadi Park has a harsh climate. Its landscape, dotted with camel thorn trees and red dunes, and its dusty African safari animals offer a true wilderness adventure.

17.   Linyanti Wildlife Reserve, Botswana

Sable antelope in the Linyanti

Tucked away in a remote area between the Okavango and Chobe, Linyanti is an exclusive wildlife haven and home to rare Southern African wildlife.

The striking green landscape, where floodplains merge with grasslands, supports a large wildlife population. You can expect fruitful sightings of Africa’s king of the jungle as well as endangered predators such as wild dogs.

18.   Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

Welcome to the largest national park in East Africa, a secluded place, and a Tanzanian safari gem. Wildlife converges along the Ruaha River and the chance of spotting predators is high.

Ruaha National Park is best accessed by private plane. However, with 10% of the global lion population and the third-largest wild dog population, it’s well worth the journey.

19.   Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa

Lone wild dog in golden light, staring into the bush

A massive benefit of visiting Madikwe is that it is malaria-free, uncommon for most of Africa’s parks. The rocky outcrops and grassy plains house a thriving wild dog population among the Big Five.

The reserve has luxury lodging options and prohibits self-drive safaris. Therefore, it offers an exclusive experience.

20.   Mahale Mountains National Park, Tanzania

In a remote corner of Tanzania, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika, sits this unique and exceptional national park. The safari experience you’ll have here is somewhat surreal. It is the best reserve in Africa to see chimpanzees as it’s home to a flourishing population of these fascinating primates.

It is also the only place that chimpanzees and lions coexist, adding to the exquisite quality of the reserve. Accessed only by boat, and safaris only done on foot, it’s guaranteed to be an unforgettable visit.

21.   Amboseli National Park, Kenya

Grey crowned crane portrait, standing on one leg

The snowy peak of Mount Kilimanjaro serves as a backdrop to this bird-watchers’ paradise. The abundant swamp networks attract over 400 species of birds and 47 raptor varieties.

Amboseli National Park is a wild paradise and one of Africa’s best for bird and animal sightings. Visitors can also learn about Maasai culture at the villages dotted throughout the park.

22.   Phinda Private Game Reserve, South Africa

In 1992 the reserve reintroduced cheetah and now it is one of the best animal reserves in Africa to see them. Situated close to the coast, the area benefits from seasonal rains, resulting in a green and lush landscape.

Guests can expect an exclusive experience while visiting. There is a good chance of close-up predator sightings and curious elephants sneaking a drink from private plunge pools.

23.   Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

Black-maned lion drinking in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve, Botswana

This is the most remote reserve in southern Africa, and the harsh environment has resulted in some pretty hardy inhabitants. The sheer size of the reserve, with endless desert landscapes and sand dunes, is awe-inspiring.

The isolated park is devoid of crowds and the hostile scenery makes for a memorable safari. Look out for black-maned lions and the unique desert-adapted oryx.

24.   Samburu National Reserve, Kenya

Often overlooked in favor of the famous Masai Mara, Samburu National Reserve has its own unique appeal.

It is a much more raw safari destination with the opportunity for excellent wildlife sightings. It is also home to the Samburu Special Five: Beisa oryx, reticulated giraffe, Grevy’s zebra, Somali ostrich, and gerenuk antelope.

25.   North Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Local ranger looking over the Luangwa River, North Luangwa National Park

A small park that still packs a lot of punch. There are limitations on entering the park, and it is only accessible through safari operators.

This has resulted in a thriving animal population and one of the most intimate, untouched wildlife areas in Africa.

26.   Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya

Ol Pejeta is one of the best safari destinations in Kenya for those seeking a luxury experience.

Besides a five-star lodging experience, the conservancy is the only place in Kenya where you can see chimpanzees. It also has the largest black rhino sanctuary in East Africa.

27.   Tsavo East National Park, Kenya

Herd of dust-red elephants arrive at the river in Tsavo East National Park

Tsavo East features flat plains and is drier than its western counterpart. Expect to see the quintessential Kenyan image of dust-red elephants hosing each other down in the Galana River.

The eastern area is also home to the longest lava flow in the world, Yatta Plateau.

28.   Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa

It is an important conservation area and one of the oldest nature reserves in Africa. Of course, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi offers exciting safari experiences as well.

The Wilderness Trail safari walk is an immensely popular activity here. There is an opportunity to see many mammals, insects, and reptiles on the multi-day guided bush walk.

29.   Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya

Gorgeous view of the Lewa Wildlife Conservancy, with Mount Kenya in the background

As the global population of rhino dwindles, seeing these prehistoric mammals should be on everyone’s bucket list. And this is one of the best safari parks in Africa to do so.

The conservancy is home to a substantial population of white and black rhino. Besides this, it also boasts the biggest population of Grevy’s zebras and the rare sitatunga. Add some gorgeous views, and you’ve got yourself safari heaven.

30.   Tarangire National Park, Tanzania

Massive baobab trees, ancient river valleys, and giant elephants dominate the landscape of Tarangire National Park.

Unusual arid animals graze in the bush, such as the fringe-eared oryx and the gerenuk. It’s a beautiful park and one of the most affordable African safari destinations.

31.   Murchison Falls National Park, Uganda

Red-throated bee-eater resting on a branch, Murchison Falls, Uganda

The glorious Murchison Falls is one of the most visited natural wonders in Africa. And with expansive savannas and impressive forests, it is a spectacular safari destination.

After marveling at the Falls, you can head out on a guided safari in search of chimpanzees, leopards, elephants, and more!

32.   Gonarezhou National Park, Zimbabwe

Gonarezhou translates to ‘The Place of Elephants,’ and it certainly lives up to its name. With almost 11 000 of the African giants roaming the area, elephant enthusiasts will find great joy here.

With the dramatic Chilojo Cliffs dominating the landscape and a variety of wild animals, it is worth the journey to this remote corner of Zimbabwe.

33.   Shamwari Game Reserve, South Africa

Mother giraffe and her baby in Shamwari, South Africa

Five of South Africa’s biomes are present in this park, creating a diverse natural environment. A plethora of wildlife lives within the varied habitats in the reserve.

Visitors can learn about conservation at the onsite Wildlife Rehabilitation Center and Big Cat Sanctuaries.

34.   Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, Botswana

What was once thousands of years ago the gigantic Lake Makgadikgadi is now one of the most extensive series of salt pans. It is a phenomenal site where grasslands flourish in the summer, watered by nearby rivers.

Within this strange and beautiful environment, animals and birds have learned to adapt to the changing seasons. It is unlike anywhere in the world and a top destination for a safari in Botswana.

35.   Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

Buffaloes on an early morning, Tsavo West National Park, Kenya

Together with its neighbor in the east, Tsavo West forms Tsavo National Park, one of the world’s biggest national parks. Wildlife populations are low, so sightings can be a bit slow.

However, there are other outstanding attractions that justify a visit. You can view hippos underwater at Mzima Springs or visit the Shetani lava flows.

36.   Katavi National Park, Tanzania

Tanzania is a frontrunner for the best African safari country, and Katavi National Park is yet another reason why. It is a secluded safari secret offering a truly untamed experience.

Here you will find large herds of elephant and buffalo, a powerful sight. Look out for the magical wild dogs, too, as sightings are common.

37.   Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya

Lesser flamingos in flight, Lake Nakuru, Kenya

Going on safari is not just about the predators and giant mammals. For bird enthusiasts, Lake Nakuru is a paradise. Massive numbers of pink flamingos, sometimes reaching into the millions, gather every year to feast on special algae in the lake.

Pied kingfishers, Goliath herons and African fish eagles are some of the other amazing birds that call it home. Of course, there is the opportunity to spot mammals too, such as cheetahs and giraffes.

38.   Queen Elizabeth National Park, Uganda

You may have never heard of Queen Elizabeth before, yet this national park is a diversity wonderland. The elusive leopard and hyena roam thick grasslands and acacia woodland. And over 600 bird species occupy the skies.

39.   Matusadona National Park, Zimbabwe

Magnificent sunset over Matusadona National Park in Zimbabwe

The park sits on Lake Kariba’s southern shores, flanked by the Matusadona mountain range and two pristine rivers.

The abundance of water attracts a wide variety of birds and waterfowl. A good pair of binoculars will be especially handy in this park. Tiger fishing is a popular activity in the area, and guests can enjoy quintessential African scenes.

40.   Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa

This is a fantastic African wildlife reserve as it is close to the major capital cities of South Africa. It will take you just one and a half hours by car from your hotel in Johannesburg to the Big Five in the bush.

Pilanesberg Reserve is a small, accessible, densely populated game reserve. It is the perfect place for safari first-timers as the sightings are plentiful.

41.   Kafue National Park, Zambia

Male puku in golden light, Kafue

The oldest and largest national park in Zambia, Kafue is yet another African wildlife preserve the size of a small country. With kilometers of untouched bush, meandering rivers, unique landscapes, and few tourists, Kafue is a Zambian safari gem.

Interesting antelope species, such as the red lechwe and puku, roam the Busanga Plains and there is rich birdlife to admire.

42.   Timbavati Nature Reserve, South Africa

Much like its neighboring parks, Timbavati Game Reserve shares unfenced borders with Kruger National Park. This results in unfettered wildlife wanderings and the opportunity for incredible sightings.

Even though it might be one of the most affordable safari destinations, the safari experience is undeniably top-quality. Visitors can witness the exquisite white lion, among countless other animals.

43.   Addo Elephant National Park, South Africa

Black-backed jackal on dirt road, Addo Elephant National Park

As the name suggests, this is one of the best South African game parks to see elephants. However, roaming among 5 out of 7 South African Biomes are not just elephants, but also the rest of the ‘Big Seven‘.

Besides the Big Five, Addo Elephant Park boasts the southern right whale and great white shark. It is one of the only places in the world with this claim to fame.

44.   Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe

Close to Bulawayo, Matobo is an easily accessible park encompassing the granite kopjes of Matobo Hills.

Despite it being so close to the city, visitors will still feel the sense of remoteness in the rugged landscape. With Africa’s highest leopard concentration, you have a good chance of seeing the elusive cats.

45.   Mapungubwe National Park, South Africa

Mapungubwe National Park aerial view

Mapungubwe is not only an extraordinary wildlife reserve in Africa, it is also culturally and historically rich.

Along with exciting safari activities, guests can explore the remains of South Africa’s first kingdom. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is a fascinating place.

46.   Aberdare National Park, Kenya

A mystical park steeped in legends of mysterious animals lurking in the misty Aberdares, an isolated volcanic range.

It is an easily accessible park with a plethora of interesting animals. Besides the typical safari mammals, you may see rare species such as a giant forest hog, African wildcat, serval, or blue duiker.

47.   Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania

Lion cub resting in a tree, Lake Manyara

Another wildlife treasure trove in Tanzania, yet with distinct and fascinating features that make it a unique destination.

While wandering the small park, you may see tree-climbing lions or a massive flock of flamingos on the soda ash lake.

Keep your camera ready as you’re sure to snap some phenomenal African wildlife pictures.

48.   Tembe Elephant Park, South Africa

Originally, the establishment of this reserve was to protect free-roaming elephant herds. These groups moved freely between Mozambique and South African borders.

Now, it serves as a full Big Five reserve, yet the magical, giant tuskers are still the main attraction.

Watch the Tembe waterhole live camera here.

49.   Nairobi National Park, Kenya

Zebra and crowned cranes in Nairobi National Park, with the city skyline as a backdrop

Have you ever wondered, what is the only country capital that contains a national park? Well, Kenya is the answer. Only 7 km outside of the capital, Nairobi National Park is an accessible wildlife haven on the fringes of a concrete jungle.

Expect to see a giraffe with a backdrop of skyscrapers and listen to a lion roar alongside the drone of traffic. It’s almost unbelievable that such a large reserve exists within the biggest city in Kenya. It’s a beautiful escape from the city.

50.   Nxai Pan National Park, Botswana

Just north of the Makgadikgadi Pans National Park, this area has the same Kalahari ecosystem and the Nxai Pans at its heart.

Majestic baobab trees rise above the stark white pans and large herds of grazers flock here in the rainy season. The waterhole often attracts lions and birds as well.

51.   Mkuze Game Reserve, South Africa

Hadada ibis with water reflection, Mkuze

A classic Big Five game reserve, Mkhuze is also extremely popular for keen birders. There are over 420 bird species in the reserve.

A distinct feature is the three bush hides hidden throughout the park. Here, visitors can get out of their cars and enter the hides by foot to look out for birds and animals.

52.   Hell’s Gate National Park, Kenya

Step into a childhood fantasy as you enter the real-life inspiration for the setting of The Lion King. The dramatic geographic features of this section of the Great Rift Valley are breathtaking.

Walk atop towering cliffs, through striking gorges, and up volcanoes. The park offers plenty of activities such as rock climbing and biking. You can also take a dip in the bubbling natural hot springs. Look out for a variety of antelope and grumpy African buffalo.

53.   Augrabies Falls National Park, South Africa

Moon Rock in Augrabies Falls National Park, South Africa

Referred to as a place of ‘Great Noise‘ by the Khoi people, the powerful Augrabies Waterfall cascading into the Orange River is a spectacular sight to witness.

The rocky natural surroundings dotted with quiver trees and a diversity of fauna and flora is home to antelope, such as steenbok and gemsbok. They graze throughout the park, constantly alert to the predators, such as leopards and jackals,  that roam among them.

A highlight of the park is Moon Rock, an impressive ‘whaleback’ dome and landmark of Augrabies Falls.

54.   Arusha National Park, Tanzania

There may be very few predators roaming this Tanzanian national park, but that doesn’t make it any less exciting. You can venture out on a walking safari, an intimate and immeasurable experience of connecting with your natural surroundings.

You’ll see groups of giraffes, and if you tread lightly, you may be able to sneak up on shy dik-diks and duikers.

55.   Mountain Zebra National Park, South Africa

Endangered mountain zebra with her young, Mountain Zebra National Park, South Africa

Situated in the heart of the Karoo, this park serves as a sanctuary for the conservation of the rare Cape mountain zebra.

The expansive scenery is arresting in its beauty, and lurking in the shrubs are amazing predators such as leopard, caracal, and brown hyena.

56.   Meru National Park, Kenya

Consistent rainfall keeps this park looking lush, with tall grass, jungles, and a network of swamps and rivers. It is an example of untouched wilderness at its finest with typical game viewing.

There are also some uncommon residents, such as a tiny antelope, the dik-dik. The park is the setting for Joy Adamson’s exciting tales of Africa in her book ‘Born Free’.

57.   Mikumi National Park, Tanzania

Small herd of wildebeest and eland mix, Mikumi

The park encompasses the Mkata floodplain and shares open borders with Selous Game Reserve, with wildlife roaming freely between the two. Flanked by mountain ranges on all sides and vast grasslands, sightings of wildlife such as lions and elephants are plentiful.

The proximity to Dar es Salaam makes it a perfect park for a safari getaway in limited time.

58.   Karoo National Park, South Africa

The Karoo park is a haven for birds of prey such as the pale chanting goshawk, black eagles, and jackal buzzards.

Guests can enjoy self-drive safaris or hit the mountain bike trails to spot abundant grazers and enjoy the stunning scenery.

59.   Virunga National Park, DRC

Young mountain gorilla up in a tree, Virunga National Park, DRC

This is the most biologically diverse national park in Africa. Visitors can expect to traverse rainforests, savannas, and swamps. Volcanoes and glacial mountain peaks loom over the landscape.

If you climb to the top of the Nyiragongo volcano, you’ll have an incredible view of the world’s largest volcanic lake. Besides phenomenal scenery, the park is home to protected mountain gorillas and chimpanzees.

60.   Simien Mountains National Park, Ethiopia

In remote Northeastern Africa is this wild and exciting park offering a unique safari experience. This area is as rich in culture as it is in ecology. Expect ancient churches, castles and stunning views.

The area is bare of the quintessential safari animals. However, keep your eyes peeled for strange and fascinating creatures such as the gelada monkeys and walia ibex.

61.   Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda

Scenic view of the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest National Park in Uganda

Visiting this park to seek out the majestic silverback mountain gorilla is an item on many people’s bucket lists. Over 400 mountain gorillas inhabit the overgrown UNESCO-listed forests. And there’s a good chance of meeting them face to face on a guided trek.

On a misty journey through the jungles, you may come across forest elephants. Also, look out for the rare giant forest hog and various primate and mammal species.

62.   Namib-Naukluft National Park, Namibia

The impressive scenery is what makes this park so exceptional. Here you’ll find the Sossusvlei clay and salt pan, Naukluft Mountains, and a section of the Namib Desert. However, it is the dramatic orange dunes that dominate the landscape and take the center of attention.

Reptiles and unusual insects, as well as desert mammal dwellers such as jackals and hyenas, live here.

63.   Volcanoes National Park, Rwanda

Golden monkey portrait, eating - Volcanoes National Park

This park is so named because it is the site of five of the eight volcanoes in the Virunga Mountains. This, in itself, makes the park a breathtaking African spot.

It is truly an extraordinary park. Picture mountain gorillas, the rare golden monkey, and hundreds of incredible bird species in the montane ecosystems.

64.   Aquila Game Reserve, South Africa

Aquila is the best safari option close to the city of Cape Town. Wild inhabitants in the reserve include the Big Five and a range of antelope species and grazers.

Here, visitors can experience unique safari encounters, including horseback and quad bike safaris.

65.   Gombe Stream National Park, Tanzania

Boat from the Gombe Stream Research Centre (The Jane Goodall Institute)

One of the smallest national parks among giants in Tanzania, Gombe Stream boasts the opportunity for a real adventure. Only accessible by boat, the sense of entering the wild is tangible.

It is famous for being the site of Jane Goodall’s chimpanzee research and the park is a playground for primates. Look out for chimpanzees, olive baboons, red colobus, red-tailed monkeys, and blue monkeys. You’ll have a fantastic time monkeying around!

66.   Manyeleti Game Reserve, South Africa

This reserve shares unfenced borders with Sabi Sands and Timbavati. It allows wildlife to move unhindered through all three reserves.

Manyeleti welcomes much fewer visitors than the neighboring reserves. It boasts the opportunity to have incredible sightings and a pristine park all to yourself. Due to almost no light pollution, its name translates to ‘Place of the Stars‘. You can expect a magical experience.

67.   Mole National Park, Ghana

Lone elephant in warning mode, Mole National Park, Ghana

You probably don’t know Ghana as a safari country, but Mole National Park is a wildlife treasure in West Africa.

While you may not glimpse any lions, you can see rare species such as colobus and patas monkeys, or the yellow-backed duiker.

68.   Niassa Reserve, Mozambique

The largest protected wildlife area in Mozambique, Niassa Game Reserve is 42 000 km² of a diverse and ever-changing landscape.

With a massive population of wild dogs, it is one of Africa’s top nature reserves to witness these magical creatures. Isolated, remote, and visited by few, the park offers a rugged bush experience.

69.   Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo

Male Western lowland gorilla in the Odzala-Kokoua National Park, Republic of Congo

Leave the grassy plains behind and enter into a whole new African world of tropical rainforests. This is one of the best places to see forest elephants, as well as the magical lowland gorillas.

With over 400 colorful bird species and 11 primate species, it is an entirely different and wonderful side of Africa.

70.   Kariega Game Reserve, South Africa

Situated along the celebrated Garden Route, Kariega is the perfect safari addition to a South African itinerary.

The reserve offers a classic Big Five safari experience. You can expect luxury lodgings, stunning scenery, and excellent sightings.

71.   Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

A herd of common waterbuck in Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique

This may be the most impressive restoration story in Africa, and it is now fast becoming one of the best parks in Africa.

In Africa’s Great Rift Valley, the park encompasses striking scenery and an increasing population of predators and mammals. It is a beautiful spot, recovering from a war that ravaged the land and animals and climbing back to its former glory.

72.   Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa

Introducing the largest private South African wildlife reserve and exclusive safari experience.

Go in search of diverse and numerous wildlife with a personal tracker. Look out for springbok on a walking safari or lurking predators from horseback.

73.   Akagera National Park, Rwanda

Typical landscape in the Akagera National Park, Rwanda

This national park is a shining star of conservation in Africa and a beacon of hope for the future of the continent’s wildlife. The war in Rwanda almost completely destroyed the park. However, today it is a thriving ecosystem with lions, elephants, and large antelope populations.

Visitors can take behind-the-scenes conservation tours and learn about the incredible story of the park.

74.   Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Located within the Sabi Sands, the reserve covers a massive area and only has two lodges. This guarantees a tranquil safari, without the roar of engines and hordes of tourists interrupting incredible sightings.

Here you can benefit from the abundant wildlife of Sabi Sands while enjoying the remoteness of Ulusaba.

75.   Montagne d’Ambre National Park, Madagascar

Male crowned lemur posing for the camera, Amber Mountain National Park, Madagascar

Off the mainland of Africa lies the mystical, rugged island of Madagascar. With some of the world’s highest biodiversity and around 150 000 endemic species, the country deserves mention.

In this forest park, keep your eyes peeled for eight endemic lemur species, the ring-tailed mongoose, and the Malagasy civet.

76.   Nambiti Private Game Reserve, South Africa

Nambiti Reserve is an extensive area of stunning wilderness with ambitious conservation goals and plenty of wildlife.

Close to Durban, Johannesburg, and Pretoria, this is an accessible Big 5 reserve. It is also malaria-free, making it an attractive South African safari for overseas visitors.

77.   Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

Colourful Rwenzori turaco in Nyungwe Forest National Park, Rwanda

This is one of the best safari destinations in Rwanda for a rugged Congo Basin adventure. Guided chimpanzee treks and the plethora of other resident primates are the main attraction of the park.

Walking safaris are a unique way to explore the wonders of the wilderness, a full sensory experience.

78.   Isalo National Park, Madagascar

This is the most-visited and second-largest park in the country. Featuring unusual landscapes moving from deserts and canyons into lush forests, it’s a wonderful example of Madagascar’s wilderness.

Isalo National Park is also a bird enthusiast paradise, as 70% of the bird species found here are endemic to the park.

79.   Kibale Forest National Park, Uganda

Chimpanzee looking up, Kibale National Park, Uganda

This park offers a similar safari experience to Nyungwe National Park. It is unique in the fact that it has 13 primate species, which is the highest diversity of primates in East Africa.

80.   Lobéké National Park, Cameroon

An extremely underrated park made up of equatorial forests. Within the forests are a number of small clearings that attract a variety of mammals.

It’s a fantastic option for gorilla trekking as it has one of the highest concentrations of the mesmerizing apes.

81.   Khaudum National Park, Namibia

Big elephant herds congregate at a local waterhole, Khaudum National Park

Head off into ‘no-man’s-land’, to this park in the middle of the Kalahari desert. Khaudum is a place with more elephants than people. Lions and leopards leave footprints in the red sand and the remoteness is overwhelming.

It’s an extremely wild experience, and for those with a spirit of adventure, it is an unmissable destination.

82.   Kahuzi-Biega National Park, DRC

This UNESCO World Heritage Site is the only place in the world that you can see the Grauer’s gorilla in the wild.

Dominated by two extinct volcanoes, Mount Kahuzi and Mount Biega, the park exists to protect Grauer’s gorillas’ final few. Due to the DRC’s internal conflicts, the safest way to travel to this park is with a tour operator.

83.   Dzanga-Sangha Special Reserve, Central African Republic

Sunrise over Dzanga-Sangha National Park in the Central African Republic

This is a jaw-dropping African safari secret, nestled in the forests of CAR. Here you can visit ‘the village of elephants‘ and spot lowland gorillas.

Visitors can get comfortable in a treeline hide and witness incredible wildlife sightings in the forest clearings below. If you’re fortunate, hundreds of forest elephants will make an appearance.

84.   Mokala National Park, South Africa

If you’re driving between Johannesburg and Cape Town, this is a great place to break up the trip and squeeze in a safari.

You can enjoy a guided sunset drive, with the bush bathed in golden light, or check out the San rock engravings. Look out for rare antelopes such as sable and roan.

85.   Liwonde National Park, Malawi

Cute baby warthog portrait in Liwonde National Park, Malawi

This park is an example of translocation and reintroduction success stories. What was once a minefield of wire snares and human-animal conflict is now a thriving wildlife protected area.

Presently visitors can witness the flourishing predator and mammal population on exciting safari activities.

86.   Skeleton Coast National Park, Namibia

The hostile environment of the skeleton coast seems like a place where no beast could live. Dotted with whale bones and shipwrecks, the environment is both beautiful and haunting.

However, within this harsh and beautiful habitat, a number of wild animals have adapted to survive, and even thrive. Desert lions, brown hyenas, and jackals stalk the coast, preying on seal pups.

It is an unusual and fascinating site, with the contrast of savanna animals in a desert coast environment.

87.   Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park, Madagascar

Tsingy de Bemaraha National Park from above, in Madagascar

The harrowing journey of bad roads that lead to the park is well worth the abundance of endemic fauna and flora that it supports.

It is one of the most popular sites in Madagascar with gorgeous geographic features and interesting wildlife.

88.   iSimangaliso Wetland Park, South Africa

Packed with adventurous outdoor activities and safari experiences, this park will keep you busy. You can spot whales off the coast at certain seasons and check out hippos, crocodiles, and flamingos on a boat safari.

Revel in the plethora of land, marine, water animals and birds. Look out for sea turtles and then head inland past giraffes. The diverse ecosystems in this park will leave you in awe.

89.   Mount Kenya National Park and Reserve, Kenya

Area around Mount Kenya National Park on a cloudy day

This is the spot for adventure-seekers. The natural paradise features the second-highest mountain in Africa and breathtaking surroundings.

Challenge yourself to summit Mt. Kenya and, on the way up, look out for tree hyraxes, white-tailed mongoose, and a variety of antelopes. You can spot elephants in the area surrounding the mountain and, if you’re lucky, leopards.

90.   Klaserie Private Nature Reserve, South Africa

This picturesque private reserve shares open borders with the Kruger National Park. Much like in its neighboring reserves, the animals here are fairly habituated. This means that game viewing is often plentiful.

With fewer tourists than surrounding reserves, guests can enjoy a tailored safari experience in a tranquil setting.

91.   Sibiloi National Park, Kenya

Mixed herd of zebra and topi in Sibiloi National Park, with Lake Turkana in the background

On the shores of Lake Turkana, this park serves as a site for wildlife and archeology.

Known as ‘The Cradle of Mankind’, the park houses various land mammals and a thriving population of Nile crocodiles. It is also the grounds of important archeological sites and the remains of a petrified forest.

92.   Sibuya Game Reserve, South Africa

The adventure already begins on the journey to this park. Accessible only by boat on the Kariega River, it’s hard not to feel like an explorer when visiting this reserve.

The birding opportunities are incredible. Residents include half-collared kingfishers and African finfoots hovering around the water.

93.   Nyika National Park, Malawi

Herd of roan antelope on the high-altitude plateau of Nyika National Park in Malawi

Encompassing the expansive Nyika plateau, this is Malawi’s largest park. With high altitudes (2500 m), the environment is extremely unique.

The quality of foreign landscapes combined with African animals results in a park that will leave you speechless. You can explore the park on guided treks, by mountain bike, or traditional game drives.

94.   Pongola Game Reserve, South Africa

Situated in the tropical KwaZulu-Natal Province, this is an excellent reserve for an affordable safari. It has flourishing greenery and plenty of water networks.

Guests can enjoy a thrilling walking safari to search for white rhinos or watch wallowing hippos from a boat.

95.   Great Limpopo Transfrontier National Park, Mozambique

Male kudu in the Great Limpopo Transfrontier National Park

The mighty Shingwedzi River rushes through this incredible park supporting the abundant life.

After years of neglect and poaching, massive conservation efforts have transformed the Transfrontier National Park. It is now one of the most exciting and sought-after safari destinations in southern Africa.

96.   Zimanga Private Game Reserve, South Africa

One of the most popular safari activities and a massive income for conservation is photography tourism. And Zimanga is one of the best nature reserves in Africa for it.

There are many hidden hides, perfect for bunkering down in wait for the ideal photo opportunity to arise. Come here to snap photos of cheetahs on foot or capturing vultures feasting on carrion in the night.

97.   Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

Hippos resting in the Shire river, Majete Wildlife Reserve, Malawi

Yet another conservation success story in Malawi, Majete reserve has risen from the ashes of over-hunting.

It is now the only Big Five game reserve in Malawi and offers a complete escape into the wilderness.

98.   Samara Private Game Reserve, South Africa

With a maximum of 26 overnight guests on a 283 square kilometer reserve, you can imagine how peaceful this reserve is.

Within the rolling grassy hills and sandy plains, the Big 5 and many other species live. The reserve focuses heavily on conservation. By simply visiting it and enjoying the wildlife, you contribute to this conservation effort.

99.   Bwabwata National Park, Namibia

Sable antelope and warthog running at full speed, Bwabwata National Park, Namibia

This is one of the last sanctuaries for wild dogs in Namibia and supports immense numbers of elephants and buffalo.

As a relatively new park, this is a place to escape the tourist trail and the conveniences of luxurious lodges. Head off on an authentic Namibian safari in this park.

100.   Lapalala Wilderness Area, South Africa

If you’re a first-time safari-goer looking to see as many animals as possible and tick off the Big Five, this reserve is probably not for you.

However, for seasoned bush-goers who crave an immersive and authentic experience, this area is terrific. It recently became a Big Five reserve with the introduction of two lion prides, however, the focus is very much on rare large mammals.

101.   Lengwe National Park, Malawi

Dragonfly close-up shot in Lengwe National Park, Malawi

The beautiful and rare nyala is the celebrated resident of this park. However, gathering at the waterholes in the arid environment, there is the opportunity to see many more animals.

The park has enormous buffalo herds, impressive kudu, and over 300 bird species, among other animals.

102.   Balule Nature Reserve, South Africa

Sharing open borders with three reserves, Balule boasts abundant wildlife sightings. It is a bit smaller and more intimate than its neighbors, Timbavati and Klaserie.

Choosing an overnight lodge close to the Olifants River will most likely reward you with astonishing sightings. Elephants love to splash around in the water.

103.   Nyanga National Park, Zimbabwe

World's View in Nyanga National Park, Zimbabwe

While not a typical safari destination, this park’s main appeal is the unbelievable scenery and birdlife.

Birders will revel in the long walks through the mountains, waterfalls, and rivers alive with residents of the sky.

104.   Marakele National Park, South Africa

This park’s name translates to ‘place of sanctuary,’ and it certainly is, for both animals and humans, residents and visitors.

Serving as a transitional zone between the dry west and moist east regions, the habitat supports a wide diversity of animals. This includes large land mammals and many bird species.

105.   Khutse Game Reserve, Botswana

Young lion in the Khutse Game Reserve, Botswana

The reserve shares an open border with the Central Kalahari Game Reserve. Game congregates around the pans and artificial waterholes, offering excellent sightings.

Along with predators such as lions and cheetahs, the endangered brown hyena inhabits the park.

Go in Search of African Safari Animals

Are you dreaming of walking through forests draped in mist in search of gorillas, or driving dusty desert roads looking for lions? Maybe you’re looking longingly at your camera, and thinking about all of the picture-worthy African scenes you have yet to capture.

Head out on safari to one of these amazing reserves or national parks in Africa and experience for yourself the magic of the bush.

2 thoughts on “105 best national parks in Africa – Safari, wildlife, & game reserves”

    1. Hey Roxanne, I totally agree. Zakouma is an omission we will definitely include in our next update. 🙂

      One of the major reasons why we included Aquila is its relative popularity and closeness to Cape Town (+/- 2 hours drive).

      Thanks for your comment, take care!


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