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When and where to go on Safari?
Visit between May and September in the local winter time (summer in Northern Hemisphere). Winter in by FAR the best time to go on safari just about anywhere in Africa for three main reasons: the maximum temperatures are more bearable, the bush is significantly less thick and overgrown, and the majority of animals concentrate around readily accessible waterholes. Most Big 5 game areas experience rain storms only in Summer (October to April), and though impressive, they tend to restrict the quality of actually seeing game. Most wildlife is just as keen to stay dry as you are and the thickest bush available is the best place to do that. All roads in game reserves and most in the National Parks are dirt/gravel roads and some can become impassable during the rainy season, thereby limiting the scope and range of your game viewing possibilities even further.

If it is your first time on safari then we suggest you combine your stay in National Parks with the experience of Private Game Reserves. The biggest National Parks as well as Private Game Reserves are hosts to all of the Big 5 (Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo, Lion and Leopard) and hundreds of other species. A 3 or 4 days of combined stay during the winter months (May to September) will, in some areas, almost guarantee you quality sightings of all of the Big 5!

The logistics of going on safari in southern Africa
It's simpler than you may think! The southern Kruger Park area is easily accessible using regular scheduled flights from both Johannesburg and Cape Town. From there a representative of the safari lodge or bush camp where you are staying will meet you and transfer you either by a 4x4 vehicle (which is in effect an introductory game drive), or by light aircraft (usually a Cessna 206) to the lodge. If you do not like flying you can always be transferred by road. The majority of wild game areas are also readily accessible by tarred road using a sedan vehicle, microbus or a coach. Some of them one can even reach by a luxury train!

 

Southern Kruger National Park & Private Game Reserves

 

The premier Big 5 Safari destination in South Africa located approximately 4 hours by road from Johannesburg. Airports in the region connect to Johannesburg and Cape Town on a daily basis. Luxury accommodation is available at numerous Private Lodges located in Game Reserves adjacent to the Park. Standard accommodation can be booked at restcamps inside the Kruger Park, and combined with a microbus tour from Johannesburg via the very scenic Mpumalanga Panorama route becomes a very cost-effective all year-round safari experience.

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North-West & Limpopo Provinces

 

Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a mere 2 hours by road from Johannesburg and is situated next door to the Sun City Complex, making it ideal if you want a world-class resort hotels and the Big 5 within easy reach. If you have a single day in Johannesburg and want to go on Safari then The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is by far your best bet. Madikwe Game Reserve is a further hour north-west from the Pilanesberg and wild game experience there is really great! All the Big 5 are present and to top it all off there is no Malaria in either area!

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KwaZulu-Natal Province

 

KwaZulu-Natal Province, and especially its north eastern sector, is prime Big 5 territory. This area is world-renowned for its large black-rhino populations, a species absent throughout most of southern Africa. Furthermore the coastal areas boast numerous marine reserves and The Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park, a World Heritage Site. Great game viewing, tropical forests, coastal jungles and magnificent deserted beaches - KwaZulu-Natal has it all and more! Easy access from Durban, Richard's Bay and Swaziland.

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Cape Province

 

The Cape is an immense area comprised of The Western, Eastern and Northern Cape. The Western Cape has a predominantly Mediterranean climate and as a result is not suitable for safaris. The Northern Cape, however, is much more arid and supports fascinating desert adapted species. The Eastern Cape, home to The Garden Route, is more tropical and supports impressive herds of elephant and both big and plains game in some areas. Good access to all areas from either Cape Town, George, Knysna or Port Elizabeth.

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Okavango Delta, Moremi Wildlife Reserve

 

The Okavango Delta! What can we say...! Easily in the top 5 safari destinations in the world, most would say it is no. 1! Abundant wildlife and even more exceptional birdlife amongst papyrus lined crystal clear channels, immense floodplains, and thousands upon thousands of islands. Experience it all from the air in small aircraft, from the ground in 4x4 land rovers, on foot or from the water in boats and mokoro's (canoes). The ultimate up-close and personal safari experience! The only drawbacks are that it can be costly and there are no rhino.

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Chobe National Park, Kasane, Savute & Linyanti Swamps

 

Easily in the top 5 safari destinations in the world, though to get the maximum benefit visit in winter (May to September). Firstly you will not fry your brains and secondly the wildlife, especially huge herds of elephant, is concentrated around waterholes and the Chobe River. In the south of Chobe Park is Savute, once a flooded marsh but now mostly dry, which has become a huge open plain supporting excellent wildlife. Linyanti marsh is a 'mini' Okavango Delta with permanent water supporting good game. Again, no rhino anywhere.

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Etosha National Park, Damaraland, Skeleton Coast & Sossusvlei

 

Namibia is an arid country which is slowly being infiltrated from the west by the sands of the Namib Desert. To the east lies the even more immense Kalahari Desert. And this is where the true beauty of Namibia lies, the harsh and striking landscapes are simply breathtaking. Throw in some surprisingly abundant wildlife here and there, including both rhino and elephant, and you have yourself a great wilderness safari. If you dream of visiting other planets then come to Namibia first to get a general idea of what to expect!

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Hwange, Matusadona & Mana Pools National Parks

 

Zimbabwe, contrary to common perceptions, is an excellent safari destination! Yes, the current political situation is somewhat suspect, but as a tourist to Victoria Falls and any of the above mentioned national parks you are perfectly safe. Hwange, just south of Vic Falls, is excellent for elephant and plains game. Matusadona National Park is on the banks of Lake Kariba and offers great motorboat safaris. Mana Pools is a real gem of a National Park, situated along the banks of the Zambezi River downstream from the Kariba Dam.

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