How to Choose a South African Safari (That’s Right for You)

Long before the days of bucket lists, Africa was scorched into my mind as a must visit destination. The vastly untouched beauty makes it one of the last places left to experience authentic culture, landscape and freedom. To stand on the Great African Plains with nothing but adventure, animals and nature in every direction is a feeling of freedom that has been calling out to my heart since I was a child.

The Three A’s; Animals, Activities & Areas

With the wonders of the world’s 2nd largest continent at your feet, you couldn’t ask for more options so choosing the right African Safari for you comes down to choosing what type of explorer you want to be.

First things first, you need to consider the Three A’s; Animals, Activities and Areas. Each area offers unique sightings and opportunities but also have their list of limitations so if your keen on spotting a specific animal you’ll need to know where and when they can be found. If African geography isn’t your strong point start with checking out these areas;

Kruger National Park

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  • Best Time to Visit: May – October (Dry Season / Winter)

If you’re a first-time safari traveller, like me, you’ll undoubtedly want to spot The Big Five; lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo – and for this, there’s no better place than Africa’s largest and best known national park.

World-renowned and home to the Big Five, Kruger National Park is the perfect area for your safari adventures and with over 7 thousand square miles of territory, approximately the size of Wales, you’re guaranteed to spot something spectacular before you leave.

Thanks to the age of the internet there are countless touring options for every budget and preference; driving tours, walking tours or even a helicopter tour if you wanted to splash out for a unique and memorable view. To make the most out of your trip I’d suggest arranging both a day and a night game drive, whilst the warm winter sun may give the best chance to watch the elephants resting around the waterhole, nightfall is when the real hunt begins. The night drives typically leave before sunset and return a few hours after dark, heading out you’ll watch the savannah fade into an orangey haze before the animals gather under the moonlight to hunt.

Eastern Cape

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  • Best Time to Visit: All Year (temperatures are warmer during summer)

If you’re trip isn’t solely focused on the safari then staying on the Eastern Cape may be more suited – Port Elizabeth is surrounded with smaller family-friendly game reserves whilst the quaint city, also a major port, offers other options for animal tracking; whale watching, penguin rescue or shark diving for those people with a much stronger stomach than me.

With the start of the coastal Garden Route only a few hours drive away the Eastern Cape is an ideal location for any traveller looking to blend their safari adventures and natural beauty into one trip, all with the added bonus of travelling in a non-malaria area!

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