Safari 102: Where to Go on Safari in South Africa

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South Africa is arguably the best safari destination in the world. With a multitude of private and state-run reserves teeming with wildlife and incredible bird diversity, it’s an obvious choice. But it can be really overwhelming trying to decide exactly where to go. Here are some tips to help you:

The Kruger National Park

The Greater Kruger is the ultimate safari destination in terms of wildlife diversity and abundance. The ”poster boys” are all present – the Big Five as well as other iconic species such as the African fish eagle, cheetahs and crocodiles. The central region is mostly open savanna grasslands and so offers opportunities to get good sightings of these and other animals. If you are a keen birder, I can highly recommend that you visit the northern part of the park. I was blown away by the diversity of birds that we saw. One of Africa’s iconic trees, the Baobab, is plentiful here. A major drawback for some is that this wildlife hub is located in a malaria-area. The best time to visit to avoid contracting malaria is during our winter months when insect activity is low (May – August). It’s a good time of year to escape the intense summer heat too.

Travel Planning - Bespoke ecotours and safaris - Bush Marine Tours & Adventures
Elephants enjoying the waterhole outside Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

Our accommodation recommendations:

Budget: Tamboti Tented Camp

Moderate: Bundox Safari Lodge

Luxe: Sabi Sabi Bush Lodge

 

KwaZulu-Natal

The wild and beautiful province of KwaZulu-Natal is another option for a fantastic safari experience. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and a whole host of smaller private game reserves is only a few hours’ drive from Durban. The beautiful grasslands and savanna are typical of a safari-setting. Amazing work has been done here to increase the rhino population. There are a few reserves where one can get actively involved in rhino conservation projects. As a bonus, one can easily combine a safari holiday with a few days at the beach too! The Indian Ocean is warm and welcoming all year round. Some of the northern-most reserves are in a low-risk malaria zone so one would have to take some precautionary measures.

Where to go on Safari n South Africa - Bush Marine Tours
Luxury tented camp at Thanda

Our accommodation recommendations:

Budget: Mpila Camp

Moderate: Tembe Elephant Park

Luxe: Thanda Safari / Phinda Private Game Reserve

 

The Eastern Cape

The malaria-free Eastern Cape is a great option for people who aren’t willing to take any chances when it comes to the disease. The vegetation is very different to KZN and the Kruger Park (mainly thicket) but still beautiful and full of life. What’s so unique about a safari here is that you have the opportunity to spot the Big Seven; lion, rhino, elephant, leopard, buffalo, southern right whale and the Great White Shark. Addo Elephant National Park has been extended to include a coastal section. An exciting boat cruise in the bay would be a great addition to your safaris experience. Most of the game reserves in the province are located close to Port Elizabeth which is the start (or end) of the famous Garden Route. What a bonus to incorporate a Garden Route adventure as well as a thrilling safari into an itinerary!

luxury safari lodge South Africa
Luxury tented camp at Shamwari

Our accommodation recommendations:

Budget: Spekboom Tented Camp

Moderate: Camp Figtree

Luxe: Shamwari Private Game Reserve / Kariega Private Game Reserve

 

This is by far not a complete list of what’s on offer but it will be a good place to start. If you are considering a safari holiday in South Africa, there’s no need to feel overwhelmed or spend hours on Google. Just pop us a mail – we will tailor an amazing experience to match your exact requirements.

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