South Africa is well known for its fascinating wildlife. Most popular is the Big Five - which includes the Buffalo, Elephant, Lion, Leopard and Rhino. These animals are not part of the Big Five due to their size but because they were considered the most dangerous animals to hunt. In modern times the most thrilling way of "shooting" these animals is through photographing them in their natural habitat. Nothing is as exhilarating as watching a pride of lions on the hunt, as special as spotting a leopard with its kill in a tree or as surprising as watching a large herd of elephants appear out of nowhere.
South Africa is truly blessed to be home to over twenty National Parks and numerous game reserves where wildlife can be viewed. Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces are home to the world renowned Kruger National Park - a must for first time visitors. The Park offers a variety of rest camps with camping and mid range accommodation offerings. Most of the rest camps also have restaurants and other facilities (such as petrol stations, a swimming pool and curio shop) and offer services like guided game drives or bush walks which need to be pre-booked. Keep in mind that the Kruger is a very popular destination so it is always a good idea to book well in advance.
For the more concerning safari guest there is a selection of private game reserves in both Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces which offer upmarket, luxury accommodation combined with guided game activities and delectable meals. Being in the company of a experienced guide and tracker is a great way of ensuring you make the most of your safari experience as often their trained eyes are able to spot so much more then you would on your own.
Game viewing is not just limited to the north of the country, there are some unique and amazing national parks and game reserves to be found in Kwa-Zulu Natal's Hluhluwe area as well as at the Eastern Cape's Addo Elephant National Park and in the Western Cape.
Once you have enjoyed the Big Five on land why not learn more about the Big Five of the sea? South Africa is blessed to also be able to offer visitors the opportunity to see and experience the Marine Big Five as well - these include Whales, Sharks, Dolphins, Seals and Penguins.
Sharks, Dolphins, Seals and Penguins can generally be seen all year round with the most popular sightings being in the Gansbaai area for Seals and Sharks and Boulders Beach for Penguins. The Southern Right Whales make their way along the South African coast line on their migratory route from around mid June to December each year.