Keen to see wildlife in South Africa – we break down the different options

One of our favourite local getaways is a wildlife excursion or as foreign tourists would say, “a safari”. Now there are a few different options when going wildlife viewing in South Africa and I thought I would break it down for you. You can choose one of the following:

  • Stay in a South African National Park
  • Book at any resort or hotel situated close to a national park and do a day visit
  • Stay at a private game lodge

In this blog we highlight the different options. Subscribe for more and dont miss out on the detail in our upcoming blogs.

1. South African National Parks

South African National Parks offer different types of accomodation, e.g. campsites, rest camps, chalets, and even houses. Check out the San Parks properties that offer game viewing, like the Kruger National Park as an example.

If you decide to stay in a South African National Park, you can either self – drive or go on a scheduled game drive. Please note only some parks offer this service.

The roads are tarred in the popular national parks like the Kruger, but best to confirm and ask around before visiting a park where it may be uncomfortable driving in a sedan.

National Parks offer a variety of activities, and so each one has a range of restaurants, coffee shops and grocers. Often families carry their own food as well, as most properties have braai facilities, and kitchenettes.

The cost depends on the type of accomodation. To book go to

Travel tip – On Heritage Day every year, South African National Parks offer free entry.

2. Staying in a resort or hotel outside a National Park

There are pros and cons to staying outside a national park and doing a day visit or two. Here’s what you need to know:

  • If you are day visitor to a popular national park during peak periods, expect queues at the entrance as soon as it opens.
  • The park has specific opening times, and these change depending on the season. This means you can only enter and exit the park during these times.
  • Get a park map so you have an idea of where you going and try plan your route ahead of time.
  • There are rules in the park and if you game viewing often you not allowed to get off your vehicle unless you are in a rest camp.
  • If you are self-driving, pack some padkos, and don’t forget your binoculars and camera’s.
  • Staying outside the park does mean you have more flexibility and can explore other places nearby, and go out in the evenings.

3. Book at a private game lodge in a game reserve

Booking a chalet, lodge or tented camp in a private game reserve is a spoil but of course it comes at a price – starting at approx R1700 per person sharing per night. These go up to R100,000’s just so you don’t get an absolute shock.

All meals, 2 game drives per day, accomodation and drinks are generally included. You are waited on hand and foot. These game lodges have world-class chefs, and generally 5-star accomodation. Most have spa’s and pools on site as well. Please note tips and gratuities are expected and not included.

What do we recommend?

We’ve actually tried all of the above, and I think you should do the same. This was you get to experience it all and decide which one you most comfortable with, and you able to manage your budget. It is an amazing experience either way!

More about booking a bush break at a private game lodge up next.

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