South Africa gets it very right on a fundamental level. Some of the best accommodations in Africa are here, combined with wildlife encounters of such regularity they will leave the most demanding visitor gasping for breath.
The density and variety of wildlife in South Africa’s national parks and private game reserves is truly remarkable. Ideal for the first time visitor to Africa, or the seasoned safari goer who demands only the best accommodations available, a South Africa safari to places like Sabi Sands, Timbavati, Kruger, Tswalu or Phinda will guarantee a quality safari experience every time.
The big game encounters of the lowveld in the north of the country contrast sublimely with the sophistication and energy of Cape Town and the cultural delights of the Western Cape. Whatever the length of safari you choose to do, one thing is for certain: everywhere you go in this magnificent country will provide a feast for your senses.
More About South Africa…
The best time to visit South Africa
South Africa’s winter falls in May, June and July. While it can get very cold in the interior and at higher elevations,the game reserves and parks of Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces are very pleasant over this period. The short grass makes for clear views through the bush and the dry weather concentrates game around water – ideal for game viewing. The Western Cape, however, is wet at this time. October to mid-February is South Africa’s summer, a period of bright sunshine and warm temperatures interspersed with frequent afternoon thunderstorms, making for dramatic skies and light. Autumn lasts from mid-February to April, with wonderful dry, temperate weather. Spring occurs in August, a great time to visit the Western and Northern Cape, when millions of semi-desert flowers burst into bloom.
Kruger National Park
At just under 20,000 square kilometres, Kruger National Park is one of the largest and oldest in Africa, and is home to more large mammal species than any other African game reserve. The sheer numbers of wild animals present here boggles the mind: over 7,000 white rhinoceros, over 2,800 lion and over 11,000 elephant are just three examples.
As you would expect, all of the “big 5″ are found here, and an added bonus is the population of endangered wild dog. Our favourite place in Kruger to take clients to is Singita’s private 33,000-acre concession within the park that is served by the stunning Singita Lebombo and Singita Sweni lodges. This pristine wilderness area boasts high concentrations of game, including an incredible 4 prides of lions
On the western border of Kruger National park lies Sabi Sands. Formerly a collection of farms, this 65,000 acre tract of bush was turned into a game reserve in the 1950′s, and today hosts an incredible wildlife spectacle helped in part by its 50 kilometre border with Kruger, and by the two rivers that run through it. Sabi Sands contains a collection of exquisite lodges and camps, each located in their own unfenced individual concessions. Iconic mini-reserves like Londolozi, Mala Mala, Kirkmans, Sabi Sabi, Lion Sands and Ulusaba amongst others are all located within Sabi Sands, arguably one of the best places in the world to go on safari.
Located further north of Sabi Sands, but still bordering Kruger, is Timbavati. This huge 132,000 acre wilderness is, similarly, farmland that was converted into a game reserve in the 1950′s. As with Kruger and Sabi Sands, game density is high, but Timbavati has an additional bonus – its celebrated white lions, first discovered in the 1970′s. Doing justice to this fantastic stretch of African bush are a number of luxury lodges and camps including Motswari, Kambaku, Tanda Tula and Umlani.
Located in Kwazulu Natal in the east of the country is Phinda. This 57,000 acre private reserve is greener than the reserves further west and its seven distinct habitats offer considerable diversity in plant and animal species and landscapes. Game viewing opportunities are superb, but above all, Phinda’s “signature” species is cheetah. This reserve allows regular sightings of the magnificent spotted cat. The nearby Sodwana Bay on the east coast allows opportunities for scuba diving, turtle watching and fishing. Accommodation at Phinda will be at one of six &Beyond properties, all of them superbly detailed and finished, but each with its own individual character.