Meaning ’journey’ or ‘expedition’ in Swahili, the word Safari is synonymous with the thrill of the wild.

From the great wildebeest migration in Tanzania to tracking mountain gorillas in Rwanda, the untamed wilderness of the African continent offers the chance to observe some of the world’s rarest and most exciting wildlife in their natural habitats. From lush jungle to wide open grassland, unforgiving desert to life-giving delta, a luxury African safari offers an unforgettable experience. But of course wildlife is not just confined to one continent, and there are now top lodges and safari operations in India and Sri Lanka’s national parks too, offering superlative wilderness experiences in classic safari style.

Here is just a small selection of safari experiences and places to stay that we love here in the Temple World tailormade team. For more inspiration or to plan a safari, call us for expert advice.


Kenya and Tanzania are incredible at any time of year, but between June and July tens of thousands of migrating wildebeest mass at the edges of the Grumeti River in Tanzania before plunging into the crocodile infested waters to cross—one of nature’s most awe-inspiring spectacles. Things can get busy at this time, so we recommend combining two carefully chosen lodges in the path of the action on the Tanzanian side with some unique experiences in Kenya such as a tranquil horse-back safari at the glorious Old Donyo Lodge near Amboseli National Park, or hiking with the Maasai in the shadow of Mount Kenya at family-run Lewa Wilderness.

Best for: Couples, groups of friends, families with kids age 10+
When to go: June to October for migration-based activities
Our favourite Kenya and Tanzania hotels: Ol Donyo Lodge, Alex Walker’s Serian, Sanctuary Olonana, Lewa Wilderness


Sustainable low-impact, high quality tourism has left Botswana’s staggering landscape wild and pristine, with each park shared by only a handful of lucky visitors at a time. Each year, floodwaters create a vast Delta in the grasslands of the Okavango, adding a wetland habitat to explore alongside Botswana’s rivers, deserts and salt pans. We never create the same Botswana itinerary twice but ideally the ultimate Botswana safari should include time in the Moremi for incredible Big 5 game viewing by 4×4, time in the flooded part of the Delta for exploring by mokoro (dug out canoe) and time in the Kalahari Desert or Makgadikgadi Pans for baobabs, meerkats and dramatic salt pan landscapes.

Best for: Couples, groups of friends, families with kids age 10+
When to go: June to October for peak Delta flooding, April, May and November for great wildlife and lower rates
When to book: Availability in peak months July and August books up 6-8 months in advance, so book as early as you can.


Most people have heard of the famous Tiger reserve Ranthambore but in fact India has a staggering array of National Parks nationally, a refuge for India’s Big 5: Asiatic Lion, Tiger, Leopard, Asiatic Elephant and Rhinoceros. To see them all we recommend combining Gir, Tadoba and Kaziranga National Parks. Gir is now the last bastion of the rare Asiatic lion, whilst the dry deciduous forests of Tadoba are home to tiger, leopard, wild dog and sloth bear. Kaziranga National Park in Assam has breeding populations of rhino, tiger and elephant as well as incredible bird and reptile life. Best of all, on an Indian safari you can track wildlife on foot, by canoe, on elephant-back and by 4×4.

Best for: Couples, groups of friends, families with kids age 10+
When to go: January to March
When to book: There are only a few luxury lodges in each location, and a short season, so book 6 months + in advance


Rwanda’s critically endangered mountain gorillas can only be seen in Volcanoes National Park, and this luxury eco-lodge is, in our opinion, the very best place to stay whilst tracking them. Just six opulent thatched suites are perched on a thickly forested hillside 20 minutes from the park entrance, with far-reaching views of the Virunga volcanoes. Built to exacting environmental standards, the lodge’s profits fund community partnerships and reforestation projects. Trek to see habituated groups of Mountain Gorilla and golden monkeys, hike to Dian Fossey’s grave, plant a tree in the nursery or join the lodge’s chef on a trip to the local market to source the day’s fresh ingredients.

Best for: Couples, groups of friends, families with older kids (15+)
When to go: June to September
When to book: Bisate Lodge only has 6 rooms and is very sought-after. We’ll let you know when they have space and plan the rest of your trip around that.


Combining the adventure of a leopard safari with the decadence of being waited on hand and foot, Wild Coast Tented Lodge is a very exciting new lodge near Yala National Park in Sri Lanka. 28 opulent tented ’cocoons’ are dotted amidst a beachfront wilderness, featuring four poster beds, free-standing copper baths and private decks. Four cocoons are beachfront and feature private plunge pools. Expert guides whisk guests to the quietest corners of Yala National Park to discover an incredible diversity of flora and fauna, including elephants, sloth bears and leopards. A member of Relais & Chateaux, the restaurant at this staggering lodge is a major highlight, serving Sri Lankan cuisine with a twist.

Best for: Couples, groups of friends, families with kids (7+)
When to go: December to April
When to book: If planning to visit in peak months January and February we advise booking 5 or more months in advance

We hope you’ve enjoyed browsing this small selection of our safari recommendations. There are too many incredible places, experiences and luxury lodges for us to detail them all here, but trust us when we say: if it’s a luxury safari, we do it. Whether it’s a malaria-free safari in South Africa, a walking safari in Zambia, a self-drive safari in Namibia, or a fly-in safari in Zimbabwe, we have the expertise to hand-pick every lodge and experience to create an unforgettable, personalised trip of a lifetime.

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