East African Safari vs South African Safari : East and South Africa are both popular for spectacular safari destinations, diverse wildlife, amazing nature, breathtaking scenes and safari experiences to die for among other things.  However because these are both African destinations, travelers considering a safari to Africa will always ask which is better East or South Africa?

In this article we want to compare the two regions for you to make a choice but ultimately you should know that all places are unique and will give you experiences that are special only to the particular place. No two places are the same; no two safari places and experiences are the same in the case.

For this artcle when we say East Africa, we mean Uganda, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda; South Africa we mean South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Mozambique, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

We are going to make comparisons on wildlife, land space and sceneries, best time of the year to visit the region plus type of safaris you take in each region.


Both regions are blessed to have the most sought after big five animals which are the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo so whichever of the two you choose you will be sure to have a full blown big five wildlife experience. However the difference may be in the number of animals you see per a wildlife species which vary depending on the area, vegetation and weather conditions but be rest assured you will view all the popular wildlife species in both Regions.

East Africa has an additional set of wildlife that is not in the south which is Mountain gorillas and chimpanzees and about 12 other primate species. The mountain gorillas are only found in Uganda and Rwanda while the chimpanzees are in Uganda, Rwanda and Tanzania. So on top of the traditional big five you also have a primate experience.

Landscape and scenery

The landscape in both regions is unique to them South Africa has more plain lands and a few hills, semi –arid vegetation, acacia trees and vegetation and so forth well as East Africa is hilly, mountainous, with lush green vegetation and a few patches of semi-arid vegetation and a lot of water bodies notably the Nile river and lake Victoria. Famous mountains in East Africa are Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania, Mt Kenya in Kenya, Mt Rwenzori in Uganda and Mt Karisimbi in Rwanda. When it comes to landscape and sceneries you will have to choose which of the regions landscapes and sceneries will give you the most fulfillment.

East African Safari vs South African Safari
East African Safari vs South African Safari

Best time of the year to visit

In both regions the best of time of the year to visit is during the dry season. In South Africa the dry season falls between June and October that’s the dry winter season and November to March which is the summer. For East Africa because it’s near the equator, all year round weather is friendly for a safari but as mentioned the best is the dry season which falls between January  and March and the June – October.

Type of Safari in each region

South Africa offers a wide range of game viewing activities, such as boat, canoe or horse-back safaris, and walking safaris among many others and to move from one park to another you hav to travel by a shared charter flight.

In East Africa you can access all safari parks by road but an option of flying is also available. Safaris in east Africa include but not limited to game viewing, primate trekking, nature walks, forest walks, water safaris, birding sprees, hiking tours, recreational safaris and many more.

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