The online marketplace for African safari tours conducted an investigation to find the winner of the best African safari country title.
After examining more than 3 000 reviews compiled by both safari-goers and African travel experts, Botswana was declared the overall winner.
Botswana, which supports an astonishing 550 recorded bird species, was also rated the best country overall for bird-watching.
With its unique, wandering wetlands of the Okavango Delta, to the iconic sights and sounds of the desert in the Kalahari, and attractions such as some of the largest salt pans on the planet, Botswana was an obvious favourite.
Always a close rival, Tanzania was ranked as the best country overall for wildlife.
Zimbabwe shot up the popularity stakes for safari-goers sizzling to number one overall.
SafariBookings.com co-owner Jeroen Beekwilder described Botswana as a magical country that combines awe-inspiring deserts with an impossibly wet delta system.
“Contributions included safari-goers from around the globe. It also included the reviews from 22 guidebook authors - working for Lonely Planet, Rough Guides, Frommer’s, Bradt and Footprint - who make up the SafariBookings expert panel.
“Back in 2013 SafariBookings conducted its first review to determine the best country for safaris in Africa.
“Tanzania won that contest clearly. We conducted another analysis in 2017, and one thing that hadn’t changed was Tanzania’s popularity, again voted the best safari country in Africa,” Beekwilder said.
But 2018 was different.
“Our analysis determined that Botswana, although neck-to-neck with Tanzania for the continent’s best, was the finest country in Africa for going on safari.
“Given the exceptional wildlife-viewing opportunities in Botswana, a country that specialises in an exclusive safari experience, and luxury in the bush, this is understandable,” Beekwilder said.
Zambia and Kenya outranked South Africa in 6th place.
A reviewer noted: “South Africa is a great destination for a varied holiday. It offers fantastic wildlife viewing, beautiful beaches, trendy cities and much more.
“Kruger is its flagship park with many self-drive and budget options, and all of the Big Five are easily seen.”