A Guide to South African Safaris

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South Africa is, rather conveniently, situated at the bottom of the continent of Africa.  It is bordered by the Indian Ocean on the east and the Atlantic on the west.  It is also home to the Kruger National Park, as well as the famous Table Mountain, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, and Tsitsikamma National Park.

With so many incredible sights to see and things to do, South Africa is one of the most desirable destinations on the planet for those seeking adventure and a holiday away from home that they will never forget. Continue reading in order to learn more about this place and how to plan the trip of a lifetime.

When’s the Best Time to Visit South Africa?

The weather in South Africa is cooler from June through September. Also, it is usually dry, so it’s a good time to visit.  But even if it is raining, it is not necessarily the end of your safari, as South African safari resorts are well established and have better infrastructures than elsewhere in Africa, so the roads will probably still be safe for travelling.

1. Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park is about 215 miles long, running north to south, and about 37 miles wide.  Most of the vegetation is savannah (or, as it is known in Africa, bosveld).  Most of the rivers in the park run east to west.  Although safaris tend to concentrate on “big game,” there is a wide variety of bird life in the park, which is worth seeking out.

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Although unusual for safaris, Kruger offers self-drive facilities.  You can either make use of self-catering accommodation or stay at the lodges.  The benefit of this type of safari is that you get to do things at your own pace.   The downside is that the regular guides know what is going on in the park and therefore can “tip you off” about the best places to go to see animals at any given time.

Kruger is however in a malarial area, so if you go here, make sure you take the necessary medication and get the necessary vaccinations before departing to the area.

2. Eastern Cape

One of the big benefits of visiting the Eastern Cape for your safari is that it is not in a malarial area (but always check before you travel, as these things can change).  The other benefit of this trip is that, if you want to, you can combine it with a visit to the beautiful island of Mauritius.

Winter runs from April through August, when the weather ranges from about 7 to 20 degrees centigrade (that’s about 44 to 68 Fahrenheit). In the summer, the temperature goes up to 16 to 26 (60 to 68 Fahrenheit), so it is never unbearable.

3. The Big Five

You will see a lot written about the “Big Five” when you research safaris in South Africa.  This refers to lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffalo.  Many people are upset that hippopotamuses and giraffes are not included, but this is because safaris tend to concentrate on trying to see the animals that the majority of people want to see. However, this isn’t the case everywhere, and you can certainly spend a lot of time driving from place to place to see what you want to see.  The term “Big Five” was used by big game hunters back in the day because of the difficulty in killing these animals, but it’s since been taken on by tour operators.

Wherever you choose to go in South Africa, do your homework before you travel in order to ensure you are making the best decision for your expectations and your budget. This will allow you to relax and enjoy your safari.

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