Wildlife & Animals – 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 KwaZulu-Natal parks are the best places to see rhino. In Sabi Sand, the main focus is on seeing the Big Five; it is famous for its habituated leopard. Seeing these normally shy cats is almost guaranteed here. Wildlife is scattered in Kgalagadi, but sightings in this arid environment tend to be exciting.
The Cape Mountain zebra is endemic to South Africa and can be seen in Mountain Zebra National Park and some other parks in the Cape. The rare black wildebeest is also endemic to South Africa and can be found in some grassveld and Karoo reserves. 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. The Cape area, in the south of the country, has a different weather pattern; the rainy season is in winter, which is opposite to the rest of the country. The majority of the parks are in the summer rainfall region.
Wildlife Rating Per Major Park
Recommended Wildlife Books
- Stuarts' Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
- Pocket Guide: Mammals of Southern Africa