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Wildlife

South Africa's Wildlife

Wildlife in South Africa

From great oceans to vast deserts


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From the lush Cape and Garden Route across mountains to the Kalahari Desert, and skirted by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, South Africa is an incredibly diverse country home to an fascinating array of wildlife.

While we don’t currently offer the traditional South African safari areas in the Kruger and Sabi Sands, the areas we do specialise in are home to some fascinating species.

From the town of Hermanus, a short and scenic drive along the coast from Cape Town, you can spot southern right whales from the shore and find beaches where African penguins waddle amid the rocks.

Further north find the Samara where lions, cheetahs, elephants and rhino wander the rewilded expanses of the Great Karoo once more. Heading into the Kalahari, desert specialists can be found, such as curious troops of meerkats and some safari enthusiast ‘bucket listers’ such as aardvark and pangolin which are often spotted in Tswalu’svast private reserve.

Great wildlife safaris to South Africa

Here are some of our ideas for great holidays focussed on wildlife in South Africa.


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Cape Genet Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Enjoy fine-dining in Cape Town, whale-watching in Hermanus, and a range of walking and water-based activities throughout De Hoop’s Nature Reserve, the Klein Karoo and Plettenberg. This relaxed self-driven safari concludes with stays in The Winelands and Namaqualand.

US$3,150 - US$3,780 per person

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Cape Grysbok Self-drive Safari

20 days • 8 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Explore Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek and Namaqualand, amongst other memorable destinations, during this leisurely self-driven safari. Fine dining, varied activities and impressively comfortable lodges, estates and country houses await.

US$4,150 - US$6,260 per person

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Waterbuck self-drive

12 days • 6 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

A classic Cape and Garden Route self-drive taken at a leisurely pace and staying in charming boutique hotels. Great food and wine paired with spectacular scenery and an exciting array of activities.

US$2,580 - US$2,920 per person

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Bontebok Self-drive Safari

12 days • 5 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO PORT ELIZABETH AIRPORT

This well-rounded safari encompasses fine dining, a range of activities and elegant accommodation across some of South Africa’s most stunning locations. Visit Cape Town, the Winelands and sections of the spectacularly diverse Garden Route.

US$1,500 - US$1,680 per person

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Cape Mountain Zebra Self-drive Safari

12 days • 4 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Fine dining, luxurious accommodation and a wide of range of leisurely activities make this a superbly comfortable self-driven safari. Visit the cosmopolitan Cape Town, tranquil coastal retreats, stylish wine farms and spectacularly peaceful nature reserves.

US$3,910 - US$6,590 per person

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Meerkat Self-drive Safari

8 days • 5 locations
UPINGTON AIRPORT TO UPINGTON AIRPORT

Explore the wildly remote Kgaladgai Transfrontier Park from four simple, self-catered bases before concluding with two nights at Augrabies Falls National Park. An exciting safari including varied game and birdlife, well-suited to the autonomous traveller.

US$1,020 - US$1,060 per person

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Black Wildebeest Self-drive Safari

19 days • 10 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Journey from South Africa’s cosmopolitan Cape Town to central Namibia’s Okonjima Nature Reserve during this self-driven safari. The route passes through a stunning variety of landscapes, offering access to this beautiful continent’s rich diversity.

US$3,710 - US$3,800 per person

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Ostrich Self-drive Safari

14 days • 9 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO WINDHOEK AIRPORT

Great value self-drive adventure through the epic desert landscapes of southern Namibia and South Africa’s Kalahari, visiting highlights such as Fish River Canyon, the ghost towns of Lüderitz and Sossusvlei’s dunes.

US$2,250 - US$2,840 per person

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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,610 - US$15,230 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,220 - US$11,180 per person

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South Africa's top camps for wildlife safaris

The map shows wildlife sightings made from our lodges & camps. It's based on 194 reports by 24 groups of our our travellers since Jun 2018.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Wildlife species in South Africa

Average % sighting of success

Wildlife species in South Africa

Average % sighting of success

Quick facts about Buffalo

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Scientific name:

Syncerus caffer

Habitat:

Floodplains, mixed bush & moist grasslands

IUCN status:

Near-threatened

Adult weight:

500–950kg

Buffalo

Quick facts about Cheetah

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Scientific name:

Acinonyx jubatus

Habitat:

Grassland & woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

50–70kg

Cheetah

Quick facts about Elephant

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Scientific name:

Loxodonta africana

Habitat:

Woodland and savanna

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

2,500–6,500kg

Elephant

Quick facts about Oryx

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Scientific name:

Oryx beisa and Oryx gazella

Habitat:

Arid savannah

IUCN status:

Endangered (O.b) /Least Concern (O.g)

Adult weight:

120–210kg (O.b) /180–240kg (O.g)

Oryx

Quick facts about Giraffe

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Scientific name:

Giraffa camelopardalis

Habitat:

Woodland savanna

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

800–1,200kg

Giraffe

Quick facts about Hippo

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Scientific name:

Hippopotamus amphibius

Habitat:

Freshwater rivers & wetlands

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

1,300–2,600kg

Hippo

Quick facts about Spotted Hyena

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Scientific name:

Crocuta crocuta

Habitat:

Semi-desert, forest, savannah

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

40–80kg

Spotted Hyena

Quick facts about Brown Hyena

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Scientific name:

Parahyaena brunnea

Habitat:

Semi-desert & savannah

IUCN status:

Near Threatened

Adult weight:

37–43kg

Brown Hyena

Quick facts about Leopard

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Scientific name:

Panthera pardus

Habitat:

Savanna, woodland, forest, mountains

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

30–90kg

Leopard

Quick facts about Lion

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Scientific name:

Panthera leo

Habitat:

Savanna & woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

120–225kg

Lion

Quick facts about Black Rhino

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Scientific name:

Diceros bicornis

Habitat:

Scrub & open woodland

IUCN status:

Critically Endangered

Adult weight:

800–1,400kg

Black Rhino

Quick facts about White Rhino

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Scientific name:

Ceratotherium simum

Habitat:

Woodland savannah

IUCN status:

Near Threatened

Adult weight:

1,800–2,700kg

White Rhino

Quick facts about Wild dog

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Scientific name:

Lycaon pictus

Habitat:

Savannah & woodland

IUCN status:

Endangered

Adult weight:

20–36kg

Wild dog

Quick facts about Wildebeest

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Scientific name:

Connochaetes sp.

Habitat:

Open savannah & grasslands

IUCN status:

Least concern

Adult weight:

250–290kg

Wildebeest

Quick facts about Pangolin

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Scientific name:

Smutsia temminkii

Habitat:

Savannah woodland

IUCN status:

Vulnerable

Adult weight:

5–27kg

Pangolin

Quick facts about Aardvark

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Scientific name:

Orycteropus afer

Habitat:

Grassland & woodland

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

60–80kg

Aardvark

Quick facts about Eland

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Scientific name:

Taurotragus oryx

Habitat:

Open savanna & grasslands

IUCN status:

Least concern

Adult weight:

340–940kg

Eland

Quick facts about Meerkat

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Scientific name:

Suricata suricatta

Habitat:

Semi-arid desert

IUCN Status:

Least Concern

Weight:

650g

Meerkat

Quick facts about Zebra

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Scientific name:

Equus quagga

Habitat:

Woodland and savannah

IUCN status:

Near Threatened

Adult weight:

155–322kg

Zebra

Quick facts about Roan antelope

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Scientific name:

Hippotragus equinus

Habitat:

Savannah woodland

IUCN status:

Least Concern

Adult weight:

180–300kg

Roan antelope