South Africa should be a top choice when looking for a safari destination. Situated at the southern point of the African continent, the country offers something for everyone, from couples looking for a romantic getaway, family and friends, and adventure seekers to those with a passion for wildlife. South Africa is a country filled with friendly people and immense natural beauty.
The coastline stretches more than 2,850 kilometres from Namibia along the Atlantic Ocean southwards. The Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost point of Africa, before continuing northwards to the Mozambican border. Inland, while travelling across the country, tourists will notice the remarkable changes in the vegetation as it is one of the most diverse countries in the world.
All major cities have international airports, including Johannesburg, the largest city in the country. Car rental facilities are available at all airports, which is probably the best option to travel to your safari destination. Driving takes place on the left side of the road.
South Africa offers visitors a wide variety of holiday options. From cosmopolitan Cape Town with Table Mountain as a central feature to the nearby Winelands, the Cape is really one for the bucket list. While the ocean is slightly cold, the scenery is definitely something to marvel at. The Garden Route offers beautiful sandy beaches, a few are awarded Blue Flag status annually, and is covered in large indigenous forests worth exploring.
There is no shortage of places to visit for a wildlife safari. The world-famous Kruger National Park is probably one of the best-known options, with many private lodges around the park forming part of the Greater Kruger National Park. This is one of the biggest drawcards for those keen to see the Big 5.
Furthermore, the country is also known for its rich history. Rock paintings and etchings are associated with the ancient Khoi and San people that first roamed the continent, and fossils of dinosaurs also scatter parts of the country.
South Africa’s wildlife is mostly confined to fenced protected areas, so visiting one of the many lodges, game reserves, national parks, and nature reserves will offer plenty of opportunities to spot wildlife. The country is home to more than 250 species. The Big 5 is, of course, what many seek, as seeing a lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo, or leopard in the wild can be a magical experience. Various species such as the Cape Grysbok and Bontebok are found nowhere else in the world. South Africa’s bird list is well over 850 species.
South Africa’s wide range of accommodation options is bound to satisfy many a traveller. Luxury 5-star experiences cater to the discerning traveller while those looking to get closer to nature can camp under the stars in a wide variety of parks and reserves. South Africa is relatively up to date when it comes to modern amenities. Major cities offer a variety of banks, restaurants, and shops. Public transport in South Africa is not always the most reliable, but car rental and e-hailing services are available.
The best time to visit South Africa depends on where you plan to travel to. South Africa’s climate ranges from Mediterranean to temperate and subtropical in certain regions. If tourists venture far northwest and they will come across desert conditions. The wet season is generally in from November to March, but the southwest of the country gets winter rain. The coastal temperatures are probably most consistent, but in general, summer averages are around 25 degrees Celsius. Winter average temperatures are approximately 17 degrees Celsius.
|Time Zone||GMT +2 (SAST)|
|Currency||South African Rand|
|Power||Plug C, D, M and N & 240V/50Hz|
|Dress Code||Neutral for Safaris|
The best time to visit South Africa depends on where you plan to travel to. The coastal temperatures are probably most consistent, but in general, summer averages are around 25 degrees Celsius. Winter average temperatures are approximately 17 degrees Celsius.
Luxury 5-star experiences cater to the discerning traveller while those looking to get closer to nature can camp under the stars in a wide variety of parks and reserves.
Safari-goers to Africa need to make sure about visa requirements for the specific destination in their country of origin. Passports need to be valid for at least six months from the planned date of departure and there should also be enough blank pages for the necessary visas and stamps to be applied.
The World Health Organisation recommends the following vaccinations for South Africa: hepatitis A, hepatitis B, typhoid, yellow fever, rabies, meningitis, polio, measles, mumps and rubella (MMR), Tdap (tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis), chickenpox, shingles, pneumonia and influenza. It is recommended that visitors check with a reputable travel clinic before departure as requirements may change.
Tap water in South Africa is of high quality and safe to drink. Bottled water is also readily available.
Most lodges and camps in South Africa cater to families with special activities to stimulate the youngsters’ interest in all things wild and wonderful.
If game viewing from a vehicle is to make up the bulk of the safari outing, even those without any fitness regime will be able to enjoy it. For more strenuous activities, like a walking safari, hiking in the mountains or adventurous excursions, one should have at least a moderate level of fitness.
It is advisable to make getting travel insurance as part of the planning of any safari. That ensures travellers are covered for unforeseen circumstances leading to the cancellation of the trip, as well as medical cover and repatriation should anything happen while on safari. If adventurous activities, such as hiking, mountain climbing, gorilla trekking, hot air ballooning or white water rafting, are part of the safari, comprehensive travel insurance is a must.
Visitors to South Africa are able to drive with a license issued in their country of residence if it is printed in English. If not, an International Drivers Permit is required.
Visitors to South Africa will encounter friendly and open people during their travels. There are not many cultural taboos and most greetings are conducted with a firm handshake.