Each year, more than 6.5 million tourists from all over the world pack their suitcases in South Africa to discover its rich historical heritage and explore its countless reserves and natural parks. The safaris in South Africa, through the contrasting landscapes of South African territory are very acclaimed, but for lack of organization, many come back disappointed.
This is precisely why we have prepared this little guide: to avoid some annoyances and to help you prepare the ideal South Africa Safari…
The prerequisites for a South Africa safari
Like everywhere else, laws, regulations and standards govern the conditions of entry on South African soil. Every foreigner who wishes to stay in South Africa must thus know and respect them.
Travelers must have valid passports and a ticket for an international return flight. Nationals of Canada, France, Belgium and Switzerland do not need to apply for a VISA for a stay of less than 90 days. Other countries in the African continent, namely Lesotho, Botswana and Swaziland, also benefit from this exemption.
For minor children in particular, a birth certificate is required. Depending on the case (unaccompanied minor child, single parent with a child, non-biological parent with a minor child, etc.), other documents may be claimed by the authorities. The easiest way is to get information from the consulate or embassy in your country.
Sanitary precautions to be taken
South Africa is one of the safest countries on the continent on the infectious level and in general the health risks are low. If getting vaccinated is not obligatory, it is recommended that a “universal” vaccine (diphtheria, tetanus, polio, pertussis, hepatitis B) be taken as a precaution.
The only disease to be truly feared is malaria, especially if your itinerary includes a passage in a risk area. Preventive measures are available, however: preventative treatments for the Maarone or doxycycline, and protection against mosquitoes (long-sleeved garments, repellents, etc.) once they are in place. In any case, remember to take out an updated health card.
Some details to know
Those who opt for a safari in South Africa certainly expect to travel the majestic landscapes of the country to see very closely the fauna. A company that is impossible without the use of a local guide knowing the places like his pocket. Indeed, in the interests of those who advocate travel 100% freedom, a safari on South African soil is dotted with pitfalls to which an unwise traveller cannot adorn.
Between the secondary roads, the winding tracks, an immense territory where it is easy to get lost, and the ferocious animals, the danger is latent. In other words, simply being caught by the unknown is not the best idea. For your safety, contact a local guide or better, entrust the organization of the trip to a specialized agency like Planet Ride.
Safari Program in South Africa: What to put in his suitcase?
The Safari in South Africa is an expedition where the speed, the heat, the wind, the rain, the mud, the sand, or even the mosquitoes… are an integral part of the adventure. In other words, to ensure that the journey does not become a torment, it is necessary to take with you the adapted keychain.
Clothing needed for a 4×4 trip to South Africa
T-shirts, linen shirts and swimsuits are essential when traveling to South Africa, as the afternoons are particularly hot. To protect yourself from the sun, be sure to bring a large headgear or cap. The ideal is to opt for one of safari hats or bush hats to mosquito nets, because the mosquitoes are of day and night travel.
Do not neglect the warm clothes, because contrary to the ideas received, the temperature cools abruptly after sundown, until the early morning. Scarf and wool or fleece sweater are therefore put. On the other hand, knowing that safaris are punctuated by walking processes, walking shoes are highly recommended. In addition, showers can surprise you while hiking so, consider taking your rain jacket.
Accessories and Useful Products
It may not be necessary to recall it, but tissues or wipes should be included in the list of things to take away all the time with you, because dust and perspiration seldom make good housekeeping. And yet these two elements will indeed be at the rendezvous throughout a South Africa safari. Plus, you’ll need sunscreen to avoid nasty sunburn; South Africa is particularly famous for its radiant sunshine!
Also think about inserting a lip balm tube and a moisturizer in your toilet kit to prevent cold blows, because as you know, the freshness dries out the skin. All this, in addition to your usual medications, if you follow a particular treatment. Finally, needless to remind you not to forget the camera, the camcorder, the binoculars and of course, a water bottle for your outings.
What to see? What should I do? What to visit during a South Africa safari?
It should be known that a safari stay in South Africa is not only synonymous with “Jeep ride through the savannahs chasing the Rhinos”. It would be too simplistic a definition, because South African lands promise much more: unforgettable encounters, fascinating secular traditions to discover, and an atypical gastronomy, but no less tasty to feast your palate …
What you need to know about South African cuisine and beverages
Those who like to combine unpublished adventures and taste discoveries will have no trouble sealing their gluttony during a safari in South Africa. For cause, South African culinary art is a happy marriage of several French influences to the various influences from Holland, France, Africa (Khoi, Xhosa, Zulus, Basotho), Indian, British or even Malaysian… Of course, the country has specialties of its own. Examples are barbecues of all kinds or braai in Afrikaans. Corn, game, beef, sausage…, everything can be consumed in grilling in South Africa and specialties vary from one village to another.
On the drinks side, it’s hard not to mention the artisanal beer, which has become a must in this country where small and large breweries grow like mushrooms. Among the best-known labels are Hansa Pilsener, Carling Black label, Castle Lager or Milk Stout. And if you are not a beer lover, local liqueurs such as the Amarula and the Black Sambuca, as well as the very famous wines from the Cape Vineyards are excellent alternatives. Red or white, the quality of the wines of South Africa is no longer to argue…
A destination suitable for low budget travelers
If the restoration is a non-negligible expense item in the travel budget, adventurers who opt for a safari in South Africa can reassure themselves. In towns and villages you can easily find small restaurants that offer dishes from 2 to 5 euros. And even for dishes a little more worked in restaurant “specialized” (pizzeria, Fish, grill) you will never pay more than 10 euros.
However, this does not preclude the presence of starry restaurants or tables of hosts serving fine gastronomy for those who can afford it. Of course, if you travel with an agency, it is the latter who will take care of the reservations for meals and in principle, it will ensure that you can go around the horizon by alternating high gastronomy and traditional dishes.
Other expenses to be foreseen
Even if you are participating in an organized trip for your safari trip to South Africa, you should plan a budget for the contingencies and “just in case”. The reason is simple, the majority of tour operators Grant one or more free neighborhoods during the circuit in order to allow travelers to explore the cities of stages at their own pace and manners.
And it would be a pity to miss a museum, a charming neighbourhood or a souvenir shop for pecuniary reasons, would it not? Count around 10 euros the entrance ticket of a museum, an animal reserve or even an aquarium, for example. If atypical getaways like diving with sharks, visiting a slum (township) or a parachute jump in Cape Town tempt you, put between 40 and 100 euros aside.
Kruger Park Safaris and other reserves in South Africa
Unlike public reserves managed by the state where everyone can access freely when they buy an entry, private reserves are a little more selective by proposing various and varied formulas.
Private reserves or public reserves?
Those who choose private reserves do so mainly for the “exclusive” side of these establishments where few vehicles circulate. In other words, we can observe the animals in peace, away from the crowd and progress in the heart of the natural spaces more freely. Night and foot safaris, off-piste tours, photo shoots and animal tracking in perspective! And it’s not to mention the accommodation features as comfortable as chic. It goes without saying that all this has a price, not to say expensive.
But the public reserves are nonetheless sympathetic. On the contrary, in addition to being accessible to the tightest budget, the many comings and goings create a more spontaneous and more stimulating atmosphere, which unwittingly urges visitors to play trappers: accompanied by their guide each group Goes in search of animals and rivals almost to cover as much distance as possible or bring back the most beautiful photos of safaris…
Inescapable safaris in South Africa
With an area of more than 1.2 million square kilometers, the South African territory does not lack ideas of routes to try. From the mountain ranges of the Drakensberg, to the desert regions of the Karoo, to the lush vegetation of the banks of the Orange River and its waterfalls…, the treasures to conquer are many, but it takes time to go around. If you miss them, there are a few must-haves to chain one after the other.
To the northeast, Kruger National Park will allow you, for example, to contemplate an impressive diversity of animals including the famous “Big Five” (Buffalo, elephants, rhinos, lions and leopards), giraffes and cheetahs… you might as well say that a safari Kruger Park Don’t forget! The parks Limpopo, Madikwe, Pilannesberg, Tswalu in the north-west of the country also offer a lot of beautiful wildlife and floristic curiosities. As far as the central and southern regions are concerned, KwaZulu-Natal is the place-to-be for those who wish to immerse themselves in the ancestral customs of the Zulu people. The City of Cape Town is a true cultural and natural setting with its botanical gardens and rock sites.
In private reserves, rates per night and person including meals and safaris range from 2000 to 20 000 rand. Prices in public reserves, excluding meals and safaris, adjacent the 1000 rands. To alleviate costs, prefer accommodation outside the parks in order to pay only the entrance tickets.
Finally, be sure to always keep a great distance with wild animals, and stay close to your guide, at the risk of seeing your car damaged by an elephant or being stalked by a predator. By staying far enough, you will be able to see the danger arrive and think of a parade.
If you want to fly to South Africa and discover with your own eyes the fauna and flora that hides there, do not hesitate!