South African Safaris
|When to go|
|When to go|
|When to go|
Kruger National Park
|When to go|
|When to go|
South Africa has been referred to as a ‘World In One Country’ and a ‘Rainbow Nation’. It is huge and offers some of the most awesome and diverse scenery, wonderful wildlife and the richest mixes of culture found in Africa today – we recommend visiting more than once!
Located at the southern tip of Africa, South Africa is divided into nine provinces. The country has a huge coastline running from Mozambique in the east all the way around to Namibia in the west – some 2,798 kilometres which borders two oceans - the South Atlantic and the Indian Ocean. To the north of the country lie Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe; to the east are Mozambique and Swaziland.
The population of South Africa is one of the most complex and diverse in the world. Habitats in South Africa are just as diverse. The interior is a vast, flat, and sparsely populated scrubland, the Karoo, which is drier towards the northwest along the Namib Desert. The eastern coastline is lush and well-watered and enjoys a climate similar to the tropics.
To the north of Johannesburg, the altitude drops beyond the escarpment of the Highveld, and turns into the lower lying Bushveld, an area of mixed dry forest and an abundance of wildlife. East of the Highveld, beyond the eastern escarpment, the Lowveld stretches towards the Indian Ocean and has higher temperatures.
The climate in South Africa is again diverse with most regions have hot, humid summers with frequent late afternoon thunderstorms from November to March and a cooler, dry and sunny winter season lasting from June to September. The dry season lasts from April and extends all the way to October with the coldest days in July–August.
In winter, also due to altitude, temperatures drop to freezing point and in some places even lower. During winter it is warmest in the coastal regions especially on the eastern Indian Ocean coast. Rain is to be expected mainly in the summer months with the exception of the Western Cape which is a winter-rain area that enjoys a Mediterranean climate.
South Africa has a huge and varied amount of public and private wildlife regions and game parks in many different habitats including desert, mountain, coastal and forest. It is ranked sixth out of the world's seventeen megadiverse countries with more than 20,000 different plants, or about 10% of all the known species of plants on the planet, making it particularly rich in plant biodiversity.
Some 297 species of mammal have been recorded in South Africa of which 30 species are considered threatened. The Kruger National Park in the east of the country is one of the largest national parks in the world and supports a wide range of ungulates including Burchell's zebra, impala, greater kudu, blue wildebeest, waterbuck, warthog, Cape buffalo, giraffe and hippopotamus. There are also black and white rhinoceroses, African elephant, African wild dog, cheetah, leopard, lion and spotted hyena.
Elsewhere in the country there are gemsbok, alternatively known as oryx, nyala, bushbuck and springbok. There are seventeen species of golden mole, a family limited to southern Africa, five species of elephant shrew, many species of shrews, southern African hedgehog, aardvark, various hares and the critically endangered riverine rabbit. There are numerous species of bat and a wide variety of species of rodent.
South Africa has many primates including the Mohol bush baby, brown greater galago, Sykes' monkey, vervet monkey and chacma baboon. Smaller carnivores include mongooses, genets, the caracal, serval, African wildcat, Cape fox, side-striped jackal, black-backed jackal, meerkats, and African clawless otter. Brown fur seal and other species of seal can be found in the sea and numerous species of whale and dolphin visit the coast.
With its diverse habitat types, South Africa has an enormous array of residential and migratory species of birds. Some 849 species of bird have been recorded in South Africa and its offshore islands - of these around 30 are endemic. The endemic species include southern black and blue korhaans, grey-winged francolin, Knysna turaco, Hottentot buttonquail, southern bald ibis, forest buzzard, ground woodpecker, Cape and Drakensberg rockjumpers, Cape, eastern and Agulhas long-billed larks, red, Karoo, Rudd's and Botha's larks and Cape bulbul.
Migratory species include the greater striped swallow, white-rumped swift, white stork, African pygmy kingfisher, yellow-billed kite and the European bee-eater.
South Africa has a rich diversity of reptiles and amphibians with 447 species of reptile recorded in the country and 132 species of amphibian. Endemic species include angulate and geometric tortoise, Zululand dwarf chameleon, Transkei dwarf chameleon, the dwarf Karoo girdled lizard, the Soutpansberg rock lizard, and the yellow-bellied house snake.
There are various chameleons, lizards, geckos and skinks, and snakes include cape cobra, black and eastern green mamba, puff adder and mole snake. The diverse habitats reflect in the amphibian diversity and include the endemic western leopard toad , arum frog, bronze caco, spotted snout-burrower and the critically endangered Rose's ghost frog.
Combine South Africa's fantastic wildlife with a journey along the Garden Route or perhaps indulge in a little wine tasting in Stellenbosch or Franschhoek. Hire a car, travel by train or fly to create your perfect itinerary.
Enjoy whale watching along the Garden Route in Hermanus and along the southern Cape Coast. The southern right whale can be viewed from June to November and the peak calving season is from July to August.
Because of its long coastline South Africa offers a diverse array of diving opportunities but is better known for sharks and other large marine life. Underwater habitats can range from tropical coral reefs in the north of KwaZulu-Natal to cool temperate rocky reefs on the West Coast. The annual sardine run up the east coast is justly famous and there are a large number of wrecks along the coast providing good dive sites. South African diving is generally more physically challenging than the more popular destinations. It may involve cold water, surf launches, big swell or strong currents. Shark cage diving can be arranged in the Cape Town areas.
For families there is the Garden Route and there are the malaria free reserves and parks along the Eastern Cape or Madikwe, which can easily be combined with time on the beach in stunning locations. Horse riding safaris can be arranged in a number of locations and habitats.
Cape Town is a fascinating city with lots to do and see in the immediate area – take the cable car or walk up Table Mountain, stroll around the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, visit the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, enjoy the Clifton and Camps Bay Beaches with their coffee shops and restaurants, catch up on a little history by visiting Robben Island, take the plunge and indulge in some great white shark cage diving or snorkel with seals, choose to visit one or two of many museums or walk around the brightly coloured houses in Bo-Kaap.
A little further afield you can visit the penguins at Boulders Beach, drive to the Cape of Good Hope, watch whales in Hermanus, sample superb wines in and around Stellenbosch or experience one of the townships in and around Cape Town on a tour.
Hire a car and visit the Northern Cape – there is so much to see and experience in this very unspoilt area of South Africa including wild beaches, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Goegap Nature Reserve, Namaqualand, the Big Hole and the Kimberley Mine Museum in Kimberley, Augrabies Falls National Park, Quiver Tree Forest and the superb wine houses in and around Orange River. You can leave your car and fly back to Johannesburg from Upington.
You can easily combine the fabulous wildlife of the Kruger area with Mozambique and the Bazaruto Archipelago for a superb 'bush and beach' itinerary enjoying stunning, unspoilt beaches, azure seas and fabulous diving.
Or visit KwaZulu Natal with its historical Zulu Battlefields, superb and unique game reserves and miles of coastal areas with the freedom of your own car.
The Zulu Battlefields are within some of the most picturesque landscapes in the country, with sweeping hills and white rock formations sprinkled on the rolling plains and valleys in the north and central KwaZulu Natal. You can visit multiple sites of historical battles which took place and helped shape the history of South Africa.
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park is situated in the northern region of KwaZulu-Natal with the nearest international airport being Durban and the closest regional airport at Richards Bay. Visit St Lucia, Sodwana Bay, Lake Sibaya, the Coastal Forest and Kosi Bay and enjoy a huge amount of diverse activities from bird watching to deep sea fishing, cruises, game drives and walking to diving, and horse riding to turtle and whale watching.
Drive further into southern Mozambique where you will find miles of beautiful beaches – access is via Kosi Bay border and Ponta D'Ouro, Ponta Mamoli and Santa Maria Peninsula are all within easy reach.
So - where to start? We have recently travelled to South Africa and have visited the Kruger National Park, Sabi Sands and many of the private reserves in the area. We have travelled to malaria free Madikwe National Park and extensively in KwaZulu Natal, the Eastern Cape and the Northern Cape. All our itineraries are tailor made to suit your exact requirements, interests and budget.
We would be delighted to assist you with your adventure - call us for ideas and inspiration on 01386 830264 or email [email protected]