The Great Tours: African Safari

Rated 4 out of 5 by from An entertaining and informative video safari This is the first class that I have completed as part of my subscription, and I found the course to be delightful. James Currie has a passion for the continent of Africa, and he is deeply knowledgeable about the different countries, cultures, plants and animals that you will encounter during any African Safari. I watched one lecture per day, so I was finished in 3-1/2 weeks. The first eight lectures are a must for anyone who is planning an African safari, and the last sixteen lectures are helpful and informative for anyone who wishes to learn more about African wildlife, birds, plants, and animals. Some of the self-shot videos that Currie includes are amazing!
Date published: 2020-09-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Perfect Preparation My wife and I spent several weeks Tanzania a few years ago, visiting our son and his then girlfriend (now wife). During that visit we spent a long week on a personal safari with two guides, visiting not only the places in Tanzania mentioned by Mr. Currie, but several others as well. Our only regret about this marvelous experience is that we had not had a chance to view this course before going (understanding that it did not exist at that time). Even so, the next best thing was to view it afterwards. Mr. Currie is not only an experienced guide, seemingly having visited every site he mentions as well as many others, but is able to convey his experiences and his enthusiasm to us. Clearly he loves Africa, the wildlife and culture and also loves showing us through his eyes and experiences why we should feel the same way. His recommendations as far as my limited experience goes, are spot on. What to pack, what to wear, hiring an experienced professional guide, how to use binoculars, how to photograph wildlife, how to choose the type of safari that best suits your abilities and desires, how to choose a tour company that specializes on sustainable tourism, which locations to visit and on and on, provide an excellent guide for anyone who has not had prior experience. To the point that if we were going there again, I’d take the course again to make sure I was going to do and see what I had missed or wanted to experience a second time. Some reviewers have suggested that there was a bit too much of a commercial aspect as recommendations were being made. But I thought that rather Mr. Currie was providing us all with valuable information as to how get an authentic, sustainable safari, avoiding those operators who might be engaging in less than satisfactory practices. Specific companies and lodges he recommends can be used as just a well-thought out guide to finding a reputable safari. Everyone will have their favorite experience, but for me, I can only echo what a friend of mine observed: “the Wildebeest migration on the Serengeti was one of the highlights of my life”. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2020-09-05
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great information! Bought this because I was supposed to go on safari this year, but due to the virus around the world I’ll have to wait till next year, but watching this course is getting me so excited!
Date published: 2020-08-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great for Armchair Travelers There are so many different types of safaris. Who knew? Many National Parks in different countries. This course gives you a nice sampling. You are shown many animals and birds plus trees and flowers. Also beaches and cities. I enjoyed just watching the DVD but it would be a great preview if you were thinking of actually going on safari.
Date published: 2020-08-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It will be beautiful It was always a desire of mine to do a safari in Africa, Kenya, and Serengeti. And I think this is the best of all worlds without all that traveling and then not being assured you will see what you want.
Date published: 2020-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours: African Safari An absolute outstanding tour. The photography of the animals was marvelous ( Typical of National Geographic ). Found the lectures ( by an experienced hands-on guide ) to be most interesting, educational, and easy to follow. I would recommend this video course to everyone ( Whether going on a future safari or not ).
Date published: 2020-08-04
Rated 5 out of 5 by from It's almost like being on safari The pictures are beautiful & the dialog is very instructive. We learned so much & wish we could afford to go. Some of the course was directed at people who are planning to go, but there was plenty of vicarious enjoyment for us.
Date published: 2020-06-13
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Safari Best purchase before going on a Safari. There are different types of safaris, choose the one that is best for you. Very informative with wonderful photos & great advice.
Date published: 2020-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from James Currie was amazing! Watched it on TGCP. Definitely recommend. He covers so much about africa. Watching african wildlife documentaries after watching this, will improve your understanding so much. One advice to viewers is not to get bogged down by the african names of places. Give Wild frank, nigel marven, jack randall, steve irwin or bear grylls a watch while or after you watched this course.
Date published: 2020-04-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great Way to Travel When In Lockdown I bought this course to watch on my computer as I am locked down like everyone else. I took a previous course with James Currie on Birding and he is the best professor ever, so I thought I would try this. I am about halfway through this course and I am surprised at how much I do like it. I knew nothing about Safaris or about Africa, but I wanted to travel by armchair and see about the different birds in Africa. I am getting so much more than that from the course. Even though I do not plan on going on a Safari I enjoyed learning about the different types, preparation and regions you can go to. The photography is excellent and you feel you are there. I especially enjoyed the lecture about the night safaris. The professor has a wonderful delivery and had written a book about his training and work as a guide; I bought this book and am enjoying that too. I have also learned alot about African animals of all kinds and about African Geography. I totally recommend this course.
Date published: 2020-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Wonderful in home education and African tour. James Currie is a wonderful educator as well as guide to touring Africa. Great way to inform ones' self before taking a Safari.
Date published: 2020-04-25
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What an education! I am a Travel Advisor who made several trips to Africa. I decided to specialize in Africa adventure travel and decided to add this course as part of my education. After this course I now feel confident to plan itineraries for my clients to explore Africa.
Date published: 2020-04-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A terrific course This is a terrific course. The narrator, James Currie, speaks from years of experience, and his love and fascination for Africa are wonderful and contagious. The narrative flows beautifully, and it fits well with maps and video footage of wildlife, the various landscapes and regions of Africa, and what it would be like to go on the many different types of safaris that are available. We are enjoying it immensely. Thank you.
Date published: 2020-04-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours African Safari Great way to see Africa and all the wildlife it has to offer. Even has my husband and I thinking about doing a safari tour!
Date published: 2020-04-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours: African Safari Having been lucky enough to go on a 4 day camera safari in Kenya, while on board the Middle East Flagship (USS Coronodo AGF-1) back in 1982, the DVD was a great memory refresher. The DVD does a super job at describing the many things that one can do on a visit to Africa! If you are looking for information on the animals, plants, parks, birds, etc., this is THE DVD to get !
Date published: 2020-04-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Virtual vs. Real The reason we bought this course was to take a virtual safari since we planned to never take a real safari. We thought James Currie did an excellent job as a lecturer. But the repetition from safari to safari became apparent. Clearly, there are differences in the landscapes, but the elephants, lions, wild dogs, etc. seem to be found in a variety of venues. We truly enjoyed what we watched, and, given our home bound nature with COVID-19, there is an excellent chance that we will take a few more virtual safaris. For those who want to review the choices: of walking, riding, self-driving, or being totally pampered, this course lays out the alternatives in a clear fashion. If you prefer water, savannas or mountains, the venues are provided with some excellent photography.
Date published: 2020-04-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from What a Nice Surprise!! I'd passed over this course a few times, then got an amazing sale price and figured, why not? It turned out to be excellent. The instructor really knows the subject and his presentation is straightforward and clear. Highly recommended.
Date published: 2020-04-14
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Nice pictures, but I had the feeling that it was primarily a commercial for African Safaris.
Date published: 2020-04-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic Tour for Adventure and Learning This course on Africa went far beyond my expectations for a “Tour”. One learned history, geography, conservation, and got to know animals, people, plants, habitats, cultures, and a totally different part of our planet. Not even sure going on an actual safari could offer such an outstanding experience?
Date published: 2020-03-30
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Tours, African Safari Wonderful, FUN, and informative course. Professor Currie is extremely experienced and enthusiastic about all the different types of Safaris ( I never knew there were so many different kinds of Safaris). I love listening to him and the videos and pictures give you an excellent idea about each Safari Experience. I will never be able to attend (I am 70 years and with limited mobility, but my three children attended a Safari in Krugur Park in 2005. I bought this course to get an idea of what they experienced and also because I love learning about the animals and their behaviors. Professor Currie and those who helped put together the course did an excellent job. I highly recommend this course to anyone planning a Safari or, just like me, an arm chair tourist.
Date published: 2020-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Magnificent! - Also, Wonderful!! This is a completely wonderful course in all respects - whether or not you ever plan to go on safari! Most obviously and significantly, the extensive video of so much of African life - from the "big five" predators to smaller mammals, from crocs to chameleons to many animals most of us have never heard of, to beautiful surveys of birds and of plant life - would make the course worthwhile if we had nothing beyond silent video to captivate us. But our guide, James Currie, is almost as outstanding as the wildlife. He seems to have experienced more of Africa and its fauna and flora than is possible in one lifetime, and he portrays it all with eloquence, enthusiasm, and heartfelt oratory skill. In addition to the descriptions of Africa's life and environment, he gives informative, even fascinating, illustrations of the many types of safaris which are available in the widely varied African habitats. He is also very helpfully clear as to where one can expect comfort and where true roughing it is necessary. And I particularly appreciated his noting where the political situation is or recently was of concern, and his pointing out how this may affect the safari experience. The only complaint I can come up with is that when, in Lecture 18, our instructor uses the word "endemic", I at first thought he was referring to a disease. It took a bit before I realized he was describing endemic bird populations. . . (And no, I don't have any connection with Mr. Currie or the safari industry!) So - obviously - this course has my highest recommendation. If you have even the slightest interest in animal and plant life, and/or in Africa - and regardless of whether or not you actually intend to go on a safari - you will love it. Enjoy!
Date published: 2020-03-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from So interesting Love that there are video clips to go along with the audio
Date published: 2020-02-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A great course This was a wonderful introcuditon to African Safaris. The course is geared toward those who intend to take a safari and is full of instruction on the best way to do that. But it also is a great course on the animals, plants, birds, and the landscape of the continent.
Date published: 2020-02-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great review! This is a comprehensive and informed review of the types of safaris available on the continent of Africa. The information that you need before deciding the type of safari that you wish to experience is provided in an entertaining manner.
Date published: 2020-01-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from African Safari I bought this as a Christmas Gift for my husband, and he loves it! (So do I!) We have been to Africa, and enjoyed a short private safari, so are really 'tuned in' to the subject. We have learned a lot so far, and look forward to watching the rest of the course. Thank you so much for this one!
Date published: 2019-12-31
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Verbose I was disappointed in what could have been great course. Way to much talking and far too little safari viewing. Seemed like sales pitch. Don’t waste your money. YouTube has many better safari trips.
Date published: 2019-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Great animal pictures I bought this course because I'm not sure I'll ever get to Africa but wanted to know what it would be like to go on a safari. It is just what I was looking for.
Date published: 2019-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent knowledge & photos! This is a great teaching course. Excellent photos and professional photographer. Helps teach and prepare for trips to Africa.
Date published: 2019-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from The Armchair Traveler Since my husband and i are no longer able to travel ourselves, it was a joy to enjoy a safari vicariously.
Date published: 2019-12-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from A Safari into Safaris I found this to be an interesting introduction to the world of safaris. The subject matter was well presented and the variety of locations was very good. The presenter obviously had a broad knowledge of the field and wide ranging experience. Some viewers might see the commercial connection as a bit off-putting, but I think that is a minor point.
Date published: 2019-12-11
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The Great Tours: African Safari
Course Trailer
The Evolution of the Modern Safari
1: The Evolution of the Modern Safari

Begin your journey with a look at the origins and evolution of the safari, from its African roots as a trading journey to the hunting expeditions of the early 1900s to a form of popular tourism. Consider how Africa changed over the 20th century, and witness the rise of ecotourism. Survey the nature of safaris today.

32 min
Comparing Self-Drive and Guided Safaris
2: Comparing Self-Drive and Guided Safaris

Before you embark on your safari, you have a critical decision to make. Do you want to rent a car and manage your own safari—which offers the most freedom, privacy, and affordability—or do you want to hire a guide to plan your itinerary, outfit your trip, and educate you along the way? Consider the pros and cons of each.

32 min
Safaris in East Africa
3: Safaris in East Africa

Get an introduction to the five major safari categories. After reviewing them in total, this lecture delves into safaris in East Africa—namely, in Kenya and Tanzania. Explore the wildlife on the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara. Experience the hair-raising sounds of predators. And learn about the major threat that may exist for an East African safari.

31 min
Safaris in Southern Africa
4: Safaris in Southern Africa

Continue your study of safari categories. Here, tour the astounding wealth of Southern Africa, from the enormous Kruger National Park to Zimbabwe’s big-game landscape and to the wild wetlands of Zambia. Southern Africa is an awe-inspiring mix of desert and wetland safari activities. Find out what to expect and how to plan a trip to this magnificent region.

32 min
Water Safaris
5: Water Safaris

Shift your attention to the rivers and wetlands of Botswana, where the opportunity to view wildlife from the water is like nothing else. Whether from a boat or a dugout canoe (or “mokoro”), and whether you are birdwatching or big-game viewing, a water safari is without a doubt the crown jewel of the African safari experience.

30 min
Desert Safaris
6: Desert Safaris

The majority of safari experiences concentrate in the continent’s fertile savannahs and wetlands, but the arid regions of Namibia and the Atlantic coast of Africa hold countless treasures. Here, journey into the oldest desert in the world, view the magnificent red sand dunes, and learn about survival in a seemingly inhospitable climate.

33 min
Primate Safaris
7: Primate Safaris

Trek into the tropical mountains and valleys of Uganda, Rwanda, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo to get a first-hand look at our closest living relatives. From studying gorillas to chimpanzees, there is nothing more enchanting than sitting on the damp forest floor and gazing into the eyes of a great ape.

31 min
Night Safaris
8: Night Safaris

A night drive into the African bush offers a glimpse into a completely different world, from nocturnal animals to the breathtaking sky. This lecture covers the basics of a night safari: what animals you might see, how they might behave, and what tools you need for successful and responsible viewing of animals at night.

29 min
Photographic Safaris
9: Photographic Safaris

Thus far, this course has covered where to go. Here, consider how to experience the safari. Should you soak it all up with the naked eye, or should you bring along your camera equipment to document it all? Whether you’re using an iPhone or the latest and greatest DSLR, learn a few strategies for capturing your trip on film.

28 min
Walking Safaris
10: Walking Safaris

While the most common image of a safari is one of riding into the bush in a 4x4 truck to get an up-close view of big mammals, a walking safari can be one of the most stunning ways to experience Africa. Step away from the bustle of the modern world, slow down, and pay attention to the many wondrous details you can see by foot.

30 min
African Predators
11: African Predators

Now that you have surveyed the range of geographies and types of safaris, shift gears to begin a multi-lecture unit on the flora and fauna you might see on your safari. Here, start with the predators—the crowd-pleasing carnivorous animals at the top of the food chain. Meet the “killer” cats and dogs.

35 min
African Herbivores and Antelopes
12: African Herbivores and Antelopes

Continue your study of safari animals with this lecture on “the hunted”—grazing herbivores that have evolved to thrive in the dangerous jungles and savannahs. From buffalo and antelopes to zebras and impalas, examine an array of herbivores and their astonishing adaptations for survival.

28 min
Giants of the African Bush
13: Giants of the African Bush

Meet the giant mammals of the African landscape: the elephant, the rhinoceros, the giraffe, and the hippopotamus. Each of these mega-herbivores is truly captivating, but they are also threatened by poaching. As you get to know each species, reflect on the illegal wildlife trade for some of the largest animals in the world.

30 min
Africa’s Great Apes and Other Primates
14: Africa’s Great Apes and Other Primates

In Lecture 7, you learned some ins and outs of a “primate safari.” Now, take a closer look at the great apes you might meet. Study the differences between lowland and mountain gorillas, consider the baboons and monkeys of the open plains, and learn about the much-adored nocturnal primates.

28 min
Africa’s Small Mammals
15: Africa’s Small Mammals

The giant animals might be the immediate crowd-pleasers, but the smaller mammals of Africa can be equally fascinating, and they play a critical role in the ecosystem. From mongooses and rabbits to the strange-looking pangolin, get an up-close look at an abundance of small mammals.

28 min
Africa’s Reptiles and Amphibians
16: Africa’s Reptiles and Amphibians

Snakes, lizards, toads, and frogs have a nasty reputation. They’re creepy, crawly, slithery, and cold-blooded. Yet reptiles and amphibians are an important part of Africa’s ecosystem, and, as you will learn in this lecture, there is much more to these fascinating creatures than their nasty reputation. Learn about crocodiles, lizards, snakes, and more.

29 min
Key Birds of Africa
17: Key Birds of Africa

What would a safari be without the avian delights you are sure to encounter in Africa? Ostriches, eagles, flamingos, herons: Africa is home to countless species of truly amazing birds. Examine the stunning world of Africa’s birdlife, and see what equipment you need to make the most of your birding safari.

40 min
Top Birding Spots of Southern and East Africa
18: Top Birding Spots of Southern and East Africa

Africa is home to roughly a quarter of the world’s bird species, so anyone interested in avian diversity should make it a point to visit the continent. In this lecture, you will travel to some of the top birding destinations in Southern Africa, Kenya, and Tanzania. Gain indispensable guidance for encountering things that fly.

35 min
Africa’s Trees, Plants, and Flowers
19: Africa’s Trees, Plants, and Flowers

Spotting the notable animals or identifying bird species might be a primary goal of your African safari, but getting to know the common botanical species is an integral part of the experience. Learn about Africa’s different biomes and the plants best suited for each region, and reflect on the intricate connections among the roots, branches, and flowers of life.

30 min
Island and Beach Safaris
20: Island and Beach Safaris

Did you know Africa is home to world-class beaches, wildlife-rich islands, exceptional scuba diving, and some of our planet’s best surfing breaks? Here, you will tour the tropical islands and beaches that offer an experience like no other. Travel to Madagascar, surf the coast of Cape Town, snorkel the reefs of the Seychelles, and more.

31 min
The Sounds of an African Safari
21: The Sounds of an African Safari

Listen: When you go on an African safari, you step away from the hum of household electronics, the wails of car horns and sirens, and experience the call of the wild. The chattering of crickets and frogs, the late-night howls of jackals, the iconic roar of the lions. Learn to observe not just with your eyes, but with your ears.

26 min
Safari Destinations off the Beaten Path
22: Safari Destinations off the Beaten Path

This course, so far, has traversed all the popular geographies and methods for taking a safari. Now, follow some of the less-traveled roads. Get to know the hospitality of Senegal, the deserts of Morocco, and the cultural melting pot of Ethiopia. See some of the “hidden gems” sprinkled across the continent.

30 min
Cities and Other Safari Additions
23: Cities and Other Safari Additions

The word “safari” comes from the Swahili word for “journey.” While safaris typically involve journeys into the wilderness, the cities and cultures of Africa offer a different kind of journey. From Cape Town to Nairobi and from the Zulus to the Maasai, experience the thriving cultures and communities across Africa.

27 min
Tips for a Sustainable Safari
24: Tips for a Sustainable Safari

The safari experience has changed mightily over the last century, and today, sustainability is one of the most important considerations for tourism. This course closes with a look at responsibility and conservation and what some of the leaders in the safari industry are doing to support local communities and to protect endangered species.

28 min
James Currie

My goal is to inspire your next adventure and answer your questions about what to do, where, and when to do it. I want to ignite a sense of passion and love for wild and wonderful places that’ are like no other in the world.


National Geographic

About James Currie

James Currie is a safari guide with the world-renowned company Wilderness Safaris. As a lifelong wildlife enthusiast and native of South Africa, he has led professional wildlife and birding tours for many years, and his passion for adventure and remote cultures has taken him to nearly every corner of the globe.


Mr. Currie is an expert in the fields of sustainable development and environmental management, holding a bachelor’s degree in African Languages from the University of Cape Town and a master’s degree in Sustainable Environmental Management from Middlesex University London. His dissertation, which he presented to the Icelandic government in 2001, received a distinction and has been used as a model for assessing the relationships between wildlife areas and local communities. One of Mr. Currie’s passions is forging links between local communities, wildlife, and international travelers. From 2004 to 2007, he worked as the managing director of Africa Foundation, a nonprofit organization that directs its efforts toward uplifting communities surrounding wildlife areas in Africa.


Mr. Currie is a highly sought-after public speaker who has spoken to sold-out audiences at various venues, including the prestigious Explorers Club in New York City, The G2 Gallery in Los Angeles, the National Audubon Society headquarters in New York City, Zoo Miami, the Educational Travel Consortium’s Annual Conference, and the Travel & Adventure Show. He has appeared as a special guest on various television shows and radio programs, including Martha Stewart Living Radio and WGN-TV, and has been the subject of several newspaper articles in periodicals such as The Wall Street JournalThe Palm Beach Post, and the Orlando Sentinel.


Mr. Currie was the host of Nikon’s Birding Adventures TV, a popular birding show that aired for 10 seasons on Discovery Communications’ Destination America and the NBC Sports Network. He also hosted the action-birding show Aerial Assassins on Nat Geo WILD. Additionally, Mr. Currie provided footage and consulted for the 2011 Hollywood birding movie The Big Year, starring Steve Martin, Jack Black, and Owen Wilson.


Mr. Currie has contributed to several publications, including the Southern African Birdfinder, and he was a contributing author of the acclaimed book The Last Elephants. His book, When Eagles Roar: The Amazing Journey of an African Wildlife Adventurer, details his life as a wildlife guide in Africa.


In 2007, Mr. Currie immigrated to the United States with his American wife and three children, and he currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida.


Mr. Currie’s other Great Course is The National Geographic Guide to Birding in North America

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