Overview – 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 one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations. Vast Kruger National Park has an abundance of animals and is one of the continent's iconic attractions. For outdoor adventure, the Blyde River Canyon is the third largest on the planet, and jagged peaks of the Drakensberg mountains punch into the sky. Cape Town hums with an urban beat, and is fringed by white-sandy beaches.

Rates (USD) $174 to $726 pp/day
Best Time to Go All parks: May to Sep, Cape Town: Nov to Mar
High Season Oct to Mar (Crowded during school holidays)
Size 1,221,037km² / 471,445mi²

Pros & Cons

  • Excellent and easily accessible wildlife viewing
  • Self-drive, package or custom safaris for any budget
  • A wide variety of habitats and scenery
  • Excellent service and a well-run tourist industry
  • Good infrastructure and shops
  • Less wilderness appeal and fenced parks
  • Popular parks can get crowded
  • High crime rate in cities

South Africa Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding

Wildlife

All the Big Five, as well as other large animals such as the giraffe, hippo and many antelope species, are easily spotted in South Africa’s extensive network of parks. This list includes the white rhino, although its black relative is much harder to track down. A common sight in the west of the country is the Cape mountain zebra, while the leopard is particularly conspicuous in Sabi Sand Game Reserve.

Weather & Climate

The South African winter runs from May to September and summer from October to April. In Kruger and surrounds, winter is mostly sunny with temperatures around 27°C/81°F, but early mornings are cold. In this region most of the annual rainfall comes in afternoon showers during the hot summer months. On the other hand, Cape Town and surrounds sees winter rainfall. Summer is more pleasant in the Cape when temperatures are around 24°C/75°F and rain is scarce.

Best Time to Visit

The best time to visit Kruger and surrounds is May to September. This is the Dry season in the region and at this time animals are easier to spot as they stay near waterholes and rivers. Days are mostly sunny but nights are chilly. Cape Town and around is best visited from November to March as this is the Dry season here. The warm dry months are perfect to enjoy the city, the beaches and other coastal attractions.

Premier Parks & Reserves

Want to Visit South Africa?

South Africa Safari Reviews

  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
  • Wildlife
  • Scenery
  • Bush Vibe
  • Birding
Most Helpful Expert Review
Expert
Stephen Cunliffe  –  
South Africa ZA

Stephen is a travel writer and avid conservationist whose work appears in prestigious magazines such as Africa Geographic and Travel Africa.

Wonderful Wildlife without Wilderness
4/5

It’s extremely difficult to write an impartial review of the safari experience in your homeland. But I’ll give it a shot… From a purely wildlife viewing perspective, I would rank the country amongst the best in Africa. After-all there...

Full Review

Latest User Review
Alan  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Jul 14, 2021
5/5

South African parks are affordable compared to Botswana and Zimbabwe. The big five look the same any where in Southern Africa so decide why added expense and four extra days of travel with petrol costs make it worth while. If you are in...

Full Review