Everyone knows South Africa is one of the best Safari destinations in the world. Travelers who want to be in awe of the diversity of wildlife should definitely book tours to South Africa and go on a unique experience that entails getting up close and personal with some of the world’s most impressive animals in their natural habitat. Apart from that, they can also relax in luxury lodges nestled deep in the African bush and learn about the fascinating African culture.
Experiencing Africa’s rich cultural traditions is one of the things that make a safari expedition interesting. Tourists would surely enjoy interacting with the vibrant and colorful tribe of Maasai and the beaming children waving as they pass through villages. And by going on these safari trips, tourists are helping the local communities by creating job opportunities for the locals to make income.
Not only that, the earnings from these tours also support wildlife rehabilitation and conservation. This is because when you go on a safari trip in a National Park, you need to pay a park fee and conservation levy, all of which goes towards the development and protection of the wildlife. If these are enough reasons to spark your interest in going on a safari expedition in South Africa, here are the best places to live your safari dreams:
If you are interested in seeing the big five—lions, leopards, buffalos, rhinos, and elephants, then the Pafuri Walking Safaris in Kruger National Park is your best bet. Here, you will traverse diverse landscapes on foot to encounter South Africa’s abundant wildlife up close while getting a glimpse of the mystical baobab trees and humongous fever tree forest. Kruger National Park is also known for having over 350 bird species, including the elusive wattle-eyed flycatcher, grey-headed parrot, and Pel’s fishing owl. Upon passing by the Luvuvhu River, you can relax for a bit and dip your feet in its cool and clean waters.
The walking safaris here usually last for two to four days, so you would have to spend the night at a camp in the bush. But you don’t have to worry because there are proper beds that will be provided for you. You will also be guided by experienced armed game rangers as you traverse the Mopane woodlands, Fever Tree forests, and Acacia thickets, so you won’t have to fear for your safety on this expedition.
If you are after an accessible and affordable safari experience, then head over to the eastern province of South Africa, where you’ll find the Addo Elephant Park. This park is the third largest and among the most renowned national parks in South Africa. This is because it is among the country’s most successful conservation stories. Addo Elephant Park started in 1931 with only 11 elephants, but now, it is home to more than 600 elephants. There are plenty of other animals here as well, such as cape buffaloes, lions, spotted hyenas, various antelope species, and endangered species like the black rhinoceros (Diceros bicornis michaeli) and the rare flightless dung beetles.
Pumba is among the private game reserves in South Africa. Nestled in the Eastern Cape, this park is about an hour away from Port Elizabeth and a stone’s throw away from Grahamstown.
Private game reserves like Pumba are different from government-run national parks in the sense that these are located in private lands with fenced boundaries and smaller land areas, so there are fewer animals brought into these reserves. However, since there is less ground to cover, you are more likely to have a close encounter with animals each step of the way.
What’s fascinating about Pumba is that it is home to the rare white lions that are bred in captivity. Worldwide, there are less than 13 white lions in the wild, but you can see them up close when you come to Pumba! In terms of the actual safari expedition, all drives are guided, and the accommodations they provide are typically only high-end, luxurious lodges.
The South Luangwa National Park is Zambia’s famous national park that is loved by tourists and locals alike for its diverse scenery and wildlife. However, because it is nestled deep within the northwest of the country, it is quite hard to get to this park. It is a long drive from Lusaka, or you may even have to ride a small charter plane to get there. For such reasons, South Luangwa is often considered an off-the-beaten-track by tourists, and not a lot of visitors come here. But if you like a less crowded safari adventure, you’ll enjoy the solitude that South Luangwa National Park provides.
The best way to appreciate the wildlife in their natural habitat is via a walking safari. You’ll be traversing the fields with an armed expert guide, so there is nothing to fear when it comes to safety. This thrilling adventure will allow you to get up close and personal with the animals as you walk through the bush.
As for lodging in South Luangwa, you can opt for Chikunto Safari Lodge if you want luxurious accommodation, but if you want a more affordable option, you can choose the Msandile River Lodge.
Hwange National Park is among the best places in Southern Africa to go on safari. It is Zimbabwe’s largest national park, with a land area of 1.4 million hectares or 3.4 million acres of sandy soils, grasslands, acacia woodlands, and teak forests. It also offers exceptional game viewing, given the fact that it has among the densest concentrations of wildlife in Africa. Here, you’ll see all assortments of animals in their natural habitat, like elephants, buffalo, lions, cheetahs, and even the elusive African wild dogs.
One thing to note, however, is that there has been a decline in commercial flights to Zimbabwe due to decades of political struggle and conflict. So, if you are planning to visit Hwange, make sure you plan well in advance. You can catch a flight in the Victoria Falls Airport by arranging a 1-hour transfer to Hwange. As for the available accommodations, the Hwange Safari Lodge is an excellent choice for those who want an affordable stay. But if you wish to spend the night at a luxurious accommodation, head over to the Elephants Eye Hotel.