Southern Africa is filled with wonderful places to visit. It is best known for it’s wildlife safari parks, but so much of the region has such sheer beauty to behold. I want to work with you to plan the best trip you can have and to do it within your budget.
South African National Park destinations
Kruger National Park
Let me focus a moment on The Kruger. If you’ve never been on safari before, I will suggest the world-renowned Kruger National Park for your safari adventure. It offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 20,000 (Connecticut is 14,000) square kilometers is unrivaled in the diversity of its life forms and a world leader in advanced environmental management techniques and policies. Truly the flagship of the South African National Parks, Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals. Kruger has 12 main rest camps and 9 smaller bush camps. It offers camping and huts and safari tents with communal ablutions. The most common accommodation is the en suite bungalow for 2 or 3 people, and many of these have kitchenettes. We will probably stay in one of the main rest camps which may have 50 to 100 bungalows that are heated or cooled, they have a bathroom, and many have a small kitchen. When not out on a game drive, you can sit on the veranda and see dozens of bird species. At night, you may encounter a honey badger, genet, or African Wildcat checking out the grounds for food, but, it is a no no to feed them. There is usually a restaurant in the camps, and always a camp store. How about a swim? We’ll stay in a camp that is surrounded by routes wonderfully rich in wildlife diversity. As soon as we pass through the camp gate, the game drive begins. Best of all the accommodation cost of Kruger is incredibly affordable. I can’t encourage you enough to plan well in advance, especially for high tourist seasons and dates. Wonders can happen, and on the rare occasion, I can get accommodation at the last minute. Go figure. But don’t count on it.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
This is another of my favorite places, and I regret not going there as often as I want. Did you ever see Meerkat Manor? Well, this is the area. To afford the time to visit the Kalahari, you should plan on at least 10 nights with 6 inside Kruger, for instance. The Kalahari is where the red dunes and scrub fade into infinity. Where herds of gemsbok, springbok, eland, and blue wildebeest follow the seasons. Where camelthorn trees give shade for huge black-mane lions and vantage points for leopard and many raptors… this is the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park. Technically, the Kalahari is not a desert, but a semi-desert savannah. In reality, it is a mystical place! A land of enchantment; a wonderful state of mind. For you, it will be the experience of a lifetime: a journey to the land of the Kalahari black-maned lion, the regal Gemsbok, the diminutive Meerkat; a journey to the land of the Bushman. The Kalahari is an immense desert eco-system covering large parts of South Africa, Namibia, and Botswana. The sky is azure blue, the sand iron red. As you travel this magical land, you will become part of the seemingly endless dunes, some just windswept sand others grass-covered. You’ll wonder about the camelthorn trees in the dry river beds, knowing that they are hundreds of years old. You will be with nature when viewing the weaver birds around their massive haystack nests. Herds of springbok and blue wildebeests become as common as the sand. …and, on occasion, you will be witness to the incredible speed of the cheetah. You will not see the numbers and varieties of animals that you will find in Kruger, but you will never feel cheated after experiencing the beauty of the land. You will find wildebeest, hartebeest, warthog, duiker, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu, to name a few. And you will find predators such as lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena (brown and spotted), caracal, African wildcat (this cute little kitty may look sort of like a house cat, but don’t pet it!). More? How about 0ver 200 species of birds? Oh, how I want to be there right now!
- Addo Elephant National Park
- Garden Route National Park
- Golden Gate Highlands National Park
- Karoo National Park
- KgalagadiTransfrontier Park
- Kruger National Park
- Mapungubwe National Park
- Marakele National Park
- Mokala National Park
- Mountain Zebra National Park
- Namaqua National Park
KZN or KwaZulu Natal
Provence, South Africa
- Hluhluwe Game Reserve
- iMfolozi – Mpila
- Ithala Park
KZN Beaches and diving
- Kosi Bay
- St Lucia
- Central Kalahari Game Reserve
- Moremi Game Reserve
- Giant’s Castle
- Bushmans Neck
Botswana National Parks
- Chobe National Park
- Makgadikgadi/Nxai Pans National Park
- KgalagadiTransfrontier Park
How about Namibia? Etosha National Park
This is one of the great wildlife reserves on earth with herds of elephant, black-maned lions and the worlds largest population of rare black rhinos. Etosha National Park is a vast area that is home to 114 large and small animal species and 340 bird species. No trip to Namibia is complete without a visit to Etosha. The Reserve owes its unique landscape to the Etosha Pan, a vast shallow depression of approximately 1,930 square miles which forms the heart of the park.
The many waterholes along the southern rim of the pan give rewarding and often spectacular game views. In wet years, the pan fills with water draining southwards from Angola via a delta-like system of shallow rivers and oshanas, drying out in the winter to become an austere expanse of white cracked mud, shimmering with mirages and upward-spiraling dust devils. Seeing vast herds of game against this eerie backdrop makes the Etosha game-viewing experience unique. Of the 114 mammals species found in the park, several are rare and endangered. Etosha’s current population of black rhino represents one of the largest growing populations of black rhino in the world. Other large mammals in the park include elephant, giraffe, blue wildebeest, mountain and plains zebra, hyena and lion. Cheetah and leopard complete the trio of big cats.
Towering dunes, shimmering pans and an endless sea of sand, this is Sossusvlei. Sossusvlei means the gathering place of water though seldom will you find water here. Instead you’ll find the highest sand dunes in the world and perhaps Namibia’s most outstanding scenic attraction. These dunes, part of the Namib Desert, have developed over a period of millions of years. Climbing up one of these dunes provides breathtaking views of the whole area, including Deadvlei, a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay.
The best time to view Sossusvlei is close to sunrise and sunset when the dunes refract spectacular colors, ranging from burnt orange, red and deep mauve. These gigantic star-shaped mountains of sand are a prized destination for artists and photographers. The warm tints of the sand contrast vividly with the dazzling white surfaces of the large deflationary clay pans at their bases.
Would you be interested in a long-term overland photo safari?
Five, six, seven, eight weeks? I’d love it and would give you a special price!