The 10 Best Safari Outfitters

When checking off a major bucket list trip like a safari, customization and convenience are top of mind for Travel + Leisure readers.

Travel Beyond
Travel Beyond, Elephant experiences at Tembo Plains. Photo: Courtesy of Travel Beyond

Spotting the Big Five is the goal for many safari-goers. But chances of actually getting a glimpse of the elephants, leopards, lions, rhinoceroses, and African buffalos depend greatly on the company guiding the trip — especially its attention to the tiniest of details and its expertise on how to responsibly and carefully navigate on the African fauna's home turf. The best safari outfitters accomplish this with aplomb.

Every year for our World's Best Awards survey, Travel + Leisure 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 tour operators and safari outfitters based on their staff and guides, itineraries and destinations, activities, accommodations, food, and overall value.

This year, three new safari outfitters entered the top 10 that weren't on last year's list. Deeper Africa (No. 5) is known for going beyond the obvious (a trip to Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo with more than 1,000 mountain gorillas, perhaps?), while Africa Adventure Company (No. 7) is operated by the author of a guidebook on the continent's wildlife who has more than three decades of experience, and Go2Africa (No. 9) is run by people born and raised in Africa. Customization options and personalized service were key for travelers. The "passionate" teams at Extraordinary Journeys (No. 2) took the time to understand what guests were hoping to get out of their safari experience and curate itineraries that were nothing short of "magical." One also called out the thoughtful conveniences — like car services and dayrooms in Nairobi — saying they added an elevated level of comfort that wasn't anticipated but "was a godsend."

The challenges of traveling during a global pandemic were also assuaged by the top companies, which, a reader, said addressed "every single one of [their] concerns and questions…before it came to mind," especially in a destination that can feel "complicated." One traveler complimented Extraordinary Journeys for making all the "intimidating" and "ever-changing rules" so "seamless."

Find the full list of this year's best tour operators, as voted by T+L readers, below.

1. Travel Beyond

Travel Beyond
Travel Beyond, horse riding amongst the migration. Courtesy of Travel Beyond

After coming in fifth last year, this company — which runs tours in Botswana, Kenya, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, and Zanzibar, among others — rises to the top spot. In operation since 1975, Travel Beyond consistently impressed readers with its emphasis on putting travelers' needs first, by paying "close attention to all the details," and by working "very hard to get to know their clients' travel styles and interest." Its custom itineraries put responsible wildlife viewing and touring the area's unique scenery first, but also added in experiences like wine tastings and visits to historic landmarks to create "the most incredible adventures." A female solo traveler said they've planned "several once-in-a-lifetime trips" for her.

Score: 99.64

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2. Extraordinary Journeys

Extraordinary Journeys
Extraordinary Journeys, viewing elephants from truck. Somalisa/Courtesy of Extraordinary Journeys

Score: 99.29

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3. Alluring Africa

Alluring Africa
Alluring Africa, safari viewing cheetah from truck. Courtesy of Alluring Africa

Score: 99.19

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4. Micato Safaris

Micato Safaris
Micato Safaris; family viewing giraffe from vehicle in East Africa. Giuliana Provenzano/Courtesy of Micato Safaris

WBA Hall of Fame honoree.

Score: 99.03

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5. Deeper Africa

Deeper Africa
Deeper Africa, viewing elephants. Courtesy of Deeper Africa

Score: 98.53

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6. Wilderness Safaris

Wilderness Safaris
Wilderness Safaris, Seba Camp, viewing zebra in Botswana, Africa. Caroline Culbert/Courtesy of Wilderness Safaris

Score: 97.50

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7. (tie) Africa Adventure Company

Africa Adventure Company, Kenya, Africa
Africa Adventure Company at the end of day in Kenya, Africa. Mark Knott/Courtesy of Africa Adventure Company

Score: 96.67

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7. (tie) Thomson Safaris

Thomson Safaris
Thomson Safaris, tent. Courtesy of Thomson Safaris

Score: 96.67

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9. Go2Africa

Go2Africa, rhinos on view during outing. Courtesy of Go2Africa

Score: 96.01

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10. andBeyond

Lion on a safari-game-drive-andBeyond. Courtesy of

Score: 95.62

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