African Safari blog

The Best Ever Safari Destination


The best ever and indeed the most affordable (and value for money) safari destination to my mind is South Africa for various reasons including:

  • The SA Rand has been very weak against most other currencies for some time
  • The park/concession fees are still very reasonable (certainly when compared against the Masai Mara park fee of US$ 95 per person per day)
  • There is probably a better chance of seeing the Big 5 than in other safari destinations (however you need to make sure you go to the right reserves if that is your aim)

The most well known safari park in South Africa is the Kruger National Park, which tends to be pretty crowded with self-drive, self-catering or day-tripping locals.

However there are a number of private reserves adjacent to the Kruger which are open to resident guests only and are therefore significantly less crowded and offer significantly better wildlife experiences. There are no dividing fences between the private reserves themselves or between the private reserves and the Kruger. These reserves include the Timbavati (furthest to the north) the Manyleti (in the middle) and the best of them all, the Sabi Sands (in the south.)

Also close to the Kruger are other fenced private reserves such as Kapama, Thornybush, Makalali and Moditlo to name but a few. The vegetation and indeed the game viewing experience are different in the various reserves.

There are other reserves dotted around South Africa one of the best known is Madikwe (which markets itself as having the advantage of being malaria-free. What that really means is that it is unnecessary to take malaria prophylactics, unlike the greater Kruger area where, although contacting malaria is unlikely, malaria prophylactics are recommended.)

Another contained fenced reserve is the Pilansberg which, being very close to the famous golf destination of Sun City, gives the golf addicts who migrate there, a bit of a wildlife experience! For people who are looking for something different, the St Lucia area offers considerable variety situated, as it is, on the Indian Ocean coast near the Mozambique border including with game drives in the world heritage site iSimangaliso Wetland Park and even BIG 5 Game Drives in Hluhluwe/Umfolozi Game Reserve. It would take much too long to list all the other parks and game reserves.

Another reason why South Africa is such an excellent safari destination is all the other “possibilities” it offers to the traveler such as:

  • great scenery along the Panorama Route (which will only take a day) or the longer Garden Route from Cape Town towards Port Elizabeth
  • Cape Town itself which is a hive of activity
  • The beautiful Cape Winelands

As well as offering a bit of variety and a break from game viewing, a sojourn out of the wildlife reserves has the advantage of reducing the daily cost of an African holiday (as accommodation is much less expensive outside rather than inside game reserves.)

As South Africa is a vastly underestimated destination, I am sure this article will take many by surprise!

African Holiday Trips are calling you – can’t you hear it


Top 6 must see locations in Africa


Some of Africa’s most interesting animals and where best to find them – African elephants