Sensational safaris: which is the best one for you?

There’s nothing more bucket-list-ticking than a safari, whether it’s a thrilling game drive through famous Kruger National Park or a sand-strewing quad bike adventure with a camel ride across the Sahara Desert. From classic to under-the-radar experiences, we’ve rounded up the most unmissable safaris around the world, so you can plan the perfect one for you – whether you’re travelling with friends and family or going at it solo.

Etosha National Park, Namibia. Image: iStock/johan63

Self-drive in Namibia

One of Africa’s best-kept secrets, Etosha National Park is home to a variety of wonderful wildlife, from elephants, lions and leopards to black rhinos, zebras and giraffes, plus hundreds of bird species. Under the African skies, marvel at mind-blowing natural scenery and watch as animals quench their thirst at the watering holes. With easy roads and friendly locals, make tracks yourself for a truly authentic experience.

Galapagos sea lions sunning themselves on the beach. Image: iStock/mantaphoto

Cruise the Galápagos Islands

Live out your wildest David Attenborough dreams with a visit to the ‘enchanted isles’ of the Galápagos, famed as Charles Darwin’s research ground. Cruise the deep blue waters of the Pacific Ocean, soaking up awe-inspiring volcanic landscapes and uninhabited islands before snorkelling among magnificent reef and marine life, and scuba diving with sea lions, penguins and turtles.

A leopard in Sri Lanka’s Yala National Park. Image: iStock/Airubon

Seek wildlife in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka isn’t short of stunning national parks, and with each one home to a multitude of wildlife and breathtaking landscapes, it would be rude to single out just one. Hop aboard a 4X4 and go on a thrilling search for endemic leopards at popular Yala National Park, and if elephants are high on your radar, Udawalawe is the place to spot them – if you’re travelling in September or October, visit Minneriya for the iconic ‘gathering’ of elephants.

The Sahara Desert in Morocco. Image: iStock/hadynyah

Scour the Sahara Desert

The majestic Sahara is famed the world over for its striking and rugged natural landscapes. Experience the Moroccan part of the vast desert on a thrilling quad bike safari, speeding through the sand as you soak up the beguiling surrounding scenery, followed by a camel ride before the sun sets. And for a truly authentic sojourn, spending a night under the stars at a local Bedouin camp is a must.

Maya at the Big Cat Sanctuary. Image courtesy of Big Cat Sanctuary

Encounter big cats in Kent

You don’t need to traverse the earth to encounter endangered animals, thanks to The Big Cat Sanctuary in the heart of the Kent countryside. Get up close to some of rarest big and small cats in the world at this family-friendly spot, with over 50 different species from African lions and jaguars to snow leopards and Sumatran tigers. You can also pick your type of experience, whether it’s being a ranger for the day or learning about the charity’s conservation work.

Burchell’s Zebra in Kruger National Park. Image: iStock/jacobeukman

Spot South Africa’s famous wildlife

When it comes to going in search of South Africa’s iconic beasts, world-famous Kruger National Park is the undeniable hotspot. Whether it’s dawn or dusk, set out on an exciting game drive for the chance to seek lions, elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalo in their natural habitat. When you aren’t exploring the vast landscapes, hunker down in a safari lodge for an authentic back-to-nature stay amongst the local wildlife.

The Chitwan jungle in Nepal. Image: iStock/AttilaBenko

Trek the jungle in Nepal

Embrace the wild plains of Nepal’s Chitwan jungle, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the richest national parks in Asia. A walking safari will have you venturing through jungle scenery and spotting endangered wildlife at every turn – think prehistoric trees, twisting vines, exotic birds, rare rhinos, and if you’re lucky, sloths. The indigenous locals make up the unique elements of the park too, so head on a village walk to get acquainted with the Tharu way of life.

A tiger in Ranthambore National Park. Image: iStock/dickysingh

Spot alluring wildlife in India

India always conjures up images of the iconic Taj Mahal, but there’s far more to it than its landmark architecture. Exotic Ranthambore National Park is one of the country’s largest reserves and the most sensational spot to watch tigers roaming around their home turf. Alongside these stunning creatures, keep your eyes peeled for ancient ruins and Padam Talao lake, which is dotted with water lilies and surrounded by a variety of flora and fauna.