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The game viewing differs quite a bit depending on which region of the Kruger National Park you visit. The southern part of the park is known for its high animal density and excellent game viewing because of the abundance of food. The landscape and vegetation is characterised by thorny thickets and some rocky granite outcrops. Game viewing along the river banks and dry river beds is usually very good.
The central area has more open grasslands and larger herds of grazers. This in turns means a high concentration of lions (reputedly the highest lion concentration in the world) and other predators.
We usually focus on the southern and central areas, which offer the best game viewing. The northern regions are characterised by mopane shrubs and game viewing is a bit more difficult here. However, the remoteness, beautiful landscape and lower visitor density are some of the reasons why many people prefer the northern regions. Birdwatching in the north is also excellent, and elephants are in abundance here.
Animals you can expect to see on an average three-day safari include elephant, buffalo, rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, impala, waterbuck, warthog, hippo, crocodile, hyena, lion, leopard (if you are lucky), wild dog (if you are lucky), cheetah (if you are lucky) and various smaller antelopes and predators, as well as birds and reptiles.
Sightings can never be guaranteed, because the animals move around freely. This is part of the excitement of game viewing – you never know what you might find. Our records show that we have found the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) on 76% of all our safaris. So while there is a good chance you will see all of the Big Five, we can say with certainty that you will see at least some of them.
There is no quick answer to this question, because game viewing will depend on the time of year, rainfall patterns, and the choice of lodge you visit.
There are many game reserves in Southern Africa and East Africa that offer exceptional game viewing. That said, the game viewing within these reserves differs tremendously from area to area, and between wet and dry seasons. We have visited most of the reserves and lodges we sell and are able to give expert advice on where and when you can expect the best game viewing.
For example, in Botswana the seasons and flood levels affect the game viewing in some areas. Usually, the dry season (May to October) offers the best game viewing. In the Okavango, there are land-based lodges and water-based lodges. Generally, the land-based lodges offer better big game viewing than strictly water-based lodges. Some lodges are situated in private concessions and allow off-road driving and night drives, while lodges within the national parks usually don't allow this.
In South Africa's Kruger National Park, the central and southern areas offer the best year-round game viewing. Game viewing in the Sabi Sands Game Reserve is also good all year round. Contact us to let us help you choose the right lodge and the best area to maximize your game viewing.
The game viewing differs quite a bit depending on which region of the Kruger National Park you visit. The southern part is known for its high animal density and excellent game viewing because of the abundance of food. The landscape and vegetation are characterised by thorny thickets and some rocky granite outcrops. Game viewing along the river banks and dry river beds is usually very good.
The central area has more open grasslands and larger herds of grazers. This, in turn, means a high concentration of lions (reputedly the highest lion concentration in the world) and other predators. On our Wild Wings Safaris, we focus on the southern and central areas, which usually offer the best game viewing.
The northern regions are characterised by mopane shrubs and game viewing is a bit more difficult here. However, the remoteness, beautiful landscape and lower visitor density are some of the reasons why many people prefer this upper section of Kruger. Birdwatching in the north is also excellent, and elephants are also in abundance here.
The animals you can expect to see on an average three-day safari include elephant, buffalo, rhino, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, impala, waterbuck, warthog, hippo, crocodile, hyena, lion, leopard (if you are lucky), wild dog (if you are lucky), cheetah (if you are lucky) and various smaller antelopes and predators, as well as birds and reptiles.
Sightings can never be guaranteed because the animals move around freely. This is part of the excitement of game viewing – you never know what you might find. Our records show that we have found the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino) on 76% of all our safaris. So while there is a good chance you will see all of the Big Five, we can say with certainty that you will see at least some of them.
The Kruger National Park is South Africa's largest national park. Adjacent to the park is a number of privately owned game reserves. By mutual agreement, the fences between these reserves and the Kruger have been dropped, to enlarge the area under conservation and encourage free movement of animals. This entire conservation area is known as the Greater Kruger National Park and is over 2.2-million hectares in size.
The most famous of the private reserves within the Greater Kruger is the Sabi Sands Game Reserve, and the Timbavati Game Reserve further north. The lodges in these game reserves are privately owned and their open safari vehicles are able to go off-road to get closer to an animal sighting – which is not permitted in the Kruger National Park itself.
This is one of the main differences between the Sabi Sands and the Kruger, as well as the fact that all the game vehicles in Sabi Sand are in radio contact. This makes your chances of seeing the Big Five, especially leopards, much better in Sabi Sands than in the Kruger. Another difference is cost. Generally, the accommodation in the Sabi Sands is more expensive and more luxurious than in the Kruger National Park.
Other than the differences mentioned above, the vegetation and animals found in the Sabi Sands are exactly the same as in the Kruger National Park.
Many visitors are concerned about crime, but we have never had any problems or incidents of crime on our safaris. Crime is a reality in every major city in the world and the key is to use common sense and avoid risky situations or known problem areas. Your guide and lodge will be happy to advise you.
Your safety is paramount to us and we will never recommend a destination or activity we consider unsafe for tourists. We believe South Africa to be as safe – if not safer – than many other major tourist destinations around the world.
See our blog on "Safety tips for tourists".
Going on safari is also quite safe. As long as you abide by the rules and stay in your vehicle or with your safari guide, there is no need to be concerned about wild animals. In the Kruger National Park, each camp is safely enclosed with an electric fence. At private lodges that are not fenced, you will always be in the company of a trained ranger or safari guide.
Yes. In our experience, Victoria Falls is safe to visit on both the Zambian (Livingstone) and Zimbabwe (Victoria Falls) sides. Safety is a top priority for us, and we would never recommend a destination or activity we consider unsafe for tourists.
The situation in Victoria Falls is calm and peaceful, and there is no reason not to visit this beautiful area. There have been no reports of cholera, violence, unrest or turmoil from Victoria Falls on the Zimbabwean side, and our personal experience over multiple visits has confirmed that the region is 100% safe to visit.
How will you know which lodges to choose when you're travelling as a family? Which are the best options for children?
Some lodges offer specials for children sharing. Others charge children at adult rates. Still, others do not accommodate children under a certain age. However, there are many child-friendly lodges where the staff go out of their way to include, entertain and educate the little ones – and provide excellent activities and child-minding services so that you can simply relax and enjoy your safari to the fullest.
There are also some very good safari destinations that are malaria-free, which make them a popular choice for families as there's no need for anti-malaria medication – such as Madikwe Game Reserve and Pilanesberg Game Reserve, for example.
Please talk to us about your wishes and concerns and we'll gladly advise you. Our suggestions are backed by personal experience as we visit the lodges and destinations we recommend, so that we can provide you with honest, unbiased advice. We always ask our clients for feedback and constantly monitor reviews on trusted internet sites to make sure we stay informed and up to date about the various lodges and safari camps we offer you.
Throughout Southern Africa, there are hundreds of different safari camps and game lodges, in different game reserves. On their websites and in the brochures, they all look great. With so much variety, how do you decide which lodge to visit?
How will you know which lodges are best for honeymoon couples, or for families with children? How does the game viewing and accommodation compare from a lodge to lodge?
That is where our expertise comes in. We make it our business to visit all the lodges and destinations we recommend, so we can give advice based on personal experience. We also request feedback from our clients, and we keep a close eye on reviews posted on the internet to ensure we stay up to date about the various camps and lodges.
Tell us what your requirements are, and we will recommend the right lodge for you. The lodges we recommend will depend on your interests, budget, game-viewing expectations, accommodation requirements, whether you are travelling with children, and so on. The time of year and availability may also play a role. For example, if the lodge of your choice is fully booked, we will recommend similar lodges, where you will have similar accommodation and game viewing, hopefully at a similar price.
Please, contact us with your requirements and give us as much detail as possible about your dream safari. We'll really try to do whatever we can to make sure your every wish becomes a treasured and memorable experience.
South Africa is a fairly large country – 1 219 912km² or 471 011 square miles, to be precise. It is the 25th biggest country in the world, five times larger than Great Britain and three times the size of Texas.
To give you a better idea, here are some of the approximate distances and travelling times between some popular destinations – by road, travelling time and by air (if possible).
Approximate distances and travel times
From To Distance Drive time Flight time
- Johannesburg Cape Town 1 405 km 13 hours 2 hours
- Johannesburg Kruger National Park (Skukuza) 450 km 5.5 hours 3/4 hour
- Johannesburg Madikwe (North West) 350 km 4.5 hours 3/4 hour
- Johannesburg George (Garden Route) 1 170 km 11 hours 1.8 hours
- Cape Town Port Elizabeth 750 km 7.7 hours 1.5 hours
- Johannesburg Victoria Falls (Zimbabwe) 1 320 km 17.5 hours 1.5 hours
- Johannesburg Durban (KZN) 570km 5.5 hours 1 hour
Please let us know which safari destinations you're interested in and we'll gladly assist you with the best ways to get there. We also arrange car hire and road transfers and can advise on the best flights, where to book, and so on.
Yes, most safari lodges have mosquito nets hanging over the beds. There are some that don't, but they usually have mosquito screens on the windows and doors. This is also the case in the standard bungalows in South Africa's national parks, like the Kruger National Park. Electric ceiling fans are also great for keeping mosquitos away, and most lodges and camps have these. Most safari lodges in mosquito-affected areas throughout Southern and East Africa do supply mosquito nets, as well as mosquito sprays and repellents. The tented camps also have mosquito screens on the sides and doors.