Africa has an immense scope and diversity, so trying to characterize it as a whole is a fool's errand. Roughly, Africa’s big megafauna, including “the Big 5,” (lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) are best seen in the drier and more open parts of the continent, from southern Africa (especially South Africa, Namibia and Botswana) through Zambia and Malawi (two of the continent’s best-kept secrets), eventually to East Africa – where Tanzania and Kenya are often regarded as quintessential Africa. The planet’s most famous game parks are located in this big tract of Africa – Selous, the Serengeti, the Masai Mara, Etosha, Kruger, South Luangwa and others, even the smallest of which are at least the size of a small European country such as Belgium.
Many of these game parks are not only infested with animals, but are also spectacularly rich in birds – for example, Kruger has 500 species and most of these are in your face and very easy to see in addition to being brightly colored or spectacular – storks, rollers, bee-eaters, barbets and other beauties. And on a month-long East African birding tour, one can see ukp to 900 bird species! That, in addition to the iconic African mammals and the amazing atmosphere of Africa – villages, the sound of African drums, markets and super-friendly people – make for an unforgettable experience.
Unlike South and East Africa, much of Central and West Africa (for example Uganda, Gabon, Cameroon and Ghana) is forested, with less scope for seeing megafauna and with birds hiding more.
But, these parts of Africa are nevertheless essential to visit at some stage or another, not only for some of the most diverse birding on the continent (including lots of endemics such as the two fabled Picathartes species, an entire bird family endemic to West Africa), but also for gorillas, chimpanzees, mandrills and other forest-dwelling great apes. With luck, you might also encounter other mammals in the African rainforests of West and Central Africa, including spectacular but rarely seen beasts like red river hog and golden cat.
Then there are special countries such as Ethiopia and Madagascar. These destinations are so unique that they are, simply, unlike anywhere else in the world. Ethiopia, “the Roof of Africa,” with its spectacular plateaus, peaks and ruins dating to Biblical times, boasts the charismatic Simian wolf and the second highest number of bird endemics on the continent (beaten only by South Africa).