The Insider’s Guide to a South African Safari

There’s nothing quite like a safari. To be deep in the Bushveld, far away from the city, from your job, and from those emails which seem to gather and congregate in your inbox. There’s nothing quite like the thrill of opening your eyes to untouched nature, where wild animals of all shapes, colors, and sizes roam free. Given how popular it is to spend your vacation in a wildlife park while going on safari trails, it can be pretty overwhelming when deciding exactly which country and wildlife park to go to! While Africa as a whole has a lot to offer, South Africa has become a venerable hub of safari adventure for travelers from all over the world. Here you’ll find a list of the ultimate Safari destinations that the Rainbow Nation has to offer!

1) The Garden Route – Cape Town

While many people may associate Cape Town with surfing and wine tasting (and who can blame them, right?), the so-called Mother City has much more to offer than you might think. Experience both beach and Bushveld as you safari in the Eastern Cape. Many travelers begin their Garden Route safari in the city of Port Elizabeth, ending off the adventure in Cape Town. Surrounded by fantastic beaches and lush forests, South African game reserves are dotted all along the wine route stretch, always awaiting the next group of eager travelers!

2) Karoo National Park

You would be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t heard of the Karoo. This incredible safari destination offers a wealth of continuous game drives, 4×4 eco trails, and even an incredible 400m long fossil trail which depicts the history of the area, featuring genuine ancient fossils you can’t help but be amazed by. Experience the wildlife of today andyesterday at this iconic safari location!

3) Thanda Safari Private Game Reserve, KwaZulu Natal

Featuring a luxury private game reserve, as well as a safari game lodge, Thanda Safari offers a truly authentic South African wildlife experience. Bursting with the sights and sounds of Africa, take your pick between the sunrise or sunset drives with both early morning and late afternoon safari game drives on offer. With expert guides to reveal nature’s wonders, 14,000 hectares to explore, the Big Five (Rhino, Leopard, Lion, Buffalo, and Elephant) and even fine dining and a luxury spa experience all waiting for you, there’s no reason to skip this incredible destination!

4) The Kruger National Park

No safari list would be complete without the Kruger Park. One of the largest game reserves in Africa, stretching over two provinces (Limpopo and Mpumalanga), and South Africa’s very first national park ever, the Kruger has made quite a name for itself. Featuring the Big five and many different styles of accommodation — from camping to hotels — the Kruger park has something for everyone.

5) The Mokala National Park, Northern Cape

Nestled in the hills between Kimberly and Cape Town, the Mokala National Park boasts large open plains ready to be explored through morning, day, sunset, and night drives. Featuring a breakfast underneath a 400 year old camel thorn tree, the Mokala National Park offers a unique and luxurious twist to the intense thrills of a classic Bushveld safari.

6) The Namaqua National Park

An area occupied by the hunter-gatherer San people for thousands of years, this safari features a taste of history alongside the incredibly diverse range of life forms to be seen due to the area’s intense climate. Some of the activities on offer include walking trails and mountain biking adventures through the nature, along with traditional expert-guided safaris. Visit during August and September when the dry valleys of Namaqualand transform into a lush ocean of wildflowers. There’s really no question as to why this National Park draws in visitors from all over the world – but do come and see why for yourself.

Getting away from it all

Civilization is great. We can get food delivered to our doors at the push of a button, we have apps that let us meet new people without having to take a shower, we even have private chauffeurs on demand (or on app, I should say) waiting to take us from A to B. But, occasionally, we do need to get away from it all. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that there really is a very wild world outside of our homes – a world of survival, of predators and prey, of both incredible and majestic beauty; a world of the wild. Sometimes all we really need is to breathe in the clean air of the Bushveld, and to bear witness to the miracle of nature and all that it has to offer us – mosquito bites included!