Tuesday 21 August 2018

Connect with your wild side on a South African safari

Rachael Taylor Fawsitt

There are lots of reasons why going on safari is a fantastic idea, from encountering an exciting mix of wildlife and scenery, to being great value for money.

A safari can be an enjoyable trip for the whole family, or it can be an adventure for solo travellers.  It’s a chance to really get to know the mighty African continent and its wonderful creatures.

South Africa has long been the destination of choice for those looking to connect with their wild side. From visiting the elephants in the Eastern Cape to the grasslands and forest of the Madikwe Game Reserve. A South African safari is by far one of the most exceptional travel experiences you can have.

Eastern Cape Reserves

If you are planning to do the Garden Route to Cape Town, then starting your journey at an Eastern Cape Reserve is an ideal way to make the most of your time in South Africa. With lots of game reserves along the route, you will be spoilt for choice.

The Addo Elephant Park, which is close to Port Elizabeth, offers everything from five-star accommodation to a backpacker experience. With over 600 gentle elephants, this national park is a must visit for animal lovers.

The Sibuya Game Reserve offers a range of charming lodging options. You can stay in a luxury tent in the forest or by the riverside and enjoy a cosy fireplace at night. During the day, the reserve is home to many of South Africa’s finest creatures, both on land, in the river and in the air!

Visiting the Amakhala Game Reserve means you are guaranteed to tick all the safari boxes. Get to see ‘The Big Five’ (the lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros) up close and under the expert supervision of the reserve’s experienced guides.

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Kruger National Park

Further north of the country is the iconic Kruger National Park. With daily flights from Johannesburg to Skukuza Airport (which is located inside the park itself), this is one of the most accessible parks in Africa. You can also fly into Hoedspruit Airport and Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport as well.

Kruger National Park is a popular destination for wildlife watchers. Covering almost 20,000 square kilometres of stunning South African land, the park has a high density of wild animals.

If you feel like stepping away from the crowds, and having a more intimate safari experience, then you can visit one of the private reserves which surround the park. There are no fences between any of these spaces so you will get to see an array of stunning creatures, regardless of where you choose to spend your visit.

Madikwe

The Madikwe Game Reserve is just a four-hour car journey from Johannesburg airport. This reserve is the perfect place for some family bonding time, and to escape the hustle and bustle of life back home. It’s very family-friendly and even hosts extra activities for kiddies to enjoy during their stay.

There are lots of different types of accommodation options on offer, one of the most impressive being the Luxury Family Villa, which comes with its own private swimming pool.

The main lodge at the Motswiri Private Safari lodge overlooks a busy waterhole which is frequented by the big game in the area. Simply step outside to see some of the animals you have come to visit, right on your doorstep.

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Hluhluwe-Imfolzi National Park

The Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park is the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa, officially opening in 1985. The park is steeped in history and still holds many signs of the Stone Age within. The park was also originally a royal hunting ground for the Zulu kingdom.

Today the park has the largest population of white rhinos in the world, and is working hard on its conservation efforts.

As well as the big five, you will also find cheetahs and wild dogs. Visit the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi National Park and get to witness some of the planet’s most spectacular animals roam freely across the backdrop of a stunning landscape.

So, whether you do a quick day trip, or check in to one of the luxury resorts for some deep relaxation, the perfect South African safari awaits. Rest assured that each of the safaris mentioned above are malaria-free and that you will be guided by some of the country’s most knowledgeable wildlife professionals. Not to mention the fact that visiting a reserve means that you’re also helping to support nature conservation and wildlife rehabilitation.

Fly to Johannesburg from Dublin via Istanbul with Turkish Airlines from €440.

Sponsored by: South Africa Tourism

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