Travel trends come and go, but a safari never goes out of style. And when it comes to planning the trip of a lifetime, our readers turn to these amazing outfitters for all of their luxury safari needs.
Every year for our World’s Best Awards survey, T+L asks readers to weigh in on travel experiences around the globe — to share their opinions on the top hotels, resorts, cities, islands, cruise ships, spas, airlines, and more. Readers rated safari outfitters on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value.
This year’s list includes some of the most trusted, long-standing companies in the industry, like Wilderness Safaris (founded in 1983), Travel Beyond (1975), and Lion World Travel (operating since 1964). Micato Safaris is in Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Hall of Fame, an award reserved for companies that have been named to the list for at least 10 consecutive years. In fact, they’ve been on our list every year since World’s Best started in 1996 — making this their 23rd win as a company.
Many of these operators’ leaders and veteran advisors were born and raised in Africa: Roar Africa founder Deborah Calmeyer spent her childhood in Zimbabwe; Leora Rothschild, owner of Rothschild Safaris, is born-and-bred South African; Sunit Sanghrajka, the founding president of Alluring Africa, grew up in Kenya; and more. This cumulative expertise means they can offer insider access through their local connections, and the care and hospitality that Travel + Leisure readers expect.
Unsurprisingly, our winners plan trips in safari mainstays like Botswana, Kenya, South Africa, and Tanzania. But they also organize vacations in more under-the-radar parts of Africa, such as the growing wildlife destinations of Rwanda and Uganda, where gorilla- and chimpanzee-tracking itineraries are at the forefront. (Wilderness Safaris, which also operates its own camps, opened Bisate Lodge in Rwanda’s Volcanoes National Park last year — and it has rocketed to the top of many a bucket list.)
These outfitters also excel at combining bush and beach; most can do combination itineraries, like supplementing a Tanzania trip with a post-safari wind-down session in Zanzibar. And some outfitters offer trip extensions or full itineraries in island nations like the Maldives, Mauritius, and the Seychelles.