There’s nothing quite like the thrill of seeing your first animals in the wild on safari in Africa. Baby elephants splashing at the watering hole; a herd of stripped zebra grazing in a savannah valley; a towering giraffe craning up its neck to nibble on tree leaves or a gorilla peering through dense jungle vegetation. While some animals are more widespread across the continent, others inhabit more specific geographical zones. Use the helpful guide below to decide where to go on safari depending on which animals you are hoping to catch sight of.


Antelopes and Zebra

Members of the antelope family are among the most common over the African continent so you’re likely to observe them in most safari destinations. Of particular note, in Kenya you’ll spot various types of horned animals like impalas, spiral-horned antelopes, Coke’s hartebeest, white-bearded wildebeest as well as both Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelles. The best time to spot these herds is during the annual Great Migration, when 1.5 million animals make a circular tour between Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara. You can see a great range of this family in South Africa; especially Impala, Kudu, Blue wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra and the local famous springbok.

The largest of the antelope family, the African Buffalo, roams the open savannahs of Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Namibia and South Africa. These large beasts can weigh up to 750 kg and usually feature among animals seen on safari.


Constant grazers, graceful giraffe are generally found in grassland areas of Kenya, Botswana, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia. They can reach heights of up to 5.5 meters and usually travel in herds and roam specific territory of between 20 km and 70 km, depending on accessible food.

Elephants, Rhinoceros and Hippopotamuses

Of the large big game animals, elephants are the most widespread and commonly visible on safari. The majestic creatures are quite impressive, and general appear in a parade, but it’s important to keep your distance, particularly if there are young ones present. Hippos can be less common, however, a good safari guide could find them for you in Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia and South Africa.

Rhinos are a different story and are some of the hardest animals to catch sight of. This is in great part due to their low numbers from intense poaching. Since 1961 South Africa has been actively involved in protecting and increasing the population of black and white rhinos and Kruger Park is now home to the world’s largest population. In Kenya you can find the largest population of black rhinos in the Masai Mara National Park and white rhinos in the Lake Nakuru National Park.

Cats and Dogs

Of course the most famous African animals are two of the “Big Five”: the lion and the leopard, the cheetah follows closely in third place. These large cats are rather widespread and can be found in South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Tanzania and Namibia. Lions stand out from the other big cats as they are social animals and tend to live in prides of 20 to 30 members with one to three males. You have very good chances of seeing lions on safari in Kenya’s Masai Mara while leopards are much more elusive. Other unique cats you might spot on are wildcats, servals and caracals.

Among African dogs, the spotted hyena are very widespread across popular safari destinations as are African wild dogs. Black-backed and side-striped jackals and bat-eared foxes can be found in South Africa and Kenya, where you might also catch the spotted aardwolf.


You don’t even have to go on an official “safari” to encounter different breeds of these cheeky animals while visiting Africa. Monkeys are likely to come snooping around your accommodation for food and baboons can be found on roadside lookouts near forests trying to acquire leftovers (or more) from motorists. Of specific interest, in Kenya you could see a variety of monkeys including blue, Syke’s, copper-tailed, red-tailed and vervet in addition to the olive baboon. If you would like to do a focused gorilla trekking safari, then there are good options in the mountains of Uganda and Rwanda.

Smaller Creatures

Part of the fun of safari is also catching sight of smaller animals racing or poking up along your path. These could include the African hare, the Kenyan tree squirrel, the springhare, the Southern African crested porcupine, mongoose and the adorably odd looking warthog.

Unique Safari Experiences in Kenya’s Masai Mara

One of the best ways to truly experience the animals of Africa on safari is with the unique experiences offered by Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp. Bordering the Maasai Mara National Reserve and only one kilometer from the Tanzania Serengeti game reserve, Cottar’s upholds five generations of safari traditions through their luxury camp, luxury bush villa and their excellent range of safari experiences, like their unique game walks. These are led by a professional guide of the camp who is accompanied by a licensed gun bearer. They give visitors the chance to observe the unique ecosystem from a closeup perspective. This provides a living textbook from which you can learn about botany and entomology in addition to how to interpret animal tracks and signs.

In addition to their luxury camp, Cottar’s has a gorgeous private Bush Villa. The 10,000 sq ft villa features a spacious, stylish living room, dining room, a large viewing deck, five en-suite bedrooms and a 25m infinity pool. Its guests enjoy their own private vehicles, guides, dinning and other activities.

Experience a safari holiday like no other in Kenya’s Masai Mara with Cottar’s here.

Considered the ‘greatest wildlife show on earth’, the annual Great Migration brings flocks of visitors to Kenya between July and October. The event involves the impressive journey of one and a half million wildebeest and their entourage of zebra, antelope and predators from the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania to the greener pastures of the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya. In a single day you can see it all: elephant, lion, cheetah, leopard, plains game, even the more elusive rhino. Karen Darnborough, from the team of our local experts at Cottar’s 1920s Safari Camp, just sent over these amazing eye-witness videos recently shot of this year’s migration. The exciting clips are a wonderful way to experience it virtually. Karen also tells us why the next few months are an ideal time to go to Kenya, read on, watch on… and let yourself be tempted!

“What an amazing couple of months we’ve had! The migration came early which was a nice surprise for our guests staying with us in June, since then it’s been go, go, go and we’ve had some of the most amazing sightings! From a male Lion swimming across the Sand River, to seeing the big five all in one day, coming across a leopard in a tree with a kill, nearly driving over a huge juvenile African Python and getting to watch some of the most dramatic Mara River crossings. We’ve been on the edge of our Landcruiser car seats anticipating what’s going to come up next!

“Go, go, go! A dramatic crossing seen by Josphat Mako, Willy Mpatiany and their guests on Monday 17th July, 2017.

“Cottar’s guide, Ken and his guests had a great day recently, spotting the Big 5 all in one day on July 7th! How amazing is that? Definitely the highlight of the day was spending some time with this rhino.

“And here’s the juvenile African python, he’s huge… and more than a little bit scary! Better observed from the safety of the Landcruiser!

“So as you can see we’ve been kept very busy and very entertained lately. The Sand River even decided to get in on the action and it flooded for two days, it was pretty exciting crossing it. “We’re enjoying keeping up with nature’s hustle and bustle, what a great start to the busy season.”

A big thank you to Karen and these recent guests of Cottar’s for sharing their thrilling experiences viewing the Great Migration!

Kenya in September through November

Even if you visit beyond the magical months of August through September, you are certain to see large resident herds of zebra and wildebeest along with lion, cheetah, hippo, elephant, leopard, buffalo, warthog and giraffe. Couple the incredible wildlife of this area, with a beautiful and varied landscape of rivers, rolling hills and woodlands — and you can see why the Masai Mara is the most popular national park in Africa.

September and October are still the High Season as the migration is in full swing and wildlife is in abundance all across the Mara Reserve and all the conservancies. Staying in the less-crowded conservancies like Cottar’s Olderkesi Conservancy really helps make the most of any visit to the Masai Mara. While November is not traditionally the busy season, it’s highly recommended if you’re looking to beat the crowds. There’s still a lot of wildlife about but the summer holidays are over and the Mara quietens down quite a bit, you’ll have it all to yourself — especially if you reserve Cottar’s special private Bush Villa which is booked on exclusive basis only. The custom-built 10,000 sq ft villa features a spacious living room, dining room, an expansive viewing deck, five en-suite bedrooms and a 25m swimming pool. Its guests enjoy their own private vehicles, guides, dining and other activities.

Experience the magic of the Great Migration or Kenya off season with Cottar’s. Learn more about their 1920s Safari Camp and their exquisite Bush Villa at this link

Taking an African Safari can be one of the most memorable travel experiences of a lifetime, that is, if it’s planned properly. Knowing the best time to go and where, which local guides to use and what experiences will elevate your trip from a vacation to a life-changing trip is not something that can come from doing a little research online. We hear from acclaimed Africa expert Henrietta Loyd and her regional team at cazenove+loyd about the invaluable benefits of working with a seasoned travel specialist to design the perfect bespoke safari holiday for each traveler.

Insider Expertise & Experience

There are many elements to factor in when planning a safari from which camps and lodges to stay at to the best adapted activities to include. Cazenove+loyd was born in Africa after founder Henrietta Loyd’s time living in Botswana over 30 years ago. She and her team experience have accumulated over sixty years experience living, working and planning extraordinary holidays in Africa.

Their Destination Experts are intensely passionate about Africa and strive to make all of their clients fall in love with the place they have spent their lives exploring. They have built a carefully selected repertoire of on the ground contacts which allows them to ensure that each trip is entirely seamless. They even go as far as calling ahead to make sure their close-knit group of trusted local camp owners and guides know when a cazenove+loyd client is staying with them so that the clients are guaranteed to have an extra-special stay.

Access to the Top Luxury Lodges & Camps

The cazenove+loyd Africa team has all stayed and even worked at the best safari lodges and camps. They tend to select small and owner-run lodges and camps which have first-class facilities, a diverse range of activities, the very best resident guides and which are located in the most breathtaking places. They also have the perfect venues for those looking for additional luxuries like gyms, wifi and even spas. They have fostered personal friendships with the owners, who add on specials touches that make a big difference to creating a trip exceeds expectations.

Tried & Test Network of Exceptional Guides

Securing the most inspiring guides for their clients is cazenove+loyd’s highest priority. Having the right person to introduce visitors to the country, while at the same time reveal its soul, is immensely important on safari. Cazenove+loyd’s guides are gifted storytellers who are also highly-skilled at tracking animals – both key attributes to a safari experience. The best guides know exactly when a wild animal is nearby and even how to communicate with it. There is no way to feel more connected with Africa than discovering it with someone whose life has been dedicated to unlocking its best and cazenove+loyd can connect you with the top guides who live and breathe their work. They match guides to clients based on their personal interests, from conservation to birdlife. The team is especially attentive to pair families with guides who are the most engaging and exciting for children while a different personality might be better suited to couples. A private guide can also be arranged to accompany guests on multi-country safaris.

Access to the Best Exclusive Experiences

People often associate safaris with game-drives, however, there are so many other amazing ways to experience Africa. Cazenove+loyd’s Destination Experts have been out riding, fishing, trekking, flying and quad-biking to know which are the very best experiences available for clients and to able to tailor the perfect itinerary for them. You can read more about their flying safari in Namibia at the bottom of this article.

Knowing the Best Times to Go & Where

Nature’s cycles and rhythms can vary dramatically in Africa. With their extensively first-hand experience living and working over the whole continent, cazenove+loyd’s Destination Experts can advise clients as to which destination is best visited depending on the month, what they are would to see and what are hoping to get out of their trip. The dry season is generally prefered by families and traditional safaris with big game viewing, like witnessing the phenomenal Great Migration in Kenya and Tanzania. That said, the drama and lush landscapes of the rainy season, such as the stormy skies creeping over Tanzania’s Great Rift Valley, are equally awe-inspiring. A true specialist will focus in on the options with you to help you decide.

Environmentally & Socially Responsible

Poaching and other environmental disturbances have lead a number of endemic species to be critically endangered and has threatened various ecosystems over the continent. Travelers to Africa can play a positive role by traveling with sustainably minded companies. All of cazenove+loyd’s safari and wildlife vacations are based around conservation, as without responsible tourism, the projects that protect animals and their habitat would not and could not exist. They are actively involved in projects from cheetah conservation to saving the Waterberg Rhino – efforts in which clients can get directly involved on safari with cazenove+loyd. The thrill of encountering animals in their natural habitat can be matched by witnessing the conservation projects that protect these majestic creatures.

Learn more about any of the above experiences or start planning an exciting, meaningful and memorable African safari with Henrietta Loyd and her Africa Destination Experts here.

Going on safari in Africa is one of the most exhilarating and memorable travel experiences. The thrill of spotting your first massive elephant, the calm of the savannah interrupted only by the curious sounds of nature, the sensation of walking through the dense jungle foliage of lush mountains, every moment enlivens the senses and engrains itself deeply in your mind. Our Africa experts strive to create exceptional safari trips by including special bespoke experiences, discover some of these below.


Running with a Masai, Kenya

Located at the edge of the Masai Mara National Reserve, Cottar’s 1920s Bush Camp and Villa can arrange a variety of original activities to accompany your Kenyan safari vacation, like their running with a Masai. This option is perfect for travelers keen to keep active during their holiday while also experiencing the African bush. One of Cottar’s Masai staff will join you while a vehicle follows behind, keeping you safe and allowing you to enjoy the wonderful, fresh and abundant Kenyan landscape and wildlife. It does get hot during the day so it’s best to plan your run in the early morning or in the evening, when the air is still fresh and cool. See if you can keep up with a Masai, a fantastic way to start or end your day on safari! Contact Cottar’s here for more on their unique safari experiences or watch a preview in the video below.


Gorilla Tracking, Rwanda and Uganda

Our experts at Volcanoes Safaris offer a very special Gorilla Tracking experience either from their Virunga Lodge in Rwanda or their Bwindi Lodge in Uganda. Volcanoes Safaris’ work revolves around protecting and conserving the wildlife, ecosystems and traditional cultures of the Uganda and Rwanda mountains. An important aspect of this is the preservation of the endangered mountain gorillas. With only two populations of mountain gorillas, numbering 880, they are a critically endangered species.

Lasting between three and eight hours, their Gorilla Tracking excursions take you deep into the Bwindi Impenetrable Forest in Uganda or the Virunga Massif region which borders Uganda, Rwanda and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Here you can come face to face with these incredible mammals – a fully grown silverback male can be up to three times the size of an average man, weighing up to 200 kilograms. Large they may be in size, however, they are immensely peaceable, playful and tolerant of human visitors participating in gorilla tracking. It is a privilege to spend time observing these wild relatives. Learn more about this once in a lifetime experience through Volcanoes Safaris.

Laragia House, Laikipia, Kenya

Quad biking at Laragai House, Kenya

With the snow-tipped peaks and glaciers of Mount Kenya to the south and a panorama of mountains and desert to the north, safari settings don’t get much more spectacular than at Borana Lodge, Kenya. On this ranch land lies Laragai House, a beautiful eight-bedroom private villa perched on the edge of a plateau, available through our African lodge and safari experts cazenove+loyd.

To make the most of this stunning scenery, cazenove+loyd recommend going off on an exhilarating quad biking mission into the bush, which can be arranged via Jay McLeod’s company Latitude Adventures. And if you want to continue your adventure, the company can also arrange a ‘fly camping experience’, where you spend a night out of the house and under the stars in a temporary camp. A truly memorable and spectacular way to get close to nature. Plan your extraordinary safari trip to Kenya with cazenove+loyd and travel to Africa virtually in their video below.


Bush Dinner, Kenya

Cottar’s 1920s Camp and Villa can also arrange some special dining experiences, such as their Bush Dinner. After a busy day game viewing guests can enjoy a sumptuous dinner under the stars, in the bush away from camp. Cottar’s can set this up in a number of unique, exciting and romantic settings. Dinner in the dark, in the bush, under the stars while being served a five star meal is no ordinary experience and it’s what being on safari is all about. Sit around a fire chatting or take in a sundowner before your meal; under a huge tree in the middle of the bush or on the open plains of the savannah. Your amazing safari experience doesn’t merely last during daylight hours at Cottar’s. Reach out to them here to start designing your holiday menu.


Batwa Tribe Heritage Experiences, Uganda

Set in the foothills of the Virunga Volcanoes, Volcanoes Safaris’ exclusive Mount Gahinga lodge is highly involved with the local Batwa Tribe. They allow guests to learn about this community, one of Africa’s oldest tribes, at their Batwa Cultural Heritage Site, which has been set up through the Volcanoes Safaris Partnership Trust (VSPT).

Built on the property of the Mount Gahinga Lodge, the Heritage Site is comprised of a demonstration-based herbal garden, a small collection of traditional huts and a short trail that allows the Batwa to demonstrate how they used to live, hunt, and collect honey and other resources from the forest. Guests are welcome to ask the Batwa questions about their traditional lifestyle, as they explain their religious, marriage and courtship customs. Then at the Batwa Vocational Centre (established by the VSPT) you can see first-hand the skills they are learning for self-sufficiency, some of which are on sale and make excellent gifts to take home. Learn more about the work of VSPT and their various experiences connecting visitors with the Batwa tribe.


Little Ruckomechi Safari Camp, Zimbabwe

For a unique safari destination, cazenove+loyd suggests this spectacular camp on the banks of the Zambezi river. Opened in summer 2016, Little Ruckomechi has become one of their favourite new properties in Africa. The camp has just four luxurious tents and feels extremely exclusive, in part due to its fantastic location within the private Ruckomechi Concession in the Mana Pools National Park, one of the great wildlife areas of Africa.

Built on wooden decks, the en-suite tents are airy and elegant with an old-school glamour vibe. The living spaces include a dining room and lounge as well as a plunge pool, all looking out over the great Zambezi River, with the Zambian foothills in the distance.

As for wildlife viewing, hippos, buffalo and larger predators are often sighted and, in addition to game drives, there is a wide range of river-based activities, including boating and canoeing. Experience the golden age of safaris with contemporary comforts by reaching out to cazenove+loyd.


Canvas Bush Bath, Kenya

Connect with Africa’s stunning nature while taking in a luxurious bush bath at Cottar’s 1920s Bush Camp and Villa. They can set up a traditional style canvas bath on a Persian rug in the open-air, the perfect way to pamper yourself after a few long days out on safari. Enjoy your bubble-filled bath sipping champagne, surrounded by the natural flora and fauna. Some wildlife may wander by while you enjoy the expansive view onto the Mara plains. As you bathe, you can soak up the wild beauty of the Masai Mara. Treat yourself to the best safari experiences with Cottar’s at this link.


Have these experiences tempted you to plan your next trip to Africa?

Let yourself be further lured by this lovely video on cazenove+loyd. Your African safari experience will be nothing but extraordinary with our various Africa experts.