Southern Africa Safari Destinations and Operators

Discussion in 'General Discussion | Travel' started by krsnad, Mar 1, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. krsnad

    krsnad Active Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:

    Can some of the very well travelled members here please chime in with opinions on destinations and operators for wildlife safari in Southern Africa. Planning a trip to South Africa with potential to goto Botswana or Zambia in May.

    Thanks in advance.
  2. intueri
    Original Member

    intueri Silver Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    I stayed at Kagga Kamma, about 3hr outside of Cape Town, which is a private game reserve, not a safari operator. I had a fantastic time, found the staff and guides very helpful and knowledgeable, and thoroughly enjoyed sleeping in a cave room. It's about 40-50 km down a dirt road after a terribly marked exit, but the drive out was absolutely unbelievable.
  3. sealiz
    Original Member

    sealiz Silver Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    Any others? I too am researching this for 2012 and am wondering where people have gone that they would recommend and NOT recommend. I am not looking for "top-of-the-line" but I'm also not looking to sleep in a sleeping bag out with the hippos!
  4. Gardyloo
    Original Member

    Gardyloo Gold Member

    Likes Received:
    Status Points:
    We've been to several safari areas/lodges in South Africa and just one in Botswana (Chobe Safari Lodge at Chobe NP.) We've booked our own rather than relying on tour or package operators.

    A lot depends on what time of year and how much time you're willing to spend (and of course price point.) For the most intensive wildlife viewing area in South Africa (i.e. highest density of animals, "big 5" encounters, etc.) it's hard to beat the Sabi Sand game reserve on the southwestern perimeter of Kruger NP, or a couple of other reserves in the same area/region. Unlike Kruger itself, the lodges are allowed to go off-road, which improves the game viewing significantly. However, if you're on a tight budget, the SSGR lodges tend to be pretty expensive (although quite a range) and you could just get a car and use the lodgings inside KNP, do self-drive touring and/or use some of the national park's concession safari guides and their vehicles. The accommodations in the park are quite good - self catering, some with air conditioning etc.

    Season is also a consideration. The southern summer is the wet season (also hot, humid, buggy) in northern SA and Botswana etc. but it's also the best time to visit Cape Town, if that's in the plans too. On the other hand, the southern winter is (IMO) better for animal viewing as there is little foliage to obscure sightings, and the weather tends to be sunny and nicely warm in the afternoons (but chilly in the mornings/evenings.) It's our preferred time, although Cape Town can be rainy and chilly at that time of year. (We try to go at the end of August, into early September.)

    The Kruger-area parks and Botswana are malaria areas; although in our trips there in winter we've never encountered a mosquito; but people's comfort levels on this are different.

    Access to the Kruger-area reserves/parks can be by car from JNB (around 6 hours) or one can fly to Nelspruit or Hoedspruit and pick up a car (or be collected by one of the road transfer operators). We prefer to drive, as it allows a side-tour of the Panoramic Route in the process - gorgeous scenery not far from KNP.

    Another area we like is the Madikwe Game Reserve over on the Botswana border (in fact you can see the lights of Gaborone from the lodge buildings at Buffalo Ridge, where we've stayed twice.) Madikwe is a large reserve developed from former farming country, so there are still some artifacts of its former use still visible. However the reason we go there is (a) it's much closer to JNB (3 hours instead of 6) (b) it's not a malaria area, so no need for prophylaxis, and (c) Buffalo Ridge is owned and operated by members of the local villages as part of an economic development project. It also happens to be a great place.

    Hope this is of some use - if you indicate when, rough price point, and where else you'd be going in southern Africa, more advice can be forthcoming.

    Photos at:

Share This Page