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8-Day South Africa Safari Tours

South Africa is a top safari destination, but what really sets the country apart is its diversity. That is why few people come here for a stand-alone safari. The expansive, ever-changing landscapes are the perfect backdrop for your travels. South Africa’s 19 national parks and hundreds of reserves are dotted all around the country, so you can easily fit a safari into a general holiday. With so much on offer, you’ll have to make some hard decisions about what to include and exclude in your 8-day safari.

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1-20 of 20 South Africa 8-day holidays, itineraries, trips, packages & vacations

6 Questions About 8-Day South Africa Safaris


6 Questions About 8-Day South Africa Safaris

Answered by Ariadne van Zandbergen

Is 8 days enough time for a trip in South Africa?

“Eight days is a great amount of time for a safari in South Africa. However, there is a lot to see and do in this varied country. So you might need a bit more time to take in other attractions before or after your safari. You can easily fill a two- or three-week holiday in South Africa. As parks and reserves are spread out all over the country, many visitors do one or more safaris on a more general sightseeing tour. Kruger National Park is the most popular safari destination in South Africa. It can easily be combined with the scenic Panorama Route. With a domestic flight you can even include a few days in Cape Town. For a rounded holiday, you can extend your safari to visit other highlights, such as the charming Garden Route, the tropical beaches of KwaZulu-Natal and lots more.”


How much will an 8-day South Africa safari cost?

“South Africa is a relatively affordable safari destination with plenty of budget and mid-range options, although there are high-end luxury packages available as well. As a guideline, you can expect prices for an 8-day self-drive safari to start at about US$800 per person, while luxury tours start at around US$3,000 per person. More than in other countries, self-drive safaris are very popular in South Africa. The roads are mostly good and facilities are usually to modern standards. This isn’t the only option for budget safaris though; there are lots of affordable guided tours available too. Budget travelers can consider a group tour. Camping is fun and a great way to keep the price down. So is traveling out of season. Private tours offer more flexibility. The price of holiday packages depends hugely on the level and style of accommodation. Lodges and rest camps in and outside the national parks are often moderately priced, but most private game reserves offer luxury packages in a much higher price bracket. Domestic flights are a convenient way to get around this huge country, and prices are very competitive. However, luxury fly-in safaris that take you directly to the reserves’ airstrips generally cost much more. Always get a few quotations before making a final decision.”


Where should I go on an 8-day safari in South Africa?

“There are countless options for an 8-day South Africa tour. Kruger NP is on many people’s bucket list. The wildlife viewing is superb and the variety of animals is especially appealing to first-time visitors. You have a good chance of seeing the Big Five here and much more. The private reserves of Greater Kruger offer a different kind of experience. Lodges are generally small and luxurious, but in total harmony with the surrounding bush. The service and food are impeccable, and guides are expert at off-road driving to get you up close to just about anything you might want to see. Greater Kruger isn’t the only option for a South African Safari though. KwaZulu-Natal with its cluster of coastal reserves is another great wildlife destination. This tropical region is particularly rewarding in the South African winter when other areas are chilly. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, located in the desert area bordering Namibia, offers a remote off-the-beaten-track safari option. Totally different again is Cape Town and the Garden Route. While this area is often considered less ‘African’ than the rest of the country, there are some private reserves here too. Shamwari and Kwandwe Game Reserves are both top Big Five reserves on a par with the better-known Sabi Sands near Kruger.”


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

“There isn’t a bad time to visit South Africa where every season has its beauty. However, if you don’t mind the cooler mornings and evenings, the best time of the year for a safari is from May to September. This is the South African winter, which is the Dry season in most of the country apart from the Cape Town area, which experiences winter rainfall. As water in the bush dries out, animals gather around rivers, lakes and waterholes. This makes them much easier to find. Especially so as at this time the vegetation is thinner than in the lush summer months. You’ll need warm clothing when traveling during these months though. The shoulder month of September is perhaps most ideal; it is the end of the Dry season, but temperatures start to increase a little. Depending on how you’ve planned out your holiday, you might prefer the warmer summer months from October to April. At this time conditions are better for general sightseeing and spending time on the beach.”


Which animals am I likely to see?

“You’ll see a huge diversity of wildlife on an 8-day South Africa safari. With some luck you might see the Big Five, but that really depends on where you go. Your chances are quite good when spending 3 or more days in Kruger NP. It is however easier in the private reserves where off-road driving makes tracking part of the experience. Elephant, buffalo and lion are usually quite easy to find in Kruger, but leopards are notoriously shy and rhino numbers are quite low. Sabi Sands is renowned for its habituated leopards, and sightings of this nocturnal cat are unparalleled here. Phinda Game Reserve and many other reserves in KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape are better for cheetah sightings. This region is also best for black and white rhinos. The Big Five aside, you’ll be amazed at the variety of animals in South Africa. You might see monkeys and baboons, giraffes, zebras and wildebeest, hippos and crocodiles, and cute warthogs, running around with tails pointing into the air like little antennae. And then there are the predators. Aside from the big cats, you might see jackals and hyenas, and perhaps rarities such as caracal, serval or wild cat. Antelope species are prolific, from dainty impalas to sturdy kudus, and the biggest antelope of them all, the eland.”


Can I extend my trip with a beach holiday?

“There is nothing more relaxing than spending time on the beach after a busy safari. Luckily there are lots of tours offering that winning combination. Even when not included in the tour, you can easily extend your holiday with a couple of days on the coast. The calm, warm waters of the Indian Ocean on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal are most suitable for a conventional beach holiday. For an off-the-beaten-track alternative you can visit the rugged coastline of the Eastern Cape. Active visitors enjoy the Garden Route with its picture-perfect beaches. Mind though that the water is never very warm here and the sea tends to be rough. Lastly, if you’re looking for something more tropical and remote, the islands of Mauritius, Seychelles and Mozambique are only a short flight away.”


South Africa Reviews

4.6/5 1011 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

Lucy Corne  –  
United Kingdom UK

Lucy is travel writer for a range of publications, including Lonely Planet's guides to Africa, Southern Africa and South Africa.

An array of animals

Of all the African countries people visit on safari trips, South Africa is probably the easiest to travel around. Infrastructure is excellent, accommodation for every budget is abundant and wildlife-watching opportunities stretch far beyond...

Full Review

Noreen Collins  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Apr 7, 2024
South Africa is a stunningly beautiful place and well worth a visit. It is also modern and sophisticated

We really enjoyed Pilanesberg and our game drives were the highlight of our trip. We saw a lot of amazing wildlife and really enjoyed the beautiful scenery. Our lodge was lovely and made us feel very spoilt

Full Review

Michaela G.  –  
Germany DE
Reviewed: Apr 5, 2024
So many different moments, sights, drives, people, accommodations - just GREAT! Never to forget!

It was such a great experience! Viva Safari (our tour operator) did a great job by showing us so many different aspects of the South African wildlife, the differences of Krueger NP and the Private Game Reserves as well as the struggling of...

Full Review

Debra Younghans  –  
Canada CA
Reviewed: Mar 24, 2024
Life changing experience, especially Kambaku Lodge, Tibavati Nature Reserve.

Timbavati Nature Reserve, Kambaku Lodge, was an incredible experience. Our ranger ensured that we saw every form of wildlife, it seemed like a dream. The warm hospitality of the staff, food, drink, was exceptional. It felt like a family...

Full Review

Susan Domotor  –  
Hungary HU
Reviewed: Mar 23, 2024
A land of beauty and warmth

My husband and I have been wanting to experience a Safari so for my 60th birthday we chose to go to South Africa. In all honesty, we chose SA because it was an easier destination to get to from Hungary, where we currently live. The...

Full Review