15 Wildlife Sanctuaries in Africa | Wildlife Parks in Africa

Wildlife Parks in Africa

Serengeti National Park, Masai Mara Nature Reserve, Kruger National Park, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya, Volcanoes National Park, Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Lake Nakuru and many more.

Wildlife sanctuaries in Africa are the best places to see the way rich wildlife of the African continent are protected and preserved. Lying almost entirely on the equator, the continent’s diverse landscape of arid deserts to swamps, savannahs, and mountains, Africa is bestowed with extremely rich wildlife. This comprises the famous Big-Five game species like the lion, rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo, and leopard along with hundreds of native species.

The best way to experience a close encounter with these wild animal species is to visit any of the spectacular wildlife parks in Africa to enjoy a once in a lifetime African safari experience.

Be it the Serengeti National Park, where the great wildebeest migration takes place, the Samburu National Park for its more than 350 bird species, the Volcanoes National Park for its 62 million-year-old caves, or the salt pans of the Etosha National Park, all are perfect for an incredible wildlife experience. These parks offer stupendous experiences like self-driving safaris, tours to tribal villages, bush camping, boating, walking safaris and so much more!

Here are some of the best wildlife sanctuaries in Africa:

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Serengeti National Park

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Amongst the most well-known wildlife parks in Africa and around the world, the UNESCO protected Serengeti National Park comprises over 14, 750 kilometers of woodlands, savannas, and riverine forests. The Serengeti plains are the largest concentration of predators and house gazelles, hartebeest, Nile crocodiles, martial eagles, Colobus monkeys, dik-dik, etc. along with a stupendous landscape.

Location: Seronera, Northern Tanzania, East Africa,

Best Time to visit: Mid-December to March, during the wildebeest migration.

Highlights: World’s largest overland migration of millions of wildebeest, Plains zebra, Giant Eland, etc. followed by herds of predating lions. More than 500 bird species, 7,500 hyenas, 3,000 lions, and 250 cheetahs. Living communities of the indigenous Masai, Kuria, and Sukuma communities.

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Masai Mara Nature Reserve

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Masai Mara Nature Reserve is a preserved savannah wilderness in the southwestern Kenya close to the Tanzanian border. The nature reserve is home to some of the wildbeasts like lions, hippos, African bush elephants, African leopard, zebras, and cheetahs

This place is surely a great treat for wildlife and nature lovers as you will be able to find grassy plains, rolling hills, and the famous Mara and Talek Rivers. The best time to comeover to this reserve would be during the annual migration season when the wildebeest traverse its plains. You can take both day and night time game drives in special guided vehicles or helicopters to capture the movement of the animals in the midst of alluring natural beauty.

Location:  Ngiro-are Road, Kenya

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Kruger National Park

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One of the largest game reserves and wildlife parks in Africa, the UNESCO protected Kruger National Park is nestled between the granite kopjes (hills), the Lebombo mountains, and tropical forests comprising Red bush-willows and acres of red grass.

Location: Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces, South Africa.

Best Time to visit:
May- October

The park houses all the big-five game animals, Greater kudu, Impala, Hartebeest, Mountain reedbuck, etc. The endangered African wild dog, 200 species of butterflies, and skippers. 

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Samburu National Reserve

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One of the most-visited wildlife parks in Africa, Samburu National Reserve attracts indigenous wildlife due to the Ewaso Ng’iro river. The park is set over thick riverine forests, thorn trees, and doum palm groves that house not only the game species but also other dry-country animal species.

Location: Samburu District, Rift Valley Province, Kenya.

Best Time to visit: May- October

Highlights: All the three big cats here along with Olive baboon, Grant’s gazelle, Waterbuck, black rhinoceros, etc. Over 350 bird species like secretary birds, Bateleur, Sunbirds, etc. The park houses a lioness that became famous for adopting antelope calves. 

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Volcanoes National Park

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This is amongst the first wildlife sanctuaries in Africa that were created in 1925 to protect the native gorillas from poachers and comprises a rich ecosystem that includes bamboo forests, vast open grasslands, and swamps. Named after the dormant Virunga Massif, the park also has several crater lakes.

Location: Kinigi, Ruhengeri, Rwanda.

Best Time to visit: June- September

Highlights: Buhanga Eco-Park that houses ancient forests and almost 62 million-year-old Musanze Caves. Rare Mountain Gorillas, Golden Monkey, Black-fronted duiker, Spotted hyenas, Bushbucks, and almost 200 bird species, etc. in their natural rainforest habitat.

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Bwindi Impenetrable National Park

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A part of the primeval Bwindi Impenetrable Forest, Bwindi National Park is one of the most diverse wildlife sanctuaries in Africa that houses hundreds of species of mammals, birds, butterflies, trees, etc. The park is made up of two blocks of forests that are connected by another forest corridor and a landscape of quartz, schist, and granite stones.

Location: Kanungu District, Uganda.

Best Time to visit: June-August, December-February

Highlights: The park has half of the world’s endangered mountain gorilla population and the endangered Turacos, Baboons, Elephants, etc. 

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Ngorongoro Crater Park

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Located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the world’s largest, unfilled, and unbroken volcanic caldera, which was created almost 2.5 million years ago due to the volcanic mountain collapsing onto itself. It is a part of the Serengeti ecosystem and is nestled amidst 8 shield volcanoes and other smaller calderas. The area is inhabited by lions, hippos, elephants, etc.

Location: Arusha, Tanzania.

Best Time to visit: November- May

Highlights: This UNESCO World Heritage site is counted amongst the seven natural wonders of Africa and is amongst the world’s most important prehistoric sites. Hike to the crater’s center to see the saltwater lake and the Loitokitok Spring at its eastern side.

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Lake Nakuru Park

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One of the most visited places in Africa, this lake Nakuru is one of the few saline lakes in the lake systems in the African continent. The place houses rare species like the Southern white rhinos, Rothschild’s giraffes, Cheetahs, pythons, Goliath heron, Verreaux’s eagle, etc.

Location: Southern Rift Valley, Kenya.

Best Time to visit: November-March

Highlights: The pink flamingo boom when millions of Greater and Lesser flamingos and 500 other bird species visit the lake for its abundant algae. 

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Hwange National Park

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The largest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, Hwange National Park lies close to the famous Kalahari Desert. The park comprises the rare Zambezi teak, Mopane woodland, and the Kalahari sands. The park houses all the protected animals of Zimbabwe including 100 mammals and 400 bird species like Cape wild dogs, lions, African leopards, Cape griffon, African hobby, etc.

Location: Matabeleland North Province, Zimbabwe.

Best Time to visit: July- September

Highlights: The park’s landscape comprises rare and ancient fossil drainage channels. Bumbusi National Monument, an archaeological site. Ngweshla Pan and Shapi Pan waterholes. See the Chawato Springs, Salt Springs, and the Mandavu Dam.

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Loango National Park

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One of the newer wildlife sanctuaries in Africa, Loango National Park was established in 2002 is famous for its lush landscape of white sandy beaches and dense mangroves. You can spot primates like monkeys, chimpanzees, gorillas, hippos, whales, lions, and turtles.

Location: Western shore of Gabon

Best Time to visit: October-March

Highlights: The beaches here house the world’s largest humpback population. Enjoy safaris that include forest drives, beach visits, and ending at the in-house gorilla research camp. 

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South Luangwa National Park

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South Luangwa National Park is one of the most scenic parks in Africa, the landscape of this park is covered in dense forests, open grassy plains, and the beautiful Luangwa River. You can see the Big-Five game animals and the endangered hippos, Crawshay’s zebra, Bushbucks, and almost 400 species of birds including birds of prey.

Location: Mfuwe, Eastern Province, Zambia

Best Time to visit: July- October

Highlights: Oxbow lagoons watering holes. Visit the remote Muchinga escarpment where the elusive Sable, Roan, and Hartebeest roam freely. 

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Moremi Game Reserve

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Established in 1963, the UNESCO protected Moremi Game Reserve is the oldest protected reserves of the Okavango Delta. The park is home to the rare African wildlife species kike white and black rhino, cheetah, African wild dog, lion, and almost 500 bird species like Bee-eaters, Wattled cranes, and 1000 plant species.

Location: Central and Eastern Okavango, Moremi, Botswana

Best Time to visit: July- October

Highlights: One of the few National Parks in Africa to offer bush camping, boat cruises, and Mokoro safari. Tour the local villages and enjoy birding safaris. 

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Amboseli National Park

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This almost 8,000 square kilometer Amboseli National Park spreads across the Kenya and Tanzania border surrounded by Maasai people’s habitats. The beautiful and vast landscape of the park consists of five main swamps, acres of semi-arid vegetation, and the Pleistocene Lake that’s now dried up. See the rare African bush elephant, Masai giraffe, Blue wildebeest, etc

Location: Loitokitok District, Rift Valley, Entonet, Kenya

Best Time to visit: June-October

Highlights: It is one of the best places in the world to see free-ranging animals. The park offers amazing views of Mt. Kilimanjaro.

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Chobe National Park

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Located in the northern Botswana region near inland Okavango Delta, the ChobeNational Park is the dwelling place for large herds of elephants, Cape Buffalo, Lions,antelopes and hippos. You can consider this national park as an unspoilt safari playground as it lets you get into the wilderness of Africa so that you can capture theiconic moments of the wildlife. The safari tours are truly awe inspiring as it lets thevisitors get close and have personal meetings with the wildlife at the park. The best part of this national park is the highest density of game drives in Africa.

Best Time to Visit: August to October

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Etosha National Park

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Etosha National Park, Namibia happens to be a national park in the northwestern region of Namibia which was proclaimed to be a game reserve in the year 1907 by the Governor of German South West Africa. It is one of the unique national parks in Africa as it is home to abundant wildlife that come around the waterholes to give the visitors a perfect game sighting.

It is also one of the most accessible game reserves in Namibia and Southern Africa. You can come over to this place in a regular car and get to spend time in the rest camps offering loads of modern amenities. You will also come across specially constructed viewing decks, souvenir shops, and petrol stations.

Best Time to Visit: July to October

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People Also Ask About Africa

  1. Which are the best national parks in Africa to see wildlife?

    1. Etosha National Park: The park houses a salt pan that can be spotted from the space, making it one of the most famous wildlife parks in Africa. Besides, you can see the endangered black rhino, leopard, lions, and more than 350 bird species amidst the Mopani and camel thorn tree thickets.

    2. Tarangire National Park: This park is a haven for wildlife enthusiasts and houses huge herds of wildebeest, Vervet monkey, Banded mongoose, Olive baboon, and almost 550 bird species. It is also famous for the huge termite mounds that are spread all over the park.

    3. Chobe National Park: This is Botswana’s first national park and also the richest in wildlife. Amidst its lush mahogany and teak forests, you can see major watering holes for animals like Impala, Zebra, Cheetahs, Wildebeest, etc.

    4. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Located within the southern Kalahari Desert, this park has a fascinating landscape of dunes and vast dry riverbeds. You can see Springbok, Eland, Hartebeest, vultures, raptors, buzzards, etc. here

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  2. Which is the largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa?

    The largest wildlife sanctuary in Africa is Kruger National Park that stretches over almost 350 kilometers. The park houses larger and more diverse varieties of species than any sanctuary.
  3. What is the best time to visit Africa for a wildlife safari?

    May-October is the best month for wildlife viewing in Africa. During these hot and dry months, the vegetation is sparse allowing for better wildlife spotting opportunities. This is also when animals congregate around water holes, making sighting easier.

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  4. Which country in Africa has the most wildlife?

    Tanzania is the home to not only the largest but also the most varied wildlife in Africa. It has around 4 million wild animals forming almost 450 species.
  5. What type of wild animals can we see in Africa?

    Africa offers an opportunity to see rare and endangered species like the African lion, elephant, Kenyan cheetah, black and white rhino, Cape buffalo, etc. You can also spot exotic bird species like Secretary bird, Malachite kingfisher, Lilac-breasted roller, etc.

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