1The Big 7, Addo Elephant Park, Eastern Cape
First prize on your checklist is ticking off the big 7, which includes lion, rhino, buffalo, elephant, leopard as well as the southern right whale and the great white shark.
2Ostrich Farms, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
Don’t miss our famous ostrich farms in Oudtshoorn – where you can ride an ostrich, stand on an ostrich egg (they can withstand 250kg!) and learn the history of the feather palaces. And, yes, it’s okay to have an ostrich steak or omelette in town afterwards.
3Meerkat Tours, Oudtshoorn, Western Cape
Rise at dawn and wait for these wildlife celebrities (think Meerkat Manor) to come on set. Be entertained by a real-life suricate soap-opera – complete with tangled alliances, family dramas, food squabbles and hasty escapes. Strictly conservation orientated - tours are on an ‘observe and conserve’ basis only, with very limited numbers.
4White Rhino in Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, KwaZulu-Natal
Look out for the white rhino at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi – rescued from the brink of extinction.
5Cango Wildlife Ranch, Oudsthoorn, Western Cape
Hug a pigmy hippo, tickle a white Bengal tiger and go cage-diving with Nile crocodiles. Sure it’s Afro-Disney, but there's a serious commitment to conservation here, and it’s loads of fun!
6Turtle Tours, Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal
Between November and January, experience the privilege of watching leatherback turtles emerge from the ocean and lay their eggs, or between February and March, hold your breath as the hatchlings run the gauntlet of crabs, seabirds and other predators to reach the sea.
7Whale Watching, Hermanus, Western Cape
Humbling, awe-inspiring and rewarding, no wonder it’s such a popular wildlife encounter. Watching the whales in Hermanus from June to November is a fantastic opportunity for those who love marine life.
8Shark Encounters, Western Cape
Watch Great White Sharks hunting off Duiker and Seal Island, in False Bay. If your timing’s right, you’ll see one breach fully out of the water to snatch a seal meal in mid-air. Alternatively, meet a Great White on its own turf on a cage-diving adventure.
9Penguins at Boulders Beach, Simonstown, Western Cape
Don’t forget to take the camera along for this charming encounter. Check out nearly 3000 penguins at Boulders Beach at the world’s only urban penguin colony.
10Wild Dogs, Madikwe, North West
Admire these wild canines with their eye-catching Jackson Pollock-splashed pelts and playful antics – highly endangered, they are seldom seen.