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DDuration: Three Days

Area: Kruger National Park

Itinerary: South Africa’s most famous wildlife hotspot spans two provinces — Limpopo and Mpumalanga — and is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino), as well as cheetahs, giraffes and hippos. There’s a vast and diverse variety of flora and fauna, as well as a wide range of luxury safari lodges. With nearly five million acres of unfenced wilderness, it offers an unrivalled wildlife experience. Private game reserves include MalaMala, located between the Sabi Sands Game Reserve and sharing a nearly 12-mile unfenced border with Kruger National Park. MalaMala is the largest and oldest private Big Five game reserve in South Africa. Its environmental policies have left the land undisturbed, resulting in a proliferation of sweet tertiary grasses, which attract herbivores — which in turn attract predators. Rangers are well trained to ensure animal viewing is optimal for visitors and wildlife alike.

DDuration: Two days

Area: Whale Coast (Gansbaai/Hermanus)

Itinerary: Gansbaai, a two-hour drive from Cape Town, is a great white shark hotspot. Marine Dynamics, which was founded by a marine conservationist and is involved in various marine research, conservation and education projects, has Fair Trade in Tourism classification. Lunch is followed by a two-and-a-half hour shark cage diving excursion aboard the purposebuilt Slashfin aluminium boat. On average, at least two of the Marine Big Five — sharks, dolphins, southern right whales, Cape fur seals and African penguins — can be spotted from the boat’s top deck on each trip. Nearby Hermanus is one of the best land-based whale watching locations in the world, with a long stretch of cliffs providing plenty of vantage points to see the southern right whales, which spend the winter here. Kayaking in the bay is a popular pastime, but during whale season (July till December) the waters are declared a marine reserve, and are strictly off-limits for boats without permits.

DDuration: Three days

Area: The iSimangaliso Wetland Park (KwaZulu-Natal)

Itinerary: The iSimangaliso Wetland Park was listed as South Africa’s first UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999, in recognition of its natural beauty and global values. The vast reserve on Africa’s Elephant Coast is just under a three-hour drive from Durban, and contains three major lake systems, eight interlinking ecosystems, most of South Africa’s remaining swamp forests, Africa’s largest estuarine system, 530 bird species and 25,000-year-old coastal dunes. It protects over 135 miles of pristine coastline, with quiet, wild beaches, while game drives offer up sightings of crocodiles, leopards and pythons. Make sure to take a cruise in St Lucia, and look out for hippos, kingfishers, sea eagles, monitor lizards and cranes.

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