Africa is jam packed with fantastic wildlife watching opportunities, so even a short safari can feel like a holiday of a lifetime, whether you choose a traditional safari lodge in Tanzania or Kenya or an unconventional chimpanzee watching expedition in the Rwandan hills. When choosing where to go on a short safari holiday, consider whether not you’d like to extend your trip, and if so, what else you’d like to do, from beach lounging to wine tasting to more safari action – as this could determine your destination.

1. Ghana

Ghana may not immediately come to mind when you think of safaris, but the country’s northern region offers some fantastic wildlife watching experiences, which make a perfect short trip. You could, for example, search for elephants along the red roads of Mole National Park and pay a visit to the nearby Wechiau Community Hippo Sanctuary.

2. Kenya

Kenya is home to more than its fair share of national parks and nature reserves, all of which are well suited to short safaris. Prime candidates include Amboseli, known for its large herds of elephants and views of Mount Kilimanjaro, and the Masai Mara, a national reserve synonymous with both wildlife and the Maasai tribes, which sees some two million wildebeest and zebras during the Great Migration.

3. Rwanda

Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park is a pretty good bet for a short safari. It’s a renowned location for gorilla trekking, with most trips lasting two to three days, with one of these days spent tracking the gorillas. Another option that’s less popular but no less exciting, is an excursion to Nyungwe Forest National Park to see wild chimpanzees in their natural setting.
South Africa

4. South Africa

South Africa’s Kruger National Park has nearly 20,000km² of prime wildlife viewing territory, including Big Five habitats and almost half of the country’s white and black rhino populations, so a short safari here will always come up trumps. If marine life is more your style, searching for whales, dolphin, seals, penguins and marine birds near Hermanus could be just the ticket; many can be seen from the shore.

5. Tanzania

Tanzania is an excellent destination for a short safari and is home to two iconic wilderness areas. A vast landscape of wide plains, the Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest park: a 15,000km² space where the Big Five are ever present, and one of Africa’s largest populations of lion roam. The nearby Ngorongoro Crater boasts equally impressive wildlife sights, with 30,000 animals living within the 25km-wide remnants of a volcano.

6. Uganda

Bwindi Impenetrable National Park is the world’s most famous gorilla trekking location, and another top spot for a short safari. One or two days of your gorilla trekking holiday will be taken up with actual gorilla watching, with just an hour in the presence of the gorillas, leaving two or three days for optional forest hikes, visiting local community projects or even a whistle-stop tour to Lake Victoria.
Travel Team
If you'd like to chat about Short safaris or need help finding a holiday to suit you we're very happy to help.



Why choose a short safari?

Tips from Simon Mills, from our supplier Native Escapes:
“Short safaris give you a taste of a wildlife experience without it being onerous. They also allow you to visit a country and see many different highlights, the safari being just one aspect, so you have a trip full of different experiences. The way many people use them is in combination with other highlights in the same region, for example, a beach stay, Cape Town, Victoria Falls or as part of a self drive trip. Safaris can also be tiring. You are up early on game drives and returning to camp late in the evening, so a short stay will allow you to maximise your time and enjoyment.”

Why choose a short safari?

Marian Thompson, from our supplier M&J Travel & Tours:
“You can still see plenty of wildlife on a shorter safari. In fact, even on a short driving or walking safari of one to two hours in northern Ghana, you’d take in beautiful scenery including valleys and plains, as well as animals ranging from bush elephants to monkeys to hyenas.”

Where to go on a short safari

Simon Mills, from our supplier Native Escapes:
“South Africa works well - as you have a plethora of other activity options; Namibia is excellent as part of a self-drive trip - and then anywhere that you can combine with a beach, like Tanzania, Kenya and even destinations in Southern Africa like Zimbabwe, Zambia and Botswana.”

When to go on a short safari

Marian Thompson, from our supplier M&J Travel & Tours:
“My favourite time to go on a short safari in northern Ghana is during the dry season from mid November to March. At this time the grass has dried up, and animals head for the local watering holes, which makes them easier to spot.”

Short safari tips from our holiday reviews

At Responsible Travel, we think the best people to advise our travellers are often... other travellers. They always return from our tours with packing tips, weather reports, ideas about what to do - and opinions about what not to.
We have selected some of the most useful short safari holidays tips that our guests have provided over the years to help you make the very most of your holiday – and the space inside your suitcase.
Don't spend too much on trekking gear, I didn't need 90% of the things I bought. A good pair of boots will be enough
- Shabnum Ismail, gorilla trekking in Rwanda
"Don't spend too much on trekking gear, I didn't need 90% of the things I bought. A good pair of boots will be enough" – Shabnum Ismail, gorilla trekking in Rwanda
"Be very organised in your packing – perhaps have complete sets of all you need in 2-3 day bundles. A head torch is of great benefit. Travel light and have some easy slip-on footwear for getting into the roof tent." – Nigel Jordan, in South Africa & Victoria Falls
"Go with an open mind and you will learn new skills that will help get the most from this holiday and future trips or even going to your local woods for a walk. Don't have any expectation or a check list on what you want to see, there were always surprises on each of the game drives we did, even from animals we have already seen. Ask questions." – Steve Harris, in South Africa & Victoria Falls
Travel light and have some easy slip-on footwear for getting into the roof tent
- Nigel Jordan, in South Africa & Victoria Falls
Written by Nana Luckham
Photo credits: [Page banner: South African Tourism] [Lodge: John Hickey-Fry] [Hippos: Adolfo Félix] [Herd of Elephants: Matthew Cramblett] [Volcanoes National Park: John Cooke] [Rhino: Grant Peters] [Lions: Ben & Gab] [Gorilla: Martijn.Munneke] [Sunset Tanzania: Chen Hu] [Walking Safari: Ninara] [Self-drive trip: Matthias Mueller] [Elephant: Stig Nygaard] [Watching sunset: Matthias Mueller] [Trekking: Stig Nygaard] [Travelling light: Stig Nygaard]