What to Expect from Your South African Safari
Every Global Basecamps tour is custom created by one of our South Africa travel specialists to hit all your trip desires. However we can give you a general sense of what you can expect from one of our South Africa Safari packages from when to go to how you’ll get there to what activities you can do once you’re there.
When to Go
South Africa’s weather is dependent upon what region of the expansive country you plan to visit. This vast country is home to deserts, tropical coastlines, and snow-capped mountains, so the climates can truly very. However, in general, the country has four distinct seasons, unlike many other countries where you can go on Africa safaris. The rainy season spans from late November to late March, with May to September facing much drier weather.
For obvious reasons, the dry season is ideal for game drives and other outdoor safari activities. That being said, if you are only available to travel during the wetter summer/fall seasons there are still plenty of amazing wildlife viewing opportunities - especially bird-watching. Additionally, rain showers are often quick and predictable so won’t dramatically impact your trip. The only region where it may be worth noting the season is if you plan to safari in the southernmost part of the country, near Cape Town. Due to its proximity to the equator, summers here are extremely dry so we recommend traveling during the rainy season to encounter more wildlife.
For travel and climate tips on South Africa check out our article on the Best Time to Visit South Africa.
Getting to South Africa
Your international arrival and departure flights will most likely be out of either Johannesburg or Cape Town, depending upon the game reserves you plan to visit and your overall itinerary. In order to enter the country you must have a passport that is for 6 months beyond your intended length of stay. You do not need a visa to travel to South Africa if you have an American passport, however it is advisable to check with the consulate to ensure no requirements have changed. Once you’ve arrived, our luxury safari tours will transport you throughout the country either via private vehicles or domestic flights depending upon the destinations you hope to cover.
Where You'll Safari
Kruger National Park:
Kruger National Park is one of Africa’s largest and most visited safari destinations. Attracting over 1 million visitors annually, this immense park is larger than the state of Connecticut. It extends throughout South Africa’s northeast and is bordered by Mozambique and Botswana. While Kruger National Park is one of the most accessible parks for self-drive safaris, it also is home to many contractual parks that provide more luxury, all-inclusive experiences. One such park we often include in our itineraries is Makuleke Contractual Park, also known as Pafuri Triangle. This beautiful ecological reserve lies in the northernmost section of Kruger National Park. It is an area steeped with geological and anthropological history. There you’ll find rocks that date back over 250 million years and evidence of early human habitation linked to the Great Zimbabwe ruins. Additionally, The Pafuri Triangle actually contains 80% of Kruger’s diversity making it a prime destination to truly soak in Africa’s wildlife in a more remote and untouched setting.
Western and Eastern Cape:
While most famous for the City of Cape Town, there are also a variety of nature reserves in the Western and Eastern Capes of South Africa that offer mesmerizing scenic beauty and ample game wildlife to soak in. Together, the capes make-up over half the country of South Africa. Wildlife is not lacking in this region, you’ll find over a whopping 600 elephants in Addo Elephant National Park alone. Beyond your Safari, the Western and Easter Cape also provide plenty of restaurants, water activities, and hiking to keep you occupied on either end of your trip.
Sometimes referred to as the “garden province”, this is South Africa’s most ecologically diverse province. You’ll find two UNESCO World Heritage sites nearby - iSimangaliso Wetland Park and uKhahlamba-Drakensberg- each with their own unique appeals. When it comes to wildlife viewing, this province is home to an important Big Five regions: Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve. In addition to providing a wonderful environment for safari go-ers, this reserve also now protects the world’s densest population of endangered rhino species.
What To Do
While everyone of our South Africa Safari tours is custom to cater your travel needs and desires, below we’ve outlined some of the activities available to include in your itinerary:
- Game Drives
- Nature Walks
- Boat Cruises
- Big Game Tracking
- Cycling Safari
- Guided Night Hikes
- Bush Picnic
Safety and Health on South Africa Safari Tours
Traveling throughout South Africa is generally safe, especially while on of our tours where guides and private vehicle transportation to get aid you throughout your stay. However, there are some things to keep in mind whenever traveling abroad. While in cities and crowded areas, always stay alert and aware of your surroundings. During any wildlife and safari activities ensure that you are following the safety precautions and rules laid out by your guides. We recommend asking your doctor about all the necessary immunizations and precautions against malaria and other diseases you may be at risk for when traveling to South Africa.
If you’re already itching to plan your South Africa safari we don’t blame you. Luckily, our team of South Africa Travel Specialists can help you craft a custom itinerary that hits everything on your travel wish list. We have a wide variety of South Africa Safari packages available so you don’t have to search far and wide for your custom luxury South Africa safari. Start planning with us today! Don't know where to begin? Check out our Africa Safari Guide.