South Africa Safari Holidays: The Best Destinations for South Africa Safaris
Kruger National Park- tick. Cape Town- tick. We’re pretty damn sure that you’ve got the most famous South African safari holiday destinations at the top of your must-see list.
But which other destinations should you try to squeeze into your South Africa safari itinerary?
Well, quite a number actually. Like the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, the Addo Elephant Park, and the Namaqua National Park.
Consider this article your ultimate guide to the best safari destinations in South Africa. Follow it to the latter and you’ll never have a dull moment in the Rainbow Nation.
Why You Should Listen to Us?
We’ve been in the safari business for over two decades now and have collaborated with some of the best South African Safari companies to create the ultimate experiences for our customers.
Simply put, we know what we’re talking about when it comes to South Africa safaris.
We’ve also been to each and every one of the destinations mentioned in this article and can vouch for their overall awesomeness.
Take a Look at Some of Our Most Booked Safaris
The Classic, 3-Day, 2-Night Masai Mara Safari
The Magical, 13-Day, 12-Night Kenya Wildlife & Beach Safari
From £4183 Per Adult
The Budget, 3-Day, 2-Night Jambo Masai Mara Safari
The Luxury, 4-Day, 3-Night Basecamp Masai Mara Safari
The Perfect, 4-Day, 3-Night Keekorok Lodge Safari
The Adventures, 4-Day, 3-Night Masai Mara Luxury Family Safari
The Magnificent 8-Day, 7-Night Family Safari to Kenya
The Classic, 10-Day, 9-Night Family Safari in Kenya
From £2495 Per Adult
From £1310 Per Child
The Magical, 4-Day, 3-Night L. Nakuru & Masai Mara Safari
The Top Destinations for a South African Holiday
Try these destinations for the best, most unforgettable South African safaris.
Kruger National Park
Few national parks in the world possess the allure and grandeur of Kruger National Park. At 20,000 square kilometers, Kruger is the largest game reserve in South Africa and a popular choice for those wishing to spot “the Big Five”—lion, leopard, elephant, rhino, and Cape buffalo.
Its landscape is one of the most stunning and diverse we’ve ever seen and its accommodation and camping facilities simply unbeatable.
Here you can enjoy a wide range of activities, from guided game drives to bush walks, sundowners, self-drive tours, bird watching, and camping.
Addo Elephant National Park
Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa.
While Addo’s landscape is stunning, the main reason tourists want to go to this wildlife rehabilitation centre is its wildlife. The park is home to Africa’s Big 7, which includes elephants, leopards, rhinos, buffaloes, and lions.
Which are the other two wildlife species? Patience, young grasshopper.
Within the park is an offshore marine reserve that houses the southern right whales and the great white sharks (which brings the total count to 7).
Addo also includes two islands- Bird Island and Croix Island- which, combined, are the world’s largest breeding ground for the endemic African penguin.
The “Mother City” of South Africa is one of the most vibrant cities in the continent and also one of its most popular tourist destinations.
From the beaches of Clifton and Camps Bay to Table Mountain, Cape Point, and Robben Island, there is something for everyone in Cape Town.
The city is also renowned for its rich cultural heritage, with many of the country’s most iconic attractions- such as the District Six Museum and Bo-Kaap- located here.
Lovers of the finest things in life are in safe hands at Port Elizabeth, which, unsurprisingly, is dubbed the friendliest city in South Africa. Here, you’ll discover some of the most breathtaking beaches in the country like Hobie Beach, King’s Beach, Humewood Beach, and Jeffreys Bay.
The city also hosts a number of game reserves like the Kragga Gamma and Shamwari Game reserves, which offer incredible wildlife sightings.
Madikwe Game Reserve
South Africa safari holidays don’t get more splendid than the Madikwe Game Reserve which lies in South Africa’s North West Province. The park is, surprisingly, one of the lesser-known in South Africa, but make no mistake, it is just as impressive as its more popular counterparts.
We go to the park for its lush banks and cascading rivers… For its thriving population of over 86 mammal species and over 350 bird species. We love to just sit in our safari vans as we glide over some of the most gorgeous riverine forests, bushveld plains, open grasslands, and rocky outcrops.
Surely, other coastlines in the world must look at the Garden Route and shudder in shame. The aforementioned is a 300km stretch of coastline that features some of the most breathtaking beaches, indigenous forests, and towns known to man.
As you drive through the route you will encounter beauties like the Lowry’s Pass where you can stop to take in the view of the Tsitsikamma Mountains, Plettenberg Bay, and Knysna.
You’ll also encounter Stony Point, home to an incredible population of penguins, and Hermanus, known to offer the best whale-watching experiences in the world.
Pilanesberg National Park
Gorgeous and malaria-free, with one of the largest wildlife populations in the country, Pilanesberg has a lot going for it. The park is located in the crater of a long-extinct volcano and is home to a rich variety of wildlife including elephants, lions, waterbucks, zebras, wildebeests, and impalas.
Bird watchers will also be pleased to know that the park is home to over 300 species of birds including the Kingfisher, cormorants, and fish eagles.
Dubbed the city of gold, Johannesburg is a must-visit for any South Africa safari tour.
This bustling metropolis is the economic hub of the country and offers a plethora of attractions to satiate any traveler’s craving.
While in the city, you can take a tour of the Blyde River Canyon where you can spot wildlife such as the baboon, vervet monkey, and dassie. You can also explore the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve which teems with ostriches, monkeys, deer, penguins, butterflies, bees, and birds.
Sabi Sands Game Reserve
For those looking for a city break with a twist, the Sabi Sands Private Reserve offers an incredible experience.
The sheer diversity of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians in the area is truly breathtaking- from antelopes to giraffes, hyenas to baboons, and of course, the Big 5.
Uh-uh- don’t even bother with getting the pronunciation right, just know you’ll have a jolly good time here. This park is the oldest conservation area in South Africa and is one of the best places to go for a South Africa safari. It is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including the Big 5, cheetahs, giraffes, wild dogs, and rare antelopes.
Apart from the wildlife, you can also explore a number of walking trails as well as an array of cultural attractions such as the Khula Village, where you can learn about Zulu culture.
and Beyond Phinda Private Game Reserve
The andBeyond Phinda Private Game Reserve is located in the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa and boasts some of the most diverse wildlife in the country.
It is known as one of the last remaining wilderness areas in the country and offers visitors a unique experience with its big cats, cheetahs, wild dogs, and antelopes.
The reserve is also home to one of South Africa’s largest rhinoceros populations and a variety of birdlife, including the white-backed vulture.
Best Time to Visit South Africa
Well, it really depends on what you’re looking for. If you want to experience South Africa’s best wildlife viewing, the best time to visit is during the dry season of May to October. Wildlife is easier to spot during this period due to the lack of vegetation.
Travelers on a budget, especially those traveling to Cape Town and the Western Cape, should book their safaris anywhere between June and August. This is during the rainy season which means lesser crowds. Lesser crowds mean lower prices!
And then there’s the whale watchers. These ones should visit in September and October when whales are at their most active.