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South African safari

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Safari experiences that you will not find with any other travel company. We know Africa best and will get you to the right place & time to enjoy the greatest shows on Earth!

From bush to beach, pinotage to predators and wines to whales

Chances are that a South Africa safari tour will deliver on most safari bucket list requests - it really is the world in one country. No matter the time of year, you will enjoy a magnificent holiday in South Africa.

The bushveld delivers Big 5 sightings throughout the year, with the best months being the dry period of June to mid-November. For spectacular whale watching, head for Hermanus near Cape Town from July to November, and to make the most of the beaches, vibey restaurants and historic wine farms of Cape Town and the Garden Route, the festive season of November to March is the best option.

But there is more ...

Scroll down, past our ready-made safari packages below, to find out EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW about visiting South Africa

Everything you need to know about a South African safari

South Africa is the third-most biologically diverse country in the world and hosts many species found nowhere else on Earth. Its national parks and private game reserves have a proud record of successful wildlife conservation, resulting in excellent safari options throughout the country. We focus here on the most popular destinations, but we regularly craft safaris to all corners of this diverse country.

The best Big 5 parks in South Africa:

Kruger National Park

The iconic Kruger National Park is a popular safari destination and one of the world's great conservation success stories. This vast Big 5 wildlife paradise covers almost 20,000 km² and encompasses various ecosystems, from riverine forest to deciduous woodland, thornveld savannah and rocky ridges with giant baobab trees overlooking the plains below.

KNP does feature a handful of fully catered safari lodges in exclusive private concessions inside the national park, but most of the accommodation in the park is for the self-catering self-drive market.

Greater Kruger

Greater Kruger is a 3,440 km² Big 5 safari paradise on the western border of the Kruger National Park. There is no fence between the Greater Kruger and the KNP, meaning wildlife roams freely between the properties. The Greater Kruger comprises several private game reserves - Sabi Sand, Timbavati, Klaserie, Umbabat, Balule and Thornybush and community-owned Manyeleti - that are home to some of South Africa’s best-known luxury Big 5 lodges.

Madikwe Game Reserve - malaria-free

Madikwe Game Reserve is a Big 5 malaria-free reserve well-known for excellent sightings of the Big 5 plus wild dogs (painted wolves), cheetahs and brown hyenas. Day-trippers and self-drive tourists are not permitted in 750 km² Madikwe, meaning low vehicle volumes and more privacy for guests.

Food, wine, beaches and a cosmopolitan lifestyle:

Cape Town

Nestled between a rugged mountain range and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one of Africa's most popular tourist destinations.

This cosmopolitan city enjoys a superb natural setting, pristine beaches, sophisticated infrastructure and a mild, Mediterranean climate. Expect gastronomic delights - Cape Town is peppered with some of the best restaurants in the world. Add craft coffee shops, breweries, street markets, and vibey street life to enjoy this multicultural city. And nearby Hermans offers spectacular whale-watching during July to November.

Cape Winelands

The Cape Winelands offer historic Cape Dutch farmsteads, some of the world’s finest wines, magnificent scenery and mouth-watering meals under ancient oak trees.

We are often asked when is the best time to go to South Africa. Anytime! South Africa is a year-round destination that lends itself to beach and bush combos and multi-generational travel options to suit varied expectations.

South Africa's safari seasons

There are two weather patterns to consider:

Bushveld - Kruger National Park, Greater Kruger and Madikwe Game Reserve

Expect hot and wet summers (November to March) and cool and dry winters (April to October). Rainfall tends to be during brief thunderstorms in the late afternoon or evening. Temperatures will vary between 20–40 degrees Celsius in summer and 10–25 degrees in winter (with close-to-freezing temperatures sometimes, especially in higher-lying areas). November can be especially hot and humid, with relief when the first rains arrive.

Best time to visit: For avid safari fans, the best safari weather is when the lack of water and plant cover makes it easier to find and see animals - April to October. Of those months, the later, the better - with August to October and even early November delivering the best wildlife encounters.

Western Cape - Cape Town, the Cape Winelands and the Garden Route

The Western Cape has a Mediterranean climate, so expect hot and dry summers (November to March) and cold & wet winters (April to October). Temperatures will vary between 15–32 degrees Celsius in summer (up to 40 degrees now and then, especially inland) and 0–20 degrees in winter (snow in high-lying areas). This is the southern tip of Africa, so expect the odd freak weather system in summer, bringing rain and lower temperatures.

Best time to visit: For the warmest weather and best vibe, visit during the festive season (December to February) - but popular beaches and restaurants may be busy.

Bush and beach - the sweet spot

As you can see, bush or beach aficionados may visit South Africa at different times of the year. For those wanting to combine bush and beach, the sweet spot to aim for is either October to early November or March to April - the so-called ‘shoulder’ seasons.

Getting around South Africa is easy, thanks to a modern infrastructure

By road

The tarred road network connecting all cities and most smaller towns is impressive, although some roads have potholes and require repair. Good dirt roads connect smaller rural villages. Uber operates in most larger metropoles and from all major airports, as do major car rental companies.

By air

Daily commercial flights link most large cities, while private and chartered aircraft crisscross the South African skies. Many of the lodges we use for our clients have private airstrips. The Greater Kruger area has three airports with daily flights from Johannesburg and Cape Town - Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (Nelspruit), Skukuza Airport and Hoedspruit Airport.

The large city airports are OR Tambo International Airport (Johannesburg), Cape Town International Airport, King Shaka International Airport (Durban), Port Elizabeth International Airport and George Airport.

YES, South Africa is safe for tourists. While there are crime hot spots in South Africa, these tend to be in cities or near informal settlement areas. South Africa is no different to the rest of the world - if you plan to spend time in a city, take precautions as you would in your home country.

Petty theft is common in cities, but physical attacks on tourists are rare. Crime rates in rural areas - where you will spend most of your time - are far lower and almost non-existent in wildlife reserves.

Safety tips for cities:
  • don’t wander around the streets after dark;

  • ask your hotel about unsafe areas and avoid them;

  • leave expensive jewellery at home and wear a cheap plastic watch;

  • don’t carry cameras and video cameras in full view;

  • keep your money and passport in a money belt, out of sight, or in the lodge or hotel safe;

  • dress like a local, or at least casually;

  • use your cell phone discreetly and not while driving.

Not seeing your ideal safari above?

Most of the safaris we create are built from scratch to suit our client's expectations. If none of the above ready-made safari trips to South Africa grabs your imagination, we will craft that epic safari JUST FOR YOU.

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