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Africa Safari Articles > South Africa Safari Articles


Summer and Winter Safaris in South Africa By: Sarah Manners

South African Game Reserves

South Africa is a country synonymous with the concept of ‘safari’. Safari is the Swahili word meaning long journey, it is most often used to describe overland adventures through African national parks and reserves to observe wildlife in their natural habitats. South African reserves encompass every possible landscape; from deserts, bushveld and forests to mountains and coastal regions. Home to over 100 game and nature reserves South Africa is Africa’s premier safari destination. Out of all these reserves the internationally renowned Kruger Park and its surrounding reserves is the most popular amongst safari goers.

The Kruger National Park

Each year approximately half a million domestic and international tourists visit this premier game reserve. The Kruger National Park is a 2 million hectare park that was established in 1898 to protect South African wildlife and is today an unrivalled leader in biodiversity and environmental management. Surrounding the Kruger National Park are several smaller game reserves, there are no fences between any of these reserves allowing the animals to roam free. The area is most celebrated due to the fact that it is Big 5 country, during your stay you will have the opportunity to observe every one of the members of the Big Five: the Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Cape Buffalo.

Luxury Safari Options

Safari tends to be associated with “roughing it” and while a few years ago that was what safaris were about, fortunately you no longer have to concern yourselves with the thought of outdoor ablutions or a lack of electricity. Today all you need to do is sit back, relax and let the power of nature envelop you. Luxury safari’s (http://www.ulusaba.com/act_daily.php) are extremely popular amongst visitors to South Africa, the thrill of the wild is effortlessly combined with 5 star guest lodges and amazing entertainment. You really do get the best of both worlds with a holiday option such as this. One of the most luxurious accommodation offerings is Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, which is owned by Sir Richard Branson. Situated in the Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve which is one of the Kruger’s fenceless neighbours this 5 star reserve offers safari travellers everything they would expect from a South African safari and more. From morning and evening game drives with experienced game rangers and the luxurious massages you’ll receive at the aromatherapy spa to the amazing African and international cuisines – a safari holiday at Ulusaba will not disappoint.

Summer vs. Winter

There’s nothing better than an African summer; the days and nights are warm, the vegetation is lush and the heat of the day is broken by the sporadic bouts of thundershowers in the late afternoon. The summer months last from October to March and in the main game viewing areas (Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu Natal) summer temperatures range from 16°C to 32°C and in isolated cases can exceed 40°C. The summer months at these reserves are renowned for the host of beautiful migrant birds and the newborn additions to the animal families within the park (November and December).

With the exception of the Western Cape, South Africa experiences summer rainfall so its winters are generally quite dry. Due to the dry weather the bush at the game reserves tends to be dry and thin which enhances visibility. Water is quite scarce at this time of year so it is more likely that you will see large herds of elephant or antelope gathering around the waterholes. During the winter months (May – July) the temperatures range from 5°C to 24°C, the mornings and evenings tend to be quite cold but the days are rather pleasant so be sure to pack some warm items for your winter safari. Game concentrations are high during the winter months you will see a variety of species which are sometimes harder to spot in summer – Experience the majesty of the African Big Five during a winter safari in South Africa – we can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

A South African safari is an amazing experience regardless of what time of year you decide to visit. Each time of year has its own unique appeal to safari travellers - from the lush vegetation, hot weather and afternoon thundershowers of summer to the colder, dryer, peak game viewing months of winter the South African Game Reserves will not disappoint.

About the Author

Privately owned by Sir Richard Branson, Ulusaba Private Game Reserve (http://www.ulusaba.com) is the epitome of luxury safari travel. The exclusivity of Ulusaba affords us the luxury of personally looking after each guest and you can be sure that staff will be on hand to share in your adventures as well as to look after your every need.

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