10 Reasons to go on a South African Safari
Its safari time! While South Africa has no shortage of beautiful destinations to explore, going on an authentic safari in the unspoiled African bushveld should undoubtedly be at the top of every traveler’s bucket-list. A South African safari ticks all the right boxes if you’re looking to venture off the beaten track, explore the great outdoors, and experience the many thrills that only safari life can deliver.
From the unapologetic natural beauty of the African wilderness, diverse landscapes, nature reserves and protected ecosystems, to the thrilling wildlife encounters and spectacular sightings, South Africa offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience.
Here are our top 10 reasons to go on a South African safari, however, if we’re honest, we could easily give you a million more.
#1 Sensational wildlife sightings
South Africa is regarded as one of the top wildlife safari destinations. It is also one of the few places in the world where you are able to see every member of the African Big 5 (elephant, buffalo, rhino, lion, and leopard) in one place in their natural habitat. South Africa’s pristine Big 5 safari status is largely owed to its outstanding conservation areas and national parks.
Besides spectacular Big 5 sightings, South Africa is home to a glorious diversity of birdlife and wildlife, including various endangered species such as the African wild dog, cheetah, sable, and roan antelope. Sightings of Africa’s lesser known Little 5, namely the leopard tortoise, rhino beetle, elephant shrew, ant lion, and the red-billed buffalo weaver is also something to look forward to on your South African safari.
The wildlife magic doesn’t end there! Wildlife encounters in South Africa aren’t solely confined to game reserves, national parks, and safaris alone. Travelers can enjoy amazing sightings of hippos and crocodiles on Lake Saint Lucia in iSimangaliso Wetland Park, African Penguin encounters at Boulders Beach in Cape Town (along with other Marine Big 5 sightings, including dolphins, Cape Fur Seals, Mola Mola Sunfish and Southern Right Whales), monkeys in the trees around Durban, up-close wildlife encounters and sightings in and around various unfenced game lodges, camps and reserves, as well as whales along the Cape South Coast year-round. The toughest part is finding enough time to see it all – that is what return trips are for after all!
#2 Diverse landscapes
South Africa’s glorious diversity of national parks, wilderness regions and nature reserves is another compelling reason to go on a South African safari. From the nearly 2.2 million hectares of unrivalled African bushveld that make up the Kruger National Park, the incredible tropical bushland of KwaZulu-Natal, the star-studded skies and vastly diverse landscapes of the arid Karoo desert, and the spectacular Green Kalahari of the Northern Cape – There is no limit to what South Africa has to offer. Not to mention the abundant indigenous fynbos and lush rolling landscape of the Cape peninsula, as well as the amazing wildlife, majestic mountain ranges, cascading waterfalls, and secluded beaches of the world-renowned savannah. Exploring and discovering South Africa’s diverse landscapes and safari destinations is truly unparalleled.
#3 Safari experiences & adventures
Its safari time! Going on a safari in any of South Africa’s premier conservation areas, national parks or nature reserves not only gives you the opportunity to tick an unforgettable experience off your bucket-list, but enjoy an up-close perspective of South Africa’s magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. To make things more exciting, visitors and safari-goers can choose between a variety of amazing safari experiences and adventures.
Go on a self-drive wildlife adventure through the African bushveld or enjoy a thrilling game drive in an open 4×4 vehicle with an experienced and knowledgeable wildlife guide by your side – the choice is yours! If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, going on a walking safari is right up your alley! Exploring the African bushveld on foot encourages you to fully immerse yourself in the experience and enjoy amazing up-close wildlife and birdlife sightings from a whole new perspective.
Besides these bucket-list worthy experiences, guests can enjoy a variety of other exhilarating safari adventures and activities. Some of which include, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, thrilling hiking expeditions and one-on-one guided safari tours, to mention just a few. You also have the option of an expertly guided and tailor-made private tour, specifically designed to suit you.
On a South African safari holiday, the bush is your personal playground, so be sure to enjoy every single second of it!
#4 Endless accommodation options
From exclusive villas, boutique hotels, ultra-luxurious safari lodges and 5-star resorts to one-of-a-kind treehouse escapes in the heart of the African bushveld, luxury cave suites, and eco-friendly tented suites, accommodation options are plentiful and diverse, perfectly suited to every budget, holiday, getaway, or safari experience. Whether you’re planning a once-in-a-lifetime safari trip, a romantic getaway for two, a fun family safari holiday, or a thrilling and adrenalin-inducing safari adventure – South Africa has exactly what you’re looking for!
#5 Fewer crowds
One of the main perks and a top reason to go on a South African safari on your next trip is the smaller crowds and less people around. Unlike many mainstream travel hotspots, cruises, and highly populated resorts, safari camps and lodges are designed to be small and intimate. This is done with the intention to allow guests to feel fully immersed in the African wildlife experience – Because in South Africa, it is all about the experience!
Many safari lodges and camps have a high staff-to-guest ratio. This ensures a premium and personalized service as well as an unparalleled guest experience. Several lodges and safari camps also offer private and personally tailored experiences where crowds and over-populated tourism hotspots are avoided. This is great for those wanting the escape the crowds and enjoy a memorable off-grid safari trip.
#6 Pristine national parks & conservation areas
South Africa is home to an exceptional variety of conservation areas, national parks, and nature reserves. One of the most sought-after national parks in South Africa is without a doubt the Kruger National Park. The Kruger National Park is the third largest National Park in the world, as well as the flagship of South Africa’s national parks. Boasting nearly 2.2 million hectares of unspoiled African bushveld, the Kruger Park offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience that’s unlike anything you’ve experienced before. In addition to the renowned Kruger National Park, South Africa boasts an incredible range of private game reserves, including Sabi Sands, Thornybush, Londolozi, MalaMala, Lion Sands and Dulini; Pilanesberg National Park; Madikwe Game Reserve; Phinda Game Reserve and Addo Elephant National Park.
With so many incredible national parks and nature reserves, each one offering something unique and exciting, where is the best place to go on a safari in South Africa? While many travellers and safari enthusiasts make a beeline to Kruger National Park, others prefer to go off the beaten path to safari camps and reserves scattered throughout the country – Your South African safari adventure, your choice!
#7 Exciting & affordable travel experience
South Africa has always offered international travellers and visitors’ excellent value for money with quality accommodation options, tours, and world-class travel experiences. Depending on the nature reserve or game lodge you choose to visit on your safari holiday, many of South Africa’s accommodation facilities, hotels, lodges and resorts offer guests incredible all-inclusive packages, including accommodation, meals, sightseeing, activities (game drives, game walks, etc), and airport pick-ups. Going on a safari holiday in South Africa means you get a whole lot more than you bargained for!
#8 Relaxation, exclusivity & tranquillity
There is nothing more relaxing and soul-enriching than the open-air nature of a safari camp in the middle of the South African bushveld. Fresh air, scenic landscapes, wildlife grazing peacefully in the distance, it is pure bliss! From ultra-luxurious safari lodges with spas to treehouses under the stars, the one thing South Africa prides itself on is privacy, tranquillity, exclusivity, and peaceful serenity. Accommodation here is set within the heart of the wilderness and positioned to provide true away-from-it-all indulgence with panoramic views of the wildlife and stunning savannah. The only ‘interruptions’ you’ll encounter are wandering elephants, curious giraffe or, if you’re lucky, a lion basking in the midday sun.
#9 Perfect family-friendly holiday
South Africa is one of the best countries to go on a family-friendly safari holiday. It can be challenging to find a holiday destination that specifically caters to families and offers enough activities to keep the kids entertained, all while being easily accessible – South Africa fits the requirements perfectly! The area is almost entirely malaria-free, boasts an exceptional range of national parks and premium facilities, and caters to kids of all ages with amazing child-friendly activities and play areas. Many of South Africa’s game lodges offer Junior Ranger programs in which children learn all about the South African bushveld, and its thriving biodiversity and magnificent wildlife in the most fun and exciting way.
Check out our ‘Can you take kids on a Safari’ blog for everything you need to know when planning your bucket-list family safari holiday.
#10 Opportunity to support conservation efforts
Besides enjoying a bucket-list worthy travel experience, going on a South African safari holiday gives you the opportunity to give back at the same time. Many of South Africa’s conservation areas and national parks charge a small conservation fee. These fees are used to support various conservation efforts geared at preserving the country’s beloved national parks, wildlife conservation initiatives and reserves, saving species which are in danger of becoming extinct, as well as supporting several rehabilitation and conservation programs. Numerous South African safaris also offer guests the opportunity to stay in environmentally responsible lodges and camps which further contribute to the well-being and upliftment of local communities and wildlife.