South Africa: The Ultimate First-Time Safari Destination

Guided walking safari at Rhino River Lodge

If you’re looking to lose your ‘African safari virginity’, we couldn’t think of a better place to do it than South Africa.

With a landscape that varies from beautiful beaches, to unspoiled wilderness, to picturesque countryside and rugged mountainscapes; South Africa has earned its reputation for being a fantastic holiday destination for a reason. It offers a truly brilliant and wide-ranging selection of destinations for people to chose from. In addition to the natural splendors on offer in this diverse country, South Africa’s excellent infrastructure also makes it one of the most easily accessible countries to visit in Africa.

With so many different options of where to visit in South Africa, deciding on a destination can be a daunting task. The first step is asking yourself what you want to experience the most. Is it the traditional safari experience involving the iconic Big Five? Do you want to visit more than one place and experience different landscapes? Or perhaps you’re looking for a ‘tamer’ safari where children can explore and play in the great African outdoors? Whatever your answer may be, South Africa will undoubtedly be able to provide you with everything your heart could desire, and then some.

‘Traditional’ Wildlife Safaris

The traditional African safari experience involves traversing through vast areas of bushlands in search of wildlife. The renowned Kruger National Park is arguably the best place to visit for this type of traditional safari. It is one of Africa’s largest game reserves and boasts a high density of wild animals. There are numerous accommodation options nearby and within Kruger and you can drive yourself through the reserve. This is called a ‘self-drive safari’ and is a popular option for travelers.

For those wanting a guided safari experience in open-air vehicles driven by expert guides, there are numerous private reserves, both in Kruger and in other areas of South Africa, that offer this. These lodges are generally more expensive to stay at, but the extra cost is often more than worth it as you are afforded the chance to gain valuable knowledge about the wildlife from the professional guide. Garonga Safari Camp, for example, has been operating for over 20 years in the Makalali Private Nature Reserve, just west of the Kruger National Park, and the guides there have an incredibly in-depth knowledge of the area, pretty much guaranteeing guests some phenomenal sightings.

Bush and Beach Safari Combination:

The ‘Bush and Beach Safari Combo’ is a good option for those travelers that want to experience both the traditional safari experience, as well as one of South Africa’s other biggest natural assets – the beaches! For this type of trip, your best option is the province of KwaZulu Natal. This province offers a wide range of private game reserves, as well as some of the most beautiful beaches in the country. Many of the reserves are within a few hours driving distance from Durban which is famous for its gorgeous sandy beaches and warm Indian Ocean waters.

Rhino River Lodge is situated in the Manyoni Private Game Reserve just 3,5 hours’ drive from the warm and sunny Durban and offers visitors the chance to experience a traditional safari at affordable rates. With its top-notch accommodation, and twice daily guided game drives, Rhino River Lodge is the perfect place to either start or finish your bush and beach safari. Alternatively, if you’re looking for a more something more luxurious and exclusive, then Rhino Sands Safari Camp is situated within the same reserve and offers a dreamy and indulgent experience to travelers.

Family-Friendly Safari Experience

Many safari camps in South Africa are family-friendly and welcome children with open arms. Some places, however, go beyond just offering family-friendly accommodation and take the experience to a whole new level, offering activities that are specifically designed to keep children active, entertained and happy. Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes is one of these special lodges that goes above and beyond when it comes to looking after families. Specialising in horseback safaris, the lodge is based in a private reserve in Waterberg, about 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg, that does not have elephant or lions. This means that the horseback safaris are very safe and suitable for young children and inexperienced riders. Horse riding through the South African wilderness is one of the most exciting ways to explore and view wildlife. In addition to the wonderful horseback safaris, the lodge also offers a wide range of other child-friendly activities that are bound to keep any kid enthralled.

These types of safaris are just a few of the amazing options on offer in South Africa. Trust us, there are plenty more where they came from! For more information on South Africa, or for help planning and booking your trip, get in touch with us.