Parks and Places

South Africa - The Rainbow Nation, has an excellent diversity of wildlife, plantlife, scenery and historical sites which linked together give you a very complete safari experience in Africa. It also has a number of International Sporting, Cultural and Musical events that can be included in your holiday plans.

Kruger and Private Reserves

Kruger is one of the very big parks of Africa and South Africa’s most popular safari destination with a very good chance of seeing the Big 5. It has a big reputation for excellent game viewing which is well deserved however there is a very big difference in the kind of safari experience that you would have in the private reserves that are along the Western boundary of the park versus the public facilities inside the park. The main difference is the volume of vehicle traffic that is in the main park and you really feel this when there is a sighting like lions or leopard which turn in to car parks very quickly. In the private reserves there are very limited numbers of safari vehicles so you will get a superior safari experience and still with excellent sightings. As the park is very long from North to South spending time here in the North and the South will feel like you are in very different parks so it is a great one park safari destination.

Johannesburg and Environs

people arriving into South Africa will arrive at the OR Tambo International airport. Johannesburg is a large modern African city and much of it would seem quite familiar with its modern facilities and infrastructure, motorways, underground trains, shopping malls, factories etc. It has a huge range of accommodation options from very high end boutique hotels right through to small basic Bed and Breakfasts and at the airport there is a number of airport hotels that are easily accessed with courtesy buses or a short walk. The main attractions that visitors here with a few days like to go to is the street in Soweto where Nelson Mandela lived and on the same street lived Bishop Desmond Tutu – both Nobel Peace Prize winners. You could also visit the Apartheid museum nearby as well. Not far North from Johannesburg is the incredible Cradle of Mankind – or Sterkfontein Caves where there have been some incredible discoveries on the human evolution story and there is probably one of the finest interpretive museums on the topic for you to explore here and well worth going to.

Cape Town and Environs

Cape Town is a beautiful city and what South Africans refer to as “The Mother City” It was established in 1652 by the Dutch explorer Jan Van Reibeck as a Dutch trading outpost, however it was first recorded in Europe by the Portuguese explorer Vasco Da Gama in the late 15th century. Until the establishment of the Suez Canal this is where all trading ships coming from Asia or Europe would have to pass and stop off for resupplies and this history and settlement over the centuries makes it a very historical and multicultural city. As a rocky peninsula sticking out into the Atlantic Ocean you have a number of small bays and valleys apart from the main harbour and city area – this gives you the feeling that if you are away from the main city that you are staying in a small village or town and each of them have their own particular character. There is a tremendous variety of activities, shopping and restaurants to entertain you here in Cape Town. The key activities for Cape Town is firstly going up on top of Table Mountain either by walking or cable car. Cape Town has some of the best wineries and a day trip of tasting and touring is a great day out. Visiting the prison on Robben Island made famous by its many Anti Apartheid activists like Nelson Mandela that were imprisoned here does require a boat trip to reach it. Whale and Shark watching from June through to October is excellent and for some shark cage diving is a very popular activity. The Cape also has some unique flora and is beautifully represented at the Kirstenbosch Gardens. Cape Town is an excellent way to end or start a safari and is getting much better linked with direct flights with its regional neighbours like Namibia, Zimbabwe and Botswana.

Hluhluwe - Imfolozi

These two parks are the oldest in Africa – dating back to 1895. They are not directly connected but very close to one another. They are well known for their tremendous concentration of Rhino especially the White Rhinos in the Imfolozi section, this side is more open savannah type bush. The Hluhluwe section is more forested in places and is great for birding and also has an excellent variety of wildlife including Black Rhino and Nyala. These parks are easily accessed either from Durban or Johannesburg

Isimangaliso and Maputaland Marine and Forest Reserves

This is the most tropical part of South Africa along this coast line which extends all the way up to the Mozambique border with beautiful forested dunes, stunning beaches and pristine reefs off shore. The marine reserve is the largest protected marine ecosystem in Africa which is fantastic for whale watching, and several species of turtles nest here including the leatherback and loggerhead turtles along the more Northern beaches These beaches are beautiful here with no developments allowed along the beach front. Within this area there are well known destinations such as Kosi Bay, Sodwana Bay, Lake St. Lucia and Lake Sibaya all excellent destinations for wildlife and especially birding. Adding these areas to your safari will be an excellent and relaxing contrast.

The Garden Route

One of the Capes most beautiful roads which runs from Mossel Bay near Cape Town to Storms River near Port Elizabeth. The road running along the coast has a wonderful variety of scenery with beaches, wine-lands, forests, lakes and mountains as you travel along it. This is an excellent journey that you should give at least 3 days to and more if you can. It is possible to do it by yourself with a hire car from Cape Town or by organized tour.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

This park was joined with the Gemsbok National Park of Botswana to form a huge wilderness area that is a typical Kalahari environment with ancient dunes, scrub bush and ancient dry river lines. It’s a park that is popular for self drive safari trips with a few campsites and National parks cottages. For game viewing it’s a good place to look for some of the more unusual species like Brown Hyena, Honey Badger, Aardwolf and Bat Eared Fox. Along with these there are plentiful Oryx and Springbok some wildebeest and very good opportunities to see and photograph the birds of prey. Just south of here there are private concessions where you can spend time with the iconic meerkats.

South Africa's Private Reserves

Private wildlife reserves are scattered all over South Africa in a range of different habitats with beautiful lodges – they come in a range of different sizes and they often boast being able to show you the big 5 species of animals – Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino and Buffalo. All of these reserves are fenced and intensely managed which has been why they have had so much success in preserving these significant populations of Rhino. Some of the more well known ones are Shamwari, Phinda and Tswalu and there are a number of them along the Western boundary of Kruger National Park. Some of these along the Kruger boundary no longer have fences between themselves and Kruger so they do have a much better wilderness feel about them.

Sun City and Pilanesberg National Park

For a family holiday or a short stay should you be in South Africa looking to fill a few nights this is a very nice option. Sun City itself is a large resort area that tries to theme itself along a “Lost City” type experience. In the large hotels you have a variety of entertainment with stage shows, casinos, restaurants, spa facilities and even a man made beach area with wave pool. It has two beautiful golf courses as well which host one of the world’s richest golf competitions every year. Sun City sits on the boundary of the Pilanesburg National Park where there are more traditional safari camps and some good game viewing as well, it’s a good place to see white rhino a host of antelope species and the big cats.