These are the joys of going on safari in South Africa, where you have an excellent chance of spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant) in national parks and wildlife preserves across the country.
Kruger National Park is the prime game park, with 19,485 sq km (7523 sq mi) of bushveld, tropical forests, savannah and mountains teeming with more than 140 mammal species. Addo Elephant National Park in the Eastern Cape is the world’s first “Big 7” Conservation Area, home to the traditional Big 5, plus the unique marine additions of the great white shark and southern right whale.
Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park in KwaZulu-Natal is South Africa’s oldest game reserve. It was founded to conserve and repopulate Africa’s rhinos, so this park is hands down the best place in South Africa to see these one-horned, short-legged megafauna.
In all, South Africa has 19 national parks and countless private game reserves, each offering an unforgettable wildlife experience where no two days are ever the same.
Planning tip: Plan your trip from June to September for optimal wildlife viewing. Animals tend to gather at watering holes during these drier, cooler months.