The Best Beasts In Africa: A Guide's Favorite Places

Who hasn't dreamed of going on safari in Africa?[slideshow:648]

Thinking about it evokes images of the warm setting sun shedding the perfect light on a pride of lions; a herd of elephants crossing an all but dry creek bed, heading to the tall grass; or a giraffe reaching high into the treetops for a bite to eat.

In Southern Africa, these exotic dreams are a reality.  South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia make up this region and are home to the most impressive (and diverse) display of wildlife on the planet. In this wild corner of Africa, a noisy traffic jam consists of a herd of wildebeest bottlenecked at a river crossing, set to the soundtrack of a hyena's laughing.  In Southern Africa, this is just a day in the life.

Dan Austin is owner and director of adventure travel company Austin-Lehman Adventures and has been in the outdoors business since 1976. He also leads community development projects in Africa through his non-profit Wheels of Change