The Okavango Delta is one of the world’s largest inland deltas. It is a vast and virtually untouched freshwater wetland and is deemed one of the world’s premier wilderness areas. The Delta covers between 6 and 15 000 square kilometres of Kalahari Desert in northern Botswana and owes its existence to the Okavango (Kavango) River, which gives rise to the Okavango Delta’s dynamic ecosystem.
Great news for wildlife and nature lovers! It’s finally time to explore the nearly 2 million hectares of unrivalled natural beauty and untamed wilderness and wildlife of the real African bush at the renowned Kruger National Park. South Africa National Parks (SANParks) announced on the 6th of June 2020 that self-drive excursions for day visitors will be permitted from Monday, 8 June 2020 in parks that cater for self-drives. While Namaqua National Park as well as Boulders Beach and Cape Point in Table Mountain National Park remain closed for the time being, most gates at Kruger National Park will be open except for Pafuri and Numbi gates. This means wildlife enthusiasts will once again be able to enjoy the authentic sights and sounds of the African bush by visiting one of the most sought-after wildlife destinations in Africa – the Kruger National Park!
**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
- Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
- Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in The Kruger Park
- Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
- General guidelines when visiting The Kruger National Park
- Entrance Gates telephone numbers
- Daily Conservation Fee
- About The Kruger National Park
Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations & Guidelines
Although the re-opening of the Kruger National Park is great news for wildlife and nature lovers, strict guidelines have been put in place for self-drive day visitors that are in accordance with the Lockdown Alert Level 3 regulations. SANParks CEO Fundisile Mketeni issued a statement in which he said that while they are very happy to announce the re-opening of some of their national parks for self-drive excursions, it is their top priority to ensure that it is done under the strictest health protocols to safeguard both their staff and guests.
For self-drive day visitors who intend to visit the Kruger National Park during South Africa’s Lockdown Alert Level 3, here are all the guidelines, regulations, and information you need to know. Additionally you can visit the SANParks website for all Level 3 Lockdown protocols and regulations.
- Gate quotas for the Kruger National Park have been revised to approximately one third (30%) of what they were prior to COVID-19. As social distancing in vehicles is paramount, all vehicles are allowed to carry only 70% of their capacity. Here is a general guideline provided by SANParks:
|Vehicle Category||Seat Capacity||Max Occupants|
|Sedan||4 – 5||3|
|SUV||5 – 7||3 – 5|
|Double Cab||4 – 5||3|
|Single Cab||2 – 3||1 – 2|
- Group travel (any number of persons in one vehicle that is from more than one household) is prohibited at this stage; including OSV’s, buses & taxis. This means self-drive will be limited to households only and not individuals from different households in one vehicle.
- Visitors are highly encouraged to pre-book and pay online for day visits. Such bookings can be made online through SANParks website or through the traditional means of making bookings, e.g. email, telephonic (012 428 9111) or through one of the reservation offices. Wild Card members will have to ensure that their membership is valid prior to arrival.
- All visitors are requested to complete the Gate Registration Form (inclusive of COVID-19 questions) before arrival. This form can be found online and will make things run smoother if they are printed and filled out ahead of time and handed to the gate official upon arrival. Visitors will also be required to complete a SANParks Gate Client Declaration and Contact Tracing Upon Exit – This form can also be found online
- All visitors will be temperature screened at the gate and asked to confirm that you are not experiencing any clinical symptoms before you can enter the Kruger National Park.
- Before visiting the Kruger National Park it is essential to ensure that you have had no exposure with a suspect or confirmed case of COVID-19. Make sure to check body temperature and any clinical symptoms (cough, fever, dry throat, difficulty breathing) of everyone in your travel group. Anyone with a temperature above 37.3 °C or experiencing any clinical symptoms should remain at home and will not be allowed into the park. This is not only vital for your own health and safety, but for the health and safety of others.
- Ensure that everyone in your vehicle has a mask and sufficient hand sanitizer to frequently disinfect hands.
- All visitor’s movements will be traced and recorded upon entry and exit to the Park to ensure compliance with all regulations.
- Visitors are not allowed to depart from the Kruger National Park into a different province than the one that they entered from, unless they are valid permit holders to do so. No cross-border travelling will be allowed through Giriyondo and Pafuri border posts with Mozambique.
- No overnight guests/overnights stays are allowed until further notice.
- Ensure that you take acceptable means of identification along when visiting the Kruger National Park. This does not only apply to the drivers of vehicles but could be requested of all adults that enter or visit the park.
- Strict social distancing of at least two metres (2m) must be maintained in all permitted public areas inside the park.
Timeslots & Opening & Closing Times
Three time slots for arrival will be introduced with the understanding that booked day visitors must arrive at the gate within that time span, especially if full quota is not booked.
- Slot 1 is from 06:00 to 08:00
- Slot 2 from 08:00 to 10:00
- Slot 3 from 10:00 onwards.
Gate hours and regulations should be strictly adhered to when visiting the Kruger Park. General Kruger National Park Gate Hours are:
|Entrance Gates Open||05:30||05:30||5:30||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||05:30||05:30||05:30|
|Camp Gates Open||04:30||05:30||05:30||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||06:00||05:30||04:30||04:30|
|All Gates Close||18:30||18:30||18:00||18:00||17:30||17:30||17:30||18:00||18:00||18:00||18:30||18:30|
Lockdown Alert Level 3 Guidelines while in the Kruger Park
- Upon visiting the Kruger National Park during Lockdown Alert Level 3 all general park rules still apply.
- Access control into the gate reception office and safe social distancing (of at least 2m) will apply and should be strictly adhered to in all public areas.
- Plan your route ahead of time! The national lockdown regulations relating to movement between provinces must be observed within the parks. This means inter-provincial travel within parks that stretch between two provinces will not be permitted. Visitors must exit into the province from which they entered the park.
- Bird Hides, Picnic Spots and Day Visitor Sites will be kept closed until ready for operation. Tshokwane – only ablutions available from 8 June 2020. Afsaal will be open from 12 June 2020.
- Braaing at picnic sites will not be allowed during this period.
- Bathroom facilities will be open at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
- All visitors should wear a mask and practice strict social distancing (of at least 2m) when making use of the bathrooms facilities as well as when out in public spaces.
- Alcohol may not be brought in or purchased in the Park by day visitors.
- Pack a rubbish bag to ensure you return home with all the waste you generate while visiting the park. Visitors are also requested not to deposit their litter inside the bins within the parks but to leave with as much of it as hygienically possible.
- Guests are urged to be extra cautious when driving in the Kruger National Park as animals are not used to vehicles after such a long period without them.
- The use of drones inside (and over) our national parks is strictly prohibited.
**Important note: If you experience any clinical symptoms while in the park, immediately avoid contact with people outside your travel group, keep on your mask, exit the park, and seek medical care. The COVID-19 Emergency hotline is: 0800 029 999 | WhatsApp Support Line: 0600-123456. For more information about our Parks, visit our website: www.sanparks.org
Rest Camps, Restaurants, Shops, Petrol Stations
- A limited number of filling stations/petrol stations will be open in some parks and will operate in strict accordance with relevant Level 3 lockdown regulations. These filling stations will operate 09:30 to 17:00 daily.
Bathroom Facilities & Rest Camps
- Designated toilet facilities will be open and available at the entry gates, main camps, and large picnic spots (Afsaal, Nkuhlu and Tshokwane).
- Camp receptions will remain closed during Alert Level 3 until further notice
Restaurants will be closed for sit-down dining; however some restaurants will offer limited take-away menus and services. Here is a list of the restaurant take-away services that will be open in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:
- Lower Sabie
- Afsaal Picnic Spot
- Punda Maria.
Here is a list of the shops that will be open for operation in certain camps (as per SANParks official document) from Monday 8 June 2020:
- Letaba (07:00 – 17:00)
- Satara (07:00 – 17:00)
- Skukuza (07:00 – 17:00)
- Lower Sabie Rest Camp (07:00 – 17:00)
- Orpen (06:30 – 17:00)
- Pretoriuskop (06:30 – 17:00)
- Crocodile Bridge (06:30 – 17:00)
- Berg-en-Dal (07:00 – 17:00)
- Shingwedzi (10:00 – 15:00)
General Guidelines when visiting the Kruger Park
The function of SANParks is to protect, conserve and control the national parks and other protected areas assigned to it. To ensure a safe and enjoyable trip through the Kruger National Park, it is important for all visitors to the park to kindly adhere to the rules and regulations under the Protected Areas Act. Here are general rules, regulations, information, and guidelines outlined by SANParks when visiting the Kruger National Park or any of their national parks:
- Please always stay in your vehicle when exploring the Park. As the Kruger National Park is home to a glorious diversity of wildlife, some of which may pose a potential threat to humans as you enter their natural habitat, visitors are only allowed to get out of their vehicles in safe designated areas. Additionally no part of your body may protrude from a window or sunroof while driving and doors should always remain closed.
- Please take careful note of the maximum speed limits applicable in the various areas of the Kruger Park. Note that not all roads are accessible to vehicles exceeding a certain mass, type, or size.
- Safety while driving should always remain top priority. General rules of the road apply within the Kruger National Park. It is an offence to drive on South African roads without a recognized driver’s license or under the influence of alcohol. Driving or operating any vehicle in a reckless or negligent manner or in a deliberate disregard for the safety of a person, animal or property is a serious offence and can result in a summons being issued as per official SANParks regulations.
- Vehicles must always remain on the designated roads and off-road driving or driving on closed or no-entry roads is a serious offence.
- Feeding of wildlife inside the park is strictly prohibited! The feeding or intentional disturbance of wildlife is a serious offence.
- No plant, animal, wildlife or any natural or cultural items may be removed from the Kruger Park without permission. To cut, damage, destroy or be in possession of any plant or part thereof, including dry wood or firewood is a serious offence. Importing of any specimen of an alien or listed invasive species into a national park is strictly prohibited.
- No firearms may be brought into the Park.
- No pets (dogs, cats, birds or any other) may be brought into a Kruger Park. Transgressors will be dealt with firmly, issued with a summons and serious action will be taken. Guide dogs for visually impaired guests are the only exception, but only if the proper procedures are followed in consultation with park management and if the owner has the necessary inoculations and permits as ordained by the state veterinary department.
- The Kruger National Park has a NO TOLERANCE POLICY with regards to poaching, killing, or injuring of animals.
- Starting or causing of any fire, whether it be intentional or unintentional other than in a fireplace or container purposely made available is strictly prohibited and will result in a summons being issued.
- Behaving in an offensive, improper, indecent, or disorderly manner will simply NOT be tolerated. Playing of any radio, compact disc player, music system, musical system or instrument that may cause any noise that results in the disturbance of any species, specimen or wildlife as well as other individuals visiting the park is strictly prohibited and will be fined if not adhered to.
- The hindering, intimidating, or obstructing of an authorized Kruger National Park official in the execution if his/her duties or the performance of his/her functions will not be tolerated and is subject to a penalty. Violation, refusal, or failure to obey or comply with any prohibition, request or instruction imposed by these regulations or by the management authority or authorized official will result in prosecution.
- Beware of Malaria – The Kruger National Park and Mapungubwe National Parks fall within a malaria zone. A 24hour malaria hotline is available on 0822341800 and where relevant, please consult your medical practitioner.
- Kindly familiarize yourself with the general conditions prevalent in the park you are going to visit by visiting the website at sanparks.org and link onto Parks A-Z as there may be vital information contained therein to assist with your visit.
Entrance Gates Telephone Numbers
|Entrance Gate||Telephone Number|
|Crocodile Bridge Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6012|
|Kruger Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5107|
|Malelane Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6152|
|Numbi Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5133|
|Orpen Gate||+27 (0)13 735 0237/0238|
|Pafuri Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5574|
|Phabeni Gate||+27 (0)13 735 5890|
|Phalaborwa Gate||+27 (0)13 735 3547|
|Punda Maria Gate||+27 (0)13 735 6870|
Daily Conservation Fee
Daily Conservation fees for 1 November 2019 to 31 October 2020
|South African Citizens and Residents (with ID)||R100 per adult, per day
R50 per child, per day
|SADC Nationals (with passport)||R200 per adult, per day
R100 per child, per day
|Standard Conservation Fee||R400 per adult, per day
R200 per child, per day
About the Kruger National Park
The Kruger National park is South Africa’s most beautiful and exciting African Safari destination. This South African National Park is also one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Home to nearly 2 million hectares of land that stretch for 352 kilometres, the Kruger Park is spread across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo in the north of South Africa. Just south of Zimbabwe and west of Mozambique. Lying in the heart of the Lowveld, the Kruger Park truly offers an unparalleled African safari and wildlife experience, boasting an incredible diversity of birdlife and wildlife.
Ranking among the best in Africa, the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly considered the flagship of the country’s national parks. Attracting thousands of visitors each year from all around the world looking to experience the ultimate African safari destination and magnificent sights and sounds of the African bush first-hand. A visit to the world-renowned Kruger National Park undoubtedly deserves to be on everyone’s bucket-list when visiting the beautiful and vibrant Africa. To find out more about when the best time is to plan your trip to the Kruger National park, have a look at our blog here!
But, just to get you a little more excited, here are some great wildlife and birdlife sightings you can look forward to when visiting the Kruger. The Kruger National Park is home to approximately 147 mammal species as well as a prolific diversity of bird life. With over 500 bird species on the Kruger National Park list, it’s any bird lover’s paradise.
Here are some amazing wildlife and birdlife sightings, as well as a few remarkable vegetation, fauna & flora, and incredible natural/cultural features to look out for when visiting the Kruger National Park:
- The African Big Five – Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Lion and Rhino.
- The Little Five – Buffalo Weaver, Elephant Shrew, Leopard Tortoise, Ant Lion and Rhino Beetle.
- Birding Big Six– Ground Hornbill, Kori Bustard, Lappet- faced Vulture, Martial Eagle, Pel’s Fishing Owl and Saddle-bill Stork.
- Five Trees – Baobab, Fever Tree, Knob Thorn, Marula, Mopane.
- Natural/Cultural Features – Letaba Elephant Museum, Jock of the Bushveld Route, Albasini Ruins, Masorini Ruins, Stevenson Hamilton Memorial Library, Thulamela.
Besides these magnificent sightings and encounters, the Kruger National Park boasts such an incredible diversity of wildlife, bio-diversity and birdlife. With so many remarkable creatures and animals to see as well as bucket-list worthy sightings of rare species (some of which you may never encounter anywhere else in the world) it truly is any nature, birdlife and wildlife enthusiast’s dream destination. When visiting the Kruger, it is a great idea to keep up to date with the movements of the wildlife in the Kruger National Park by consulting the sightings map at reception as it is updated daily!
You can also follow the Kruger National Park on all their social media channels for spectacular wildlife sightings, up-close encounters, up-to-date information, recent spottings, and of course the unapologetic beauty of the African bushveld.
- Instagram: @sanparks
- Facebook: @South.African.National.Parks
- Twitter: @SANParksKNP
- YouTube: SANParks
**Disclaimer/Important note: This article was last updated on 18/06/2020 as per the current Lockdown Alert Level 3 Regulations and official SANParks regulations and statements. It is therefore subject to change in accordance with South Africa’s Lockdown Regulations.
As South Africa is in the midst of a Nationwide Lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19, all travel has been placed on hold for the foreseeable future. Just because we can’t physically travel to some of our top African safari destinations, doesn’t mean we can’t experience all the natural beauty, amazing wildlife, birdlife and endemic fauna and flora virtually. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, you can now embark on a virtual journey to Africa’s most beautiful wildlife destinations from the comfort of your home. Making it possible for nature and wildlife lovers to experience the sights and sounds of the African bush by means of live streams, interactive game drives, and live Q&As hosted by expert field guides, game rangers and wildlife experts on the ground. On top of that, several game reserves offer round-the-clock live footage of key wildlife hotspots through webcams connected to Africam.com and Explore.org.
While me might not be able to hop into an open safari vehicle and go on a safari adventure right this moment, here are some of the best virtual safaris to enjoy online during the Corona Virus Lockdown.
WildEarth SafariLIVE is an award winning, expertly hosted LIVE safari experience, broadcasted directly from the African bush into your home. Available on both the internet and television, WildEarth’s SafariLIVE gives you the opportunity to enjoy a virtual safari and interact with a knowledgeable game ranger in real time. In partnership with a range of Africa’s top game reserves, lodges, and safari companies, WildEarth will be broadcasting twice-daily, 3-hour long game drives as they explore the heart of the African wilderness. Currently their SafariLIVE virtual safari experiences are broadcasted live from Djuma Private Game Reserve, Chitwa Chitwa in The Sabi Sands, &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve, and Tswalu Kalahari. All these reserves are found in South Africa and offer a vast expanse of wilderness within which Africa’s magnificent wildlife can freely roam.
By making use of safari vehicles, guides on foot, drones, balloons, rovers, and remote cams, they give you the opportunity to explore the glorious African wilderness and its magnificent wildlife in their natural habitat. From incredible sightings of the renowned Big 5 to other prolific wildlife and birdlife sightings, you will be right at the edge of your seat enjoying every second of the adventure. The WildEarth SafariLIVE broadcasts are entirely unscripted, unpredictable, and happening in real time. You never know what you’re going to get – making every sighting and encounter as thrilling as the next.
The WildEarth SafariLIVE is broadcasted in two main timeslots, Sunrise Safari and Sunset Safari. These virtual safari broadcasts can be enjoyed on the following days and times:
- Monday to Sunday
- Central African Time (CAT): 06:30am – 09:30am
- East African Time (EAT): 07:30am – 10:30am
- Eastern Standard Time (EST): 00:30am – 03:30am
- Monday to Sunday
- Central African Time (CAT): 15:00pm – 18:00pm
- East African Time (EAT): 16:00pm – 19:00pm
- Eastern Daylight Savings Time (EST): 09:00am – 12:00pm
WildEarth’s virtual safaris are broadcasted live in real-time, but in case you miss the action you can visit their SafariLIVE YouTube channel as all the videos will be saved there.
WildEarth also has an incredible virtual safari experience for all the young nature and wildlife enthusiasts to enjoy – WildEarth Kids! WildEarth Kids is all about connecting kids with nature and inspiring the next generation of conservation ambassadors. This exciting wildlife adventure takes kids aged 4-18 on free, live, and interactive virtual safari rides, transporting them from wherever they are onto the back of a virtual safari vehicle. For 45 minutes, kids join safariLIVE and tour some of the most iconic wildlife destinations in Africa. They can interact with the expert guides and game rangers in real time as they drive through the African wilderness, asking questions about what they see.
This fun and interactive virtual safari takes place during the first 45 minutes of both the Sunrise and Sunset drives. During that time, the guides will only answer questions specifically from the kids. These questions can be sent to them via [email protected]. Currently no bookings of sessions are required. This means the whole family can join in on all the virtual safari and wildlife fun as often as you want.
- Website: wildearth.tv
- WildEatrh YouTube channel: WildEarth Media
- WildEarth Facebook: @WildEarth.TV
- WildEarth Twitter: @WildEarth
- SafariLIVE YouTube channel: WildEarth
- SafariLIVE Twitter: @LIVEsafariLIVE
- WildEarth Kids Facebook: @WildEarthKids
Experiential travel company &Beyond is bringing the African wilderness to you by means of their WILDwatch LIVE initiative. &Beyond’s WILDwatch LIVE comes in two exciting parts that can be enjoyed by nature and wildlife lovers across the world.
On YouTube or Facebook
In an attempt to liven up your lockdown and give you an authentic African wildlife experience, &Beyond collaborated with wildlife broadcasting experts, WildEarth, to stream (in real time) twice-daily, three-hour long game drives from &Beyond Ngala Private Game Reserve and Djuma Private Game Reserve – two of South Africa’s top game reserves, both of which are adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Authentic and non-scripted, the game drives will follow the sights and sounds of the African bush as they unfold. The stream will move between three or four live feeds to bring viewers the action as it happens. Creating a seamless multi-feed virtual safari experience hosted by both &Beyond and WildEarth’s expert field guides. Viewers will be able to interact with the guides in real time as if they were on an actual game drive by asking them questions on YouTube or using #wildearth on Twitter.
You can join &Beyond and WildEarth’s virtual safari adventure by tuning into Wildwatch Live for a sunrise or sunset safari which takes place at the following times:
- 06:30am – 09:30am CAT (sunrise dependent)
- 15:00pm – 18:00pm CAT (sunset dependent)
The first 45 minutes of each afternoon drive will be dedicated to young wildlife fans and the guides will only answer questions asked by children during this time. Parents can sign their kids up by selecting a date on wildearth.tv/kids. Children (or parents) can then email any questions to [email protected] for age appropriate and personalized responses.
On Instagram Live
Besides joining the &Beyond and WildEarth guides for a thrilling virtual safari in the heart of the African bushveld on YouTube or Facebook, you can also watch all the action unfold on Instagram Live. Their expert guides in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve and &Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve are always out and about, and will be jumping online, ad hoc, on &Beyond Travel’s Instagram page when they come across any exciting wildlife sightings. If you’d like to sign-up and receive notifications for when these Instagram Live streams will be taking place, be sure to do the following:
- Follow @andBeyondTravel on Instagram
- Select the “Following” button and go to Notifications
- Select Live Videos and make sure “Get all Notifications” is selected
- Website: andbeyond.com
- YouTube Channel: andBeyond
- Instagram: @andbeyondtravel
- Facebook: @andBeyondTravel
- Twitter: @andbeyondtravel
Tintswalo Safari Lodge Virtual Safaris
Tucked into the beautiful Manyeleti Game Reserve in the heart of the Greater Kruger National Park, Tintswalo Safari Lodge has launched free virtual safaris where you can explore the wonders of the African bush from the comfort of your home. The game rich Manyeleti Game Reserve is known for its incredible Big 5 sightings, which include lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants, and buffalos. Besides the African Big 5, Manyeleti Game Reserve also boasts a prolific variety of birdlife and other wildlife species. Now you get to experience all the action and spectacular sightings the Manyeleti Game Reserve has to offer courtesy of Tintswalo Safari Lodge’s ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris.
Their ‘On the Beat’ virtual safaris include phenomenal video footage of actual sightings and exciting wildlife encounters experienced by their game rangers on patrol. The videos will be uploaded daily on all their social media channels. Make sure you follow them to avoid missing out.
- Website: tintswalo.com/safari
- Instagram: @tintswalo_safari_lodge
- Facebook: @TintswaloSafariLodge
- Twitter: @Tintswalolodges
- YouTube: Tinstwalo Lodges
Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Shamwari Private Game Reserve is a premier safari destination located in South Africa’s ecologically and culturally significant province of Eastern Cape. The head ranger of Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Andrew Kearney, is doing a series of “lockdown” episodes where he aims to showcase the beautiful African wilderness to as many people as possible. These special lockdown episodes will feature highlights from his daily walks and drives, as well as other interesting titbits and insights into life at the Eastern Cape reserve. As the Shamwari Private Game Reserve is home to the renowned Big 5 as well as vast herds of wildlife, birdlife, and incredible ecological diversity, you can expect some amazing sightings and encounters.
You can find head ranger Andrew Kearney’s virtual safari lockdown episodes on Shamwari Private Game Reserve’s social media platforms.
- Website: shamwari.com
- Instagram: @shamwariprivategamereserve
- Facebook: @shamwarisafari
- YouTube: Shamwari Private Game Reserve
Singita Sabi Sand
Singita is a conservation and ecotourism brand that has been preserving and protecting the African wilderness and its many inhabitants for the past 26 years. Singita’s unique philosophy lives on in each of their fifteen award-winning lodges and camps spread across six diverse ecosystems and four countries in Africa. At each of their premium lodges and camps they aim to offer guests an authentic African wildlife and safari experience unlike any other. Singita has three Sabi Sand lodges located in South Africa. The Sabi Sand is a privately owned game reserve adjacent to the Kruger National Park. Together these two areas make up some of South Africa’s most pristine land.
As they aren’t able to share their incredible wildlife and African bushveld with guests at the moment due to the COVID-19 pandemic, they are doing it virtually by live-streaming game drives. These live-streamed virtual game drives will be hosted by resident photographer and former guide Ross Cooper twice daily on their Facebook and Instagram platforms. Singita Sabi Sand is renowned for their high concentrations of big game and frequent leopard sightings. Not to mention the spectacular lion, large rhino bulls and tiny baby elephant sightings Ross Cooper encounters on his live drives through the Singita Sabi Sand concession. This makes for a thrilling virtual safari experience filled with exciting up-close wildlife encounters.
Motswari Private Game Reserve
The Motswari Private Game Reserve is located within the Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve. These two breath-taking nature reserves form part of the Associated Private Nature Reserve region which borders on the Kruger National Park. The Timbavati and Umbabat Private Nature Reserve shares an unfenced border with the Kruger National Park, which allows wildlife species to move freely between these expansive parks. This means visitors can look forward to some phenomenal Big 5 sightings as well as incredible wildlife and birdlife encounters.
To ensure nature and wildlife lovers don’t miss out on the wonders of the African bush, Motswari Private Game Reserve has two guides who patrol the reserve daily, filming their drives and wildlife encounters and sightings along the way. All the highlights from their drives are then posted to their Instagram feed for everyone to enjoy. Ensuring you get your daily dose of African bush magic from the comfort of your home. Follow Motswari Private Game Reserve on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the incredible wildlife action!
Savanna Private Game Reserve
Savanna Private Game Reserve is an exclusive 5-star lodge situated in the internationally acclaimed Sabi Sand Reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park Conservancy. Known for their authentic safari experiences and magnificent Big 5 sightings, it is considered completely normal to see lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos all in one game drive. The numerous nearby dams and series of waterholes in front of the lodge also attracts several other wildlife and birdlife species.
To ensure wildlife enthusiasts don’t miss a single second of the action, Savanna Private Game Reserve has put together a virtual safari experience in the form of daily ‘[email protected] Safari’ segments. These segments consist of +/- 10 – 20-minute videos featuring each day’s safari highlights and thrilling wildlife sightings and encounters. Savanna Private Game Reserve shares their daily ‘[email protected] Safari’ segments on their Facebook page for everyone to enjoy. Follow them as they explore the magnificent Sabi Sand Reserve and everything it has to offer.
- Website: savannalodge.com
- Facebook: @SavannaPrivateGameReserve
- Instagram: @savanna_private_game_reserve
- YouTube: Savanna Private Game Reserve
Tswalu Kalahari Reserve
The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is South Africa’s largest private game reserve and one of the best places in Southern Africa to see cheetah in the wild. Situated in the Savannah Biome, Tswalu Kalahari Reserve lies in a transition zone between the true Kalahari ecotype and arid Savannah. This unique location contributes to a greater habitat diversity than anywhere else in the Kalahari. The Tswalu Kalahari Reserve is home to one of the very few mountain ranges in the southern Kalahari, the Korannaberg, as well as rolling hills and expansive grasslands. Tswalu is also known to receive more rainfall than many other parts of the Kalahari. Giving rise to a rich biodiversity, thriving ecosystems and diverse range of wildlife and birdlife.
In the shelter of the mountains you will find Tswalu’s 240 bird and 80 mammal species, including Hartmann’s mountain zebra and wild dog. On top of that you will encounter incredible Kalahari species you may never have seen before. While giraffe, zebra, and buffalo will be familiar sightings if you’ve been on a safari before, this will likely be your first opportunity to capture iconic Kalahari sightings such as dainty springbok with a backdrop of red sand, or the silhouette of a gemsbok atop a dune. It really is something special!
Now you can experience all the magic of the Kalahari and its unique wildlife from the comfort of your home. Every Thursday the area’s researchers and wildlife experts will post live videos and Q&A’s to Tswalu’s Instagram and Facebook pages, inviting you to enjoy every second of the action along with them.
Tau Watering Hole, Madikwe Game Reserve
Tau Game Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve is located on the Northern border of South Africa and Botswana. The magnificent Madikwe Game Reserve is the fourth largest game reserve in the country and one of Africa’s most sought-after wildlife destinations. The beautiful Tau Game Lodge overlooks the famous Tau Waterhole, which is an oasis for a vast variety of wildlife species in the area. Elephants, giraffes, lions, zebras, and cheetahs are just a few of the Madikwe Game Reserve regulars you will spot at the Tau Waterhole.
To share these spectacular wildlife sightings with the rest of the world, Tau Game Lodge has set up a 24-hour Tau live camera feed. This gives viewers the opportunity to enjoy a secret window into this sanctuary and its robust ecosystem as elephants bathe, lions roar, wild dogs roam, and crocodiles prey.
The Naledi Cat-EYE
The Naledi Game Lodge is a World Luxury Hotel and TripAdvisor award winning wildlife safari and luxury game lodge located in an exclusive private reserve within the Greater Kruger National Park. The Greater Kruger extends across several private reserves with no fences to impede the migration of game. One of these private reserves is Balule Nature Reserve – The exclusive 40,000-hectare reserve in which Naledi operates. The reserve holds high natural densities of Africa’s Big Five as well as an abundance of other wildlife and birdlife species.
Explore.org in association with Africam.com is giving viewers a live window into the African wild with a live camera feed over the Balule Nature Reserve’s watering hole. For an entirely unique perspective of the animals that frequent the watering hole, this live camera has been set up at the eye level of a leopard. As other larger wildlife species such as elephants and giraffes tower over the camera, viewers will be able to enjoy a whole other viewpoint of these magnificent animals as they visit the waterhole. According to Explore.org, you are likely to spot a vast variety of wildlife species ranging from curious cheetahs, lions, elephants, giraffes, impalas, baboons and warthogs to Egyptian geese, meerkats, waterbuck, and porcupines.
Tembe Elephant Park
South Africa’s Tembe Elephant Park is a 300km2 reserve located between Kwa-Zulu Natal and Mozambique. It is known for having the largest elephant population on the African continent. Now you can watch these gentle giants of the African bushveld from the comfort of your home via a live feed. Both Africam.com and Explore.org have live webcams set up at the Tembe Elephant Park watering hole. Giving viewers the opportunity to see these magnificent animals in their natural habitat.
Even when the largest visitors don’t make an appearance, it is still worth the watch as the reserve is home to a variety of other wildlife species, including lions, rhino, buffalo and suni antelopes, to mention just a few. As it’s a 24/7 live feed, you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the African wilderness whenever you choose.
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve
Ulusaba Private Game Reserve is located in the heart of the South African bushveld. As Ulusaba is a member of Virgin Limited Edition, a select group of luxury hotels, they have teamed up with Virgin to host a thrilling virtual safari experience every Monday at 3:30pm via Instagram. This is the perfect opportunity for wildlife enthusiasts to see leopard cups, a lion pride or any of the Big Five in their natural habitat. Be sure to follow them on Instagram to avoid missing out on all the action and incredible wildlife sightings and encounters.
- Instagram: @virginlimitededition
Elephant shrews may in fact be one of the tiniest and cutest animals discovered in Africa. They are also known as jumping shrews. The elephant shrew has 19 species in total around Africa. They can survive in all kinds of habitats. These include places like plantations, plains, mountains, and deserts.
These small mammals are adorable. Here are some fun facts about elephant shrews:
Only one Species of Elephant Shrew is Endangered
Among the 19 species of elephant shrew, the Golden Rumped elephant shrew is the only shrew that is an endangered species. It is the biggest among all the elephant shrews.
It is endangered because of fragmented forest environments. They live all over the Arabuko-Sokoke forest in Kenya. They are victims of traps in their living areas. Other animals do not like them as prey because of their bad taste.
Elephant Shrews are not Rodents
Elephant shrews are compared to mice, but they are not rodents. They look like gerbils or mice because of their shape. They aren’t really shrews either, but are more similar to tenrecs and moles. The name “elephant” is because of their long flexible snout.
Elephant Shrews like to Feed on Bugs
The elephant shrew feeds on smaller bugs like termites, beetles, ants, millipedes, earthworms, and spiders.
These small animals only feed during the daytime. They also maintain insect populations. They create a series of small paths to catch their prey. The elephant shrew has a sensitive sense of smell, sight, and hearing to detect both predators and food.
Elephant Shrews are Faithful
Elephant shrews always travel around or live with partners. They are monogamous animals sticking to their own territory. They keep track of each other’s whereabouts through marking their scents.
Young Elephant Shrews become more Vulnerable when leaving their Parents
In a single year, the elephant shrew can give birth around four to five times. When their babies are born, they are already covered in fur. They are usually kept hidden in the first three weeks and obey their mother for a period of one week. After they become more independent and weaned, the babies will remain in the parents’ territory for another six weeks before moving to their ow territory.
Elephant Shrews are not Friendly
Elephant shrews are tiny but fierce. They are intolerant of intruders and will viciously evict anyone who invades the sanctity of their peace. Destructive encounters will usually include sparring, shrieking, jerking and snapping. When this happens it can be a huge blur of animals fighting against each other on the forest floor.
Kosi Bay is a series of four lakes interlinked in the Maputaland area of Kwazulu-Natal in South Africa. There’s no bay specifically, but the town, which is referred to as Kosi Bay is 30km away from the coast.
Maputaland is located in the northern part of Kwazulu-Natal which is nestled in between Mozambique, Swaziland, and all those gorgeous white beaches of the warm Indian Ocean coast. It’s a remote place of forests, lakes, bushes, and untouched beaches.
This secluded island paradise offers diverse tourist attractions including diving, hiking, and turtle tracking. The mild subtropical climate makes it a perfect location to visit all year round.. Tourists can explore and discover lakes and forests by foot, in a canoe, or by boat during the day. If you have ever been one to take interest in this beautiful place, here is a list of the best things to do in Kosi Bay.
Turtle tracking is usually offered in the evening during the summer months. Some accommodation facilities offer transfers to and from the beach. These excursions will normally last 3 to 4 hours, ending late night. But it is worth all the effort!
The turtles that are tracked include the giant leatherback and loggerhead turtles. These magnificent animals venture out of the oceans on land during the summer months of October toFebruary to lay their eggs in batches on the beach. Loggerhead turtles are endangered, so this is a once in a lifetime wildlife experience you shouldn’t miss.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving
Kosi Bay is home to some of the best diving sites in South Africa. It’s filled with stunning coral reefs, crystal clear waters, and a rich colourful marine life.
There are a lot of places at Kosi Bay that offer diving lessons if you are still a beginner. If you do not want to go too deep or are not comfortable with diving, you can still appreciate the marine life by snorkeling near the shoreline.
Hiking at the Kosi Bay Trail
There are various Kosi Bay hiking trails to choose from, suitable for a variety of fitness levels. There are trails that take roughly four days to complete, but there are also flexible trails suitable for those who prefer a more leisurely hiking experience to just appreciate the scenery.
One of the most popular trails unfortunately fell into disrepair. It’s possible however to walk along the same route again, but the accommodation options have changed. On average, if you choose to walk the entire trail, you’ll walk for at least three to four hours each day. If you are up for a little fun on the side, there’s also the option to go horse riding, canoeing, turtle tracking, or a boat cruise.
The trail will expose you to some of the most beautiful landscapes, dune forests, deserted beaches, open savannahs and wetlands.
Raffia Palm Forest Walk
Enjoy guided walks early in the morning or late in the afternoon through the beautiful Raffia Palm Forest during your Kwazulu-Natal Holiday. There’s all sorts of things to appreciate during this walk, which include the harmonious chirping of birds, or perhaps a glimpse of the rare palm nut vulture. It will all depend on the time of day you choose to go on a walk. This is a highly recommended activity.
Kosi Bay is truly one of a kind. After exploring all these great activities, it’s impossible not to fall in love with the place. You will not regret booking a trip to Kosi Bay!
The wildebeest, also known as the Antelope of the African plains, is a mammal that lives all over the eastern, southern, and central parts of Africa. They are also called the gnu, which is sometimes referred to as the “fool of the veld” or the “poor man’s buffalo.” These marvelous, rugged, and graceful creatures prefer to hang out in grassy plains or wide open spaces. Every year many wildebeest take part in the great migration through the Serengeti, across Northern Tanzania and Kenya.
There’s more to this animal than meets the eye and we are prepared to feed your curiosity more with a bunch of fun facts! Here are five awesome fun facts about wildebeest.
Fun Fact #1: Wildebeest are Playful and Intelligent Animals
Wildebeest are one of the bravest animals in Africa. They are always moving and never stay in one place for too long. Wildebeest like to graze around during the day or night. They also like taking naps, while some keep watch for potential predators.
Fun Fact # 2: There are Two Species of Wildebeest
There are two species of these magnificent animals — the black wildebeest, and the more common blue wildebeest. The black wildebeest or otherwise known as the white tailed gnu has a long white, horse-like tail. It also has a dark brown to black coat and long, dark, coloured hair found under its belly and forelegs.
The blue wildebeest is also known as the white bearded wildebeest. Another name for it is the brindled gnu and it’s considered a large antelope. The blue wildebeest has broad shoulders, muscular chest, and a distinctive muzzle.
Fun Fact # 3: They live in Huge Herds
Wildebeest like to live in large herds, with adults of both sexes and their offspring. Life in the herd allows all members to feel protected against potential threats. So, when they are asleep or taking a nap during the day, some wildebeest keep watch.
Fun Fact #4: Wildebeest are Feisty Lovers
Wildebeest reproduce quickly and produce about 150 offspring every spring season. The herd is segregated into several smaller groups. Some of the most dominant males in the group perform elaborate mating rituals to impress all the females. Male wildebeest are referred to as the “clowns of the savannah.” This is because they perform many weird antics while trying to impress the females.
They attract their mates by rubbing their scent into the ground, or urinate and defecate to mark their breeding territory. This also keeps other male wildebeest away.
Fun Fact #5: Pregnancy Ends with a Single Baby
When female wildebeest get pregnant, their pregnancies last for 8.5 months. They give birth in the middle of the herd. 80% of calves are born 2 to 3 weeks before the rainy season.
Calves can walk very soon after being born. And just a few days after birth, they start running with the rest of the herd. During their first few months, they will suckle milk from their mothers. Their diets are milk based with grass 10 days after birth.
The rhino is the second largest among all land mammals. Unlike the elephant, it’s considered one of the most aggressive. However, despite its status as being one of the biggest bullies on the African planes when it comes to humans, rhinos are incredibly vulnerable.
These amazing animals are threatened by poaching and habitat loss. Conservationists are putting in their best effort to save them from extinction. There are many things to love about rhinos, and finding out even more information about them will give you more to appreciate.
Here are five interesting facts about rhinos, nature’s knight in shining armor.
Rhinos are Thick Skinned
A rhino’s skin is relatively sensitive, this is why it has a lot of layers. It’s like wrapping yourself in a bunch of soft blankets when you’re feeling very cold.
One layer will not really do much to protect you from the cold, but thick layers of blanket can keep you warm with protective padding. The same goes for the rhino, it has layers of skin to keep it protected.
There are Five Species of Rhino
Our planet is home to five different species of rhino. There’s the White Rhino and the Black Rhino which are both found in Africa, the Sumatran Rhino found in India (also known as the Greater One Horned Rhino), and the Javan Rhino which can be found in swamps and tropical forests around Asia.
They are Considered one of the Largest Animals in the World
The rhino is considered one of the biggest mammals in the world. The biggest among the five species is the White Rhino, which can grow up to 1.8m high and weigh 2 500kg.
Rhinos Love Mud
When it’s very hot and the sun is at its highest, rhinos can be found under the shade sleeping or wallowing in a muddy pool to cool off. They love mud, and can spend almost the entire day in it! The mud protects their skin from the sun and prevents irritation – kind of like a natural sunblock. It also wards off unwanted bugs that might land on their skin.
Rhinos don’t like being Social
Rhinos are not very sociable animals; most of them prefer to spend their time alone and try to avoid one another. However, the white rhino lives in a group which is called a “crash.” These groups are usually made up of a group of white rhino females, along with her calves. Sometimes adult females, which are called cows, can be seen socializing with each other too.
Rhinos do not have any Enemies
Since rhinos have strong horns, huge bodies and thick skin — no other animal wants to prey on them.
They do not have any natural predators. However, they get frightened easily. When they feel they are being threatened, their instinct is to directly charge at whatever it is that spooked them – whether it’s an animal or a harmless object. They will do this to humans as well when they feel they are being threatened.
The Number of Rhinos are Slowly Depleting
Sadly, it’s projected that there are only 29,000 rhinos left on our planet. At the beginning of the century, there were a total of 500,000 rhinos. Illegal hunting is the biggest threat to this animal, which is why they are slowly decreasing in number. Their horns are used in traditional folk medicine in Asia, which is why they are so sought-after. Their horns are also sold for various decorative pieces, similar to an elephant’s tusk that is valuable because it is used for ivory.
The Panthera Pardus, better known as the African leopard, is one of the most sophisticated and powerfully built hunters of the African jungle. Among all the other wild big cats, the leopard is arguably one of the most gorgeous because of their unique print. Compared to the tiger, lion, jaguar, and cheetah the leopard is slightly built and smaller compared to the other wild cats in the Panthera family.
Leopards can be found across sub-Sahara Africa and Asia. Their skin colour varies between individuals, ranging from dark golden to pale yellow. Dark spots scarred across its body are grouped into rosettes. The belly is whitish in color and its tail is ringed with dark patches.
Leopards found deep in the African bushes and mountains are much darker with a deep golden colour coat. If you have ever wondered what it’s like to see one up close, then these interesting facts about leopards will make you even more curious.
Leopards are Strong Predators
Compared to all the other wild cats, the leopard is considered one of the strongest. They can climb trees while carrying their prey and will often choose to rest on top of tree branches in the middle of the day. The reason why they prefer to eat their prey up in a tree is to ensure that other animals do not steal it, especially lions and hyenas.
Leopards are Fast
The leopard is well known for its agility. They can run up to 58km/h and can leap 3m vertically and 6m horizontally. They don’t mind water and are very resilient swimmers. Leopards can hunt their prey even while they are in the water or take their prey across bodies of water and up a tree where they can eat it in peace.
Leopards are Secretive and like Solitude
As a leopard ages, it eventually becomes more solitary and territorial. They like to roam in one specific area away from other animals, and prefer keeping to themselves most of the time. They will only interact with other leopards when they want to mate. Leopards mark their territories with urine or scratch their claws on tree barks.
Leopards are good at Camouflage
Leopards put their unique spots to good use. The beautiful cream and gold spotted fur helps them blend into their surroundings of trees and other shrubs, to hunt their prey effortlessly. It’s really difficult to spot a leopard in the wild because they blend in so well. Their fur also helps them stay out of sight from other animals up in a tree so they can eat in peace.
A Leopard’s Tail is used for Balance
A leopard’s tail is almost as long as its body. The longer the tail, the better they can balance themselves when climbing a tree. The leopard also has very powerful claws that can help it climb a rough straight cliff just like a human would rock climb.
The Leopard is a Major Carnivore
The leopard prefers medium sized prey with a body mass that ranges from 10 – 40kg. Prey that weigh in this range prefer open areas and these include the bushbuck, sitatunga, impala, chital, sambar deer, thompson’s gazelle, and southern reedbuck, to name a few.
Leopards also prey on smaller carnivores like the black backed jackal, genet, and cheetah. They can also kill prey that’s as heavy as 550kg. If there are no other lions or tigers in the area, the leopard can prey on a giraffe. The largest prey that a leopard has ever killed was a male eland weighing in at 900kg.
Leopards are Cats of the Night
Leopards are nocturnal cats. Just like the lion, the leopard likes to hunt their prey at night. Most leopards will hunt their prey starting from dusk till dawn, except for those that can be found in western Africa. Leopards from this part of Africa hunt during twilight and are diurnal.
Female Leopards like to tease Males for Mating
Female leopards have a special game plan when they want to invite a male to mate. The female leaves a scent on the trees in her territory by rubbing her body against them, so that male leopards can reach her by following her scent or hearing her mating call.
Leopards are becoming Endangered to Save Humans
Humans use different body parts of these beautiful animals for medicinal purposes. Since the medicine that includes their body parts are highly effective, they have started to become a vulnerable species. Along with using their body parts to cure some human illnesses, their fur is also used for clothing and decorative ornaments.
Leopards can Resort to Eating Humans
Most leopards avoid humans in general, but occasionally we may actually be targeted as prey. The majority of all healthy leopards would prefer wild prey compared to eating humans. But if they are injured, sickly or struggling in any way and there’s a shortage of prey — they may resort to hunting humans and become accustomed to it.
Man-eating leopards are considered hard to track and become very bold. Although these kinds of situations are very rare, they are still highly capable of killing a human.
Mountain Gorillas are one of the most delightfully friendly and loving animals in the world. While many find them to be extremely ferocious creatures, they are actually the total opposite in nature and can warm up to humans easily compared to other wild animals. They are quite shy, but they are also very smart.
Unfortunately, the species is drastically decreasing in numbers because of the human encroachment and conflicts near their African homes. They are considered an endangered species. Many tourists from all over the world fly to Africa just to get a glimpse of these magnificent creatures. Sadly, they are also sought after by poachers, which make them hard to spot in the wild.
Perhaps the interesting things about them will help spread awareness and make it easier to fall in love with them more. Here are a few interesting facts about mountain gorillas.
Gorillas Share Human DNA
Gorillas are special primates that share 98% of their DNA with humans.
If you have ever seen one up close at a zoo, their intelligence is just extraordinary. This is what makes them interesting too, because they can be taught and can adapt to human activities quite well.
Gorillas Breed Slowly
Female gorillas do not give birth until they reach the age of 10. When they do give birth, their babies have to be watched over and guarded very carefully until they are old enough to fend for themselves.
Just like human children, gorillas also take care of their young very proactively and make sure they are protected at all times.
Gorillas have Emotions
One of the most fascinating things about gorillas is the fact that they also have emotions. Believe it or not, gorillas cry when they are sad and can even laugh when they are tickled. Because they are so similar to humans it is easy to spot how they feel.
Gorillas can last without Water
Unlike many other animals gorillas don’t need access to a constant rich source of water like a lake or a stream. They get most of their water from the moisture in the plants they eat or from morning dew.
Mountain gorillas actually dislike water in general and try to avoid crossing streams of water. They only become interested in regular water sources during the dry season and when there are only little pools of water. They prefer this to avoid the danger of their infants getting washed away by flowing sources of water.
Gorillas are very Shy and Docile
Gorillas are very shy and docile creatures, and will only react when they are provoked by danger. This counters the popular belief that gorillas are very aggressive and violent creatures.
Gorillas Stay in Families
Gorillas are very social animals that form harems. Just like humans, they are very close with members of their families. Gorilla families can have up to 20 members. One silverback gorilla (dominant male) can live together with several other female gorillas and their offspring. However, 40% of mountain gorilla groups can contain several other adult males that are closely related to each other.
The majority of all gorilla groups contain more females than males, which is why a lot of males are left roaming the forest alone. Mountain gorilla males that are loners will occasionally form an all male group, which varies in size. On average, each group of gorillas can contain up to 10 members.
Want to see Gorillas in the wild? Why not stay in a luxury lodge in Uganda for the ultimate Gorilla trekking experience.
Gorillas get sick like Humans
Gorillas can get sick easily just like humans. They are prone to human sicknesses as well, like pneumonia and other bacterial and viral diseases, when they are exposed to cold and wet climates for long periods of time.
Humans can make gorillas sick by sneezing close them. Gorillas are prone to human respiratory infections and even other sicknesses that can lead to sudden death among mountain gorillas. This is why tourists are advised to stay as far away from them as possible.
Gorillas are “Occasional” Carnivores
Gorillas are very curious animals and enjoy exploring. Although most of them predominantly feed on roots, fruits, and plants, occasionally when they are feeling a bit adventurous, they will engage in hunting small animals. But this happens very seldom.