10 of the best safaris for 2015

Often it's a stealthy operation that involves extensive prep work, a great deal of roaming and, occasionally, disappointment.

To make it easier, we've examined the honors in the 2015 Safari Awards -- the Oscars of the safari industry -- and gathered 10 of our favorite finalists.

These are the adventures that excel in location, animal encounters, social and environmental responsibility and offer something different.

More than 4,000 travel agents, writers and operators were invited to nominate the best safaris across 20 categories.

Here's our best of the best:

Norman Carr Walking Safari (Zambia)

Encounters with animals don't get closer than when they