South Africa’s big 5 safari destinations

If there’s one thing South Africa is famous for, it’s the high standard of its game reserves. There’s over 700 publically owned reserves and 19 national parks- and that’s all without the private reserves included! This makes it a little difficult to know where to start, so here’s Go Touch Down Travel and Tours’ guide to the top 5 safari venues in South Africa.

Addo Elephant National Park

Don’t be put off by the name- this park isn’t just about the ellies! Lying only an hour from Port Elizabeth, this is a great reserve to add to a coastal holiday. Established to save the 11 elephants remaining in the area in 1931, it’s now the third largest park in the country. With boundaries stretching from the Karoo to Darlington Dam, scenery through the park shifts from grassland to riverine to mountain, bringing you a spectacular diversity of wildlife. A marine reserve is incorporated into the park, too, and iconic species including the African penguin as well as opportunities to spot whales during migration season. Elephants, hyena, black rhino, buck, zebra and the secretary bird all add to the wonder of the park, and make it a can’t-miss addition to the top 5 safari venues in South Africa.

Kruger National Park

Of course the Kruger was going to make the list! The most popular safari park in Southern Africa, the Kruger earned its iconic status for a reason. Sprawling over 2 million hectares, the park offers the Big 5 alongside a wealth of African animals it’s impossible to comprehend. Lush and wooded towards the south, and dry at the center and northern border, this remarkable park is in a class of its own. There’s nothing quite like the Kruger, and it simply has to be on your safari bucket list.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

As the name suggests, this park sprawls the border between South Africa and Botswana, covering over 3.6 million hectares of land. You will go through immigration control within the park, but the animals have no such boundaries and are free to migrate with the precious rains. Imagine thorn trees sprawled low over shifting red dunes, and spectacular sunsets painting the horizon in colours…that’s what awaits at Kgalagadi. This is a dry land, with no flowing rivers, and home to prides of black maned lion, cheetah and leopard as well as spectacular raptor birdlife.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Park

Welcome to Africa’s oldest natural park, home to the largest remaining white rhino population in the world. It’s easily accessible from Durban, and offers the Big 5 to eager visitors. A slight hilly tilt to the terrain makes for the perfect perch to spot wildlife, and the park offers some rare buck species like nyala and red duiker, as well as a constantly shifting environment that will take you from forest to grassland in one sweep.

Mapungubwe National Park

Add some history to your game viewing at this, South Africa’s newest addition to the list of national parks. Easy to access from far-flung Limpopo, the area has a truly unique, extraordinary history for you to explore. Walk back in time on Mapungubwe hill, learn more about the singular civilization that flourished here, and marvel at the mopane woodlands and sandstone formations that surround you.

South Africa’s extraordinary wealth of wildlife means there is an abundance of fine safari parks to explore, but these are Go Touch Down Travel and Tour’s top 5 safari venues in Southern Africa for their uniqueness, character and wildlife offerings.