Guide to Safaris in South Africa

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South Africa is one of the most fantastic safari destinations on Earth. Its stunning and expansive savanna offers a glimpse into a wild environment with a higher chance to see the Big 5 - lions, leopards, rhinos, buffalos, and elephants. Here's your guide to safaris in South Africa.

1. Planning Accommodation

The accommodation type is one of the most important considerations when going on a safari to South Africa. You will now find numerous accommodation options, although safari lodges are still the most popular. These are rooms made from wood or stone and are typically smaller than regular hotel rooms, yet they come equipped with modern facilities for a comfortable stay.

Tented safari camps are larger than lodges. These spacious canvas tents have proper beds and modern furniture. Aside from lodges and safari camps, other accommodation options to consider are mobile tented camps and private houses.

2. Types of Safaris

When people think of a safari to South Africa, they immediately assume that it's about venturing out in a traditional vehicle safari for a game drive. But there are many other types of safari to enjoy in South Africa. You can also go on balloon drives, walking safaris, cycling safaris, and many other options.

Balloon drives are riding a hot air balloon to explore South Africa's parks and admire the wildlife from above. Meanwhile, a walking safari is the type of safari which requires you to walk instead of riding a vehicle. If you prefer to ride a bike, you can go on cycling safaris.

3. Choosing your Reserve

Another important thing to consider when planning your safari to South Africa is the safari destination. While Kruger is the most popular, there are many other options. You can go to Pilanesberg National Park, which is much closer to Johannesburg and is especially good for viewing rhinos and elephants. Aside from Kruger and Pilanesberg, the other excellent safari destinations in South Africa are Sabi Sands Game Reserve and Kwazulu-Natal.

4. Best Time to Go on Safari

As a vast country with varied climates, the best time to go on safari in South Africa will vary. However, May to October is the best time for game viewing in the country's top safari destinations, such as Kruger and Pilanesberg. Since it's the dry season, the animals would crowd around water sources, making it easy to find them. Also, the thinned-out vegetation makes spotting them much easier.

5. Packing Essentials

The type of clothes you wear on your South African safari can affect the overall experience. You should wear something comfortable, such as lightweight clothing in khaki, beige, green, or neutral colours.

Don't forget to bring a jacket or coat since game drives usually start early in the morning, which can be cold, especially in winter. Since the temperature will warm up throughout the day, it is a good idea to dress in layers. Anti-insect sleepwear to help keep bugs away will come in very handy and can double up as a base layer during the day. If your safari includes visiting the beach, don't forget to bring beachwear. As for footwear, wear a pair of comfortable sneakers or walking shoes.