On this about South Africa Safari, I have given some general information about a Africa Safari.This about South Africa Safari is long, I know that.The different sections are highlighted by the bold heading.
This About South Africa Safari section hopefully will be helpful to give you a understanding about a About South Africa Safari.
The diversity of wildlife, including incredible birding, the beauty of the bush, the intimacy of the boutique style local architecture, interior design, heartfelt service from the staff, and 2 x day game drives with a guide/tracker, makes a South Africa Safari a memory of a life time.
Introduction to Safari Game Viewing
Most visitors come here to see the big five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo – but there is so much more.Supporting all these wonderful birds, bees and beasts is our unparalleled botanical richness.
Explore typical African bushveld, tangled coastal forests, rolling montane grasslands or the wide-open spaces of desert and semi-desert.And, of course, our own unique Cape Floral Kingdom, with its literally thousands of endemic species of beautiful and aromatic flowering plants – and some interesting animals and birds, some of which are found nowhere else.
The main difference between the National Parks like the well known Kruger park and Private Game Parks, is that in the National Parks you have to stay on the roads, while the private parks allow you to go of road, which is more exciting.
Then there is the lodging which in Private parks is more intimate vs the national Parks which is more Commercial. Game drives in a open vehicle with a educated guide and driver is the best way to experience the bush. See Private Game lodges for more information.
There is nothing quite like the African bush and there is no better way to experience it than by exploring one of the South African National Parks’ fantastic reserves.
For an absolutely typical game experience, you’ll need to visit the lowveld of Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West or KwaZulu-Natal, where elephants lumber gracefully through the bush, and lions rest in the heat of the day after a long night’s hunting.
Birds chatter, flitting about from tree to tree, while vervet monkeys groom each other among the leafy branches. Dung beetles roll their heavy loads along the roads, clumsily and steadfastly overcoming every obstacle.And, unseen, leopards rest deep in the bush camouflaged in the dappled light while zebras graze out in the open, their stripes mingling with the shadows of the grass.
Bushbuck skulk in the shadows and Kudu elegantly curl their top lips around the tiny, thorn-bedecked leaves of an acacia.
The Western Cape has a different climate and vegetation to the rest of South Africa, so the faunal assemblage is also different. You won’t find elephants and lions, but you will see springbok, Cape mountain zebra, bontebok, black wildebeest and many others.
The Cape Peninsula National Park is unique in that it is right in the middle of the city of Cape Town, but it is a truly magnificent place with some fantastic mountain scenery, a mind-boggling array of flowering plants, some lovely birds and some interesting small game
It’s the best place to see African penguins, and whales come close in to shore. Other parks in the Western Cape are the Karoo National Park, where you may see black rhino; De Hoop Nature Reserve, which has wonderful coastal mountain biking trails, and the Bontebok National Park near Swellendam where you can see herds of this attractive, rare and endemic antelope.
The Eastern Cape is transitional between the Western Cape and the lowveld game areas. Once a bit of a backwater, game-wise, this province is rapidly becoming a favourite safari destination. The Addo Elephant National Park is constantly being enlarged and will extend over a huge range of biomes, from marine to mountain.
There are also some fantastic private reserves in this province. For something completely different, the Tsitsikamma National Park is a scenic wonderland with tangled forests, dramatic cliffs and crashing seascapes, but it doesn’t have any of the big game you may consider typical of Africa. There are lots of fantastic birds, though, and whales, dolphins and a whole underwater paradise waiting to be explored.
The Free State does not have much in the way of the really big animals but the scenic Golden Gate National Park is well known for its high altitude game such as black wildebeest and eland (which is the biggest antelope).
The Northern Cape is very arid and is most definitely an acquired taste but there are some wonderful game destinations. The Augrabies Falls National Park is mostly scenic but does have some excellent game and wonderful birds, and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, Africa’s first cross-border park, is famed for its huge, black-maned Kalahari lions and for the elegant gemsbok, or oryx, which is found there in abundance.
PARKS AND SANCTUARIES
Quite clearly, the most exciting way to watch game is in the wild, but that isn’t always possible or practical.Perhaps you only have a limited time, or you need to stay close to a city. In these situations it is worth visiting a small game park or sanctuary, where you can at least see something.
It may also be a worthwhile thing to do if you are planning a long safari, and would like to get an idea of what it is you’re going to see. The area near Johannesburg has a number of small game farms and parks, where you can see a large concentration of animals running free in a smallish area – but it’s not the real thing.
Parks and sanctuaries are also a good idea if you want to see a specific animal – for example, ostriches or other birds, which you can see in show farms or bird sanctuaries. Our oft-maligned, misunderstood, slithery friends are also best observed in the security of a snake or reptile park.
PRIVATE GAME LODGES..WALKING AND TENTED SAFARIS
Although you can’t really improve on the game-viewing available at our National Parks you may prefer to visit one of the many private lodges where you will enjoy a far greater level of luxury, intimacy and personal service. Private Game Lodges are available for all budgets from moderate to luxury.
Hundreds of species of birds flit through our forests, bushveld and grasslands, their iridescent feathers catching the eye for a moment; small animals like the incredibly cute bushbaby, the curious meerkat and the ubiquitous dassie or rock hyrax are, perhaps, more interesting than the big guys.
The usual routine at a game lodge is to be woken pretty early. You will then have a quick early morning snack of coffee or tea and rusks (similar to biscotti), or perhaps muffins.
Then you bundle up against the chill, and head out in an open safari vehicle for the morning game drive, where you may or may not stop for more coffee.
Upon returning, you have a few minutes to freshen up, and then sit down for a slap-up brunch. In the heat of the day, when the animals are hiding in the shade, you can lounge around the pool, sleep, read or whatever.
Tea is served in the late afternoon and usually involves a lot more than a cup of tea. You then head out on the evening game drive.
At sunset, you will stop somewhere beautiful for sundowners and snacks. You return to camp in the dark, viewing nocturnal animals by spotlight. Once back at camp, you will be fed a huge, delicious dinner, probably around the campfire, and then it’s off to bed. (Unless you’d rather hang around the campfire and swap tall stories.)
Private game lodges offer the opportunity to participate in walking Safaris which is a amazing way( best description I can come up with) to experience the bush.
Also you can choose to stay in a Private Game Lodge that offers TENTED LODGING This is a ROMANTIC way to experience the Bush . Tented Safaris are available for those who prefer to experience Game viewing via Game Drives and then there are Safaris that focus on GAME WALKS in the Bush.
Some Private Lodges that offer Game Drives also offer mini walks after the morning Game Drives.
Botswana offfers an incredible variety of eco systems ie water and land activities, a swell as the great Elephant migration, as well as the huge Zebra migration.
The Big Five
Many visitors come here to see the big five, but there’s so much more. As well as the many birds and marine animals, the small animals like the incredibly cute bushbaby, the curious meerkat and the ubiquitous dassie or rock hyrax are, perhaps, more interesting than the big guys.
But, for the record, the big five are lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant.
Now this grouping is certainly not because they are the most interesting animals in the bush, or even the biggest, in which case we would have to include hippos and giraffes – and even eland are much bigger than leopards.
They’re certainly not the prettiest – and not even the most dangerous. They are simply the ones that tend to put up the most argument about being shot for trophy purposes.The buffalo, for instance, is a mostly placid beast that is most definitely not hard to find. But once you have wounded one all resemblance to Daisy the Cow is gone.
This otherwise almost somnambulant beast becomes one of the most dangerous animals in the bush and the one probably most feared by hunters.The reasons for including the rhino and elephant are pretty obvious, as they are hard to kill, being such enormous animals and they also (not surprisingly, actually) take great umbrage at being shot.
Lions – well – need we elucidate. Lions are pretty scary, which no-one would deny, and one would need to get pretty close to one to get in a killing shot so the chances of becoming the hunted instead of the hunter is quite good.
And as for those cute spotty leopards – firstly, they’re really hard to find and secondly, they can certainly do a serious amount of damage if they get in the first “shot”.
So, really, it is only the hunting fraternity that even considers these the most “interesting” animals but they certainly are wonderful to see. And if you do get a good look at a leopard, you’re pretty lucky. Both because of the rarity factor and the fact that they are just downright beautiful.
But there are other animals which should be higher on the list of must-sees.In some of our National parks you may get a good sighting of the very endangered and rare African wild dog.Cheetahs are quite easily seen in some parts of Kruger and they are beautiful. And then there are some nocturnal animals which are rarely seen, like the beautiful red lynx or caracal, and the very unusual and extremely seldom-seen aardvark.
So, if you miss out on one or two of the big five, don’t despair. Just concentrate on what you have seen.And look at your surroundings with wonder.Even the ubiquitous impala that you can see almost everywhere in Kruger is incredibly beautiful if you take the time to study its dainly legs and beautiful face, and watch the delicate grace with which it moves.
Your safari Guide
Your safari guide is the person that you will be spending all your time with…therefore read these hints, thoughts, below about your guide.All guides in Southern Africa are very well trained, have to pass extensive theoretical tests, national guide exams, and some of the camps themselves have further in house extensive training for the guides.
Further, there is even further specialized training to enable a guide to do walking safaris, be around the larger predators, etc.Therefore by the time you land at your camp, you have in your guide a well trained , educated individual who loves the bush, nature, and wildlife, and is committed tomtit.
The body of knowledge that these guides are truly amazing…at one camp in Botswana, I was on a game drive, with a local Botswana guide, where we had motivated birders on the jeep with us..this guide knew all the pages in the bird book…he could spot a bird flying, then name it, and then give the page number.….
You will be spending a lot of time with your guide, so get to know him….generally your guide will keep on talking, educating you, showing you…its up to you as to how much you want to absorb.
The more interaction, questions, discussion, humor, etc, the more you will benefit from your safari stay.Some people just want to see the large animals…and don’t care for information…
While every body wants to see the large predators, its not always easy to find them….there is lot more within the bush than the large predators, so do not see this as a failed experience if you don’t see them all, or just part of the Big 5…this is nature you are experiencing, on a Safari…nature within its real form…nothing made for our experience….the wildlife move, and you never know what may happen.
Remember when we go on Safari, we carry with us the amusement entertainment factor….our culture trains us to be amused, entertained at will ie television, movies, dvd’s….and we demand and receive instant responses ie ATM’s, fast food etc
In the bush, this does not happen….therefore, be open to what appears, what happens….you live at a different rhythm, in the bush, from the early morning wake up call, to driving around, relaxing around the camp, evening game drives, surrounded by nature, moving at its own pace, where it wants to, including your camp.
On Safari, we do not have the power, the control, Nature does….thats the beauty of the wild….we learn our place, in this system….and thus we can appreciate our safari, even more…..
Personally, the best use of your safari time is to get involved…you can then see a bigger picture of the African bush, will appreciate it more, and feel more part of it. which is, the reason you traveled all this way.
You may occasionally met a guide who is quieter….not very interactive…if you have questions, ask them,,its your safari trip.
Recently I was at a camp in Botswana…we were on a night drive..the game had moved to the outskirts, into the wilderness areas, beyond out driving range….we heard that there were lions further north, near a bush airstrip..we drove there to find nothing….so the guide took a different route back home..it was pitch black…the tracker sat on the front of the jeep, with a spot light, moving it from side to side to pick up nocturnal animals…
He glanced at the road, remember we were driving down a dirt road, it was dark, the only light form the spotlight and jeep headlights, it was bumpy, etc….he spotted fresh leopard tracks, and we tracked to find about 5 minutes later a male leopard. we stayed with it for about 30 minutes….that is amazing tracking
Point to be made…even when the game viewing is slim..you never know what will show up.
As well, please l remember that most of the Black guides, speak 2 or 4 languages, are not college trained, so you may not experience pure Scientific language, and their accent may be at times difficult to understand …but the level of love for the Bush,, the in depth knowledge , about the eco System you are in, that your Safari guides have, will amaze you….they are non stop with educational information……
What you want to tip is up to you, but usually $10 per person and up a day for the guides, a little less for the tracker, is normal for tipping.
However, what you want to give will be appreciated. Most camps have a separate box for camp staff tips, as its traditional to tip your guide separately from the camp staff.