A good question to ask yourself when you are planning your first safari is where to go.
There are many answers to that question, but you should decide what kind of experience you would like. If sheer numbers of animals is your main reason for going on safari, go to Kenya, Tanzania or Botswana. If a more secluded experience is what you are after, Botswana, Zambia, and Southern Tanzania fit the bill. If you are looking for a combination of landscapes and wildlife, Namibia, Tanzania and South Africa are great places.
For interactions with African people, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia are good destinations, just as long as you keep in mind that these encounters will have a commercial aspect to it - villagers earn much needed cash by having you visit.
Rwanda and Uganda are the only places where you can currently visit mountain gorillas, with Rwanda's primates being the most accessible.
Here are the best game reserves and other highlights of South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania and Rwanda.
Lying in the midst of the Kalahari Desert, this giant marshland is a haven for wildlife from lions and elephant to the elusive sitatunga and myriad birds. Tranquility is king in this other-wordly paradise.
Moremi Game Reserve
The only area of the Okavango that is protected, this reserve has some of the highest density of wildlife in the world. The area is a great mix of marshland and forests, making for great wildlife viewing.
Famed for its large herds of massive elephants, the park consists of three distinct areas. Chobe Riverfront supports the highest density of wildlife. It is where most of the lodges are and where you can do river cruises to spot wildlife. Linyanti Marsh is rich in predators and is far away from civilization - flying in to a luxury safari camp is the best option here. Savuti, with the adjacent channel, rivals the riverfront in animal density, but is much more remote.