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5-Day South Africa Safari Tours

With its ever-changing landscapes, South Africa is one of Africa’s most popular holiday destinations. It features dramatic mountains, stark deserts, lush forests, endemic fynbos, savannah woodland and idyllic tropical beaches. No wonder the country is a favorite with many outdoor enthusiasts. Aside from its scenic beauty, the wildlife is the country’s biggest asset. South Africa is dotted with 19 national parks and more than 100 other provincial and private reserves. Unsurprisingly, there are endless opportunities for a 5-day South Africa safari.

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1-20 of 160 South Africa 5-day holidays, itineraries, trips, packages & vacations

6 Questions About 5-Day South Africa Safaris


6 Questions About 5-Day South Africa Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is 5 days enough time for a trip in South Africa?

“Five days is enough time for a safari, but it would be very short for a South African holiday. South Africa has a lot to offer and you can easily spend two or three weeks on holiday in this varied country. Differing to holidays in other safari countries in Africa, a typical South African holiday consists of one or more safaris mixed in with other highlights. On a 5-day safari you can visit Kruger National Park and the Panorama Route, a scenic drive connecting waterfalls and several viewpoints over the Drakensberg escarpment and the Blyde River Canyon. Although this combination is very popular for good reason, there are many other areas offering excellent wildlife viewing that are worth exploring too. And then there are the mountains, the cities, the scenic coastline of the Garden Route, and much more.”


How much will this safari cost?

“South Africa is a relatively affordable safari destination. As a guideline, you can expect prices for a mid-range safari to start at about US$1,000 per person, while luxury tours start at around US$1,500 per person. There are options for every budget. With its well-developed road network and generally modern facilities, the country lends itself to a self-drive safari – an affordable option if you like to travel independently. When booking a guided tour, you have the choice between joining a group or a private safari. The former is usually more budget-friendly, but the latter gives you more flexibility. There is a huge choice of accommodation options in South Africa. Lodges and rest camps in and outside the national parks are often moderately priced, but most private game reserves offer luxury packages in a higher price bracket. Domestic flights between South African cities are well priced, but high-end fly-in safaris where you fly directly to the reserves’ airstrips come with a hefty price tag. I recommend getting a few quotations before booking a 5-day South Africa safari.”


Where should I go on a 5-day safari in South Africa?

“There are several options for a 5-day safari in South Africa. Most popular is Kruger NP. This vast ecosystem is the size of a small country. The south of the park is most accessible, but central and northern Kruger are less crowded. Both guided and self-drive safaris are good options in Kruger. Although part of the same ecosystem, the private game reserves bordering Kruger offer a very different experience. Here your expert guide will get you close to all of the Big Five in an open-sided safari vehicle. Whereas you need to stick to the roads in Kruger, you’ll go off-road in the reserves, so expect some exciting close-up encounters here. This doesn’t come cheaply but the whole package with luxury accommodation, gourmet food and outstanding service is worth every cent. The cluster of KwaZulu-Natal reserves, including Hluhluwe-iMfolozi, Ithala and uMkhuze Game Reserves, is very different. This tropical area with rolling hills and lush vegetation is particularly scenic. Rhinos are prolific here and the birding is outstanding. There are some other excellent 5-day safari packages available if your holiday is centered on Cape Town and the Garden Route. Addo Elephant National Park, Gondwana, Shamwari and Kwandwe Private Game Reserves are all Big Five destinations.”


What is the best time of the year for a South Africa trip?

“The best time of the year for a safari in South Africa is from May to September. This is the South African winter, which corresponds to the Dry season in most of the country (the exception is the Cape Town area, which experiences winter rainfall). Water in the bush dries out as the Dry season progresses, and animals are easier to find as they gather around rivers and waterholes. The shriveling vegetation makes animal spotting easier too. Although this is the most productive time for wildlife viewing, you must keep in mind that early mornings and evenings can be very cold in open vehicles. The shoulder month of September is perhaps best as it is the end of the Dry season, but temperatures start to increase a little. If you want to combine your safari with other highlights or time on the beach, you might prefer the warmer summer months from October to April.”


Which animals am I likely to see on a 5-day South Africa safari?

“You can see a big variety of animals in South Africa. You’ve got a good chance of seeing the Big Five when spending 3 or 4 days in Kruger NP. Even more so in the adjacent private reserves where off-road driving makes sightings easier. Elephant, buffalo and giraffe are common throughout. Of the big cats, lion is easiest to see but you need a fair amount of luck to see the secretive leopard in Kruger. This sought-after cat is, however, the flagship species of the bordering Sabi Sand Game Reserve. White rhinos are quite common in southern Kruger, but the best place to see these endangered heavyweights is in the KwaZulu-Natal reserves. The Big Five aside, it is really the variety in antelope species that sets South Africa apart as a wildlife destination. Look out for the stately spiral-horned greater kudu or the more localized nyala. The red duiker can be seen scurrying away in coastal forests, while the dainty steenbok, which freezes its motion when spotted, is common throughout. On a 5-day safari, you’ll probably see most animals on your bucket list, as well as many more you didn’t even know existed.”


Can I extend my trip with a beach holiday?

“There is no better way to extend a holiday than taking some time to relax on the beach. South Africa’s 2,850km/1,770mi coastline is as varied as its interior. The warm waters of the Indian Ocean on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are perfect for a tropical beach holiday. There are many family-friendly resorts to choose from, as well as more-secluded romantic getaways. The beautiful southern beaches along the Garden Route are lovely in summer, but very cold in winter. Active visitors wanting to explore, walk or cycle, as well as relax, enjoy this area most. However, if you are looking for pure island bliss, you might want to hop on a plane to Mauritius, Seychelles or the islands of Mozambique.”


South Africa Reviews

4.6/5 1018 Reviews
Anthony Ham  –  
Australia AU

Anthony is a photographer and writer for travel magazines and Lonely Planet, including the guides to Kenya and Botswana & Namibia.

South Africa: World-class Safaris

South Africa is one of my favourite places to go on safari, with all the necessary ingredients for a wildlife experience that will begin your enduring love affair with the continent. Primary among these ingredients is the wildlife....

Full Review

Emma Gregg  –  
United Kingdom UK

Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

Where Big Five safaris are big business, there’s a wealth of choice

Glorious images of elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo parading through pristine bush are central to South Africa’s popular image. So it comes as a surprise to some first-time visitors that, in reality, the proportion of this...

Full Review

Tracey Sparks  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Apr 18, 2024
Stunning diverse natural beauty

Cape Town has so much to offer, stunning sea views, beautiful beaches, mountains, vineyards and wildlife nearby. Our experience of penguins, whales, dolphins and baboons was amazing . Then the big 5 at Aquila Game Reserve was a hit. A...

Full Review

Sparky  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Apr 15, 2024
Far exceeds your expectations

Really enjoyed my safari with Viva Tours in South Africa; the 6 day safari was a luxury because I had time to do 2 full days in Kruger Park and numerous game drives in their private reserve to ensure I saw all of the big five animals as...

Full Review

Elkin Alejandro van der Putten  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Apr 15, 2024
SA in general? It’s nice bin muged en a lot of people want something from you. I’m not used

About the safari it was nice only 3 days is more then enough. I was lucky enough to see the big 5 in the Kruger park. But I would say the bush walk was boring so not really necessary if you ask me. Or you have to be lucky to see ontregeling...

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Caroline Earnshaw  –  
United Kingdom UK
Reviewed: Apr 15, 2024
Spectacular 😍

We traveled to South Africa for a family holiday in March. We choose Kruger National Park for our safari destination and Nhlalala Travel for our tour guide. We stayed in the Kruger Gate Hotel which was fabulous. We did a sunset safari, full...

Full Review