Wildlife and Safaries in South Africa:
South Africa is one of the world’s natural gems – a treasure nestled at the southern tip of the abundant African continent. Visitors from all around the world descend on the country to take advantage of the stunning climate, accommodation, game reserves, natural attractions, and, of course, the huge variety of wildlife and safaries.
Cities have grown, much land has been given over to farming, hunting has wiped out entire herds, and the times when a herd of springbok could take days to pass through a Karoo town are long past. Yet, thanks to the foresight of conservationists past and present, South Africa remains blessed with abundant wildlife.The landscapes of South Africa offer the full spectrum of habitat types (from dense green forests to arid deserts, and everything in-between), making them ideal for thousands of species.
These include exciting predators, birds, mammals, reptiles, amphibians and a huge variety of fascinating insects. These different species are found in plentiful abundance in the game reserves and national parks of the country, as well as in the wild and natural countryside, where they live free.
The Big Five
Best known are the mammals, and the best known of these are the famous Big Five: elephant, lion, rhino, leopard and buffalo. South Africa’s bushveld and savannah regions are still home to large numbers of the mammals universally associated with Africa. The Kruger National Park alone has well over 10 000 elephants and 20 000 buffaloes – in 1920 there were an estimated 120 elephants left in the whole of South Africa. The white rhino has also been brought back from the brink of extinction and now flourishes both in the Kruger National Park and the Hluhluwe Umfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Attention now is on protecting the black rhino. Both these parks are home to all of the Big Five, as are other major reserves in South Africa – such as Pilanesberg in North West province – and numerous smaller reserves and private game lodges.
Visit these places:
Kruger National Park – South Africa’s most sought-after safari destination. Website : http://www.krugerpark.co.za/
SANParks – South African National Parks, (SANParks), manages a system of parks which represents the indigenous fauna, flora, landscapes and associated cultural heritage of the country. Of all the national parks, most have overnight tourist facilities, with an unrivalled variety of accommodation in arid, coastal, mountain and bushveld habitats. Website : http://www.sanparks.org/
Sabi Sabi luxury safaris – Deep in the African bushveld, within South Africa’s famous Sabi Sand Reserve, ‘something enchanting lies in wait’ – the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve. This award winning private game reserve offers world-class standards in luxury accommodation, exceptional close wildlife encounters, personal service and delicious cuisine. Website : http://www.sabisabi.com/
Addo Elephant Park, Eastern Cape – Now the third largest national park in South Africa, Addo Elephant National Park has expanded to conserve a wide diversity of biodiversity, landscapes, fauna and flora. Stretching from the semi-arid karoo area in the north around Darlington Dam, over the rugged Zuurberg Mountains, through the Sundays River valley and south to the coast between Sundays River mouth and Bushman’s river mouth, Addo covers about 180 000 hectares (444 700 acres) and includes the Bird and St Croix Island groups. Website: http://sanparks.org.za/parks/addo/
Knysna Elephant Park, Garden Route – Founded in 1994, The Knysna Elephant Park was the first facility in South Africa to house and care for orphaned African elephants. The first orphaned calves (from a culling operation in the Kruger National Park) named Harry and Sally, after the famous movie of the time, remain part of the KEP family today: Harry as the dominant bull and Sally as the matriarch of the herd. Since 1994, we have cared for and raised more than thirty elephants. These animals include relocated animals, orphaned calves, elephants rescued. Website: http://www.knysnaelephantpark.co.za/
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve -The best safari experience close to Cape Town! Seated at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountain Range in the heart of South Africa’s Little Karoo, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve pays tribute to the San people who made this arid environment their home for centuries. Sanbona has an alluring atmosphere of stillness, an air of isolation amid the raw beauty and boundless plains. The sheer expanse and stark beauty of Sanbona gives one a sense of humbleness, the realization of the inconsequentialities of life, a temporary release of the daily stresses of everyday living. Website: http://www.sanbona.com/propertydefault.asp
Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve – Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve came about 6 privately owned reserves joining surrounded by government conservancy and is proud to be one of the first Big 5 Game Reserves in the Western Cape. Fairy Glen is proud supporters of both the local institute for the deaf and blind. All mattresses used in our accommodation facilities are made by the blind as Fairy Glen is also one of the largest job creators, providing jobs to the previously disadvantaged community. A non-profitable rehabilitation centre was recently introduced on to the reserve. The idea is also to bring back the children’s youths, distinctly by starting with nature and animals. Fairy Glen Big 5 Safaris was awarded the Best Destination Winner for exhibition excellence in the category, Game Lodges, B&B, Guest Houses, Hotels & Resorts. Tucked away at the foot of the World famous Brandwacht Mountains in a peaceful rustic environment near Cape Town this African Big 5 Game Reserve surrounded by proteas and fynbos vegetation not only offers Game Drives and Bush Safari’s but is also home to a African Khoisan Bushmen Rock Art heritage site dating back some 6000 years. Website: http://www.fairyglen.co.za
Botlierskop Private Game Reserve – Situated between the magnificent Outeniqua Mountains and unspoiled beaches of the Indian ocean, in the heart of the Garden Route, the 3000 ha Botlierskop Private Game Reserve in the Western Cape ensures its visitors of a unique South African Safari experience. Our Safari Park is only a 4.5-hour scenic drive from Cape Town, the Mother City of South Africa, this malaria free, family owned and privately operated garden route game lodge is home to an abundance of animal and birdlife including 4 of the Big 5. At our Garden Route Game Reserve you can enjoy a large variety of activities including Game Viewing, Spa Treatments, Elephant Back Rides and Horseback Safaris. Botlierskop also offer unique Luxury Tented Accommodation, Conference Facilities, African Safari Weddings, Day visitor facilities as well as a memorable dining experience in our African style restaurant. Our friendly staff and management are there to anticipate your every need to complete your unforgettable stay. Situated in the Garden Route near Mossel Bay, just 4.5 hours from Cape Town, Botlierskop Private Game Reserve offers a great diversity of wildlife. Stay in Luxury, elegantly decorated en-suite Safari tents on wooden decks beside the riverbanks. Website: http://www.botlierskop.co.za/
Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve – Kagga Kamma not only offers guests spectacular scenery and absolute tranquillity but also stylish accommodation, fine dining and exclusive tours and activities – all included when you book your stay. The Cederberg area is unique in that it comprises an untouched Karoo-like wilderness where guests will find beautiful wild flowers and small critters that are scarcely seen in other parts of the country. Kagga Kamma is equally unique in that it offers guests experiences and facilities they will not find anywhere else. Choose from a variety of accommodation types which include our Cave Suites, our Outcrop Open Air Room and our luxurious Thatched Rondavels for an experience of the surroundings in the most magical way possible. Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve offers guided 4×4 and quad bike safaris, hiking trails and star gazing at the mini Observatory. Guests can relax at the resort’s swimming pool while marvelling at the rock formations it’s built around. Website: http://www.kaggakamma.co.za/