Your luxury South Africa safari

At least one part of your luxury South Africa holiday normally consists of visting one of the splendid game reserves or national parks. But what to expect when going on a South Africa safari? What exactly is a game drive and what should you bring to the bush? On this page you will find information about going on a luxury safari in South Africa. If you want to know more about the various locations where South Africa safaris can be made please read more on our South Africa game reserves and national parks page.

Game drives & game walks

south africa safaris game drive

Game drives are interpretive drives in nature in a (normally open) four wheel drive vehicle, with the purpose of finding game in a natural environment. You are being accompanied by an armed ranger with a comprehensive knowledge of the flora and fauna found in the game reserve. The information is provided in English. Besides the ranger normally a "tracker" joins the game drive as well, who is seated on the front of the car and scans the environment for (big) game. These are all very passionate people, who have the special ability teaching you a lot about nature. South Africa Chic! always looks for excellent rangers and trackers that are able to provide that little extra: this way your South African safari get truly unforgattable. As such, we also guarantee that you will enjoy an informative activity even when not much big game is being encountered. As you are residing in a natural environment you might get a bit unlucky and only see small numbers of game, the rangers will then pay more attention to the smaller things (such a plants and insects) in the bush. Just as with a game drive you will go out with a ranger when making a game walk. On foot you get a completely different image of nature and sometimes it is even possible to approach wildlife to a very short distance. It indeed is a very thrilling experience observing wildlife without the protection of a car. We do encourage participating in a game walk passionately as it really is a very different experience. The minimum age for participating in a game drive is usually eight years, for a game walk this is fourteen.

Daily safari routine

safaris south africa ranger

Game drives and other activities generally take place twice a day: starting just after sunrise (6 and 7 o'clock in the morning in our winter and summer respectively) until 10 o'clock and from about half past 3 until sunset. The game reserve entry points and gates usually maintain regular opening hours, normally from sunrise to sunset. This will be strictly adhered to for safety reasons. Please call ahead when you are delayed en route to your lodge: they will provide an escort from the gate to the lodge whenever possible.

Sample day in the private game reserves: 
05.30 hours: wake up call, 06.30 hours: after coffee / tea and morning snack start of morning activity, 09.30 hours: late breakfast, 10.00 hours-15.00 hours: leisure time and lunch; 15.00 hours: second game activity, 19.00 hours: back in the lodge and dinner; 21.00 hours: coffee and drinks, leisure time; 22.00 hours: end of your day in the African bush.


dining south africa safari

It is safe to say that in pretty much all lodges located in the private game reserves alls meals, as well as coffee and tea in included in the rate. In some places breakfast and lunch are sometimes combined into brunch, depending on the kind of activity in the morning. Dinners usually take place at different locations in and around the main lodge building. So it can happen that one evening you are enjoying dinner in the traditional "boma", the next evening at the poolside, and maybe the last night outside the lodge in the African bush. Are you a vegetarian or have any other dietary requirements? Please inform your lodge accordingly, so that they can make sure to meet your requirements (they will be happy to so do). Arriving late? Please call the lodge ahead so they can arrange for you to have dinner at a later time.

What to bring on safari in South Africa?

bushbaby south africa safari

You do not need to outfit yourself in special safari cloting in order to enjoy a South Africa safari. Some advice however: wear quiet colours like green, khaki, brown and black so that you do not scare game away. Also take a warm sweater, scarf and hat with you. This most certainly is not much of a luxury: mornings and evenings in an open safari vehicles simply can get very cold (especially in South African winter). It is best to wear several layers. Also make sure to wear cloting with long sleeves and that cover your legs, this against mosquitos and plants when making a safari on foot. A torch can be useful when have to get up early or return to your room late at night. We always find it extremely handy to bring our own binoculars. To help you understand what animals you are seeing it is recommendable to bring a good field guide with you. An excellent book is "Watching wildlife: Southern Africa". A long established field guide for bird watchers is "Newman's Birds of Southern Africa".

Wildlife photography South Africa

photography safari south africa

South Africa truly is paradise for keen photographers. Highlight for the photographer include Cape Town, the Panorama route and the various game reserves and national parks. For the best results a (digital) SLR camera with one or more lenses is essential. For wildlife photography a lens with a minimum range of 200mm is crucial, preferably even a 300mm lens. For landscape photography, a wide angle lens (18 mm or less) is recommended. Beatiful portraits can be takes with lenses with a fixed focal length (usually a 50 mm lens provides good results) and large aperture. Don't feel like carrying big bags of photo equipment on your luxury South Africa holiday? A 18-200 mm telezoom lens produces beautiful pictures, and pretty much all subjects are within reach. Important during your South Africa holiday is protecting your valuable equipment: because you will probably also drive on untarred roads, dust easily gets into your rental car and hence may damage your camera. Make sure your camera is always protected by a good dustfree bag.   

Safety on safari in South Africa

safari safety south africa

In game reserves and national parks where big game occurs it is absolutely prohibited to get out of your car, unless accompanied by armed rangers. Each and every year there are repeated reports from Southern Africa of people ignoring this basic rule, with all its consequences. In the Kruger National Park and surrounding private game reserves, you will drive yourself to and from the lodge of choice. What to do when you encounter wild animals on the road? Drive slowly and reverse the car when necessary, also do not make any loud noises. When staying in the lodge: listen carefully to the briefing provided by your ranger or accommodation staff. They always know what game is currently staying near the lodge. Many accommodations are not fenced in, wildlife can freely enter the premises and will do so. For this reason it is not allowed to walk unaccompanied around the lodge after sunset. Would you like to the main building, restaurant or bar, just call the reception and they will send someone to fetch you from your room.

Back to previous page or read more about our suggested luxury South Africa holidays

Safari Chic!

South Africa Chic! is always looking for the best options for your luxury safari in South Africa. In order to give you the best possible advice, we travel to South Africa and visit the many private lodges on a regular basis. This way we know the differences between the various game reserves and parks, find the best guides, and are able to find that uniquely stylish spot in the middle of the bush.

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