Africa is a huge continent and there are so many great safari destinations to choose from. From vibrant Cape Town to the spray of Victoria Falls, from sunny beaches to Africa's wildest game reserves, from majestic mountains to fascinating cultural experiences, there is something for everyone on this beautiful continent. Below are some of the most popular destinations you may want to consider including on a trip to Southern Africa. Scroll down to see a brief description of each travel region.
* Destinations Overview Highlights
- ∞Kruger National Park, South Africa
- ∞Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
- ∞Timbavati Game Reserve, South Africa
- ∞Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Zambia
- ∞Cape Town, South Africa
- ∞Okavango Delta, Botswana
- ∞Chobe National Park, Botswana
- ∞Kwando / Linyanti / Savute regions, Botswana
- ∞Garden Route, South Africa
- ∞Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
- ∞Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
- ∞Eastern Cape, South Africa
- ∞Sun City and Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park, South Africa
The Kruger Park is South Africa's largest game reserve and home to the famous Big Five (elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo). At over 2 million hectares in size, this is undoubtedly the best game viewing destination in South Africa. It is situated in the north-eastern corner of South Africa, about 5 hours driving from Johannesburg. There are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. You can visit the Kruger Park on your own, by doing a self-drive safari, or you can join one of our popular and affordable guided safaris, or you can spend a few nights at a private safari lodge, where all meals and game drives are included.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve, South Africa
The Sabi Sand Game Reserve is South Africa's premier luxury safari destination. This game reserve is situated adjacent to the Kruger Park, and shares an unfenced boundary with Kruger. It is considered to be part of the greater Kruger National Park conservation area. The Sabi Sand is best known for its selection of luxury safari lodges, all of which offer a full safari experience including all meals and open vehicle game drives. What sets the Sabi Sand apart from Kruger is that vehicles are permitted to drive off-road to get closer to the animals. You can expect excellent big cat sightings, in particular leopards. If you spend at least three nights in the Sabi Sand, it is almost certain that you will see one or more leopards, as well as plenty of other wildlife.
Timbavati Game Reserve, South Africa
The Timbavati Game Reserve is situated further north than the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, but also shares an unfenced boundary with the Kruger National Park. Similar to the Sabi Sand, the Timbavati Reserve is home to a number of private safari lodges which offer open vehicle game drives, night drives, and bush walks. All meals are included. The bush and the game viewing is similar to what you will find in the Kruger National Park.
Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe or Zambia
The Victoria Falls is one of the world's most spectacular waterfalls, and well worth a visit. Vic Falls is an easy two hour flight from Johannesburg. You can visit the falls from the Zimbabwe side (south side of the Zambezi river) or from the Zambia side (north side of the Zambezi river). Both sides are safe to visit, but the views are better from the Zimbabwe side. Tourism on the Zambia side has received a boost due to Zimbabwe's problems in recent years, but the Zambia side is generally more expensive to visit. There are plenty of hotels to choose from, on both sides of the falls, and a huge selection of activities in the area.
Cape Town, South Africa
Cape Town is known as South Africa's mother city, and one of the most popular cities in the world for travellers. Built on the slopes of famous Table Mountain, the city overlooks Table Bay and Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. Cape Town offers good value for money, beautiful scenery, lots of interesting sights and activities, and a vibrant and diverse culture. Most visitors spend at least 3-5 days in Cape Town.
Okavango Delta, Botswana
The Okavango Delta in Botswana is a unique and wonderful safari destination. The Okavango is a vast swamp area which is flooded annually, interspersed with many beautiful islands, the largest of which is Chief's Island. The region is rich in wildlife and known for its scenic beauty. Safari lodges in the Okavango Delta typically offer a combination of land-based activities (game drives and bush walks) and water-based activities (motorised boat cruises and mokoro canoe trips). Most lodges in the Okavango Delta charge in USD, and many are typical African tented safari camps in remote areas.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
The Chobe National Park in Botswana includes the central Savute region, but it mostly refers to the northern section of the game reserve which borders the Chobe River. This area offers superb boat-based game viewing as well as 4x4 game drives, and is known for its huge herds of elephants the congregate near the river, especially in the dry season. This is a fantastic safari area and easy to combine with Victoria Falls, which is not far away.
Kwando / Linyanti / Savute regions, Botswana
The Kwando and Linyanti areas consist of private concession areas where there are no public roads. Access is by air, to some of the most remote and beautiful game lodges in Africa. The landscape varies from dry bush to open floodplains and green marsh areas, and the game viewing in these areas are superb. Most of the lodges in these areas offer 4x4 game drives (both off-road and at night), bush walks, and in some cases boat cruises. The Savute region falls within the Chobe National Park, which means no off-road driving or night drives are allowed. Still, the game viewing here is superb and there are a number of excellent lodges in the Savute area. The lions in the Savute area are famous for sometimes bringing down fully grown elephants as prey.
Garden Route, South Africa
The Garden Route is the coastal area between Cape Town and Port Elizabeth, especially the region from Mossel Bay to the Storms River Mouth. The area is named the Garden Route because of its scenic beauty which includes mountains, lakes, rivers, and beautiful sandy beaches.
Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Kwazulu-Natal province lies along the east coast of South Africa and boasts the best swimming beaches in South Africa. The weather and water in this area is warm during most of the year, and the city of Durban is South Africa's most popular "beach holiday" city. Northern Kwazulu-Natal includes some prime snorkelling and diving areas, the World Heritage site of St Lucia estuary, and several top game reserves including Hluhluwe-Umfolozi, Mkuze Game Reserve and Phinda Private Game Reserve.
Madikwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Madikwe's claim to fame is that it is South Africa's best malaria-free safari destination. Situated on the border with Botswana in the North-west Province, Madikwe Game Reserve covers more than 75,000 hectares of bush, much of it reclaimed and rehabilitated former agricultural land. The game viewing in Madikwe is good, and the animals you may be able to see include elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog, spotted hyena, brown hyena, giraffe, zebra, gemsbok, and various other antelope species. There are a number of good quality safari lodges in Madikwe.
Eastern Cape, South Africa
The Eastern Cape province is another popular malaria-free safari destination. A scenic 8 hour drive from Cape Town via the Garden Route brings you to Port Elizabeth, gateway to the Eastern Cape. Within an hour from Port Elizabeth you will find the famous Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Game Reserve, and various other smaller reserves and lodges. The game viewing cannot be compared to the Kruger National Park, but for a first-time safari traveller or someone who specifically wants a malaria-free safari, the Eastern Cape is a good option to consider. In our view, one of the top safari lodges in the greater Addo National Park, is Kuzuko Lodge.
Sun City and Pilanesberg Game Reserve, South Africa
Sun City is one of South Africa's most famous holiday destinations. Situated about 2 hours driving west of Johannesburg, Sun City is a casino resort and entertainment complex surrounded by indigenous bush, and adjoined by the small but interesting Pilanesberg Game Reserve, home to the "Big Five". Sun City offers several hotels, a large casino and entertainment venue, an artificial beach and wave pool, waterslides, a dam for watersports, superb golf course designed by Gary Player, artificial rain forest, and plenty of activities for the whole family, both inside and outside.
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