From the time we first see fantastic markings on zebra and giraffes as children many of us dream about spending time with wild animals in Africa. Perhaps you fell in love with one of the creatures in the Lion King movie, like I did. With modern travel so simple, it is easy to book a safari and spend some time with these spectacular creatures.
South Africa has many wonderful diverse National Parks for you to explore. Each has its own unique geography and habitat for different African animals. Getting to South Africa is relatively easy regardless of what continent you live. Johannesburg is a major world travel hub and there are international arrivals there constantly. If you are looking for cheap flights to South Africa, check for possible flights.
Kruger National Park
Kruger is the largest of the parks in South Africa with over 2 million hectares of wilderness. It is a magnet for anyone wanting experience African wildlife at their finest. It is an exciting place for its panoramic vistas and vast numbers of animals as well as for its past, stepped in history and legend.
Kruger is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to see the “Big Five” – elephant, lion, cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. The term “Big Five” is a vestige term from the days of big game hunters who wanted to pit themselves against such dangerous beasts. Nowadays the best hunters use cameras and lenses rather than high caliber rifles.
Addo Elephant National Park
Further to the south you can see the “Big Seven”. This is where you can take up the challenge of spotting the aforementioned “Big Five” plus a Great White shark and a Southern Right Whale on a marine eco tour. There is also a horse riding trail here which will get you close to the infamously dangerous cape buffalo and maybe a rhinoceros.
Table Top Mountain National Park
This is the second most visited park, behind Kruger on the somewhat wilder west coast close to Cape Town. Here you will find the Boulders Penguin colony in Simons Town and its attendant squabbling endangered species of African penguins. It’s a place to wander along pristine beaches and follow neat boardwalks to explore the park. This is a great park for a family outing.
KGalagadi Transfrontier Park
A park of yet another kind, the KGalagadi Transfrontier is north central, bordering Namibia. Both share the awesome Kalahari Desert. Here you may get the opportunity to view the magnificent black-maned lions of the Kalahari as well stunning desert creatures like gemsbok, eland and springbok. This sparse beautiful landscape cannot fail to leave a lasting memory.
Namaqua National Park
For something completely different you could visit the Namaqualand park during a southern spring in August and September. It seems like overnight the sand and dust becomes a carpet of wildflowers. It is estimated that there are more than a 1000 plants found only in this park and the colorful blooms are a joyful sight.
Camdeboo National Park
This is known for the Valley of Desolation and sometimes also called the Cathedral of the Mountains. The piled dolerite stone columns tower over the Karoo plains making for dramatic scenery and photo opportunities. You will feel enveloped in the timelessness of that southern land formed by ancient volcanic forces that shaped it over a period of 200 million years.
Algulhas National Park
Perhaps fitting for a last suggestion is Algulhas National Park where you can stand on the southernmost tip of Africa facing south to observe two great oceans, the Indian and Atlantic, meet crashing together in tumultuous waves. It is named “Cape of Storms” for a reason and many ship wrecks lie beneath the thundering waves that thrash those southern shores.
The Luxury of Glamping
Just because you are in the wilderness doesn’t mean you can’t expect some luxuries on vacation. South Africa is the perfect place for “glamorous camping” otherwise known as “glamping”. The tented structures have superb amenities with quality linen to indulge your dreams under canvas. And the food and wine are superb from the country’s renowned vineyards and restaurants. You can easily plan a few wine tastings and extra adventures to add to your animal safaris. Your safari in South Africa awaits you.