Mammals & Birds Species Checklist
View the legendary “Big 5″ and a splendid array of other wildlife
Photograph breaching Great White Sharks
Have sundowners on Table Mountain in Cape Town – one of the new 7 natural wonders of the world
Visit the Kalahari famed for its black-maned Lions and entertaining Meerkats
Road trip down the famed Garden Route
SABI SAND Learn More
The “Big Five” are readily encountered. The celebrated Sabi Sand is justly famous for its Leopards – these usually elusive felines are almost guaranteed here. Although not technically part of the Kruger, the Sabi Sand shares an unfenced border with the national park.
Nestled in the heart of South Africa’s unspoilt Eastern Cape province lies Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, a world-class Big Five safari destination, renowned for its attention to detail and exquisite scenery within 22 000 hectares of pristine private wilderness.
CAPE TOWN Learn More
We highly recommend including our home city of Cape Town, where Table Mountain provides a spectacular backdrop. This is widely considered one of the world’s most beautiful cities and we definitely agree! The unrivaled natural beauty is complemented by fine wine, excellent cuisine and a cosmopolitan city vibe.
TSWALU KALAHARI Learn More
Tswalu Kalahari Game Reserve, South Africa’s largest privately owned reserve, is in the heart of the Kalahari Desert. Tswalu represents the best place in the country to locate Aardvaark. Up close and personal Meerkats are a highlight. A fantastic location for African horseback safaris.
THE GARDEN ROUTE Learn More
The world famous and picturesque Garden Route winds its way from Port Elizabeth through to Cape Town. Highlights include: unspoilt beaches, the famed “Knysna Heads”, an exciting marine tour with excellent cetaceans, the spectacular underground wonder of the Cango Caves and authentic South African Ostrich Farms!
PHINDA Learn More
At Phinda you will experience a prime “Big Five” wilderness within the heart of Zululand, with opportunities to track Rhino, enjoy breeding herds of Elephant in forests of Fever trees. Having reintroduced cheetah to the area after an absence of over 50 years, Phinda has quickly established a reputation as one of the best places to view and photograph these rare cats.
NGALA PRIVATE CONCESSION KRUGER NP Learn More
A private game concession located in the Greater Kruger conservation area. Ngala is renowned for its superb game, immense wilderness and expert trackers. Highlights include the legendary “Big 5”. Ngala means “lion” in Shangaan.
SINGITA PRIVATE CONCESSION KRUGER NPLearn More
Singita Lebombo and Sweni Lodges lie in the south-eastern reaches of the Kruger National Park, on South Africa’s border with Mozambique. This area is especially well-known for the concentration of the ‘Big 5’ and formidable prides of Lions.
South Africa is a pleasant year round travel destination. Although big game sightings are excellent year round, they peak in the winter months from June to October – this is because the bush is dry and less dense making it easier to spot wildlife, also game tends to congregate around waterholes or rivers. The winter months are also a good time of year for whales and great white sharks in the Cape. South Africa has many climates. The Mediterranean Western Cape, the sub-tropical and arid Eastern Cape and the sub-tropical Natal and Kruger regions. They all have hot summers (December to February), and the coldest months are July and August. The Western Cape has a winter rainfall, while the Kruger/Natal area has summer rainfall and the Eastern Cape relatively little rainfall.
SAFARI – Fantastic for birds and botany, the bush is green and lush and afternoon thunderstorms can be sensational, the resultant light after a storm is sublime – excellent for photography. It can be hot and humid. Rainfall is mainly limited to late afternoon thundershowers and should not detract much from game viewing, rain can however result in less off-road driving.
CAPE TOWN – Warm and dry, the beaches are beautiful and there is a festive vibe. It does get busy and we would therefore suggest avoiding Cape Town over Christmas and New Year.
DECEMBER: The Western Cape is beautiful with slight chances of rain, but generally warm dry days. Kruger/Natal and Eastern Cape have some rains (less in the arid Eastern Cape) with hot days. Turtle nesting peaks during this season in Natal.
JANUARY: Nice and hot month all round, dry in the Western Cape, heaviest rainfall in the Kruger/Natal area, some rains in the Eastern Cape.
FEBRUARY: The hottest month of the year. Fantastic in the Cape, Kruger area can be wet. Turtle hatchlings peak in Natal.
SAFARI – March and April are two of the best months to be on safari in South Africa, the weather is generally mild and dry, the vegetation takes on those typical autumn colors of red, yellow and brown and if the right lodge is chosen, a good guide should be able to produce sensational wildlife!
CAPE TOWN – generally a beautiful time in the Cape with mild weather and less crowds. The wildlife starts to improve too, with thousands of Common Dolphins being seen in False Bay at the start of the annual Sardine Run and Great White Sharks being seen around Seal Island (high season begins in mid April through to mid September).
MARCH: The last hot and relatively dry month. Beautiful month all round and a good time to visit the Cape and Kruger/Natal. This is one of our favorite months in South Africa.
APRIL: Temperature cools down and the rain level increases in the Cape while the northern parts rains stop. This is one of our favorite months in South Africa.
MAY: A wet month in the Cape with temperatures dropping.
SAFARI – The lack of water results in wildlife frequently being seen drinking at various waterholes, the vegetation also gets a lot more sparse making it easier to see wildlife, as a result of this, this is the best time to see mammals. It can be chilly in the early morning but it is usually clear, warm and sunny by mid-morning. This time of year is the most difficult to get availability at the top lodges so please be sure to contact us well in advance.
CAPE TOWN – An amazing time to see wildlife in the Cape – Great White Sharks can be seen hunting seals around Seal Island (the season peaks in July and August for natural predation), an increase in whale sightings with the arrival of Southern Right and Humpback Whales, outstanding pelagic birding as birds found further South in the ocean move North to warm up and avoid storms and there are loads of wild flowers. On the negative side it can be windy, cold and wet at times so it is always good to allow a little extra time to catch up on activities missed on account of the weather. Birders come from all over the world to watch seabirds that venture north from Antarctica to escape the cold.
JUNE: Together with July these are the wettest and coldest two months of the year in the Western Cape. It is cold in the Eastern Cape and Kruger/Natal but also dry.
JULY: Together with June these are the wettest and coldest two months of the year in the Western Cape. It is cold in the Eastern Cape and Kruger/Natal but also dry.
AUGUST: In the Western Cape it can be beautiful and dry one moment, but blustery and wet the next. Eastern Cape and Kruger/Natal are dry with cold nights with lovely warm days. Wild flower displays are at their best during the last half of the month.
SAFARI – A beautiful time to be on safari as it is generally at is driest making mammals easy to spot; birds are also more easily seen as many are calling in preparation for the breeding season. From a weather point of view, days are generally mild throughout and it is generally still dry.
CAPE TOWN – Again a beautiful time to be in the Cape, the hills are awash with wildflowers, it is the best time to spot whales in the Cape and it begins to warm up. On the negative side, it can be windy and seeing the Great White Sharks in False Bay becomes difficult (but they can still easily be seen in Gansbaai!).
SEPTEMBER: Wonderful month for all of South Africa, although it can be windy on the coastline of Natal and in the Cape. Excellent for whale watching in the Cape. Wild flower displays are at their best during the first half of the month.
OCTOBER: In the Western Cape, temperature rises and the rain decrease. Kruger/Natal can have very hot days that are broken by the start of the summer rains. Eastern Cape can be very hot with little rain.
NOVEMBER: The Western Cape is fantastic and days are heating up nicely. Kruger/Natal has some lovely rains with hot days, as does the Eastern Cape. Many species give birth over the end of November and early December, a time of plenty for predators.