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South Africa Travel Guide

South Africa

Overview

Parks & Reserves

Wildlife

Birds

Best Time To Visit

Weather & Climate

Popular Routes

Getting There

Malaria & Vaccinations

Safety

Overview – South Africa
south africa safari - bush2city
south africa travel map
Rates (USD)
$149 to $690 pp/day
Best Time To Go
All parks: May to September, Cape Town: November to March
High Season
October to March (Crowded during school holidays)
Size
1,221,037km² / 471,445mi²
Pros & Cons
Superb and conveniently accessible wildlife viewing parks
Safaris available for any budget, including self-drive, packaged, or custom options
A diverse range of habitats and scenery
Excellent service and a well-run tourist industry
Good infrastructure and shops
Limited wilderness charm and parks with fencing
Popular parks can get crowded
High crime rate in cities
Wildlife
Weather & Climate
Best Time To Visit
Premier Parks, Reserves & Wildlife Areas
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National Parks & Game Reserves – South Africa
All Parks & Reserves
Wildlife & Animals – South Africa
White Rhino
Black Rhino
Wildebeest
Zebra
Buffalo
Giraffe
Elephant
Lion
Leopard
Cheetah
Hyena
Wild Dog
Wildlife Highlights
Best Time for Wildlife Viewing
Recommended Wildlife Books
Stuarts’ Field Guide to Mammals of Southern Africa
Ideal for those whose travels are limited to southern Africa by Chris Stuart and Mathilde Stuart
Stuarts’ SA Mammals (app)
Travel light with this app based on ‘Stuarts’ Field Guide’ by Chris Stuart and Mathilde Stuart
The Kingdon Pocket Guide to African Mammals (book and app)
The comprehensive favorite of many repeat visitors to Africa by Jonathan Kingdon
KrugerExplorer (app)
Top Kruger companion illustrates every mammal recorded there by Explorer Apps
Tracker Manual: A Practical Guide to Animal Tracking in Southern Africa
Learn to track 160 species from their prints and other spoor by Alex van den Heever, Renias Mhlongo and Karel Benadie
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Wildlife Photos
Birds - South Africa

Notable Birds in South Africa

African penguin
common
Blue crane
common
Crested guineafowl
common
Mocking cliff chat
common
Pel’s fishing-owl
common
Best Time for Bird Watching
Recommended Birding Books
Roberts Bird Guide (2nd edition; book)
Superb field guide; one of South Africa’s all-time bestsellers by Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye
Roberts Bird Guide (2nd edition; app)
Even better than the book, with a wealth of additional info by Hugh Chittenden, Greg Davies and Ingrid Weiersbye
Sasol Birds of Southern Africa
Field guide rivaling ‘Roberts’ in quality by App available. Ian Sinclair et al.
KrugerExplorer (app)
Every bird recorded in Kruger, plus loads of other info by Explorer Apps
Pocket Guide: Birds of Southern Africa
Beginner’s guide focused on more common and striking birds by Ian Sinclair
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Facts & Figures

Bird Species

550+

Migratory Birds

Oct to Apr

Best Time To Visit – South Africa

Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Best Time - Kruger & Around
May to September (Best wildlife viewing)
High Seasons - Kruger & Around
High season: October to March (Crowded during school holidays)
Low Seasons - Kruger & Around
Low season: April to September (Uncrowded)
Best Weather - Kruger & Around
Best weather: April to May and September to October (Mild weather)
Worse Weather - Kruger & Around
June to August (Dry but cold)
Best Time - Cape Town & Around
November to March (Pleasant weather)
High Seasons - Cape Town & Around
October to March (It can be crowded, especially during school holidays)
Low Seasons - Cape Town & Around
April to September (Few visitors)
Best Weather - Cape Town & Around
November to March (Warm and little rainfall)
Worse Weather - Cape Town & Around
June to August (Cold and wet)
May to September – Dry Season – Winter
Kruger & Around - Wildlife is easier to spot due to the reduced vegetation and the animals gathering around rivers and waterholes
Kruger & Around - There is little to no rain, and most days are sunny
Kruger & Around - Few mosquitoes
Kruger & Around - It is the low season, so the parks are not crowded, except for Kruger during school holidays
Kruger & Around - It gets cold at night and in the mornings
Cape Town & Around - It's the low season, with few visitors around
Cape Town & Around - Despite it being the Wet season, there are many sunny days
Cape Town & Around - Wildlife viewing in the Cape Region parks is excellent year-round
Cape Town & Around - It is too cold for beach and general holiday activities
Cape Town & Around - Game drives in open vehicles can be bitterly cold
October to April Wet Season – Summer
Kruger & Around - After the initial rains, the landscape becomes lush and vibrant, giving everything a fresh appearance
Kruger & Around - Following the first rains, the land becomes lush and vibrant, lending a fresh look to everything
Kruger & Around - The rainfall typically consists of short afternoon showers that rarely disrupt your trip
Kruger & Around - Wildlife viewing can be challenging as the thick bush makes it harder to spot animals
Kruger & Around - December, January, and February are very hot, and the parks become crowded during the main school holidays in December
Cape Town & Around - The weather is pleasantly warm with minimal rainfall
Cape Town & Around - The optimal time to savor Cape Town and the Garden Route
Cape Town & Around - Wildlife watching in the parks of the Cape Region is rewarding year-round
Cape Town & Around - Game drives are less chilly
Cape Town & Around - The high season can be bustling
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Wildlife Photos
​Weather & Climate – South Africa
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Popular Routes – South Africa
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​Getting There – South Africa
Main Park Map
south africa travel map
Flights & Airlines to Botswana
Domestic Airlines & Flights in South Africa
Passport, Visa & Other Entry Requirements
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Malaria & Vaccinations – South Africa
Vaccinations
Malaria Risk
More Info
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Safari Tours to South Africa

$5127 to

$11424 pp (USD)

Kenya:

Private tour,

Luxury,

You Visit: Nairobi, Lake Naivasha, three days Masai Mara, three days Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & two days Amboseli.

$2840 to

$6527 pp (USD)

Tanzania:

Private tour,

Luxury,

You Visit: Arusha (Day 1), Tarangire NP, Lake Manyara NP, Two days Serengeti NP & Ngorongoro Crater: 24/7 Service – All Accommodations & Round trip airport transfer

$15729 to

$8976 pp (USD)

Kenya:

Private tour,

Luxury,

You Visit: Lake Manyara National Park, Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti National Park, Amboseli National Park, Ol Pejeta Conservancy & Masai Mara Game Reserve

Things to know before traveling to the destination

When is the best time to visit South Africa?

South Africa is a year-round destination, with the sunny summer season from November to February and the cooler, cozy months of autumn, winter, and spring offering seasonal festivals, inviting firesides, abundant wildlife, and vibrant blooms.

 

Can I go on a safari in South Africa with Wilderness?

While Bush 2 City Adventure doesn’t own camps within South Africa’s safari areas, we’ve established strategic partnerships with like-minded operators to offer our guests a seamless blend of thrilling bush adventures and vibrant city experiences.

 

What is included in a tour with Wilderness?

On a Bush 2 City Adventure tour, guests enjoy a private guide and vehicle, allowing for a tailor-made experience. Your guide can create a bespoke itinerary based on your preferences and interests, making your South African experience unique and unforgettable.

 

Is Cape Town good to visit in winter?

Cape Town has a Mediterranean climate, experiencing rain in winter. It’s geared for cool, wet weather, offering an escape from the northern hemisphere’s summer heat and peak tourist season. There are plenty of indoor activities to enjoy, and your guide can recommend the best places for wine-tasting museum visits, or dining based on your preferences.

 

Why do you need a guide in Cape Town?

Local guides are invaluable, offering insider information and ensuring you avoid overly touristy spots. They know the region well and can enrich your experiences with personal insights.

 

What type of tours can I do in Cape Town?

Bush 2 City Adventure offers a variety of tours, from exploring the Winelands to hiking the mountains, taking surfing lessons, kayaking amongst marine life, or cruising along the coast in a classic car. Each trip is bespoke and can be designed for any duration, including booking your entire stay, including a South African safari.

 

What time zone is South Africa in?

South Africa is in the Central Africa Time Zone (CAT), two hours ahead of Greenwich Mean Time (GMT) + 2 hours.

 

Which area is best for a safari in South Africa?

The Greater Kruger, bordering the Kruger National Park, is South Africa’s premier safari destination. Private reserves like the Sabi Sands and the Timbavati offer expertly guided safaris, luxury lodges, and fewer people and vehicles.

 

What language is spoken in South Africa?

South Africa has 11 official languages, with English widely spoken and several indigenous languages.

 

What is the largest safari area in South Africa?

The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s largest wildlife sanctuary, with nearly 2 million hectares of unrivaled wilderness.

 

What to wear on safari in South Africa?

Pack casual, comfortable clothing suitable for both hot and cold conditions. Wear muted colors to blend into your surroundings and bring a jacket or pashmina for early morning and evening game drives. Comfortable walking shoes, binoculars, sunshade, sunblock, and a sense of adventure are essential.

Is a visa required for travel to South Africa?

South Africa allows visa-free travel to all countries for up to 90 days. Ensure your passport is valid for at least six months beyond your departure date and has a minimum of three blank pages.

Do I need a yellow fever vaccination for travel to South Africa?

Travelers coming from yellow fever-infected areas must have a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate. We also recommend ensuring your TPD (tetanus, polio, diphtheria) and hepatitis A vaccines are up to date.

 

Is malaria present in South Africa?

Malaria is prevalent in certain regions of South Africa, such as north-eastern KwaZulu-Natal, parts of Mpumalanga, and Limpopo. Cape Town and the Eastern Cape are malaria-free. Please consult with your Travel Designer to determine if you should begin a course of medication, as some malaria prophylactics require pre-trip, during-trip, and post-trip dosing. Consult with your healthcare provider for the most suitable option for you.