South African safaris provide a good all-round holiday experience if you are interested in combining the best of the wildlife within a thriving country. Sometimes called a ‘world in one country’, South Africa offers outstanding diversity, from remarkable natural landscape to the exciting mix of cultures. This scenic country attracts year-round visitors who appreciate the sunny climate, cosmopolitan cities, developed infrastructure, and world-renowned game parks.
A vast number of tour operators offer trips to South Africa, and it is worth shopping around for the one that suits your requirements best. Before you can choose to go on a South African safari, you should first consider what kind of experience you are hoping to achieve. There are three basic safari types, one of which will be most appropriate for you: Safari Lodges, self-drive or one-day tours.
Although they are the most expensive option, safari lodges in South Africa really offer the best overall experience. Located in the National Parks and private game reserves, this all-inclusive option guarantees an excellent standard of accommodation, all meals, and two game drives in premium 4x4 vehicles each day. This is the right option for you if you value service and hospitality, and there are likely to be extras included such as guided walks or unlimited drinks. One of the major benefits of staying at a lodge is that the guides are permitted to take the vehicles off-road during your safari drives. Your guide will be highly experienced, and will ensure that you have a brilliant time – answering questions and sharing his knowledge about the region. Night-drives are also possible to allow you to spot nocturnal wildlife.
If you are an independent spirit and want to return from your safari with a real sense of achievement, the self-drive safari may be the one for you. The main advantage is that you will be able to avoid areas with high traffic and gain a more solitary experience. Unfortunately, self-drive vehicles are not permitted to go off-road, so you may find that you are limited to certain areas. You also have to remain in your vehicle at all times. If this is for you, concentrate your efforts on Kruger National Park, Eastern Cape and Kwa Zulu-Natal areas to get the best possible experience.
A guided safari is for anyone who does not want to commit to a full South African safari holiday, but would rather just gain a taste of the experience. Most of these trips are just one day long, and you can book them in advance or from your holiday base in South Africa. Each trip lasts up to three hours, and you are driven around the National Park with around ten other people. The guide will talk about the wildlife, but you are not permitted to go off-road.