South Africa’s unmatched diversity makes it one of the finest safari destinations on the continent. From the Cape of Good Hope, where penguins bask on the beach, to the Sabi Sand, where elephants and leopards roam free in the bush, South Africa is home to nine distinct biomes, an entire floral kingdom and 1,600 miles of coastline bordering two different oceans.
When is the best time to go?
Such habitat variation delivers differences in climate. Overall, South Africa is a year-round destination that can be rewarding at any time. Due to its position south of the Equator, South Africa experiences winter from May through September and summer from October through April. Rain comes to Cape Town in the winter, but like the majority of Southern Africa, most of the country receives rain in the summer months. Though days remain pleasant, some areas can get quite cold in the winter. Birding tends to be optimal in the summer, and due to an abundance of food, many wild animal babies are born during this season. If you are keen to see great white sharks or whales off the cape, the winter months are ideal. See our Best Time to Travel tool to research each month’s weather and to learn about wildlife sightings across various locations within the country.
Who should go on a South African safari?
South Africa’s variety of options makes it the ultimate destination for families, couples, solo travelers and groups.
Malaria-free regions such as the Eastern Cape, Madikwe, Southern Kalahari and Cape Town create the perfect family safari circuit. Many camps within these areas welcome children of all ages and offer unique activities specifically for kids. Some even feature private bush homes where a personal chef caters to special meal times and dietary requirements, and a dedicated guide and vehicle provides shorter, more child-appropriate wildlife drives. Click here to view our Exclusive South Africa Family Safari, featuring private bush homes from just $4195, or discover our Family Southern Africa in Style safari, featuring premier accommodations in family rooms from $4995.
Create an affordable, high-quality safari experience when you choose your own dates and map out a custom itinerary including safari camps and lodges that do not charge single supplements for solo travelers. Click here to learn more about a custom safari option for solo travelers.
What are some insider tips?
Secluded, oft-overlooked areas like Marataba Private Reserve—truly one of the most scenic safari destinations in Southern Africa—deliver intimate nature encounters and a peaceful lodging experience.
If you're traveling with a small group or family, always consider exclusive bush homes. Click here to see some of our favorites.
Don't limit yourself to just South Africa. Create the ultimate safari by combining our top seven highlights of Southern Africa into the trip of a lifetime.
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