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Updated by Vishal Subramanyan on Mar 06, 2016
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Best Safari Destinations in South Africa

Everybody loves to go to South Africa, for its fine cities, beautiful scenery, and great beaches. But they also love to combine their South African Holiday with a safari. Here are the best safari destinations in South Africa.


Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park, South Africa

Kruger National Park is South Africa's flagship park. It is very famous and gets tons of visitors every year. It is a very accessible park with cheap costs, making many visitors flock there every year. But even though it has easy accessibility, it does not mean game sightings are less.

Cheetah are unfortunately in low number n Kruger and though sightings occur daily, you should not expect to see one on your safari. Your best chances will occur on the H7 road in central Kruger and the S28 road in southern Kruger near Croc bridge and Lower Sabie

Leopards are very numerous in Kruger. The H12, H1-2, and H4-1 roads are called the leopard triangle because they have the largest density of leopards on the planet. If you stay 3 days, you have a very good chance of seeing leopards. Your best sightings will occur on the H4-1 from Skukuza to Lower Sabie. You can also have leopard sightings in the central area near Tamboti on the H7. Also try the S28 Nhlowa road between Croc Bridge and Lower Sabie.

Lions are present and in large numbers in Kruger. They form large prides, and people have daily sightings. If you stay two days, you will probably spot them. In the central region around Satara, the lions have been known to form prides of 30+ lions. The pride is called the S100 mega pride. As said in the pride's name, this monster pride can be found the S100 road near Satara. Lions are also numerous in the southern parts of Kruger around the H4-1 near Lower Sabie and Skukuza.

Wild dogs are present in Kruger but sightings are not too common. They are endangered everywhere and Kruger is one of their last strongholds. But since the numbers aren't sky-rocketing and the dogs do not den in accessible places, you cannot expect wild dog sightings. If you want to see some drive the roads near Skukuza, especially the S1. The H7 in central Kruger is also very good. Dog sightings are best from Let Sep to early May when they are travelling with their pups.

Kuger has a tremendous diversity of wildlife. It has thousands of species of mammals and birds, and is considered by pretty much everyone the most diverse park for wildlife in the entire Africa. Kruger has a large population of rhino and all the big 5, and sometimes all the big 5 are spotted on a single day. Kruger is also the cheapest and most accessible safari park in Africa, but because of this, it can become a crowded at predator sightings like leopard and lion.


Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

Sabi Sands Game Reserve, South Africa

If there is one place you have to go to see leopards, Sabi Sands Game Reserve in South Africa is the place. Sabi Sands is a reserve bordering Kruger National Park. It contains a large amount of private luxury lodges. The reason Sabi Sands is so good for leopoard sightings is the habituation of leopards. They are extremely used to vehicles, so you will have up close sightings of leopards hunting and mating. It also one of the very few places where you can see leopard cubs in the wild. In some of the lodges, leopard sightings are almost guaranteed on every game drive. There have been reports of up to 13 different leopards in 4 days in Sabi Sands, and up to 8 individuals on one three hour game drive

Other than leopards, Sabi Sands is a big 5 reserve, meaning if you stay at least 2 days, you are virtually confirmed to spot all the big 5. Wild dogs are in high numbers and often den close to the camps. But since they cover large areas, they often leave the traversing areas of some camps. Cheetah are rare like in Kruger National Park, but they are frequently spotted in Londolozi lodge.

The best lodges to see leopards and other wildlife are Mala Mala and Londolozi, though all lodges can give you very good leopard sightings. Pricing averages around $700-$1000 a night for the high end and best lodges. Rates are around $350-700$ a night for the less luxurious lodges.


Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, South Africa

The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a massive park located in the Kalahari Desert. It is located in Botswana and South Africa(only talking about the South Africa side). The Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park has two main highlights; watching cheetahs hunting on the Auob Riverbed and watching the magnificent and majestic black-maned Kalahari lion.

Cheetahs are very abundant on the Auob riverbed Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. Many claim this area to be the best place in the world to see cheetah to take down prey. During the springbok lambing season, people have reported multiple sightings a day including 3-5 hunts of springbok in a single day. Outside of the lambing season, cheetahs are still spotted very frequently, and many people spot them every day outside of the lambing season. You can also see hunts outside of the lambing season. here are several cheetah on the riverbed with lots of cubs. Some can be far, but lots of the sightings are up-close and personal.

the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park has the magnificent , beautiful, and famous Kalahari black-maned lions. The lions that live in Kgalagadi and other areas of the Kalahari are bigger than most other lions and have huge black manes. The manes are very beautiful and many wildlife enthusiasts got to the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park just to see this emblem of the wild.

Other than lions and cheetah, Kgalagadi has leopards, mainly around Urikaruus and Grootkolk. They are fairly low in number and you do not have a very high chance of seeing them. There are also tons of raptors in Kgalagadi, and many go there just to see these raptors.


Phinda Game Reserve

Phinda Game Reserve

Phinda Game Reserve is a private game reserve located in KwaZulu-Natal. it is one of South Africa's premiere safari destinations due to its abundant game and predators and close proximity to one of South Africa's biggest cities; Durban. But the main highlight in this beautiful reserve is the large population of the elegant and graceful cheetah.

Many consider Phinda to be the best reserve in South Africa to see cheetah, its only competitor being Kgalagadi. Phinda is very consistent when it comes to cheetah sightings. There are quite a few mothers with cubs and males in this small reserve. Many people have reported sightings of cheetahs on every game drive in Phinda Private Game Reserve.

Lions are also very common in Phinda and they are pretty much daily occurrences. Some people have spotted them on every game drive. There is a good population of leopards in Phinda, but they are pretty skittish unlike cheetahs or lions. It is hard to spot them and when you do, it is brief. Phinda also has lots of rhino.


Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve is one of South Africa's most famous and best game reserves. It is located near Sun city. The area has a large diversity of animals but the main reason to come to Madikwe Game Reserve is to spot the elusive wild dog.

Madikwe is a small game reserve with a very large population of wild dogs, making them very easy to spot. They hunt and en near camps. Since Madikwe is fenced, the dogs do not cover tremendous areas which means higher densities. People have reported dog sightings daily including sightings of hunts and the incredibly cute pups. Many consider Madikwe to be the best place in South Africa to see wild dog, and some consider it to be the best in the world.

Cheetahs are fairly common in Madikwe and many people have reported daily sightings. leopard sightings are occasional, not as abundant as Sabi Sands. Madikwe also has a good population of the endangered back rhino.