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When you’re planning a vacation, it’s easy to feel the siren call of Paris or Venice or Rome—or the seas and sunsets of small islands anywhere in the world. But if you’ve never seen the Serengeti, the home of African wildlife beyond your imagination, there’s never been a better time than now.

Chances are the animals, and Africa itself, will forever live in your memory, and if the idea of roughing it is less than appealing, there are plenty of opportunities to relax and treat yourself even while you’re there. Many safari packages include luxury accommodations, gourmet dining and even spas along the way.

There’s no need to fret over transport or logistics, as safari guides take care of all that—and there are tours designed to cater specifically to the needs of families or older travelers.

But the best reason to go on safari is to see, up close, the most incredible animals on the planet, roaming in their natural habitat—lions, tigers, elephants and cheetahs you’ve only seen in zoos or at the circus. It’s an experience that will leave you awed and elated, and you’ll likely go home with some of the best photos you’re ever apt to collect.

Africa is, first and foremost, a huge continent with many cultures and a wide breadth of wildlife. It’s the place where human life is believed to have begun, and its sheer scale and natural beauty must be seen to be truly appreciated.

Kenya, Tanzania, Botswana, Nairobi—the very names are shrouded in mystery, inspiring the dreams and the sense of wanderlust that set our ancestors roaming—are the land of rhinos, leopards, crocodiles, and more, including more species of apes, baboons and monkeys than most of us have ever imagined. Imagine breakfasting on the shores of Lake Victoria while a curious giraffe sticks his neck through the window to get a better view of human life!

While Africa is warm and sunny most of the year, the best times to go on safari are typically June through October, when the animals are abundant and game viewing is at its best, although if your goal is to see lots of animal babies, you may want to visit in January or February before the wet season begins in March.