South Africa safari holidays are at the top of the bucket list for many travellers seeking to get up close and personal with the inhabitants of the natural world.
Tourism wheels across the globe stopped turning in March as the coronavirus pandemic spread from continent to continent and halted travel plans. Although the situation is still dire, some countries, including South Africa, are slowly opening their doors to receive international visitors again. Travellers, however, are reminded to confirm the specific country’s status and requirements about travelling during Covid-19 before departure.
South Africa is a country filled with friendly people and immense natural beauty. The coastline stretches close to 3,000 kilometres from Namibia, round Cape Agulhas, 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.
At the southernmost point of Africa, there is also no shortage of places for those with a passion for all things wild and wonderful. From national parks and reserves across South Africa, with the acclaimed Kruger National Park the shining star, to a whole host of privately managed wildlife havens, the choices are endless.
The biggest attraction is undoubtedly the famed Big Five. As one of only 13 countries where all five members of this illustrious group roam, participation in South Africa safari holidays is the best chance to spot lions, leopards, rhinos, elephants and buffalos. And for the avid birder, there are more than 850 species that criss-cross the skies, as well as a myriad of other fauna and flora species.
When one thinks of a South African safari, countless pictures are conjured up—whether choosing to self-drive, letting experts guide one on a guided game drive or exploring the wilderness on foot. Opting for a guided game drive gives visitors a great opportunity to marvel at the wondrous wildlife of the country. The local guides and trackers have a vast knowledge of the fauna and flora in their area with countless hours spend crisscrossing the landscape.
There are also a handful of positives when visitors should opt to go it alone on a self-drive safari. It is less expensive and will suit the budget traveller, while there is also more freedom to explore at a self-set pace and go where and when it is most suitable.
The best way to immerse oneself completely and utterly in South Africa safari holidays is on a walking safari that will bring a unique perspective to the intricacies of the wilderness. With heightened senses, visitors will be completely in tune with the sights and sounds and smells of the local environment.
From the Waterberg to the Lowveld and the Kalahari, add a twist to exploring the wilderness areas of the country by doing it on horseback. Horseback safaris are gaining in popularity as it can be adapted to make provision for all budgets, the different levels of experience of participants as well as different age groups.
There are a variety of options through specialised tour operators when opting for a cycling safari and making use of pedal power when game viewing. Small groups moving leisurely along well-trodden paths are ideal for families while mountain bike races with a connection to conservation issues will suit the more adventurous.
Discover another side of the wondrous wildlife of South Africa on a diving safari. The balmy waters of the ocean along the coastline of the country are the ideal habitat for exploring life beneath the surface. From freshwater to saltwater, and stretching from Cape Town to the North Coast, visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to wildlife wonders. Various shark species including the fearsome great white, Southern Right and humpback whales, bottlenose dolphins, leatherback turtles and the great shoals of sardines all call the South African oceans home.
Although the country is a year-round safari destination, the best time to get acquainted with the wildlife of South Africa is during the dryer and cool autumn and winter months from May to August. The landscape opens up, making it easier to spot all kinds of critters. The lack of rain further forces the animals to congregate around available water sources where safari-goers are more often than not surprised by the appearance of several enigmatic species. The pleasant daytime temperatures during this time of the year is a bonus. Do, however, remember to pack a couple of layers as the nights are quite chilly.
There is a wide range of accommodation options when embarking on South Africa safari holidays. For those looking for a more luxurious experience, 5-star establishments offer all the amenities for even the most discerning traveller. Prepared to travel off the beaten track? There are more than enough budget accommodation and camping facilities to choose from. When it comes to other services catering to the needs of visitors from across the world, South Africa is geared towards tourism. All major cities have international airports and offer a variety of banks, restaurants and shops. Car rental and e-hailing services are also available.