South Africa is one of Africa’s great wildlife destinations. Vast Kruger National Park has an abundance of animals and is one of the continent’s iconic attractions. For outdoor adventure, the Blyde River Canyon is the third largest on the planet, and jagged peaks of the Drakensberg mountains, punch into the sky. Cape Town hums with an urban beat, and is fringed by white-sandy beaches.
Pros & Cons
All the Big Five, as well as other large animals such as the giraffe, hippo and many antelope species, are easily spotted in South Africa’s extensive network of parks. This list includes the white rhino, although its black relative is much harder to track down. A common sight in the west of the country is the Cape Mountain zebra, while the leopard is particularly conspicuous in Sabi Sand Game Reserve.
More about the wildlife
South Africa is a prime wildlife destination. All main safari animals are easily seen. Kruger National Park offers excellent general wildlife viewing, and the KwaZulu-Natal parks are best to see rhino. In Sabi Sand, the main focus is on seeing the Big Five; it is famous for its habituated leopard.
Weather & Climate
South Africa’s popularity as a wildlife destination is partly due to its temperate climate, which prompts a lot of blue-sky days. The country’s winter (May to September) sees the sun shine a lot and temperatures hover around 25°C/77°F. Except in the early morning, that is, when the mercury plummets. Summer (October to April) sees rain mainly in the form of afternoon storms and the country heats up, particularly along the east coast and anywhere near the Kalahari.
Best Time to Visit
The Dry season (May to September) is the best time to visit most of South Africa’s parks, including Kruger. The weather is great, the animals obligingly wander around waterholes and alongside rivers, and to top it all off, it’s the low season. The Wet season (October to April) is a less-attractive proposition thanks to the fact that animals tend to disperse into the thick, rain-fed bush, and because of school holidays in December.
More about the best time to visit
The best time to visit South Africa’s parks is from May to September. This is the Dry season and animals congregate around waterholes and rivers. As this is winter, mornings and nights are cold. May and September are wonderful because it is less cold and, especially in September, the wildlife viewing is excellent.
Best Time May to September (All parks)
High Season October to March (Won’t feel overly crowded, except for main camps in Kruger during school holidays)
Low Season April to September (This coincides with the best wildlife viewing months)
Best Weather April-May and September-October (Pleasant temperatures and afternoon storms rarely interfere with the safari)
Worst Weather June to August (Cold in the morning and at night)
May to September –Dry Season – Winter
October to April –Wet Season – Summer
Best Time to go to South Africa by Major Park
Most parks offer year-round wildlife viewing, but they are at their best during the Dry season when wildlife is easier to spot. Kgalagadi gets extremely hot during December to February and is best visited in cooler months.
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