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I've Traveled to 70 Countries—These 3 Safari Vacations Are Must-Dos

A lioness lifts her head to the sun as cubs tumble and play in the windswept grass, a lazy leopard keeps watch from an outstretched branch above, and somewhere in the distance, an open-top Jeep rumbles down a dirt track, kicking up dust on its khaki-clad cargo, who jostle for the perfect snapshot of their safari surrounds. This might sound like a romanticised scene, but when traveler Stacie Flinner ventured to Africa for an epic six-week adventure, she found that it lived up to the hype—and then some.

"It exceeded my very high expectations," says Flinner, who visited Africa as part of a year-long worldwide trip with her husband, David. "Even if you aren't a huge animal lover, you will get caught up in the excitement and romance of it all—there is nothing like locking eyes with a lion or seeing a leopard stalk its prey," she says. For just shy of two months, the pair ventured from South Africa to Zambia to Botswana. They had candlelit meals out in the bush, spotted rare painted wild dogs being chased by an elephant, took a tiny plane to reach a remote resort, and stayed at some of the most incredible lodges in the world.

Back from their incredible adventure, we asked Flinner to impart some wisdom. If you've ever dreamed of taking a safari vacation, this is the exact itinerary she'd recommend. "Since it often takes so long to reach these remote areas, I ideally recommend at least 10 days for a safari trip, broken up between three lodges," she says of the itinerary. Pack your camera: This is one bucket list trip you'll never want to forget.