Welcome to the gateway of Africa! South Africa will capture your heart with its sensational scenery, exotic wildlife, colourful culture, and all its natural splendour (which is boundless!). A country like no other, it will inspire even the most seasoned traveller.
Why Are South African Safaris a Must for Every Traveller?
Welcome to the gateway of Africa.
If there’s one certainty about a visit to South Africa, it will capture your heart with its sensational scenery, exotic wildlife, colourful culture, and natural splendour, which is seemingly boundless. It is a country like no other that will leave even the most seasoned traveller lost for words and desperate for more.
South Africa: A Mosaic of Landscapes and Cultures
As the name suggests, South Africa is located at the southern end of the world’s most epic continent, Africa.
Filled with unique landscapes, awe-inspiring scenery, and massive biodiversity across numerous national parks, it’s easy to understand how it’s become such a popular tourist destination – with 18 million visitors to this spectacular country in 2021, many searching for the perfect African safari destination.
The Rainbow Nation’s Diverse Offerings
This colourful country is often referred to as the “Rainbow Nation” because of the diversity of its people and what it has to offer, including wildlife that rivals any country on the planet, breathtaking coastlines, a fascinating and chequered history, and a variety of cultures that have fused to create modern South Africa.
A Blend of the Wild and the Modern
South Africa perfectly melds the old with the new. Its wild and remote areas, renowned for exceptional game viewing, contrast modern cities boasting world-class facilities and a rich history. SAFARI FRANK, aligning with its “we’re for wild” philosophy, focuses on select areas that genuinely embody the wild spirit of Africa.
Exploring the Southern Cape and Cape Town
For those intrigued by the legendary Southern Cape, there are tours of Cape Town and its surroundings. This region offers a different yet equally compelling aspect of South Africa, blending urban excitement with natural wonders.
What Can You Expect from a South African Safari Adventure?
Scenic beauty, magnificent outdoors, wild animals, sunny climate, cultural diversity, and excellent value for money – no wonder South African safaris are among the fastest-growing travel destinations.
South Africa has an overwhelming amount to offer, and choosing where to go can be a real challenge. Since you have travelled far to see Africa, you must experience the ‘Real Africa’.
We have carefully selected just two wildlife areas that offer value for money and truly showcase the offerings of this beautiful continent.
These are the private reserves in the central Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) and the Makuleke Concession inside the northern Kruger Park. Both are different but are equally beautiful and memorable in their own ways – guaranteed to provide that spectacular safari experience you’ve always dreamt of.
Greater Kruger National Park
It is one of the world’s great national parks for South African safari tours. At 19,485 km2, it is also one of the largest. It provides fantastic opportunities to view the Big Five in the wild, all without any fences.
The Greater Kruger National Park is home to 12,000 elephants, 27,000 African Buffalo, and 1,000 leopards, among countless other species and varieties, including the endangered black rhino. It is also the most popular park in South Africa and draws roughly 1 million visitors annually.
Kruger National Park has 21 rest camps, 2 private lodge concessions, and 15 private safari lodges, but because of the vast spaces – the GKNP is only slightly smaller than the whole of Belgium – you rarely feel crowded.
The Makuleke Conservancy, smaller and more intimate but still providing breathtaking experiences, is considered the jewel of Northern Kruger.
Located between the Limpopo and the Luvuvhu Rivers, Makuleke is an elephants’ favourite winter grazing ground. It also has abundant populations of leopards, hippos, and crocodiles, which patrol the rivers with devastating effects.
But we can’t talk about Makuleke without talking about birds. Bird watching anywhere in Makuleke is superb, with local specialities including the Pel’s fishing owl, black-throated wattle-eye, orange-winged pytilia, African crowned eagle and racket-tailed roller. If you love birds, you’ve come to the right place.
What hasn’t already been said about South Africa’s titan Cape Town?
Cape Town is everything you imagine it to be – and then more. From the iconic Table Mountain to the exquisite beaches and the vibrantly coloured downtown to the sombre and yet profoundly moving Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years in prison, Cape Town’s highlights are too numerous to note everything here.
Easily one of the world’s great cities, Cape Town offers travellers something of everything and delivers in style. South Africa shouldn’t be visited without a visit to this pearl at the bottom of the world – Cape Town is really that good.
The Garden Route
If you’ve had your fill of national parks and when Cape Town’s alluring sights have all been well and truly ticked off, one of the world’s great road trips awaits.
The Garden Route winds 200 km from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth along a stretch of coastline that constantly makes you want to pick your jaw up from the floor. It is an unforgettable experience and the perfect counterpoint to your safari trip and city stay.
What Makes South Africa a Unique Safari Destination?
South Africa stands out as a safari destination for a multitude of reasons, each contributing to a rich, diverse, and unparalleled experience:
The nation is home to a vibrant population of 56 million, each adding to the country’s dynamic cultural tapestry.
With a territory of over 1,219,090 square kilometres, South Africa’s landscapes range from rolling plains to towering mountains, offering a variety of natural habitats for wildlife.
Linguistic Melting Pot
With 11 official languages, most indigenous, South Africa’s linguistic diversity is a testament to its rich cultural heritage.
Boasting a 3000 km coastline where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, the country offers stunning seaside vistas and marine life encounters.
Unique Political Structure
Uniquely, South Africa has three capital cities: Cape Town (legislative), Pretoria (administrative), and Bloemfontein (judicial), each with its own historical and cultural significance.
Recognised as one of the seventeen ‘megadiverse’ countries globally, South Africa ranks one of the world’s biologically wealthiest nations, hosting an extraordinary variety of flora and fauna.
Where Are the Best Safari Spots in South Africa?
“With scenic beauty, magnificent outdoors, wild animals, sunny climate, cultural diversity, and value for money, it is no wonder South Africa is one of the fastest-growing travel destinations.”
The Diverse Charm of Greater Kruger National Park
South Africa offers a plethora of breathtaking destinations. Still, for the quintessential safari experience, the central Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) is unparalleled.
Here, visitors can witness the majesty of the Big Five roaming freely in vast, unenclosed landscapes. This area epitomises the wild heart of Africa with its rich biodiversity and untouched wilderness.
The Unique Allure of Makuleke Concession
Complementing the GKNP’s grandeur is the Makuleke Concession in northern Kruger Park. This region stands out for its stunning landscapes and an abundance of birds.
Makuleke is an ornithologist’s paradise, offering a serene and intimate encounter with nature and its feathered inhabitants. It’s a place where the beauty of Africa is revealed in a more subtle yet equally mesmerising manner.
Cape Town: A Cultural Finale to Your Safari
Beyond the wilds, South Africa’s urban charm is best exemplified by Cape Town. With its iconic Table Mountain, rich history, and stunning vineyards like those in Stellenbosch, this vibrant city offers a perfect cultural conclusion to any South African safari adventure.
Cape Town is not just a city – it’s an experience that encapsulates the spirit of South Africa.
What Sets South African Safaris Apart from Other Destinations?
- South Africa boasts a highly developed infrastructure, ensuring comfortable and accessible safari experiences.
- Known as the gateway to Africa, South Africa offers a blend of diverse African cultures and backgrounds.
- South African safaris provide exceptional value, combining luxury with affordability.
- Be prepared for the unexpected with world-class wildlife sightings, including the iconic Big Five: lions, elephants, buffalo, leopards, and rhinos.
- It is ideal for amateur and seasoned bird watchers with various rare and endemic species.
- Offers stunning landscapes and wildlife, making it a haven for photographers.
- Experience the contrast between bustling, modern cities and remote, untamed wilderness.
- Engage with South Africa’s rich cultural heritage and history, adding depth to your safari experience.
- From bush walks to hot-air balloon rides, South Africa offers adventures for every adrenaline level.
- The unique allure of Cape Town, with its iconic Table Mountain and vibrant city life, adds a special touch to the safari experience.
- Explore the stunning coastline where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet.
- Savour South African cuisine and world-renowned wines, particularly in regions like Stellenbosch and Franschhoek.
- Witness firsthand the wildlife and environmental conservation efforts, making your safari not just a trip but a contribution to sustainability.
The Cape, Garden Route & Coastline
Safaris in South Africa
When is the Ideal Time to Go on a South African Safari?
South Africa is generally mild throughout the year, with many clear, sunny days. Overall, it is a dry country with an average annual rainfall of around 500mm. Days are warm to hot, but nights can be pretty cold. Deciding when to go will depend on personal interests and preferences.
Wet Season (November to April)
Summer is the peak season in South Africa, and for good reason, as the country is green and full of new life. It’s an excellent time to visit for photographers, with great light, colour, and vivid subject matter providing all the ingredients for those to die for safari photos.
It is also the time to go if you are interested in birds, as all the migrants are present, sporting beautiful breeding plumage and distinctive calls.
Summer temperatures can soar to 40°C in the African bush, bringing frequent and heavy thunderstorms. If you plan to travel during this time, book well in advance as it can get busy – and don’t forget your waterproofs.
Dry season (May to October)
Winter is the low season and, therefore, a great time to get a better deal and avoid the crowds. It’s also the time for optimal game viewing, as there is less water around, which naturally concentrates the animals around established waterholes.
Winter days are beautiful and warm. However, nights and early mornings can be frigid, making game drives in an open safari vehicle an authentic experience.
Why Should South Africa Be Your Next Safari Destination?
There is nowhere else on the planet quite like South Africa. A country that effortlessly manages to blend everything you’re looking for in a holiday.
A South African safari destination is unquestionably one of the best places on the continent to view the big five, but that’s just the start.
Biodiversity Beyond Comparison
With an astonishing array of birds on show, the odd white rhino (one of only 18,000 left in the world), and one of the highest numbers of elephants anywhere in Africa, a visit to one of South Africa’s many national parks or game reserves certainly won’t disappoint.
But as we’ve said, that’s just the tip of the iceberg about what’s on offer.
Cape Town & The Garden Route
With the regal Cape Town still delighting with its easy-going charm and the Garden Route maintaining its mantle as one of the world’s most famous drives, it’s not hard to see why tourist numbers are climbing year in and year out.
If possible, avoid the Easter break and school holidays, as more travellers are around and prices inflate. A great time to visit South Africa is in between seasons (April/May and September/October). The spring and autumn weather is beautiful and still optimal for wildlife viewing.
Expect to encounter the Big Five, a diverse bird population, and other endemic species within South Africa’s expansive parks and private reserves, ensuring a rich and varied wildlife viewing experience.
SAFARI FRANK prioritises safety by selecting trusted operators, providing experienced guides, and adhering to strict safety protocols on all tours, including comprehensive pre-safari briefings.
Yes, many South African safaris offer opportunities to engage in conservation activities, contributing to wildlife and habitat preservation efforts, and often include educational components about the local ecosystem.
Accommodations range from luxury lodges to tented camps, offering a blend of rustic charm and modern comforts, all integrated into the natural surroundings, with options to suit various preferences and budgets.
LET THE ADVENTURE BEGIN!
Contact SAFARI FRANK and let us show you how each Safari Component can be linked up to create your ultimate safari. Let us help you get started on the journey of a lifetime.