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The biggest decision is which national park to visit.

Kruger National Park has developed a reputation as being home to some of the world’s most magnificent animals. It’s huge, with reliable and high-quality game viewing. There should be plenty of opportunities to see the big five — rhinos, leopards, lions, elephants and buffalos.

MalaMala Camp in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve, on the southwestern border of Kruger National Park, is one of the oldest, most established reserves and offers extraordinary wildlife viewing opportunities.

Consider the private Madikwe Game Reserve too, in the northwest, a four hour drive from Johannesburg. Game viewing is reliable and the area is also free of malaria, so it’s perfect for families. Another malaria-free area is Kwandwe, a private Big Five game reserve close to the Garden Route, and Marakele National Park, near the Waterberg mountains in the Eastern Cape.

TThe best time to visit is between May and September  as animals gather around waterholes and rivers. There’s also less vegetation, so it’s easier to spot creatures as they move across the bush.

Most reserves have other amenities on offer, from yoga to spa treatments, so it doesn’t all have to be about trekking or finding the best view of the Big Five.

Safaris have traditionally been pitched as once-in-a- lifetime holidays for couples. However, there are plenty of opportunities to combine a safari with other elements too, to make it a great choice for families. For example, spend a few days on a reserve and a week in bustling Cape Town. Kids will love the activities on offer at many lodges, such as hot air balloon rides and night-time bike rides.

DDon’t forget about marine wildlife: Hermanus, about 70 miles southeast of Cape Town, is the best land-based whale watching spot in the world, with boat tours and shark cage-diving available too.


Tell clients to go with an open min — there’s no guarantee animals will be spotted, but rangers and guides will know the best places to increase chances of a sighting. It’s important not to get hung up on ticking off wildlife, but also to enjoy the environment, being outside in a beautiful place, and appreciate plant and birdlife.

WWhat to pack
Choose clothes with muted colours and pack layers. Safari tours usually start early in the morning when it’s cold, but it warms up quickly as the day progresses. It’s also worth taking a hat or two if any walking safaris are planned. For those taking a bush plane between lodges or even a long-distance drive to the reserve, a soft bag rather than a large hard suitcase is easier to transport.

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