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Africa Safaris, River Cruises & Tours

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Our African safaris and small ship river cruises offer some of the most amazing opportunities for wildlife discovery on the planet. Join us on a classic African safari in Tanzania, South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, MalawiZambia, or Zimbabwe.  Experience the world's densest elephant populations on a luxurious safari cruise of the Chobe River and Okavango Delta of Botswana. Stand in awe overlooking Victoria Falls. In Eastern Africa, go gorilla tracking in Rwanda and Uganda. Or venture deep into the Indian Ocean at the paridisiacal Seychelles Islands, far off the eastern coast of Africa. Immerse yourself in the rhythms, tastes, and colors of Africa with Adventure Life. Contact one of our African safari experts and we'll help you find the best safari or river cruise for your precise interests, budget, and schedule.
Best Africa Safaris & Tours

10 Best African Safaris & Tours for 2021-2022

Best Africa Safaris & Tours
Best African Small Ship Cruises

10 Best African Cruises

Trip NameFromDaysNext DepartureSummary
Golden Trails of Africa$1649517Oct 24, 2021Explore Africa by land and river boat on this 17-day safari cruise! Cruise the Chobe River, visit local villages, take a safari through the Serengeti …
Discover Africa$1079910Oct 22, 2021From the luxurious Zambezi Queen, this 10-day Africa river cruise showcases the best of South Africa & Botswana, including wildlife viewing, stops in …
Stars of South Africa$1429515Oct 22, 2021This two-week adventure combines a stay in Cape Town, a river cruise aboard the Zambezi Queen, and a stay in the private Tintswalo Atlantic game …
Rivers & Rails of Africa$1469513Oct 22, 2021This 13-day tour combines a stay in Cape Town, a Chobe River cruise aboard the comfortable Zambezi Queen, a safari in Chobe National Park, and a stay …
Canary Islands: Round-trip Las Palmas$573010Nov 18, 2021The legendary windjammer Sea Cloud hosts this 10-day exploration of the Canary Islands, visiting Gran Canaria, La Gomera, Tenerife, El Hierro and La …
Canary Islands & Cape Verde: Las Palmas - Praia$700011Nov 9, 2021Cruise the Atlantic ocean as Sea Cloud II sails from Spain's Canary Islands to the stunning shores of the Cape Verde islands. Along the way, visit …
Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth with Extended Stay at The Cape of Good Hope$1028713Oct 20, 2021From Johannesburg to Zambia along the Chobe & Zambezi Rivers, this 13-day itinerary provides an intimate look at the nature of South Africa from …
Treasures of Egypt$750013Mar 2, 2022During this 13-day cruise on the Sanctuary Sun Boat III of the majestic Nile River, the explorer in you will rejoice over what is arguably the …
Egypt in Depth$809514Oct 20, 2021Going with the flow on this luxury 14-day cruise of the Nile River, follow the course of the ancient pharaohs’ processions as you cruise leisurely …
Southern Africa: Travel to the Ends of the Earth$73159Oct 22, 2021From Johannesburg, South Africa, enjoy this 9-day exploration cruise of Southern Africa aboard the luxurious Zimbabwean Dream. Get an up-close …
Top-Rated Africa Cruises

Top-Rated River Cruise Ships in Africa

Ship NameMax PassengersFromSummary
African Dream16$7315Explore the deepest treasures on the African continent aboard the African Dream, a luxurious and comfortable ship designed to provide an intimate …
Zambezi Queen28$10799With a design specific for safari river cruising on the Chobe River, the 28-passenger Zambezi Queen offers a sophisticated onboard experience …
Sanctuary Sun Boat III36$7500Akin to an intimate river yacht, the Sanctuary Sun Boat III represents the ultimate in luxury and relaxation on the Nile. Discover the essence of …
Sanctuary Sun Boat IV80$2324Launched in 1996 and fully refurbished in 2006, Sanctuary Sun Boat IV offers a Nile River cruise experience unlike any other - with private docks in …

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Africa Travel Guide for Safaris & Cruises

Best Times of the Year to Take an African Safari

African safaris are possible any time of the year, but to see the maximum amount of wildlife, the best time to take an African safari is during the dry season which tends to be from May to October when animals congregate around waterways. In southern Africa, this is also the winter and the coolest season, making it the most pleasant weather of the year as well. 

But, depending on where you are going on safari and what you want to see, there may be specific times of the year that feature migrations, birthing season and other natural phenomena such as the Great Migration of eastern Africa which is at its pinnacle in Tanzania in June and July but moves to other regions other times of the year.

Please see this table that details the best and worst times to visit many of Africa's biggest destinations.
Africa's Top Safari Regions & National Parks: Top Safari Expeditions Destinations
Once you get away from the buzzing, modern cities in Africa, you will be immersed in a wild world ruled by the games of predator and prey, which you will get a unique chance to witness on your safari expedition. No matter which country you are planning to visit, there are excellent safari destinations that await, but these are some of the top national parks and game reserves where you can experience a comprehensive safari expedition.

Top Safari Lodges, Camps, & Hotels in Africa
All of the African safari lodges, tent camps, and hotels that we feature offer explorers a comfortable home base for their safari expeditions, so feel free to explore all of the many options we have hand selected. Here is a list of the top safari lodges, camps, and hotels in each country in Africa.

South Africa: Cape Cadogan Hotel, Cape Grace, Rhino Post Safari Lodge, Hoyo Hoyo Safari Lodge 

TanzaniaLake Naltron Halisi Camp, Migunga Forest Camp, Pakulala Safari Camp, Serengeti Halisi Camp, Tarangire Safari Lodge

Rwanda: Virunga Lodge

Botswana: Gomoti Tented Camp, Jacana Camp, Linyanti Discoverers Camp, Toka Leya

Uganda: Kyambura Gorge Lodge, Volcanoes Bwindi Lodge

Ethiopia: Tukul Village, Consolar Hotel, Jupiter International Hotel 

Namibia: Anderson's Camp, Camp Kipwe, Desert Rhino Camp, Okonjima Bush Camp, Sossus Dune Lodge  
Wildlife of Africa
Wildlife is at the core of any safari expedition through Africa. There are two types of animals that you will see during your time in Africa: Predators & Prey. As you enjoy hours-long game drives across the savanna and through the mountains, you will likely come across:
  • Lions
  • Cheetahs
  • Rhinoceros
  • Buffalo
  • Leopards
  • Elephants
  • Giraffes
  • Gorillas
  • Hyenas
  • Antelope
  • Kudu
  • Tsessebe
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra
Often, you will simply see these animals grazing in the majesty of the African plains, but occasionally, you might witness the desperate struggle for life between predator and prey.
Top Africa River Cruises
Adventure Life's African cruise experts pick their three favorite adventure cruises on the African continent.

African Safari Cruise on the Chobe River
Go beyond a normal safari with a safari cruise. Visit the Kapama Game Reserve in South Africa before boarding your luxury small boat on the Chobe river in Botswana for the ultimate safari experience. Here is home to 45,000 roaming elephants plus lions, leopards, giraffes, and cheetahs. Finish your adventure at glorious Victoria Falls. 

Small Boat cruises on the Nile River
There's no better way to see the Pyramids and ancient cities of Egypt than on a luxury small ship cruise from Luxor to Aswan on a 4 or 5 day voyage through time.  
Taking an African cruise
Most of our African tours are land-based excursions and safaris, but the rivers that wind through Africa provide a unique way to explore this largely untamed continent aboard one of the many luxurious river boats that we feature. You can choose to explore just about anywhere by boat, so here's a list of our most popular African cruise destinations:

Egypt: Cruise the Nile from Luxor to Aswan, and see the Great Pyramids that have endured centuries while you learn how this culture has been evolving for over five thousand years.

Botswana: The Okavango Delta & Chobe River will acquaint you with wild Botswana, where elephants, lions, leopards, buffalo, giraffes, zebras, hippos, and rhinos come to drink from these pure waters.

Tanzania: Some of the most popular African destinations are right here in Tanzania, including the mighty Serengeti, towering Mt. Kilimanjaro, and the unique Maasai culture.

South Africa: From the bustling ports of Cape Town and Johannesburg to the safaris where the Big 5 are sure to be spotted, the southernmost African nation awaits!

Zimbabwe: With a variety of expansive national parks like Hwange and Zambezi to the world-renowned Victoria Falls, a river cruise in Zimbabwe won't disappoint!

Canary Islands & Morroco: Geared more towards relaxation than adventure, these cruises in Spain's faraway island territory off the coast of Africa offer engaging ways to escape the buzz of society and enjoy the sun-warmed waters of the Atlantic, including several cruises that even cross to the Caribbean.

What to expect on an African safari
If you’re a first-timer to African safaris, then you probably have a lot of questions and a fair mix of both excitement and anxiety. Here’s what you can expect on a traditional African safari:
  • Expect the unexpected! No two safaris are the same, and that’s part of the adventure. Your guides are experts at tracking the animals in every area, but which animals you see, when, and what they’re up to is as wild as the savanna itself. You might come across lions enjoying a zebra carcass or antelope galloping across the plains. It’s even possible that your best shot at seeing these animals is right around your camp or lodge. 
  • What’s a game drive? A safari game drive is when you go out in a vehicle in search of the animals in their most natural habitat. The vehicles are often 4x4 drive open-air vehicles and get as close as safely possible to the animals so that you can see them in all their wild majesty.
  • Game drives are not off-roading adventures – In order to preserve the habitats, the game drives stick to the established trails and routes rather than just crossing the plains at random, but these trails were established by the experts to maximize the opportunities to see wildlife on your game drive. These drives tend to be leisurely, allowing the best chance to take in the surrounding environment and hopefully spot some amazing wildlife.
  • Game drives generally take place in the cool morning or late afternoon – remember, the best way to see the animals of the safari in action is to follow their behavior, and they tend to be most active when the sun isn’t as high in the sky. 
  • The length of a game drive is generally around 3 or 4 hours, but this varies based on what your guide feels is the best way to track the animals.
  • Alternatives to game drives on a safari vacation might include an aerial tour in a hot air balloon, mountain biking and horseback riding, hikes, a river cruise to see the animals via the water, or a nighttime game drive that shows off the nocturnal wildlife of Africa. 
  • The atmosphere of a safari vacation is relaxed but immersive. Imagine being literally inside your favorite Animal Planet documentary. Your itinerary won’t be jam-packed with things to do, but the marvels of simply looking out your window to a giraffe grazing in a nearby tree or seeing an elephant passing casually by the lodge is an unforgettable experience. 
  • The safari experience changes based on the season – in each region, the dry and wet seasons bring with them different wildlife behaviors and habits and even migrations, so if there is an animal you know you want to see, let us know so we can recommend the best time to travel.
  • Safari vacations usually combine multiple wildlife reserves, from national parks to private game concessions. Getting from one camp to the next might include a long drive through the plains or a scenic flight on an 8-passenger propeller plane. 
You won’t have to sacrifice comfort to enjoy a safari adventure in Africa, either!

While most safaris take you deep into the heart of the most untamed corners of Africa, the camps and lodges themselves are quite comfortable, with electricity, bathrooms with running water, and fans to keep you cool.

Of course, there is always an emphasis on keeping a low ecological impact too, so electricity use might be from solar power and therefore limited, and the bathroom facilities (while definitely comfortable) might include a drop toilet with a ceramic bowl rather than a traditional flushing toilet that consumes a lot of water.

You’ll find that these minor differences help make it a more authentic experience as you enjoy life out in the African bush.

These African safari lodges offer a quiet retreat from the business of daily life – built miles from the closest civilization, you will feel immersed in the plains of Africa. Verandas, pools, and other social areas are built seamlessly into the natural environment.

Since many lodges are built by natural wildlife hotspots, like watering holes, the animals around the lodge are often used to its presence and know that it is not a threat, meaning that they will mosey right through or around camp, some on such a ritual basis that your camp staff can tell you when and where to expect them.

Meals are second-to-none, highlighting local flavors and cooking styles you have probably never tried in nature’s most relaxed dining environment. Service and attention to your comfort are points of pride at all of the African lodges and safari camps that we feature.

Safety is key, and the guides are experts.

An African safari is not a trip to the zoo – that’s part of the magic, but also part of the risk. That’s why following the safety guidelines set by your guides and hosts is paramount.

The safari guides are experts at identifying risky behavior – whether it’s animals in heat or a stalking predator near camp – and keeping you safe.

There’s no reason to be afraid on your safari as long as you listen to your guide and follow their instructions!

Seychelles Islands Cruise to the Garden of Eden
Far off the coast of East Africa is a tropical paradise unbeknownst to most except for savvy SCUBA divers and snorkelers who come to explore some of the most crystaline wildlife-rich waters on the planet. Island hopping reveals quaint villages where oxcarts and bicycles far outnumber cars.   
Visa Laws
If you are traveling from the United States, Europe, or Canada, your passport is the most important travel document.

The following African countries require a passport, but not a visa: Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland, and Lesotho.

The following African countries require you to obtain your visa in advance: Kenya & Mozambique ($60-$120).

The following African countries require you to obtain a visa upon arrival at an international airport: Ethiopia ($50), Malawi ($75), Rwanda ($30), Tanzania ($50), Uganda ($100), Zambia ($50), Zimbabwe ($30).
How to pay
Cash and credit cards are the most common ways to pay throughout Africa:
  • While you are in major cities, you will likely have access to ATMs that work with most major international credit cards (local bank cards will probably not work). You should expect a marginal international transaction fee.
  • Cash can be used for anything you’ll need while on the safari itself, especially in the bush.
  • You can exchange your money most easily at the international airports upon arrival or at a bank with presentation of your passport if necessary.
  • Avoid paying with travelers checks. These are not accepted in most places, so it’s safer to just stick with your card.

Talk to your travel physician about the Yellow Fever vaccination and have proof of this for the countries that require it. 

Depending on where you are visiting, your physician may request you get vaccinated for:
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Tetanus
  • Typhoid
  • Diphtheria.
Defer to your doctor and the CDC for country-specific information.

Ebola, HIV, and other diseases
Many people don’t realize the immense size of Africa, so when a disease is reported on the news, it might scare off potential visitors; but the reality is that the spread of infectious diseases has largely been controlled (especially recently) throughout most of Africa, and the areas that are popular travel destinations are very safe. You should still exercise caution and only drink bottled or purified water, never eat anything from a source that you don’t trust (like a street vendor), and get all of your vaccinations.

It also might be helpful to bring some medications from home. Most pharmacies in Africa will have whatever medicine you need, but finding out what brand they use or even getting to a pharmacy while you’re on safari can be difficult. It’s always safe to pack your own medication.
Note that Ebola has not been found in any safari areas.

Though Malaria is less common throughout Africa every year, traveling through tropical areas with stagnant water (especially during the rainy season) can expose you to the risk of contracting this mosquito-borne disease. There are several anti-malaria medications that your doctor can prescribe prior to your departure that is recommended for anyone traveling to an area that might be home to malaria-bearing mosquitos.
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Fun Facts about Africa

What is the best month to go on an African safari?

The best time to travel to an African Safari is during the summer and early fall months of July through October. Animals are more likely to be spotted and in large numbers as well.

What is the most spoken language of Africa?

 Arabic and the second most spoken language is English.

What is the population of Africa?

Despite its massive landmass, it is home to just 1.1 billion people.

How much of Africa is actually a desert?

 About 60% is covered in drylands & deserts.

What is internet access like in Africa?

While internet access in Africa is definitely on the rise and quickly expanding, the penetration throughout the continent, especially in Sub-Saharan Africa, is relatively low. Since our tours tend to be in the more isolated areas of the African countries, in general terms, you shouldn't count on internet access. 

Is tipping customary in Africa?

Generally speaking, tipping is not obligatory, but appreciated. Guides might get anywhere between $15-25; porters can get about $1 per bag; concierges can get up to $10-15 if they're helping you with favor; bars do not expect tips; most restaurants don't either but the higher end ones will likely include a 10% service charge on the bill. Otherwise, tipping is not usually an expectation.

Can I use my cell phone while in Africa?

You will likely be out of range of any cell towers for much of your expedition in Africa, but in cities, the best option, if you need to use your phone, is purchasing a local SIM chip for your smartphone, which will work with the local towers.

Do I need power adapters?

The electricity in Africa is 220-240v in all countries, but the socket adapters you will need vary considerably by country. Make sure to check individual countries to see which adapters you will need. Also, keep in mind that certain 110v devices aren't able to handle 220v currents, so you will need a power converter too.

What are the toilets like in Africa?

For the most part, you will find western-style bowl toilets in your accommodations and restaurants, but when you visit more remote sites that have facilities, it's possible that they are simply a hole in the ground or a squat toilet.

Can I drink the tap water in Africa?

There are no countries in Africa where you can drink the tap water. That's why we make sure that all of our tours provide clean bottled or filtered water free of charge throughout your tour.

Are credit cards accepted in Africa? Will I be able to find ATM's?

Travel with cash and keep it in a safe place. Your trip is all-inclusive, but if you want to purchase souvenirs or leave tips along the way, you will need to have cash on hand since ATMs are few and far between and it's likely some places will not accepts credit cards.

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