While it might be all about the big five game animals - the lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros - signing up for an African safari promises to be an experience unparalleled on our planet. There are many fantastic national parks and reserves in Africa; all worthy of exploration. The Kruger National Park in South Africa is one of the most famous but the Chobe National Park in Botswana, the Serengeti in Tanzania and the Hwange National Park in Zimbabwe are definitely worth considering.
Here at Flight Centre, our team members could not resist the allure of the wild - with many consultants and support staff flying across the Indian Ocean to explore this magnificent continent. Here are some incredible images that were taken by Flight Centre staff while on safari in Africa.
Cheetahs Sitting, The Serengeti, Tanzania captured by Leah Brewster
Leah Brewster signed up for a 6-day G Adventures Tour through Africa. "My partner and I travelled to Zanzibar for a 5-day African Music Festival called Sauti Za Busara. I also volunteered at the local schools and kindergartens in Jambiani, Zanzibar before heading out on safari to explore the incredible national parks. We stumbled across these cheetahs. They look like they're surveying the landscape - keeping an eye out for what's going on around them."
Elephants and Zebras, The Serengeti, Tanzania captured by Leah Brewster
For Leah Brewster seeing elephants on her G Adventures Tour of the Serengeti was a major highlight. "I was watching a herd of zebras enjoy their lunch when completely out of the blue, a couple of elephants mosey into the frame. It was such a magical moment that I had to capture it with my camera."
Lions Drinking, Safari Park, Kenya captured by Cameron McLeod
Cameron McLeod and his father took an African odyssey to track the mountain gorillas in Uganda and sign up for various safaris in Kenya. "I took this picture was late in the afternoon as the cool of evening started to set in. We followed a pride of lions as they paralleled the roadway - the lioness carrying a cub in her mouth - until they paused at a patch of water trapped in a tyre rut. Out of shot was the dominant lion and other large male lions providing a protective ring."
Hippopotamus Swimming, Lake St Lucia, South Africa captured by Richard Culpan
Richard Culpan was in South Africa for the 2010 Football World Cup. From Durban he went on a day trip to the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve and Lake St Lucia, which borders the Isimangaliso Wetland Park. "Along with my love of the beautiful game, I also love viewing wildlife in their natural environment and it was nearing the end of the day when we took a boat onto Lake St Lucia where we had ample opportunities to view these magnificent animals chilling out in the late afternoon sun."
Leopard Climbing, The Serengeti, Tanzania captured by Daniel Brown
Daniel Brown, a consultant in Cranbourne, was living in London and had done the typical Europe tours and festivals - but he wanted to get to Africa for the wildlife. "This leopard was the only one I saw in eights weeks of touring Africa so we were just lucky that day in the Serengeti. He was perched up in this Boab tree then scurried down after a little while of being up there and walked off into the long grass."
The Great Migration, The Masai Mara, Kenya captured by Rachael Stafford
Last year Rachael Stafford took a 14-day Masai Heartlands Intrepid Tour through Kenya and Tanzania. "The great migration was the one thing I wanted to see. We had the option of doing a Hot Air Balloon trip to witness the wildebeest marching through the terrain. It was a really odd feeling; it was just surreal. You see it on television, but to see it for yourself is amazing. I'll never forget it."
Flamingoes, Lake Naivasha, Kenya captured by Robyn Hodder-MacNeill
Robyn Hodder-MacNeill, a consultant in Gympie who has travelled extensively, did a 15-day On the Go Gorilla and Game Trek through Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda. "Seeing the gorillas was a big highlight for me. We were very lucky - a short two hour trek to see 15 gorillas eating and lolling about in the open. On the third day we toured the Lake Nakuru National Park famous for the flamingos that flock to this soda lake edge. Because the water level was low, there were thousands just standing around looking beautiful. There were Zebras about 300 metres from these magnificent creatures."
Lion Resting, Antelope Park, Zimbabwe captured by Kylie Schreiber
Kylie Schreiber, a consultant in the Victorian suburb of Caroline, took an epic six month African trip from Turkey to Egypt, Kenya to Uganda and then down to Cape Town. "In Antelope Park you're able to walk with lions who are two years old, follow them around the plains for a couple of hours and generally observe their movements. This particular lion jumped up in the tree to avoid the heat."
Kudu Surveying, The Kruger National Park, South Africa captured by Katrina Imbruglia
Katrina Imbruglia travelled to South Africa for a week's rest and relaxation. "We spent one night at Sun City, one night at Jo'burg airport in a glitzy casino and two nights in the super deluxe (but slightly sanitised) Sabi Sabi - but the three nights we spent under the mosquito nets at Mantobene Camp, with the bush breathing heavily just the other side of the netting, was exhilarating. The Kruger National Park favours the early risers - thankfully, when staying at Honeyguide Mantobeni safari camp, it was a short hop from luxurious tent to rustic jeep. As dawn bathed the bush with golden light, we said good morning to an unimpressed kudu. These majestic antelope use their spiralled horns as their sight when charging each other, but this morning he was as peaceful and bleary eyed as we were."
Kudu Starring, The Chobe National Park, Botswana captured by Stephen Bullock
Stephen Bullock, a consultant in Narellan took a three week trip in southern Africa. "I was thrilled to sight a Greater Kudu in the Chobe National Park. They're apparently quite rare."
Crocodile Eating, The Chobe National Park, Botswana captured by Kylie Schreiber
As part of her six month adventure, Kylie Schreiber, a consultant in the Victorian suburb of Caroline, ventured into the Chobe National Park. "I was on a river cruise. I guess we were just in the right place at the right time to watch him enjoy his dinner. He found the fish in the river and then emerged on the bank, throwing it into the air while it was still alive. "
Leopard Strolling, The Chobe National Park, Botswana captured by Trill Canfield
Trill Canfield, who looks after cruise product spent three weeks volunteering in Zambia by helping to build a school. At the end of her work, she had a spare week to do some sight-seeing. "I did a Jeep Safari in the Chobe National Park. As we were driving along, this leopard just strolled past. He was having an afternoon walk. It was pretty cool. We kept driving and found some lions but on the way back we saw him again chilling out up a tree."
Hippopotamus Swimming, The Chobe National Park, Botswana captured by Stephen Bullock
Stephen Bullock, a consultant in Narellan took a three week trip in southern Africa. "I signed up for a seven day Acacia Tour. On one particular afternoon we took a river cruise down the Chobe River and stumbled across a group of hippos. I was just captivated by them."
Lion Sitting, The Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa captured by Liz Hadwell
Liz Hadwell, a Flight Centre Land Product Specialist explored South Africa on a custom-made 5-night Beachcomber Tour. "I checked into the Savannah Private Game Lodge and jumped into the private plunge pool to cool when out of the corner of my eye, to my surprise I noticed a herd of elephants strolling past. I raised my glass of champagne to toast Africa. This particular image was taken on my first private game safari. In fact we had just seen four out of the five 'Big 5' when we saw this lion and his female friend 'enjoying' themselves. I took this photo once he'd finished. He looks pretty content."