4 unmissable safari experiences on a budget

Epic overland adventures in lively bush terrain await below the central belt of Africa. 

1. Botswana: Best for hippos

Botswana’s key safari destinations — the Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park — are among Africa’s best loved. For an affordable option explore by mokoro (traditional canoe) or river boat, and travel http://archandanth.com overland to public safari areas where, crucially, self-drive cars and tour vehicles are permitted. You’ll see plenty of elephants and hippos.

How to do it: Ultimate Routes can arrange a bespoke 10-day self-drive camping safari in Botswana from around £1,000 per person, based on two sharing, excluding fuel, food, guided activities and flights. 

2. Zimbabwe: Best for wild dogs

Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park delivers elephants, antelopes and baboons among mighty trees. It’s also a conservation and research centre for African wild dogs — an endangered species. Combine it with a trip to Victoria Falls and Botswana’s Chobe National Park.

How to do it: Acacia Africa offers seven-day, small-group guided camping tours of western Zimbabwe, including Victoria Falls and Hwange, and northeast Botswana, including Chobe, from £1,330 per person, excluding flights. 

3. Zambia: Best for leopards

Zambia shares one of Africa’s top attractions, Victoria Falls, with Zimbabwe, but it also has abundant natural treasures of its own. South Luangwa National Park is superb, particularly for leopard-watching. For an exciting multi-day route, wind eastwards from Victoria Falls through Zambia, into Malawi and southern Tanzania, and end with a splash in Zanzibar for a bush-and-beach fix.

How to do it: Intrepid offers 20-day small-group guided camping tours from Victoria Falls to Zanzibar via South Luangwa National Park from £2,385 per person, excluding flights.

4. Tanzania: Best for giraffes, wildebeest & zebras

Northern Tanzania is home to two of Africa’s most spectacular protected areas: the Serengeti, the Maasai Mara’s big brother, where you can watch cheetahs sprinting after their prey; and the Ngorongoro Crater’s rich ecosystem, which includes rhinos, elephants and hippos. Head for Arusha, where you can stay for well under £50 per night.

How to do it: Oasis Overland offers 14-day overland truck camping tours of Kenya and Tanzania, travelling from Nairobi to Dar es Salaam and Zanzibar, from £1,200 per person, excluding flights.