South African Safaris, the words conjure up images of vast tracts of land, tents, mosquito nets, elephants, lions, sunshine, heat, dust, excitement and romance. From a self-drive, camping experience through to a 5-star luxury stay at an exclusive bush lodge, these safaris are world renowned for comfort, diverse landscapes, wild animals and birdlife.
At the top luxury end, prepare to be entranced by small select camps set in beautiful surroundings, serving cordon bleu food in the middle of the bush where your every need is catered for. Offering game drives with a personal tracker, guided bush walks, spa experiences, scenic flights, horseback safaris and many more wonderful activities, these South African safari destinations have played host to presidents, royalty and superstars.
If your budget can’t quite stretch to that, there are more affordable options to be found.
Less exclusive lodges cater for larger groups and offer great service. Game drives in the early morning and late evening are standard at most lodges, allowing you to get really close to animals without disturbing them. It is an exhilarating experience to be within 4 feet of a fully grown male lion in an open game vehicle or to watch an elephant push over a nearby tree.
Self-drive, self-catering safaris are popular amongst locals. With amazing national parks offering affordable accommodation, a game park experience need not break the budget. The freedom to drive around these parks is awesome. You can decide when and where you wish to go for a game drive, spotting your own animals as you go. And a quiet barbecue or braai in the evening, with the call of wild animals echoing around you in the bush is incomparable.
Safari destinations are easily accessible. A good road network allows easy travel by car and many lodges have fly-in options.
Malaria is endemic to the north east area of the country, but there are game parks in malaria free areas for those who do not wish to take anti-malarial medication or those with small babies.
Hunting is available in South Africa. For those so inclined, private game reserves will allow hunting on their properties. These need to be organized well in advance to ensure the necessary permits are in place. You cannot hunt in a national park.
For a wide variety of game, from lions and elephant to tiny owls and chameleons, and a stunning selection of birdlife, from the large Bateleur eagle to the tiny Kingfisher, safaris in South Africa are an experience to savor.