User Reviews – South Africa
South Africa is so amazing, I ended up never wanting to leave... so I haven't!
I first travelled to South Africa over New Years 2008/9, I loved it so much it was only 8 months before I was back and then I've stayed here (in various Game Reserves) since Dec 09.
My experiences vary -
I initially did a short trip through the country: Game Drives, cultural tours, (a bit of partying), visiting the sites. I visited most of the National Parks on the East side of the country and would say my highlights were Addo, Cintsa (Buckanners Backpackers) and Cape Town.
My next trip started in South Africa but was an overland trip through Southern and Eastern Africa, South Africa didn't feature too heavily but I did manage to get to The Cape of Good Hope which, even in bad weather, is still definately worth the trip. My advice for Tabe Mountain - get there as EARLY as possible, the crowds alone is the main reason but if the wind is high enough, the close the cable cars. (Take the double decker bus too - it's cheap and you get a tour all over the city and surrounds)
Since I've been back I've now experienced a variety of volunteer programmes. You'll find these vary in facilities, organisation, tasks, activities and what's included. I can say I've gotten a mix of everything. I have specifically vounteered in the wildlife area but some of this will be relevant for any area.
If you're interested in volunteering, ask what facilities the place has, we have so many people now that "expect" things and you simply have to say that you're in the bush, you're lucky to get a lot of what we do provide! Some places might vary in terms of hot water, electricty, how many people to a room, food situation (very important for me being a vegetarian!), vehicles.
In terms of what you'll be doing, don't volunteer if you're just looking for a cheap safari - volunteering means that although you get so much more of an experience than a lodge guest (you'll learn more, spend more time, get to know specific animals and not be as stressed to "tick off your list") you do need to give a bit in return. Enjoy what you're doing though - you'll learn so much more by being enthusiasic about helping out (and usually get better opportunities out of it as well - staff are always more willing to help out a great volunteer rather than one who's not)
Some places will say what's included but be aware, some may still "forget" to mention that the price only partially covers extras like excursions. Kruger trips would be a big example. Many don't mention that you will have to pay the conservation fee out of your pocket in addition to whatever they have said.
Most importantly though, have fun when you're volunteering - meet new people and get to know the locals more than you would normally.
Vast pieces of neverending nature with lots of animals and a lot of local people to tell you all about nature.
20-35 years of age
South Africa has got something for everyone - culture, fantastic beaches, beautiful mountain scenery, semi-desert and great food and shopping.
Email jderozard | 20-35 years of age
Maybe not as adventurous as other safari destinations, but perfect for those who want to experience wildlife with comfort.
Amazing. The trip of a lifetime.
We went to SA to check off an item on our "bucket list" and we were not disappointed. We chose an intimate lodge (Simbambili) in the Sabi Sands Reserve, contiguous with Kruger Park.
It was dream vacation. The staff and accomodations were comfortable and personable, but unpretentious. The big 5 and other large animals were of course, the focus, but we were also graced by majsetic giraffes, spectacular birds, curious monkeys and other wildlife of many varieties. Our very experienced guide supplemented the sightings with lively discussions and environmental context.
We are now planning to make it at least a "twice in a lifetime" experience.
35-50 years of age
Beautiful game reserves and an unforgettable, must-see experience for all those wishing to observe wildlife in their natural habitat!
Email Todd | 20-35 years of age
I was in the bush for 5 days, and saw large amounts of wildlife every time we went out. Leopards in trees, elephants, rhinos, impala, lions, giraffe, zebra, hippos, etc etc.. even had a rare siting of 4 male cheetah.... truly amazing. The scenic beauty was amazing. It is a majestic feeling. You are a million miles from anywhere and you truly feel as if you are witnessing something spectacular. You get a feeling of being a part of something that is extremely secretive. Hard to explain, its just simply an amazing experience. You are in the back yard of these animals home. The colors of so many of the birds were just amazing too. I don't recall the name of the bird, but this one bird was a deep blue color and was just beautiful. Some of the birds are just huge too.
Everything is good. I was at the north of SA next to the frontier of botswana. The only thing I regret it's a lot of farms or safari have some fences compare to botswana where all animals is free. Except that it's a very good destination, I didn't get the chance to go to kruger park but I heard a lot of comments that it's awesome.
20-35 years of age
South Africans are exceptionally welcoming and are eager to share with you the bounty of their land. The biodiversity of the region is astounding and sure to please visitors of all ages.
20-35 years of age
From A to Z, SA has everything I saw at the zoo as a child, but wild. no fences. no feeding times. no safety of your own backyard.. maybe one of those things isn't true, but SA is definitely a once in a lifetime destination for any tourist.