Most people figure they have to visit Africa to enjoy hiking in the wilds to get a view of that continent’s amazing and exotic wildlife. However, you can enjoy the experience of an African safari in the USA as well and camp out among the animals on some of them.
These are some of the best American safari sites out there.
(photo credit: ikeday)
1. San Diego Zoo Wild Animal Park, California
The San Diego Zoo offers visitors the chance to sleep put overnight with the animals at something called the Roar and Snore Sleepover. The accommodations enable you to look over the Africa field exhibits where you’ll find elephants, lions, giraffes, and rhinos along with several more animals. The park supplies the tents. All you need to take along is a sleeping bag and your pillow. If you don’t have the time to sleep under the stars there are also photo safaris available which last a few hours.
2. The Living Desert, Palm Desert, California
While the world’s deserts are often thought of as huge dry and sandy places that are home to a few prairie dogs, lizards, scorpions, and snakes, there is actually a lot of wildlife in some of them. If you head to The Living Desert you’ll find a 450-acre spot which is known as America’s sole zoological and botanical park. It features desert animals and ecosystems and is an ideal location to get a look at some African wildlife such as giraffes, camels, gazelles, meerkats, sand cats, warthogs, and zebras.
3. Wild Animal Safari, Strafford, Missouri
This safari is designed for exploring by car instead of your feet. You’ll be able to get a close up view of panthers, lions, kangaroos, tigers, monkeys, hyenas, and zebras. If you’d rather not drive through the safari you can park the car and enjoy the free shuttle ride through it.
You’ll also be able to feed some of the hungry animals by hand. However, there is a bonus for hikers as there is a walking trail that takes you past some of the site’s smaller wildlife including alpacas, wallabies, and lemurs.
4. Fossil Rim Wildlife Center, Glen Rose, Texas
This center is 1,700 acres in size and is located about 75 miles from Dallas. You can either explore it by driving your car along a 10-mile route or taking the guided tour from an open-aired vehicle. You’ll be able to see cheetahs, rhinos, ocelots, antelope, and zebras. You also have the option of sleeping overnight in a lodge or tent cabins. If you decide to camp out you’ll be able to get a glimpse of desert addax and Arabian oryx as they visit the local watering hole each day.
5. Disney Animal Kingdom, Orlando, Florida
This amazing park features 1,700 different animals that belong to 250 separate species. It’s the world’s biggest animal park and is divided into areas. The Africa section features a safari ride where you can see as many animals you can think of. The Asia section is also interesting as you can check out Komodo dragons and Asian tigers.
6. Honey Island Swamp Tours, New Orleans, Louisiana
This is more of a water-based safari as you’ll be able to take a two-hour trip in a shallow boat through some of the amazing bayous and swamps. You’ll come across some of the region’s most common creatures such as alligators, otters, raccoons, bald eagles, owls, and wild pigs.
7. Wildlife Safari, Winston, Oregon
The Wildlife Safari offers fun for the whole family as there are camel rides, a petting zoo, cheetah, bear, and lion habitats and many other attractions. One of the most popular is the elephant car wash. This is where your car is squirted by the trunk of an African elephant and then washed. Where else in the world can you do this?