Animals' natural habitat
While the country's national parks, game reserves and animal sanctuaries are crucial to the survival of many African species, a lot of wildlife in South Africa can still be encountered in their natural habitat outside the fences of conservation areas.
The meerkats of the open plains, the penguins that call the country's beaches home, the elegant national bird, the blue crane, which is frequently seen on farmland, and the chacma baboons of Cape Town: in South Africa, wildlife habitats are around almost every corner.
Visitors with a bit of time and an adventurous spirit can explore the many small gravel or dirt roads through farming areas and mountains. Antelopes like reedbuck, steenbok, duiker and rhebok still occur in the wild and people with a keen eye for small creatures should look out for mongooses, hares, squirrels and porcupine.
The Nile crocodile is most commonly found in any of the fresh water systems in the warmer parts of the country. Look out for these ancient reptiles in rivers like the Limpopo or Olifants or see them swimming with hippos and sharks around the iSimangaliso Wetland Park - they are easily spotted from the public roads.
For birdwatchers it's even easier to enjoy their hobby in the countryside. There is often a lot of information available locally about the best places to go birding and with over 850 species to see, there are plenty of great birding spots.
Many South African wildlife conservation enthusiasts have started organisations for the protection of mammals and birds in their natural habitats. South African National Parks is instrumental in the conservation of the African penguins, Cape Nature Conservation is assisting with protection measures for the blue crane and a special research unit monitors the baboon troops of the Cape Peninsula on a daily basis.