South Africa Safari

Safari holidays do not get much more varied than South Africa. The country is very well established as a safari destination, with some of Africa's most sophisticated and luxurious safari lodges. South Africa's largest and most famous game reserve is the Great Kruger (encompassing Kruger National Park), in the north east of the country. Every bit as famous as Tanzania’s Serengeti Plains and Botswana’s Okavango Delta, the Kruger offers excellent game viewing, and plenty of the big five (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino). However, the Kruger’s fame comes at a price; this is one of the continent’s most visited parks.
A South Africa safari offers something for everyone: first timers will love the well-managed reserves and ease of transport, families will love the malaria-free wildlife viewing, experienced travellers will love the remote parks in the far flung reaches, and everyone will love the climate. South Africa is acknowledged as the easiest luxury safari destination, offering Big 5 reserves with excellent infrastructure and well-maintained wildlife areas.

Why go on Safari in South Africa?

1.      South Africa is absolutely huge (5x the size of Great Britain) and should really span a couple of time zones.  The resulting variety of terrain, landscape and weather systems mean that there is a huge range of wildlife experiences on offer here, all in one country.
2.      The guiding is excellent and some of the best in Africa.
3.      Particularly attractive for first-time safari goers and families with young children, South Africa offers the opportunity to safari in a malaria-free area (not available in all African countries). Unlike Namibia and Zimbabwe, some South African safari lodges are tailored towards hosting families.
4.      South Africa’s advanced infrastructure means that travel around the country is hassle-free and relatively economical. Whether you are looking for a safari near Johannesbury (Pilansberg National Park), Port Elizabeth (Addo Elephant National Park) or Kwazulu-Natal (Hluhluwe-Imfolozi), South Africa can cater for all your needs.
5.      When it comes to your budget, this is the country where you can find a safari at any price point – from self-drive at the most basic to all-out luxe with a private chopper!

What are the best safari lodges in South Africa?

Tswalu is a once in a life-time destination – a truly exclusive secret, where everything from food, to service to guiding is impeccable and completely private. 

Madike Safari Lodge in the Kalahari region of South Africa is also a fantastic option. With brilliant guiding and great game viewing opportunities of wild dog, cheetah and brown hyena not to mention the plethora of other big game, is it any wonder why it is a favourite of ours?
Phinda Reserve is home to a variety of completely astonishing wildlife including a fabulous cheetah population, wild dogs and black rhino. Settled in the far north sits Phinda Forest Lodge – a diverting and completely unique safari lodge experience with its Zen glass walls immersing you into the nature which surrounds it. There are also other really fantastic accommodation options scattered throughout this magical reserve.  
Londolozi is one of our hands down favourites, and set in the spectacular Sabi Sands it has the entire make up for a world class safari experience. Set on the banks of the Sand River, its light and airy feel really complements the rich wilderness which surrounds it. 

The best safari lodges in South Africa

Our Top 3 South African Safari Spots

1.      South Africa’s finest safari destination is the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve adjoining Kruger National Park, which offers outstanding game viewing (it is not unusual to see all of the Big Five on one game drive, plus giraffe, crocodiles, hippos, wild dogs and more!) and contains several of the most exclusive and luxurious top-end game lodges in the whole of Africa. A safari in South Africa is not complete without a visit to Sabi Sands. 
2.      There are several good malaria-free options for safari in South Africa, of which our favourite is the Tswalu Kalahari reserve.  Tswalu is a secret Eden preserved by great-hearted and happily generous philanthropists. A superb lodge with impeccable service; gorgeous house staff to meet and greet and treat you to their Relais and Chateaux-earning gourmet delights, then your own dedicated guide and bushman tracker to take you, all alone, in the company of your own in-jokes and safari interests, on a private safari. It is also perfect for a family safari
3.      Timbavati Reserve, to the west of the Greater Kruger, is one of our top picks for this area. Timbavati shares an unfenced border with the main Kruger Park so offers the same excellent game-viewing, but is quieter and for that reason offers a decidedly better game-viewing experience.

South Africa Safari itinerary planning 

We’d generally always recommend including the Sabi Sands Private Game Reserve in a top-class South African safari itinerary.  Located within throwing distance of the spectacular Drakensberg mountain range, the nature reserve is home to a vast population of wildlife including lots of predators and phenomenal concentrations of the big five, such that the majority of travellers here will see all the big five very quickly. Leopard viewing here is particularly outstanding. As a private reserve, game viewing here is available only to visitors staying in the lodges (no day trippers), resulting in a private and exclusive safari experience. 

The infrastructure and internal flight network are of such a good standard that it is easy to combine a safari with a Cape Town city adventure, where you could explore Table Mountain or get some R&R in the spectacularly scenic Cape winelands, and/or some downtime on an Indian Ocean beach in Mozambique…  Alternatively a trip to Victoria Falls in either Zambia or Zimbabwe would be a favourite addition of ours. A Southern Africa itinerary can comprise any combination of these elements, in any order. Though we tailor-make all our trips, see some sample itineraries on our itineraries page for further information. 

The best safari parks in SOuth Africa

Hand Picked South Africa Itineraries

Top 5 South Africa Safari Tips

1. Go on a walking safari! This is such a fresh and interesting perspective to see the African bush from, and South Africa is blessed with many areas which can provide such a wonderful safari experience. Ask our experts where you can enjoy this! 
2. Go to two different safari areas, and don’t just stick to one! South Africa is huge and has such variety, so it would be a shame to go there and only see one type of landscape and safari experience. 
3. Explore the winelands of the Western Cape – a really good way to unwind before or after your safari. Also combine this with Cape Town for the ultimate varied safari, city and scenery holiday. 
4. Rent a car to save money on flights and explore South Africa at your own leisure – a real luxury for those who seek adventure. 

How much does a safari in South Africa cost? 

Safaris are not cheap, but with South Africa things can seem a little more economical than other African safari destinations. Due to the relatively low value of the rand and the fantastic transportation links South Africa boasts, although the lodge prices range from $300 per person per night all the way up to $2,000 per person per night, you can get a generally great value for money safari here. Please tlak to one of our experts to discuss possible itineraries and the price differences between each. 

When to go on a South Africa Safari 

South Africa is very handily a year-round destination, so you can go whenever you want! However, our favorite times are March – May for the migratory birds and the lush vegetation, yet August – October are the peak seasons as this is when the vegetation is thinnest and animals cluster together in large quantities by the ever-drying waterholes. Ask our experts about the pros and cons of going at different times! Or for more information, please visit our when to go page

What types of safari can be done in South Africa? 

You can enjoy the classic 4X4 driving safari, and enjoy being guided around the reserves and the intricacies of the fantastic African wildlife. You can also get a bit closer to your four legged friends on a walking safari – widely enjoyed in South Africa. Boating is also a really great way to unwind and enjoy the surrounding flora and fauna. Sleeping out under the stars is another option, and in our opinion one of the most wild and special safari experiences of them all – there is nothing quite like it. You can also see turtles hatching in South Africa; a real treat and oddity when on an African safari. For kids and adults alike, conservation safaris are widely enjoyed where you can actually contribute to the maintenance of the precious African wildlife.  

How to add the beach to a South Africa Safari? 

Two of our favorite lodges to add on to a safari are Thonga and Rocktail near Phinda Game Reserve – they offer everything you could want from some R&R in the warm African sunshine. You can also explore the Garden Route, or go further afield to Mauritius which has some fantastic child friendly resorts with activities to be enjoyed by all around every turn. You could really push the boat and extend your safari to Madagascar, for a mosaic of more interesting wildlife and relaxing beach time. You can also go to our favorite beach extension for East Africa itineraries and hop up to the colorful and vibrant Zanzibar. 

South Africa Safari vs Botswana Safari 

Both Botswana and South Africa are absolutely fabulous safari choices. Mainly, South Africa offers a far more affordable safari as Botswana is composed of private reserves. South Africa has these too, but also options where other lower budgets can still have a knock-out safari. The guides in South Africa are also really amazing when you are on safari. When you are not, a South Africa tour also has so many options for other completely different activities to be enjoyed such as visiting the vibrant and beautiful Cape Town and indulging in the winelands of Stellenbosch and Franschoek… South Africa has so much to offer for enjoying a completely diverse holiday – safari, city, scenery and beach… what more could you want? 

South Africa Safari further details

Knowing where to pick on your South Africa safari can be daunting. For the low-down on Kruger vs Sabi Sands please follow the link to our blog. 

Between us here in our office we have visited almost every camp, lodge or hotel in South Africa that is worth talking about so the best way to book a South Africa Safari is to get in touch and have a chat with us. Email us on [email protected]or call through on 1866 356 4691 or the UK on 020 8704 1216. 




Although we tailor-make all our trips we have reproduced a number of popular itineraries here

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Map of South Africa

Map of South Africa South-africa - Kruger South-africa - Sabi Sands South-africa - Cape Town South-africa - Other Reserves  - South Africa
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