​Wildlife & Animals – South Africa

Philip Briggs
Expert
By Philip Briggs

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.

Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.

Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.

Philip is author of the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.

South Africa is a prime wildlife destination. All main safari animals are easily seen. Kruger National Park offers excellent general wildlife viewing, and the scenic KwaZulu-Natal parks are best to see rhino. In Sabi Sand, the main focus is on seeing the Big Five and it is famous for its habituated leopards.

Abundant
Common
Occasional
Rare
None
ElephantAbundant
GiraffeAbundant
HippoAbundant
BuffaloAbundant
ZebraAbundant
WildebeestAbundant
LionCommon
LeopardOccasional
CheetahOccasional
HyenaOccasional

Wildlife Highlights

Cape Mountain zebra is endemic to South Africa and can be seen in Mountain Zebra National Park. The rare black wildebeest, another endemic to the country, thrives in the Karoo reserves, and some dry-country specials can be seen in the Kalahari habitat. These include meerkat, gemsbok, springbok and bat-eared fox.

Best Time for Wildlife Viewing

South Africa can be visited any time of the year, but wildlife viewing is best in the Dry season (May-September). The end of the Dry season (August-September) is especially rewarding as water is scarce and animals can be found near waterholes. The middle of the Dry season (June-August) is mid-winter when early morning and afternoon drives in open vehicles can be very cold.

Wildlife Rating

Recommended Wildlife Books

  • Stuarts’ Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
    Ideal for those whose travels are limited to southern Africa.

    Chris Stuart and Mathilde Stuart
  • Stuarts’ SA Mammals (app)
    Travel light with this app based on ‘Stuarts’ Field Guide’.

    Chris Stuart and Mathilde Stuart
  • The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (book and app)
    The comprehensive favorite of many repeat visitors to Africa.

    Jonathan Kingdon
  • KrugerExplorer (app)
    Top Kruger companion illustrates every mammal recorded there.

    Explorer Apps
  • Tracker Manual: A Practical Guide to Animal Tracking in Southern Africa
    Learn to track 160 species from their prints and other spoor.

    Alex van den Heever, Renias Mhlongo and Karel Benadie

Wildlife Photos

Want To Visit South Africa?

753 South Africa Safaris

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Wildlife Photos

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