Safaris in South Africa 2024 & 2025
Whilst in Botswana, Kenya or Tanzania, you typically need to join a safari tour, in South Africa you have a greater choice as to how to go in search of the country’s acclaimed wildlife. You can:
- Stay two or three nights at a safari lodge, in a National Park or a private reserve, with game drives, bush walks or other activities included in the price
- Join a small group tour, or escorted rail holiday, that stops in the country’s game reserves for wildlife viewing activities
- Hire a car to travel independently to South Africa’s National Parks, and then be your own tour guide on a self drive safari. Most parks have well maintained roads, Kruger in particular
- Include a safari experience in a longer, multi centre South Africa holiday, perhaps also visiting Cape Town or treating yourself to an Indian Ocean beach break before returning home
Whichever option you choose, FREEDOM can help. We have been designing tailor made adventures for over 20 years, and our team of Africa Experts would love to help you create your ultimate South African safari holiday.
Safari Parks in South Africa
In South Africa, you can choose to go on safari in a National Park, a private concession within a National Park or a private game reserve.
Due to their size, the National Parks tend to have the largest herds of elephants and other grazers, though you sometimes have to travel further to spot all the animals you are hoping to see. Roads are generally well maintained, making a self drive safari possible. Off-roading is typically prohibited.
A private concession will have exclusive traversing rights for an agreed area within a National Park. You will need to stay at the safari lodge within the concession to enjoy wildlife viewing in the area – though 4×4 game drives and guided bushwalks will be included in the price.
Private reserves are located outside of the National Parks, although there are several that share an unfenced border with Kruger to allow wildlife to roam freely between them. Independently managed, off-road game drives and bushwalks are available as part of your stay.
National Park, private concession or game reserve, whichever you choose, the abundance of wildlife in South Africa means you will rarely go home disappointed!
Kruger National Park & Greater Kruger
In the north west of South Africa, Kruger National Park protects nearly 2 million hectares of savannah, home to 148 species of mammals and 505 species of bird. Adjoining the National Park is a collection of private reserves, covering 180,000 hectares and known as Greater Kruger.
Fence free, both areas are excellent places to go in search of the ‘Big Five’, namely leopard, lion, elephant, buffalo and rhino, as well as cheetah and wild dog.
The Eastern Cape
1,000 km south of Kruger, Addo Elephant National Park and the private game reserves of South Africa’s Eastern Cape also offer ‘Big Five’ safari experiences. The National Park is the country’s third largest and includes a stretch of coastline from which southern right whales can be spotted.
In the private reserves there is a range of game lodges and tented camps to choose from, catering for different tastes and budgets. An Eastern Cape safari makes an excellent addition to a Garden Route self drive.
Situated in KwaZulu-Natal, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park can be credited for preventing the extinction of the white rhino. The species was thought to be eliminated until a handful of animals were spotted in the area in the late 19th Century and two game reserves established to protect them, more recently merging to form the park.
Safari Lodges & Tented Camps
South Africa boasts some of the finest safari lodges on the continent, where not only are great wildlife viewing opportunities guaranteed, so is superb service and first class dining.
A few of our customers’ favourites include:
- Jock Safari Lodge – 12 exclusive rooms, each with a plunge pool and balcony overlooking a seasonal riverbed in a private concession in Kruger National Park
- River Lodge – in ‘Big Five’ Kariega Game Reserve in the Eastern Cape, guests can also enjoy a river cruise to Kenton-on-Sea for drinks on the beach
- Woodbury Lodge – offers excellent value two and four person chalets in a secluded location in the Eastern Cape Amakhala Game Reserve
- Rhino Ridge – perched on a hillside with stunning views over Hluhluwe-iMfolozi National Park, one of the best places in the world to see white rhino
If you are travelling to South Africa on honeymoon or for another special occasion, be sure to let us know so we that we can tell safari lodge prior to your arrival. You might just then find a bottle of sparkling wine in your room or the best table reserved for you at dinner…
Small Group & Adventure Tours
A small group tour is a fantastic way to see a lot in a short amount of time. With everything arranged for you, you can get up each morning ready to explore somewhere new.
The following tours are a selection of those we offer in Southern Africa that include game drives in the region’s greatest National Parks and wildlife reserves:
- Garden Route, Safari & Wine – a round trip from Cape Town, with game drives at a private reserve near Albertinia and a chance to see whales in Hermanus
- South African Odyssey – a two week adventure from Johannesburg to Cape Town, via Kruger National Park, Zululand, Durban and the Garden Route
- Kruger Park Explorer – a short tour from Johannesburg, staying three nights in Hazyview for game drives in the park, then returning by the Panorama Route
- Rovos Rail Durban Safari – a three day luxury train journey, stopping for game drives in the malaria free Nambiti and Spionkop Game Reserves
Tours are a sociable way to travel, though most also have some free time built in, to relax at a safari lodge or go on optional excursions.
Self Drive Safaris in South Africa
A self drive safari gives you the freedom to travel at your own pace, in the comfort of your own vehicle. South Africa has an excellent road network and, with tarred surfaces within Kruger and other major National Parks, you don’t need a 4×4 to get around.
Do drive slowly however, it’s the best way to spot wildlife; be it a lion loitering by the roadside or impala silently watching through the bushveld.
At FREEDOM we offer South Africa car hire, including one way rentals, as well as a range of self drive packages with your vehicle and pre-booked hotels included. Two itineraries incorporating a Kruger self drive safari are:
- Kruger & The Panorama Route – a five day round trip from Johannesburg, over Long Tom Pass and to Blyde River Canyon, before a circuit in the National Park
- eSwatini, Kruger & Coast – seven super days, visiting the Kingdom of eSwatini, between a self drive safari in Kruger and another in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park
If you would like more time in the National Parks or would like to drive between private game reserves our Africa Experts can also design a bespoke self drive safari holiday, just for you. Just let them know your ideas and they will provide recommendations as to where to stay and sensible distances to travel each day.
Safari & Beach Holidays
Roars and relaxation! However you choose to safari in South Africa, why not follow it with an Indian Ocean beach stay?
Three of our customers’ favourite South Africa safari and beach holidays are:
- South Africa & Mauritius – combining the excitement of Cape Town, raw adventure of Kruger National Park and tranquil serenity of Mauritius
- Kruger & Mozambique – three nights in South Africa’s premier park, followed by five nights next to the stunning beaches of the Santa Maria peninsular
- Cape Town, Garden Route & Game – a city, self drive and safari holiday, with the option to pick your preferred Eastern Cape Game Reserve
Whether you would just like to book a couple of nights at a safari lodge or would like a bespoke itinerary designed for you, our friendly team are here to help.
Just get in touch to let them know what you would like to do and they will find the best price for your safari holiday and put all the arrangements in place for you.
Leaving you to hone your photography skills and read up on your South African wildlife, ready for your adventure!
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