South Africa a country situated on the southernmost tip of the African continent is not only famous for its diverse and distinct ecosystems but is also home to one of the best Safari experiences in the world. South Africa has a lot to offer when it comes to wildlife exploration and is ranked sixth out of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries.
Numerous animal is found including the Lions, African leopards, South African Cheetahs, Southern White Rhinos, Blue Wildebeest, Hyenas, Hippopotamuses, and South African Giraffes. It is once in a lifetime opportunity which everyone must tick on their bucket list.
Best Safari in South Africa
Here is the list of most famous and best Safari in South Africa to visit once in the lifetime. You will experience the best nature view in these Jungle Safaris of South Africa.
1. Addo Elephant National Park
Addo Elephant National Park is a diverse wildlife conservation park situated close to Port Elizabeth in South Africa and is home to Sylvester, Addo’s celebratory Lion and an enormous herd of Elephants that welcome you near the Hapoor Dam of the park.
No booking is required for a day visit unless you are planning to participate in organized activities. The safari will take you on a game hunt search of their Leopards and the Rhinos and Buffaloes can also be easily spotted in the open. The park also offers Marine Eco Tour for Sharks and Whales.
Addo National Park ranks third in terms of its size after the Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi National Park and is a wildlife conservation park. The park is known to have more than 600 elephants,400 cape buffaloes,48 endangered rhinos, and recently introduced lions and spotted hyena.
Best Time to visit Addo Elephant National Park:
You can visit Addo Elephant National Park throughout the year but the best time is during the driest winter months that is from May to September.
How To Reach:
O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg and Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town are the best airports to choose in order to reach Addo Elephant National Park. You can take any tour packages available or can self-drive to this national park.
2. Kruger National Park
Kruger National Park is situated in northeastern South Africa and extends 360 km from north to south and 65 km from east to west. Areas of the park were first protected by the government of the South African Republic but later became South Africa’s first National Park in 1926.
The park is part of the Kruger to Canyons Biosphere an area designated by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization(UNESCO) as an international Man an Biosphere Reserve. The park has nine separate entrance gates allowing entry to different camps. The Kruger Park is South Africa’s most exciting African safari destination. Spot the big 5 in their natural habitat. Sleep on the banks of the mighty African rivers and enjoy yourself in the Shangaan culture and tradition.
Best Time to visit Kruger National Park:
The best time to travel to Kruger National Park is between April and September as these months fall in dry season here. During these months, temperatures are mostly pleasant. Avoid to visit Kruger from October to March as it is the rainy season here and you rarely see any animal during this season.
How to Reach:
The nearest airport to Kruger National Park is Nelspruit Airport/Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport (MQP) in Mpumalanga. You can reach to this airport via connecting flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg. You can also take a road trip from Johannesburg to this park. There is also a scheduled flight to Skukuza Airport inside the park.
3. Madikwe Game Reserve
Madikwe Game Reserve is a conservation area in South Africa’s North Western Province, bordering Botswana. With its diverse landscape and abundance of animals, makes it the ideal destinations for Safari. It had three types of the plan when it comes to Safari which the three-day plan, four-day plan, and five-day plan. Madikwe is a malaria-free reserve.
The topography and the flora and fauna are an absolute catch. The large area of the reserve ensures a changing background for game viewing and scenic photography. The reserve’s grassland, forest, and rocky Tshwene hills are home to a variety of wildlife such as the elephants, lions, leopards and rhino’s along with endangered dogs. The plethora of bird species include Ostrich, Vultures, and the large Kori Bustard.
Best Time to visit Madikwe Game Reserve
The summers are very hot in this place. So, the best time to visit Madikwe Game reserve is from March to November, when temperatures are lower.
How to reach:
This place is at a comfortable distance from Johannesburg and Pretoria and is also close to Gaborone in Botswana. The easiest way to reach Madikwe Game Reserve is to take flight from Johannesburg or you can also drive from there to Madikwe.
4. Marataba Safari Lodge
Marataba Safari Lodge is situated in the Marakele National Park which is a part of the Waterberg Biosphere in Limpopo Province, South Africa. This national park was also known as Kransberg National park for a short period of time in 1994. It is known to be a malaria-free reserve.
This reserve is a private enterprise on a 23,000-hectare land at the foothills of the Waterberg Mountains. The average height of the mountain range in the foothills of Waterberg Mountains is 600m with a few peaks rising up to 2000 m above the sea level. The luscious grasslands, contrasting mountain ranges, deep valleys and the red mountain rock all are unique to this park.
The park is accessible to all the passenger vehicles including the camp and tent sites as well. Visitors that would be coming to the lodge can book either the morning or the evening game drive in open safari vehicles, as well as water safari’s on the Matlabas river, accompanied by bush walk, bird watching, boma dinners and a plethora of exciting activities. The area constituting of the Marakele is also home to several iron-age settlements but are unfortunately not open to the public. The safari is each 3-4 hours long, that includes a scenic coffee that one can savor.
Best time to visit Marataba Safari Lodge:
The Marataba is an all-year-round safari destination but the cool dry winters are the preferable time to visit that is from May to August. If you want to do bird-watching then between October and April is the best period.
How to reach:
The Marataba Safari Lodge is located within the Marakele National Park and it is just three and a half hour’s away from Johannesburg. You can take a road trip from O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg. The main website of Marataba said to not follow your GPS as it may lead to the middle of nowhere.
5. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is situated between the borders of South Africa and Botswana. It is huge wildlife preservation and conservation park in the southern area of South Africa. The red dunes are unique to this place and rare animal species can be easily spotted here. The rare species of animals would include black-mane lions, swift leopards, sneaky raptors, springbok, eland, blue wildebeest and many more which one should definitely visit and complete the list by themselves.
The visitors can indulge in overnight safari tours and camping to further enjoy the experience beyond spotting the rare species of animals and witnessing nature. The Kalahari Tent Camp at Kgalagadi is ideal for overnight camping and immersing oneself in nature completely. This tent is located on a red sand dune and overlooks the waterhole in the dry bed of the ancient Auob River.
The park spans over a total area of 38,000 square kilometers and the protected area in the park is considered as a Lion conservation unit in South Africa, since the year 2005. This park is home to more than 200 species of birds including the vultures, raptors, eagles and many more.
Best time to visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park:
You can visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park all around the year but the best time is at the end of the rainy season which is from March to May. During this season animals gather around the riverbeds. If you want to see migrant bird species or newly born animals then the best time to visit Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is the end of the wet season.
The worst time is from November to February as these months are very hot and hard to handle due to the high temperature.
How to reach:
Kgalagadi is located about 904km from Johannesburg. So you can rent a car from there or can take a connecting flight to Upington Airport (UTN) which is about 250km from Kgalagadi.
The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park situated between the borders of South Africa and Botswana and there is no facilities on the Botswana side. Therefore, most of the visitors go to the South Africa side, of the park.
6. Limpopo National Park
Limpopo National Park is part of the Great Limpopo Transfrontier Park with the Kruger National Park in South Africa. This park is a product of a non-profit initiative by some members of the Hensman family. The wildlife in this park includes a huge species of mammals such as the elephant, lion, cape wild dog, leopard, rhinoceros, blue wildebeest, cape buffalo, mongoose, hyena, zebra, oribi, and the hippopotamus. The park offers intimate hands-on educational interactions with the elephants.
The park is famously known for its Elephant Back Safari, swims with the elephants, and straight safari. Limpopo is a UNESCO world heritage site that is rich with history and was once home to the first-ever South African kingdom which had thrived. This park is also known for its large number of Baobab trees which are known to have a circumference of 31 meters.
Best time to visit Limpopo National Park:
The hottest months of Limpopo are December to January, so don’t plan your trip to this safari in South Africa during these months. May, September, and October are the most crowded months of Limpopo so do book your hotels in advance.
How to reach:
The park is situated adjacent to the Zebula Country Club which is spread across 300 hectares of land and has is just 35 kms away from Bela Bela.
7. Sabi Sand Game Reserve
Sabi Sand Game Reserve is located in the north-west region of the Kruger National Park on a land of 65,000 hectares. This reserve consists of a group of a number of private reserves. The park is situated on the southern boundary of the Sabie River and Sand river which flows through it, upon which it has been named.
The reserve is home to Africa’s best flora and fauna, ranging from different species of animals that includes the big five and thousands of different plant varieties. The reserve is famous for the Tjololo, leopard. There many lodges in this reserve that offer walking safaris along with bush dinners and bush breakfast.
The Tjololo leopards are the main attractions in this reserve as mentioned earlier they are so accustomed by the visitors visiting them on a daily basis that do not disturb the visitors at all.
Best time to visit Sabi Sand Game Reserve:
From May to September are the best months to visit the Sabi Sand Game Reserve. During winter or dry season, Animals are easy to spot.
If you want to see migratory birds and newly born animals then prefer to go in a wet season that is from October to April. But remember the temperature seems to very high during summer.
How to Reach:
You can take scheduled flights to Kruger/Mpumalanga International Airport (KMIA) near Nelspruit from Johannesburg and Cape Town. After that, you can take a road trip or small aircraft to this game reserve.
8. Shamwari Game Reserve
Shamwari Game reserve has been voted as the world’s leading Safari and Game reserve along with the title of best Conservation company for many years. Shamwari has established this reputation due to its focus on the management, development, and rehabilitation of an ecosystem that has been returned to its natural condition after years of persistent efforts of farming. The reserve was also awarded the Global Nature Fund award for the best conservation practice.
The park is home to a large number of lions, cheetahs, and leopards. The park is said to have rehabilitated 25,000 hectares of land over a span of 25 years along with an increase in the number of wildlife species and some new wild animals that were reintroduced to the reserve.
Best time to visit Shamwari Game reserve:
If you consider temperature a factor then the best time to visit Shamwari is during the driest winter months of June to September. Otherwise, it is good to visit throughout the year. During the wet season, you can see newborn animals and Migratory birds
How to reach:
The reserve is located at a distance of 75 km outside of Port Elizabeth, Eastern Cape, South Africa. It is the southernmost big game private reserve in Africa that stretches along the Bushman River. The nearest airport is Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ). You can reach this airport via connecting flight from O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg or Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town.
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These are the best, popular and adventurous jungle safaris in South Africa. If you are a nature lover then do visit these safaris in South Africa once in your lifetime.