Going on an African safari is, for many, a dream holiday and bucket list priority. Private safari lodges in South Africa offers wilderness adventures with supreme wildlife viewing mixed in with luxurious leisure in locations that most people would give anything to visit. Exclusive Getaways books custom-made safaris in South and Southern Africa and has done so for 28 years. We offer you a few tips to guide you if you’re a first-time safari guest in South Africa.

1. USE A REPUTABLE SAFARI SPECIALIST

At first glance online booking engines may seem the easiest option, but when booking your dream safari holiday, you’d be well advised to use a knowledgeable travel specialist. There are masses of safari options available – some specialized and others in line with the ‘typical’ offerings, and you stand to benefit greatly from the know-how of an experienced safari specialist who understands the multi-dimensional world of safari offerings and the relative merits and pitfalls of different choices. Mail us to get advice and recommendations.

safari tips south africa
This wildlife sighting is courtesy of Inyati Game Lodge in Sabi Sands, South Africa

2. GET ADVICE ABOUT TRANSFER ARRANGEMENTS

In general, vast distances need to be travelled to reach certain of the most pristine wilderness areas. Before booking safari accommodation, it is important to align your choice with the distance that you are willing and able to travel. You also need to decide whether to self-drive or make use of one of the many transfer services on offer. Distances of lodges, the nature and relative sophistication of driving routes, position of lodges to closest airports, and cost comparisons of different travelling and transfer options are all aspects to weigh up before making choices. Mail us for advice.

 
advice safaris south africa
Some lodges are particularly remote, and would require a large time allocation for transfer.

3. CONSIDER YOUR LOCATION OPTIONS

South Africa has a great many pristine wilderness areas where wildlife safaris can be enjoyed. Make use of a safari expert to advise you on suitable safari locations, depending on where else you would like to go in the country. Many international guests believe that Kruger National Park is the only safari option in the country. This is far from true. In fact, every province in the country has safari experiences to offer, but some are real hidden gems that fewer travellers know about. Mail us for suggestions.

safari tips south africa
For travellers on a self-drive trip who wish to see Cape Town, winelands and Garden Route, a bumper safari can be had in Eastern Cape – which is within reasonable driving distance of the Garden Route. Kariega Game Reserve is one of several excellent safari options in the malaria-free and scenic Eastern Cape.

4. KNOW ABOUT MALARIA RISK, IF ANY

Check whether the lodge you have selected falls within a malaria-risk region and if so, consult your health practitioner about protecting yourself adequately. If you are travelling to a malaria-risk area. do use mosquito repellents, nets, coils, fans and air-conditioners. Keep windows and doors closed, and wear long trousers, long sleeves, socks and shoes in the early mornings and in the evenings when mosquitoes are most active.

If you would feel more at ease going on safari in a no-risk or low-risk area, consider Madikwe Game Reserve, Pilanesberg National Park, Waterberg region and the Cape. Here we suggest some excellent malaria-free safaris in South Africa.

advice safaris south africa
A herd of buffalo on an African safari

5. BOOK WELL IN ADVANCE

Finding space at safari lodges in peak periods can be challenging if you do not allow sufficient time. The ideal, as far as possible, is to book a dream safari well in advance. A year in advance is not too long to ensure that you find space at the lodges that appeal to you most and are likely to best meet your needs. That said, however, Exclusive Getaways is very good at finding space when accommodation is at a premium, should you find yourself needing to book a safari last minute. And on that note, we may also be able to find you attractive last-minute deals. Mail us.

safari tips south africa
A leopard sighting with guides at Shumbala Game Lodge, situated in South Africa’s Thornybush Game Reserve

6. KNOW ABOUT NON-PEAK SEASON RATES

Many private safari lodges drop their rates quite significantly during South Africa’s winter. As far as wildlife viewing goes, our winter is really not a bad time at all to go on safari in the northern areas of the country. Wildlife sightings can be prolific because vegetation is more scrubby at this time of year. (Winter woollies are essential for winter safari drives!)

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Lion sighting in Londolozi Private Game Reserve in Sabi Sands, South Africa

7. TRAVELLING WITH CHILDREN

Many safari lodges in South Africa make outstanding provision for family safaris and offer superb children’s programmes. Ask us about family-friendly safari lodges with suitable accommodation configurations for your family, and activities that are specifically tailored for children. Please note that in general, children under 6 are not permitted on game drives, for safety reasons. Some lodges do, however, offer mini drives for the young ones. If you would like complete privacy for your family safari, we could recommend suitable sole-use lodges.

safari tips south africa
Here, children are fascinated by what they see at Lalibela Game Reserve in Eastern Cape.

8. GET YOUR SPECIFIC NEEDS MET

Perhaps you’re a photographer who wants to go to a safari lodge where you can process your images on site, or borrow specialized equipment. You could be a traveller for whom fitness is a daily non-negotiable, and you’d want to be sure there is a well-equipped fitness centre on site. You could be a guest with mobility challenges, who needs mobility-enabled facilities. Perhaps you have very specific dietary requirements or health concerns, which need to be carefully handled. You may like to go somewhere where you can participate directly in conservation projects. Please ask us for advice to ensure that you stay at the right lodge for your needs and preferences. 

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One of the private game reserves in South Africa specializing in photographic safaris is MalaMala

CONTACT US

Mail us for help to plan a truly great safari holiday in South Africa. You are also welcome to call us on +27 21 797-7122.