Where can I see the Big Five?
The Big Five - lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo - are present in the Kruger Park and most of the Private Game Reserves along its borders, such as the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park in Kwazulu-Natal. There are also Private Reserves spread throughout the country which offer visitors a look at the Big Five.
Even close to Johannesburg you will find reserves catering especially for the tourist, but larger reserves can be found in the Limpopo, North West and Eastern Cape. www.krugerpark.co.za (link is external)
What is the difference between the National Parks and the Private Reserves?
The national parks are administered by South African National Parks which ensures a standardised level of accommodation and facilities and the rates are usually kept low. These parks are mainly self-drive destinations with self-catering accommodation, although the larger parks like Kruger Park have restaurant facilities.
What is the best time to view game?
This is not so easy to answer. The summer brings a multitude of beautiful migrant bird species and many newborn antelope species in the thick green bushveld. In winter with limited water sources, activity is generally around water holes, the bush is dry and thin and visibility generally better. You'll get an excellent idea what to expect every month of the year by studying the guide prepared by Mala Mala Private Game Reserve.
What temperatures are we likely to experience?
The South African summer lasts from October till March with mid-winter being May, June and July. In main game viewing areas (Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal), the summer temperatures range from 16°C to 32°C and in winter from 5°C to 24°C.
In isolated cases, summer maximum temperatures can exceed 40°C. These areas have a summer rain season and whilst not common, very light showers do occur in winter. Summer days and nights are generally hot and humid outdoors and winter days are mild and comfortable with evenings and early mornings being cold. Please consult the monthly temperature & rainfall chart. www.weathersa.co.za (link is external)
Will I see the big five?
It is possible. Many reserves have the big five but it's not that easy to see them all, particularly the leopard. Leopards are nocturnal, secretive and well camouflaged. It also depends on the length of your stay. The chances of seeing all big five increase substantially the longer you stay.
However, there is a large number of other animals, reptiles and birds in the parks which are often even more exciting than a procession of lions and elephants - ensuring a wonderful experience. www.krugerpark.co.za (link is external)
What clothing and accessories should we bring along with us?
Dress is informal. For safaris and bush walks, bring along clothing of neutral colours, a pair of good walking shoes (sandals are not recommended) and a wind-proof jacket for winter mornings and evenings. A high SPF sunblock should be brought with you, especially if you require a specific hypoallergenic brand as well as a cap/hat.
A good camera is essential and 100 or 200 asa film. On safari it is not often possible to keep the land rover dead still for those shots requiring powerful tele-photo lenses and it is suggested that the most versatile lens should be capable of ranges between 70 to 210/300. Both slide and print film as well as batteries are available in the curio shops. Video cameras are ideal to capture sights and sounds and a pair of binoculars is a must for keen bird watchers.
What is an open safari vehicle?
A modified four wheel drive vehicle designed to carry between 6 and 10 guests is used to bring you within close proximity of the game. The vehicle does not have a roof or sides and allows for maximum all-round visibility. It should not alarm you getting close to big game, as long as you observe the "rules" laid down by your ranger.
Can I visit a game park on my own?
Yes. The South African National Parks have designed all the National Parks to cater for self-drives with an excellent infrastructure of roads, hides, waterholes for easy game viewing and rest camps where you can rent a chalet. Private game parks are not open to the public. You may get more out of your stay if you opt to do one or two escorted drives - available at most National Parks. This is an activity the private parks specalise in and one of the reasons some visitors prefer the private game reserves.
How far is it to the Kruger National Park?
From: Johannesburg/Pretoria - about 420 km (to the southern gates), Durban - about 752 km, Cape Town - about 1.842 km, Bloemfontein - about 834 km, Port Elizabeth - about 1.436 km, Upington - about 1.207 km. Please consult the Kruger Park map and distance table.
Where can I see game in a malaria-free area?
The Eastern Cape, the Western Cape, the Northern Cape, parts of the North West Province and the Waterberg area of Limpopo province are free of malaria. Of these, the best game viewing is Addo in the Eastern Cape, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the Northern Cape, Madikwe and Pilanesberg in the North West and Limpopo’s Waterberg.