Africa is one of the most diverse, breathtaking, and accessible wildlife destinations in the world. It is a luxury to explore the beauty of Africa’s wilderness, embark on the adventure of a lifetime and experience nature to its fullest. However, connecting with nature doesn’t always mean doing away with digital devices.
We should count ourselves lucky we live in a digital age where travel apps can help us explore the best routes to spot wildlife, identify birds and plants, and even search for locations where your favourite animals are likely to be found. What can be better than having all the information at your fingertips so you can ditch the heavy guidebooks and use your luggage space for other necessities.
An exhilarating safari experience involves a lot of patience and a skillful set of eyes, and you should be ready for the sometimes exhausting yet always invigorating game drives on rough roads. Whether you visit Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, South Africa’s Kruger National Park, Namibia’s Etosha National Park, or any other well-known African safari destination, you are bound to be blown away by their natural appeal.
If you want to make the most out of your time in the wild, then these apps will enrich your experience while travelling to Africa. Once your journey begins, all you need to do is to whip out your smartphone to find interesting facts about various flora, fauna and locations.
1. Africa: Live App
The days when travellers needed a paper map and a compass to visit a wildlife area in Africa are far gone. Africa: Live App, an iOS device application, is a great app to have on your phone if you like the idea of sharing wildlife sightings with other travellers. This app features a live map of animal findings that shows recent game sightings reported by other users. You can easily add your sightings by uploading photos during your safari experience and contribute to the citizen-scientist database used for wildlife conservation research as well.
In addition, you can always report overcrowding and dangers like flooding on the app. A handy companion on a self-drive safari, the live sighting map lets you explore the sighting of different species in your location with details. The app’s offline maps come in handy in out-of-network areas for extra ease.
In-app purchase offers you a ranger field guide, including over 90 minutes of audio commentary from an expert ranger.
2. Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa
An ideal travel app for birders, this best-selling app provides a database of over 950 bird species with images, distribution maps, and text descriptions. To ensure the best birding experience while on the safari, the app features sound clips of bird calls for over 630 bird species. Whether you are just a beginner or a seasoned birder, this app is great for you.
Not only does it allow you to filter your search through species but also compare two birds side-by-side so you can identify the correct bird without the hassle of doing multiple searches. Its Smart Search option helps you identify a bird using beak shape, bird size, bird colour, and habitat. You can also keep a record of your sighting to share with your fellow birders.
One of the best bird identification apps for Southern Africa, the Sasol eBirds of Southern Africa app is available for both Android and iOS devices.
3. The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals
The Kingdon Guide to African Mammals is an informative guide for wildlife enthusiasts of all ages who visit Africa to experience thrilling wildlife adventures.
Based on Jonathan Kingdon’s Pocket Guide to African Mammals, this guide enriches you with the information of all African land mammals. It features images, distribution maps, and descriptions of over 460 species found throughout Africa. You can select a specific African country/region to discover the species found in your location. You will find a personal species list to store your mammal sightings on your device as well.
The app covers the following countries and regions:
- Southern Africa – South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, Zimbabwe, and Mozambique
- Central Africa – Angola, Central African Republic, Cameroon, Chad, D.R.C, Congo, and Gabon
- East Africa – Malawi, Tanzania, Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Rwanda, and Burundi
- Northwestern Coast – Ghana, Guinea, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Senegal, and Togo
- North, Central & Western Sahara – Egypt, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Sudan, and Tunisia
Created by Mydigitalearth.com, this app is available for iOS and Android devices.
Home to a huge population of African wildlife, including the sought-after big five – lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, and leopard, the Kruger National Park of South Africa is the perfect destination for safari-goers. The KrugerExplorer app brings together rich information about the wildlife, birdlife, and flora and fauna of Kruger National Park.
The app contains over 50 mammals, 225 birding, and 30 reptile invertebrates and tree profiles. It features over 70 of Kruger’s most famous routes for self-drive safaris. The app works as an authoritative digital guide for exploring the entire park, giving info on all roads, gates, rest camps, private lodges, picnic spots, and other points of interest.
You can use the checklist feature to keep the records of animals and birds you see while on a safari. You can also meet like-minded nature lovers on the social media pages of the app. It is the best app out there to identify wildlife in Kruger National Park.
Are you planning to travel to Kenya and Tanzania to see the great migration but have no idea how to track herds of animals? Then we have great news for you. HerdTracker app lets you track the animals in real-time, so you can get the opportunity to experience one of nature’s most spectacular events.
According to Discoverafrica.com (makers of HerdTracker), the precise location of the herds is traced via various trusted sources that include safari guides on the ground, Tanzania national parks authority rangers, pilots who fly over the Serengeti, and lodges in the Masai Mara in Kenya.
HerdTacker app uses the Google Map to track the location of herds so you can live your dream to see them up close and personal. The app’s users can also provide updates and advice to help others witness the phenomenal wildebeest migration.
You can join the conversation about the great wildebeest migration on the live feed page of the website. You can use this application online on any device for free.
6. eTrees of Southern Africa
eTrees of Southern Africa app is an essential mobile app for travellers and safari-goers who come to explore South Africa’s abundant flora. One of the joys of a safari experience is to identify and locate the various species of trees in South Africa. This easy-to-use app, an interactive version of Braam and Piet van Wyk’s Field Guide to Trees of Southern Africa, provides info about over 1000 of the more common tree species found in the Southern African region.
The app features over 1000 tree species with full-colour images, maps, and descriptions. It allows you to compare two species on the same screen. You can easily identify a tree species by answering simple yes/no questions about the visible characteristics of the leaves.
This tree identification app also features a filter based on your GPS location. The app allows you to create a list based on your sightings and save them on your device. This app does not require an internet connection, as all information is stored on your device.
Travelling to an African safari destination is one of the best adventures one can have. For nature enthusiasts who love the natural world, a journey to the Masai Mara or the Serengeti, for example, and a chance to see lions, leopards, elephants, rhinos, cheetahs, and so many more animals in their natural habitat is a once in a lifetime adventure and these apps will help you make the most out it.
To prepare you for the journey ahead, here is a quote from Brian Jackman, Britain’s foremost writer on wildlife and safaris:
“Africa changes you forever, like nowhere on earth. Once you have been there, you will never be the same. But how do you begin to describe its magic to someone who has never felt it? How can you explain the fascination of this vast, dusty continent, whose oldest roads are elephant paths? Could it be because Africa is the place of all our beginnings, the cradle of mankind, where our species first stood upright on the savannahs of long ago?”
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