Animal Safari Lion Elephant IndigoGuide Safaris

Animal Safari Lion, Elephant and Rhino Safaris

The majority of animal safaris are designed to view as much wildlife as possible. Some destinations are particularly appropriate for spotting the 'Big Five' of elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino, and few travellers return home disappointed having ticked off sightings from this ultimate list. However, you may have a particular interest in one animal, and there are increasing numbers of specialist safaris which allow you to spend the majority of time tracking, or even working with, your chosen favourite.

Lion and Elephant Safaris

Most tour operators provide a specialist lion safari  – after all, most people think of Africa as synonymous with this proud animal. There is a great choice of areas to visit that can allow you the best lion viewing opportunities. Some examples include the Masai Mara in Kenya, where the lions have distinctive black manes, and the Serengeti in Tanzania. Responsibletravel.com offers a unique conservation trip to the Okavango Delta in Botswana, where you can join researchers in studying and understand the local lions, both overland and on aerial surveys.

Elephant  safaris are deservedly rewarding, and you can join trips that aim to observe these gentle giants in the wild, or even ride on their backs through the bush to spot other species too. Areas of particular elephant concentration are the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, where the elephants grow the longest tusks, or Etosha National Park in Namibia, where herds can be in their hundreds. Lesser known destinations such as the desert of Namibia can yield rarer sights, such as the smaller elephants that have adapted to this environment.

Endangered Species: Rhino and Gorilla

The rhino safari is perfect for those who are interested in seeing this sadly endangered species. Africa is home to both the black and white rhino, and travel in Zimbabwe and Namibia is especially rewarding when tracking these rare beasts. Rhinos are easy to spot at the Mtusadona National Park in Zimbabwe, and safaris often include trips to Mana Pools and the Zambezi Valley to expand your horizons. In Namibia, the Palmway Rhino camp in Damaraland has become famous for its rhino tracking on foot accompanied by conservationists.

Another endangered species, the gorilla, is also a popular animal to focus your safari on. There are less than six hundred of these mammals left worldwide, but you can visit their rainforest habitat on a specialist safari to the mountain areas of Uganda, Zaire or Rwanda. This is a physical journey through rugged hills, as you trek into the forest to find a family of gorillas. Be aware that you are only permitted to spend an hour with the gorillas to avoid their overexposure to humans. However, the sight of a baby clinging to its mother, or a proud silverback male, more than compensates for the brief visit.

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