Q. We are planning a family safari vacation now that our kids are in college, and the great debate is whether to go to East Africa or South Africa. What do you say?
A. Both destinations are fabulous. And they are very different.
Think of East Africa as more like “the Congo than California.”
Think of southern Africa as more like “California than the Congo.”
East Africa is more exotic, much less developed, has much better game viewing and not a whole lot else. Southern Africa has good game viewing (not as good as East Africa), but that’s usually just a part of a good itinerary, there. It has lots of safe adventure acitivities like hiking and rafting and surfing, a deep and fascinating history with lots of wonderful museums, and extremely modern and exciting cities like Cape Town. Oh, and by the way, Victoria Falls.
More and more, people are beginning to treat southern Africa very much like they treat Europe or South America. East Africa doesn’t have that diversity, yet.
Here’s a good gauge for game viewing. On a 12-day trip to East Africa in the summer (when family vacations usually occur) you can expect to see 80-100 lion. On a 12-day trip exclusively game viewing in southern Africa, you’ll likely see around 20 lion.
So if your question is for game viewing, it’s hands-down East Africa. But if you want a wider experience than just game viewing, then southern Africa is the answer!