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7-Day South Africa Safari Tours

South Africa is one of Africa’s most popular destinations. The wildlife viewing here is as good as anywhere, but few people come here for a stand-alone safari. The ever-changing landscapes include rugged mountains, fairy-tale forests, endemic fynbos, open savannah, tropical beaches and stark desert. South Africa’s 19 national parks and hundreds of reserves are dotted all around the country, so visits to these wildlife-dense areas are easily incorporated in a general holiday. A South African safari is rarely just that; pick and choose from all that’s on offer in this country of contrasts and you’ll have a holiday of a lifetime.

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1-20 of 27 7-day itineraries, trips, holidays, packages & vacations to South Africa

6 Questions About 7-Day South Africa Safaris


6 Questions About 7-Day South Africa Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is one week enough time for a safari in South Africa?

“Variety is key in South Africa and it is easy to spend two or three weeks on holiday in this huge country. One week would be a short holiday in a country with so much to offer, but it would be a great amount of time for a safari alone. A typical tour in South Africa consists of one or more safaris mixed in with other attractions. Most people visit Kruger National Park, a huge ecosystem offering excellent wildlife viewing. In 7 days you can tag on some sightseeing before or after the safari, or you can use the time to explore the less-visited central and northern parts of the park. For a rounded holiday, you can extend your safari to include highlights, such as Cape Town, the scenic Garden Route, the tropical beaches of KwaZulu-Natal and lots more.”


How much will this safari cost?

“South Africa has safari options to suit every budget. As a guideline, you can expect prices for a 7-day budget safari to start at about US$1,100 per person, while mid-range tours start at around US$1,500 per person. Compared to some other safari destinations, South Africa offers great value for money. The good road network and abundance of facilities make self-drive holidays a popular option. While this is mostly alluring to people who like to travel independently, there are great guided tours on offer as well. Shared safaris are usually budget-friendly, especially camping or glamping tours. Private tours offer more flexibility. The overall price of the tours depends hugely on the level of accommodation. Lodges and rest camps in and outside the national parks are often moderately priced, but luxury packages in a much higher price bracket are offered by most private game reserves. South Africa is big, but low-cost domestic flights make travel between cities efficient and cheap. However, high-end fly-in safaris that fly you directly to the reserves’ airstrips are generally more pricey. Always get a few quotations before making a final decision.”


Where should I go on a 7-day tour in South Africa?

“There are many options for a 7-day South Africa tour. Kruger NP is one of Africa’s most famous safari destinations. It’s hard to beat when it comes to seeing a big variety of animals. The same is true of the private reserves bordering Kruger, many of which share the same ecosystem with open fences. While Kruger is highly recommended for self-drive visitors and budget travelers, the private reserves offer a different kind of experience. Here your expert guide will get you close to all of the Big Five in an open-sided safari vehicle. Whereas in Kruger you need to stay on the roads, you’ll go off-road in the reserves, so look forward to some exhilarating close-up encounters here. Other great wildlife areas include KwaZulu-Natal, with a cluster of scenic coastal reserves, and the desert of Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park bordering Namibia. The Zululand reserves are renowned for their high densities of rhinos, and Kgalagadi is sufficiently off the beaten track to appeal to even the most adventurous travelers. Cape Town and the beautiful Garden Route are a great choice for a one-week tour too. Although the Cape doesn’t have the same authentic African flavor as other parts of the country, Big Five reserves, such as Shamwari and Kwandwe Game Reserves, offer a great alternative to the better-known Sabi Sands near Kruger. Elephant-lovers should not miss out on Addo Elephant National Park where big herds can be seen at strategically placed waterholes.”


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

“South Africa can be visited at any time. However, if wildlife viewing is your main interest, 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). As the bush dries out animals gather around remaining water sources, such as rivers and waterholes. At this time, the lush vegetation of the Wet season shrivels away, which makes spotting easier as well. While the South African winter is most productive for seeing lots of wildlife, you have to keep in mind that early mornings and evenings can be very cold in open vehicles. Always bring warm clothes for those game drives. The shoulder month of September is lovely as it is the end of the Dry season, but temperatures start to increase a little. Depending on the balance of your holiday you might prefer the warmer summer months from October to April, when conditions are ideal for spending time on the beach and sightseeing in general.”


Which animals am I likely to see?

“You’ll see plenty of animals on a 7-day safari in South Africa. With a bit of luck, you might even see the Big Five. Your chances are quite good when spending 3 or 4 days in Kruger NP. Even more so in the nearby private reserves where off-road driving makes sightings easier. Elephant, buffalo and giraffe are easily seen. So is lion, but leopard and cheetah sightings are more hit-and-miss. However, leopard is the flagship animal in Sabi Sand Game Reserve, where you might see more than one on a three-hour game drive. Other private reserves, such as Phinda Game Reserve, offer amazing cheetah sightings. You might spot a rhino in Greater Kruger, but the best place to see these endangered heavyweights is in the KwaZulu-Natal reserves and the private reserves of the Eastern Cape. A safari is about a lot more than the Big Five though. You’ll see a great variety of animals, many you might not even known exist. You might see monkeys and baboons, jackals, bat-eared foxes and hyenas, crocodiles and hippos, mongooses and warthogs. You’ll see lots of different antelope species, from the tiny steenbok that freezes when spotted, to the massive but very shy eland. With about 850 birds recorded, South Africa is a fantastic birding destination too.”


Can I extend my trip with a beach holiday?

“There are lots of opportunities to extend your South Africa safari with some time on the beach. South Africa’s 2,850km/1,770mi coastline is as varied as it is long. The calm, warm waters of the Indian Ocean on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal are most suitable for a conventional beach holiday. The Eastern Cape beaches are less developed and offer an off-the-beaten-track alternative. 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. If none of this is tropical enough for you, you can take a short flight to Mauritius, Seychelles, Madagascar or Mozambique to experience true island bliss.”


South Africa Reviews

4.6/5 938 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

Jessica  –  
Australia AU
Reviewed: Nov 28, 2023
Highly recommend

My friend and I booked the 4-Day Tremisana Kruger Park Safari with Viva Safaris. I couldn't rate it any higher. The whole experience was amazing, we saw so many animals, all the staff were amazing and the services including the food was...

Full Review

Peter  –  
Czech Republic CZ
Reviewed: Nov 27, 2023
fantastic wildlife experience at Sanbona Resort

We had a fantastic stay at Sanbona Wildlife Resort about 3 hours from CapeTown very well organized by Gems of Africa. After this safari we enjoyed a few days in CapeTown, one of our favorite cities in the world. Finally we went to...

Full Review

Lisa B  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 25, 2023
Beautiful, must see

Awesome experience! Our guide Hoppy was the best guide we could ask for. He was knowledgeable, thoughtful, fun, and cared about the wildlife. We got to see the Big 5 in just three days. Loved our stay at Sabie Bush River Camp, the open jeep...

Full Review

Cathy  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 21, 2023
An adventure everyone should do!

South Africa was more than we had expected, absolutely beautiful! This was a bucket list trip and South Africa did not disappoint us. Umkumbe Lodge was very nice and the people who work there were very nice and accommodating. The...

Full Review