South Africa Safari – Travel, Tour and Package Guide

October 25, 2021

two giraffes walking in the wild

Planning on going on a safari trip but not sure where to go? We have the answer for you – South Africa. While there are other worthy Africa safari trips you can explore, there are factors that make a South Africa safari stand out.

South Africa is home to the famous Big 5 and breathtaking scenery. It is a great safari destination for families, honeymooners, and adventure seekers. The country is also home to many public and private reserves, including the renowned Kruger National Park.

You will find everything you need to know for your next Africa safari vacation in the country here. So, read further to get all the information so you’re well prepared for your travels.

What Does a South Africa Safari Cost?

It’s difficult to give an exact figure in regards to South Africa safari prices. There are various factors that will influence the cost.

We’ve made a list of the influential South Africa safari cost factors for you below:

  • Level of luxury offered at the accommodation
  • Whether you fly or drive between destinations
  • Time of year you travel
  • Whether or not you choose to go private and exclusive – such as private guided game drives
  • Additional activities – like spa treatments and cultural visits

man sitting in jeep safari looking at elephant

South Africa Safari Packages – a Great Way to Save You Money

South Africa safaris can quickly become expensive with improper planning. A great way to get the best deal is to book a safari travel package. Usually, these include game drives, private guides, access to parks, accommodation, and meals.

This option is definitely worth considering when your South Africa safari vacation is being done on a budget. Even when that isn’t the case, a package is worth booking as you get to select your safari destinations and activities beforehand.

The Best South African Safari Tours & Destinations

Not sure where to go with so much on offer? Kruger National Park is a must-see when you’re on safari in South Africa. But, if you’re traveling with children, we recommend visiting a malaria-free private game reserve.

We’ve listed our top locations as well as the best safari tours in South Africa to visit below.

Kruger National Park: The Big 5 Capital

When people think of safaris in South Africa – Kruger National Park comes to most people’s minds. Here you can witness wildlife in its natural surroundings, including the endangered black rhino.

If you are lucky, you might catch a predator chasing and killing their prey. Plus, the park is a haven for bird watching as it boasts over 500 species for bird watchers to marvel at.

The national park offers various safari options. They offer something for self-drivers or those who prefer being up close and personal with wildlife on guided bush walks.

These guided tours are often made with open Jeeps and can either be private – just for you and your group – or shared with other safari-goers.

leopard walking in the wild

When in South Africa, why not go all out? Though you will be able to spot animals when on a self-drive. We do recommend going on a guided day tour while in Kruger Park. The knowledge and expertise that the guide brings to the table are priceless.

Please remember to read the rules and obey them at all times when in the park – there are many dangerous animals roaming around. Here is the full list of the rules and regulations of Kruger National Park.

Madikwe and Pilanesberg: Malaria-free, Family-friendly Safaris

Both these game reserves are wonderful options for families. They offer family-friendly safaris and due to their locations, the parks are malaria-free.

Pilanesberg National Park

The park can be found in an extinct volcanic crater, meaning you’re spoiled with breathtaking scenery at the fantastic destination. It is located just over two hours drive from Johannesburg and offers great game viewing all year-round.

The reserve is perfect for families as it is malaria-free. Pilanesberg offers great introductory safaris to its visitors – making it a great hit with the young ones. These come in the form of exhilarating game drives or walking safaris.

Some accommodations offer game drives in their packages, but it is also possible to book a day trip safari at Pilanesberg.

gray rhino in natural habitat

Madikwe Game Reserve

For those looking for a more exclusive safari experience, one should consider Madikwe Game Reserve. Situated on the red sands on the edge of the Kalahari, it is home to a unique mixture of desert and savannah species.

The game reserve accommodations vary from family-orientated campsites to the ultimate romantic luxurious suites – perfect for honeymooners. If you are looking to indulge yourselves during your trip, enjoy a 3-day luxury safari at Madikwe.

You stand a chance to spot elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and the endangered African wild dog.

Northern KwaZulu-Natal

This region of South Africa is one of its most under-rated wildlife destinations as it’s littered with breathtaking scenery. The area is home to a number of game reserves known for their fair share of Big 5 sightings.

The spectacular scenery varies from woodlands to wetlands to palm savannahs, to lush coastal forests and spectacular golden beaches. Generally, the game reserves in this region lie close to the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. Allowing you to combine a Big 5 safari with scuba-diving in one of South Africa’s best spots.

sea turtle underwater

Enjoy a full-day snorkeling safari and get to experience the best of both worlds in the rich eco-diverse park. Spot wildlife such as the black and white rhino, trumpeting elephants during your land safari, and admire friendly fish during your underwater safari.

Best Time to Go On a South African Safari Tour

The best time to visit would be during the dry season, which lasts from about late May to October. The climate is ideal during this time and optimal for game viewing, as animals concentrate around water sources.

Keep in mind that it can get very hot during the summer months – December and March – and that this is prime time for tourists to visit the country. This can lead to bigger crowds and an increase in the price of your South African safari vacation.

Final Thoughts on South African Safaris

close up of lion laying in field

A safari visit to South Africa offers something for everyone. Whether you’re traveling solo, with your family, or with your partner celebrating your relationship, you’ll all enjoy authentic African safari trips.

Don’t pass up the opportunity to spot a lazy leopard in the tree, a baby elephant with its mother drinking from a water source, or a lion praying on its next meal.

Embark on an adventurous journey and return home with amazing memories, pictures, and most importantly – stories to tell about your wild journey. Take a break from the popular beach holiday in Cape Town or Durban and get a feel for nature on a wildlife viewing expedition.

The bottom line is: you will not regret going on one of these South Africa safari tours – regardless of which reserves or national parks you choose to visit.

 

 

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