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About South Africa

South Africa is a massive country that is rich in natural beauty, a wide diversity of wild animals, bustling cities, highly rated gastronomic cuisine and a varied series of landscapes. And, of course, there is the proud legacy of Nelson Mandela. South Africa is home to three distinct climatic zones. The entire central plateau and eastern parts experience warm to hot summers with rainfall from October to March. Winters (May to August) are cool to warm  with chilly nights. Cape Town and environs enjoy dry, warm summers and cool, wet winters; a Mediterranean climate not unlike California. The coastal region farther east, extending along the coast to East London, experiences rainfall throughout the year.

More than 10% of the world’s plants and flowers occur in South Africa, along with Africa’s great land mammals. Along the country’s coastline are whales, dolphins, sharks, penguins and a number of other marine species. Birdlife is outstanding throughout South Africa. The country hosts about 800 species of bird, a good number of them endemic to South Africa..

South Africa has an excellent network of protected areas. With more than 700 publicly owned reserves, including 19 national parks, these constitute about 6% of the land surface. In addition, there are about 200 private game and wildlife reserves. Kruger National Park is the largest, and probably most famous, park. The park itself and a significant number of private reserves offer some of the most premier accommodation and food in the country. The Big Five and most other animals have become habituated to game viewing vehicles, providing spectacular sightings.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve and Madikwe Game Reserve are located in the country’s arid north. Both are among the best in South Africa to see African Wild Dogs, while habituated meerkats can be visited in Tswalu. For those looking to visit South Africa during the summer, the private reserves of the Western and Eastern Cape provinces (including Kwandwe and Grootbos) are best visited then. Located between Kruger and the Indian Ocean in KwaZulu-Natal province, Phinda Private Game Reserve contains a diversity of habitats that are home to the Big Five, cheetah, and several rare species.

Johannesburg is the country’s commercial capital, as well as the main entry point for international travelers. Cape Town, considered by many to be in one of the world’s most beautiful settings, is the country’s cultural capital. There’s always something interesting going on, particularly in its fine dining scene. Recommended activities include day excursions to the Cape Peninsula or Cape Winelands, taking the cableway up to Table Mountain, and a tour of Robben Island.

Safaris in South Africa

Map

Best Time To Go

Visit our in depth information page on the best times to go based on game viewing, with ratings on each park and preserve, as well as which wildilfe is best seen where, the activities and the average monthly temperatures that are optimum for each country.

Excellent Good Fair Poor Closed

South Africa

Kruger N.P.
Pvt. Reserves near & within Kruger
Kwande/Shamwari
Phinda
Tswalu Kalahari

Hear from Our Travelers

It’s all about our clients, always has been!

We had the most fantastic trip ever!!!!!

Wolwedans Dune Lodge – Our private mountain suite was fantastic, a huge tent consisting of a living room, kitchen, dining room and bedroom. Our chef Illy and butler Hendricks were fantastic. Illy would make the most wonderful meals and...

Barbara & Jay Berkowitz

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Everything worked out perfectly: your arrangements were excellent. Kwandwe was great – saw a ton of game; herds of elephants, lions, cheetahs, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, a variety of buck. Terrific overall; will definitely use you...

Bobbie & Roy First

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What made this so special was not just spotting the animals but watching them live naturally.

A BIG thanks to our Tanzanian guide, Jabshir. You were right, he is fantastic.  He was extremely knowledgeable and told us many interesting facts about the animals, birds and trees.  He knew where to take us so that we were able to see...

Debra & George Bergeris

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Thank you for helping me put together a trip of a lifetime.

Sara and I got home from our South African adventure on Saturday morning and I don’t know where to begin except to say, I would not have changed one moment of our trip. Cape Town was stupendous, especially for new years and our...

Diane Plowman

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South Africa's Top Wildlife Stories

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Clients Trip Reports Southern Africa: Aug – Sep 2022

Safari to Zambia and Zimbabwe with Cape Town During my time at Tafika Camp (South Luangwa, Zambia), we went out on our am game drive and our guide, Mukupu, heard hyenas whooping in the distance. He drove through the woods following the...

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As seen in...