AT Vintales, we combine Safari and Wine as a theme and while we also specificall include history, culture and the peoples of the country, I thought to do a post about the safari experience in South Africa… I have been to both Zimbabwe and Zambia (and another 9 other countries in Africa) and while those experiences are unique and special in their own right, there remains a perception in many tourist’s minds that Safari in South Africa is for beginners.
This is what Conde Nast Traveler has to say….
MYTH : SOUTH AFRICA IS FOR BEGINNERS.
FACT: WELL, THAT MAY BE TRUE. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN IT ISN’T ONE OF THE BEST ALL-AROUND SAFARI EXPERIENCES—PERIOD.
Book a safari in South Africa and rest assured that smug, been-there/done-that types will tell you “what a great place it is for a beginner’s safari,” perfect for the “Africa virgin.” The implication: too tame, too choreographed, too manicured—especially compared with, say, Zambia or Zimbabwe. But there’s a reason South Africa is the choice of so many first-timers and veterans. “The animal density is fantastic—with great lion, leopard, and cheetah numbers—so the game viewing is dependably excellent,” says Christopher Wilmot-Sitwell, co-owner and director of tailor-made luxury adventure specialists Cazenove & Loyd.
“The camps are stunning, and they have some of the best guides on the continent.” And what of the claim that safaris here are too predictable or too reliant on radio-tracking and vehicle pacing? “There is something quite ‘managed’ about most South African safaris,” acknowledges C&L founder Henrietta Loyd. But there are enormous advantages as well, she adds, “not least for our multi-generational clients, who appreciate how easy it is to safari in a non-malarial zone.”
On the other hand, that hyper-managed approach is unique to the larger national parks. For an altogether different—and arguably more genuine—experience, look to the private concessions maintained by top-notch lodges in the Madikwe Game Reserve and adjacent to Kruger National Park. “Molori, Londolozi, Singita—these lodges offer world-class luxury, and they operate in vast private areas, where they have wide traversing rights,” says Wilmot-Sitwell—meaning you, as a guest, can go far off-road and can venture out at night, the ideal time to spot leopards. It also means you can ride around all day and not see another Land Rover, not even once.