Wildlife locations

18 recommended locations. Species listed below are just a selection of those you may see.

Cederberg Wilderness Area

Covering 700 square kilometres, the Cederberg Wilderness Area is a haven for birds, flowers and other wildlife. The mountains, and areas of San rock art, are home to unique fynbos such as the endemic snow protea or rooibos, and laurel protea, while mammal species include aardvark and porcupine.

  • Where: Western Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: Cape baboon , Bat-eared fox, Meerkat, Oryx, Cape mountain zebra
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Self-drive, Wildlife for families

False Bay

False Bay is a favourite breaching location for great white sharks, flying through the air to prey on fur seals. Spot the fascinating great white sharks in their most predatory behaviour, leaping above the surface of the water to catch their favourite prey. Nearby is Boulder beach and its penguin colony.

  • Where: Cape Point
  • Ideal for viewing: Great white shark, Fur seal, Broadnose sevengill shark, Pyjama shark, Brown shyshark
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park

Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park is the oldest proclaimed natural park in Africa. Covering some 96,000 hectares, and supporting an exciting diversity of fauna, it is also known for its conservation efforts. The park is the only state-run park in KwaZulu Natal where all the major predators can be found.

  • Where: KwaZulu Natal
  • Ideal for viewing: Black rhino, Cheetah, Lion, Spotted hyena, Klipspringer
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

iSimangaliso Wetland Park

iSimangaliso Wetland Park (previously known as the Greater St. Lucia Wetland Park) is the jewel in the Maputaland crown. It is one of the outstanding natural wetland and coastal sites of Africa, and includes a wide range of pristine marine, coastal and wetland environments which are naturally beautiful and untouched.

  • Where: East Coast KwaZulu Natal
  • Ideal for viewing: Hippo, Nile crocodile, Loggerhead turtle, Leopard, White rhino
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Kalahari Desert

Despite this giant arid region being a harsh environment, scored with the beds of dried up rivers and vast salt pans, it not only provides the setting for fine game-viewing but also for encountering San bushmen, hunter gatherers who precariously cling to their traditional ways of life throughout this region.

  • Where: Western Botswana
  • Ideal for viewing: Blue wildebeest, Cheetah, Eland, Ostrich, Springbok
  • Excellent for: Vehicle safaris

Kosi Bay

Kosi Bay is located on the remote KwaZulu Natal North coast, and part of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park. The Bay is formed by four interconnected lakes and is classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site for its palm-fringed reed channels, beautiful beaches and lush vegetation; a pristine wealth of beauty.

  • Where: Northern Coast of KwaZulu Natal
  • Ideal for viewing: Loggerhead turtle, Hippo, Palmnut vulture, Nile crocodile, Cape clawless otter
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Kruger National Park

Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Low Veld, Kruger is today unrivalled in the diversity of its wildlife and a world leader in environmental management techniques. With great road infrastructures, waterholes, and hides, it ensures a maximum exposure to its incredible biodiversity.

  • Where: Mpumalanga
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, White rhino, Lion, Wild dog, Leopard
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve, located along the border of Botswana, is made up of vast plains of open woodland and grasslands; ideal for abundant wildlife including a good wild dog population. Hosting over 66 mammal and 300 bird species, the reserve experienced one of the world’s largest game translocations.

  • Where: Northwest South Africa
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, Black rhino, Brown hyena, Cheetah, Cape buffalo
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Wildlife for families, Birdwatching

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Mlilwane, Swaziland’s pioneer conservation area, is a beautiful, secluded sanctuary situated in the Ezulwini Valley, between Mbabane and Manzini. The southern section is predominately open grassland plains with middleveld vegetation, stretching up onto Nyonyane Mountain with its exposed granite peak.

  • Where: Ezulwini Valley
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown hyena, Leopard, Cape clawless otter, Black-backed jackal, Greater galago
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Namaqualand

Namaqualand’s succulent flowers are blooming in the daisy season, covering the usually dry west coast and North Cape with beautiful colours. More than 4,000 plants species, including over 1,000 endemics, can be seen in Namaqua National Park, Goegap Nature Reserve or the Knersvlakte.

  • Where: West Coast & North Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: Hartmann’s mountain zebra, Speckled Cape tortoise, Aardwolf, Cape eagle owl, Honey badger

Phinda Private Game Reserve

Phinda Private Game Reserve is an award winning private game reserve with a strong focus on wildlife conservation and community involvement. Located along the coast of KwaZulu Natal, it is home to seven unique eco-systems with palm savannah and mountain bush to rare sand forest and dense thornveld.

  • Where: KwaZulu Natal
  • Ideal for viewing: Black rhino, Leopard, Spotted hyena, African elephant, South African giraffe
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Pilanesberg Game Reserve

The fourth largest park in South Africa, Pilanesberg National Park, is malaria-free and set in the crater of a long extinct volcano with a unique geological structure. Standing high above the surrounding bushveld plains, it hosts a healthy population of lion, elephant, both black and white rhino, buffalo, and leopard.

  • Where: North West Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Brown hyena, Cheetah, Black rhino, Lion, Meerkat
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Wildlife for families

Somkhanda Game Reserve

Somkhanda is one of the largest and most successful land restitution based community projects in KwaZulu Natal. The Gumbi community aims to restore 16,000 hectares into a vibrant Big Five nature reserve, with the reintroduction of the black and white rhino and the presence of leopard, the only predator.

  • Where: Zululand District
  • Ideal for viewing: White rhino, Black rhino, Leopard, Wild dog, Nyala
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Vehicle safaris, Just Conservation

Table Mountain National Park

The vast Table Mountain National Park, a UNESCO Cape Floral Region World Heritage Site, stretches from north of Cape Town down the Cape Peninsula to Africa’s south-western extremity, the Cape of Good Hope. It hosts Silvermine Nature Reserve, Boulders beach penguin colony and Table Mountain.

  • Where: Western Cape
  • Ideal for viewing: African penguin, Southern right whale, Verreaux’s eagle, Rock hyrax , Cape baboon
  • Excellent for: Walking safaris, Self-drive, Wildlife for families, Walking with wildlife, Whale watching, Penguin watching

Tembe Elephant Park

The remote Tembe Elephant Park, lies in Northern Tongaland, on the border of Mozambique, deep in an area of sand forests, pans and wetlands. The park is situated within the sand veld ecological zone, with a great diversity of habitat and offers a spectacular wildlife density in this subtropical region.

  • Where: Northern Tongaland
  • Ideal for viewing: African elephant, Lion, White rhino, Cape buffalo, Suni
  • Excellent for: Self-drive

Timbavati Private Game Reserve

Timbavati is home to a myriad of wildlife and more than 360 species of bird. With no fences between Timbavati and neighbouring Kruger National Park, wildlife is free to roam across a vast tract of wilderness, with herds of elephant, buffalo and wildebeest, along with their attendant predators.

  • Where: Limpopo Province
  • Ideal for viewing: Lion, African elephant, Black rhino, Greater kudu, Cape buffalo
  • Excellent for: Photography tours with Nick Garbutt

Welgevonden Game Reserve

Welgevonden, meaning ‘well-found’, is a private game reserve, malaria-free, lying on Waterberg plateau with vast plains, hosting the largest population of white rhino in Africa. The number of visitors to the reserve is limited, resulting in a truly intimate wildlife experience in a premier game sanctuary.

  • Where: Limpopo Province
  • Ideal for viewing: White rhino, Aardwolf, African elephant, Leopard, Blue crane
  • Excellent for: Self-drive, Wildlife for families

Durban

Durban is South Africa’s most multicultural city, with strong Indian and colonial influences. The Golden Mile consists of a stretch of some of the most beautiful beaches in the country, ideal for water sport enthusiasts.

  • Excellent for: Beach stay, City stopover

Wildlife trips

Thanks to the foresight of conservationists past and present, South Africa remains blessed with abundant wildlife and its bushveld and savannah remain home to large numbers of the mammals associated with Africa, and its coastline attracts stunning marine species including migratory whales and residents sharks.

6 recommended trips. Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.

Birds & Big Cats of Kruger

A fantastic introduction to the magnificent scenery, birds and wildlife of South Africa's rich north-east corner, taking in the highveld, Kruger National Park and a superb private reserve. There are unparalleled opportunities to see Africa’s big five: lion, leopard, Cape buffalo, elephant and white rhino.

  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 13 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,195 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Zululand & Swaziland Self-drive

KwaZulu Natal is a true South African gem when it comes to wildlife, with a great mix of the country’s finest game reserves and breath-taking scenery. Self driving allows you to follow the coast at your own pace and experience a diversity of wildlife away from the crowd.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 11 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £3,595 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Classic Africa Explorer

This 37-day comprehensive itinerary, which visits no less than seven countries, delivers the ultimate African safari experience and a wealth of contrasts. Travel to some of Africa’s best National Parks and stay in a range of classic lodges, hotels and tented camps on this wildlife trip of a lifetime.

  • When to go: Apr-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 37 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £15,295 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

Spring Flowers from Kalahari to the Cape

From the flowers, birds and stunning scenery of the Cape, to wonderful flower-rich Namaqualand, this trip visits an astoundingly beautiful and varied land, rich in wildlife. All this at a time of year when the flowers and birds here are at their best, and when whales are displaying close inshore.

  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 17 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,495 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Flower Photography in Namaqualand

Join award-winning macro photographer Chris Mattison to capture the magnificent spring flowers in two distinct biomes known as the Cape Floristic and the Succulent Karoo regions. Visit the fascinating Cederberg Wilderness, known for its floral beauty as well as its ancient San Bushman rock paintings.

  • When to go: Aug-Sep
  • Duration inc. flights: 16 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £4,195 pp
  • Trip type: Group tour

Treasures of Limpopo

Limpopo is one of South Africa’s less travelled destinations, and offers an incredible diversity of wildlife opportunities and cultural experiences, especially for families. This trip is perfect for a first time safari, staying in comfortable family friendly lodges located in malaria-free wildlife reserves.

  • When to go: Jan-Dec
  • Duration inc. flights: 12 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £2,895 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea

When to go

South Africa has great marine life encounters throughout the year

Seasons

  • Cool season

    Apr to Sep: The winter months see a drop in temperatures, particularly aroiund Cape Town
  • Warm season

    Oct to Mar: Summer brings warmer sea temperatures to Atlantic areas, but greater rainfall

Wildlife events

  • Jun to Oct: Humpback whales migration along KwaZulu-Natal coast

Accommodation

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