South Africa is a country of stunning landscapes and diverse wildlife. A South African Safari Adventure tops the bucket list for many travellers, making it a perfect destination for nature-loving adventurers. With just a little planning to navigate the seasons, holidays to South Africa offer exotic encounters for travellers over 50 or exploring as a multi-generational family or couple.
Understanding South Africa’s weather seasons
South Africa experiences one dry and one wet (green) season but whenever you decide to travel there’s plenty to add to your itinerary.
The dry season runs from May to September and that’s when animals are most active and visible as they search for food and water sources. From October to April, the rains arrive, bringing the arid landscape to life with lush vegetation and the chance to spot rare birds.
Planning an ultimate wildlife encounter
If you’re keen to try and spot the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo), it’s the dry season that will bring your best opportunity. This is actually known as winter in South Africa. At this time you’ll find that vegetation is sparse and water sources are limited so animals are easier to spot as they’re drawn together at watering holes.
Addo Elephant National Park has always been famous for elephants but a recent reintroduction of lions means the full ‘Big Five’ are there. If you’re taking a Garden Route road trip from Cape Town to Gqeberha (formerly Port Elizabeth) it’s a destination that fits in perfectly. The park is malaria-free and offers activities including bush walks with expert guides and horseback riding.
Another malaria-free spot that offers space and privacy for couples and families is Madikwe Game Reserve. It caters beautifully for multi-generational groups with the offer of ‘spoor tracking’ for all the family, helping you to look for any evidence that animals have passed by. After a hard day’s animal spotting, relax by the pool while the kids play in a secure environment.
And if it’s leopards that are on your list, Greater Kruger is known as one of the best places in the world to see leopards. In fact, they have been known to walk right up to your vehicle giving a spectacular up-close sighting. Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve which borders Kruger National Park is a great option for a first-time South African Safari Adventure along with the Big Five it’s also home to zebra, giraffes and hippos.
Try bird-watching in the green season
If you prefer fewer crowds, greener landscapes and a spot of bird-watching, the green season is the right time for you to visit South Africa. As the rain falls between October and April, the landscape comes to life, teeming with flowers, birds and plants in a lush paradise.
The diverse array of migratory birds in Africa brings an extra dose of melody and vibrancy, creating an excellent opportunity for bird-watching enthusiasts. Don’t miss out on the discounted rates offered in South Africa’s stunning locations during this off-peak period. It’s a fantastic deal just waiting to be seized, as long as you don’t mind getting a little wet.
Wild encounters to bird-watching bliss
On a once-in-a-lifetime trip, you want to make the most of every opportunity and the Silver Travel Advisor team can make sure you do. Whether you’re after personal photographs of your safari spots, want to see lush landscapes and tropical birds or explore when the crowds have gone home, we’ll help you plan a trip to South Africa you’ll never forget.