Going on safari is the thrill of a lifetime, and in South Africa there are abundant game viewing options—on foot, in open-air vehicles, and even on elephant-back. No matter which you choose, the memories of life in the bush will stay with you forever.
WHERE THE WILD THINGS ARE
The best known safari destination in South Africa is Kruger National Park. Located in the northeast corner of the country along the border with Mozambique, this remarkable conservation area spans the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, with more than 7,500 square miles of land and 16 distinct natural regions. The southern end of the park, which has the most developed tourism facilities, is the most visited. Kruger is a renowned location for “Big Five” viewing: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhinoceros. In addition, you can spot giraffes, zebras, antelopes, wildebeests, and more birds than you can keep track of. Elephant-back safaris are offered at the park, as well as the more traditional walking and driving safaris, and accommodations range from basic campsites to luxury safari lodges, with prices to suit every budget.
Northern Kruger Park has begun drawing safari lovers in the know. Here, in the shrubby mopaneveld, sand forest, and dense tropical forests, you’ll find great herds of elephants and buffalo, plus rare antelope species. Because there are far fewer lodges, and safari vehicles are relatively new to the area, the animals here are a bit more reclusive, but great animal sightings are always a possibility.
If you’re prepared to spend a little (or a lot) more. South Africa also has many private game reserves and upscale lodges. These conservation areas offer a higher level of luxury and unparalleled guided bush experience while remaining committed to conservation and community. Sabi Sand Game Reserve, for one, provides high-end accommodations along Kruger’s southwest border. Though it’s private, few fences separate the reserve from Kruger, meaning that animals traverse the border freely. Other game reserves such as Balule, Timbavati, Thornybush, Kapama, and Shamwari are located within the Waterberg and Cederberg municipalities and Pilansberg National Park.