Other South African safari destinations besides Kruger National Park

Elephant on safari
See an elephant at sunset on a safari in South Africa (Image via Pixabay)

While Kruger National Park is renowned as a safari destination in South Africa, this vast country has plenty more to offer.

Below we briefly explore three other places to enjoy a wonderful wildlife safari in South Africa.

1. Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is close to Port Elizabeth and is a diverse wildlife conservation park. Besides being home to more than 600 elephants, the park houses plenty more species. These include more than 48 endangered black rhinos, 400 Cape buffaloes and several different antelope species. Spotted hyena and lion have also recently been reintroduced into the area.

For those interested in birding, the Addo Elephant National Park was extended to include the Woody Cape Nature Reserve. Extending from Sundays River and crossing a marine reserve, the area includes Bird Island and St. Croix Island. These are popular breeding grounds for penguins and gannets and various other marine life. Visitors can enjoy a horseback tour of the park. Elephant viewing is best done at the waterholes on hot days when they gather for a splash. Early mornings or evenings are best for viewing lions and spotted hyenas.

2. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

This national park is located in the northern Cape and sits between Namibia and Botswana. South Africa has joined forces with Botswana to protect wildlife on both sides of the border. This covers an area which was formerly the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park and the Gemsbok National Park of Botswana. Kgalagadi is a quieter destination, as it is further away from the major routes, but is an ideal place to enjoy a relaxing safari trip.

Cheetah in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Cheetah in Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Image by Derek Keats/Flickr)

Among the wildlife on offer are black-maned lions and leopards and the park is considered among the best for viewing cheetah. Cheetah love hunting in the Kalahari dunes and the fossil river valleys. Also on view are springbok, gemsbok, blue wildebeest, red hartebeest, eland and the cute meerkats. Bird fanciers will find the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park a haven for birds of prey.

3. Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is located in the North West Province of South Africa and is reasonably near to Johannesburg. The park  is of interest not only for its wide variety of wildlife, but also for interesting historic stone age and iron age sites.

Zebra, Pilanesberg National Park
Zebra, Pilanesberg National Park. (Image South African Tourism/Flickr)

The perfect spot for animal watching is in the area around the Mankwe Dam. This is the largest waterhole in the park and many species stop over for refreshment here, including zebra, wildebeest, impala and water buck. Bird lovers will enjoy the bird hide which has been placed close to the water’s edge, where they will be able to spot kingfishers, eagles and cormorants as they circle over the water.

Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa
Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa (Image by Hansm/Wikimedia Commons)

The surrounding scenery is gorgeous, too. The area the Pilanesberg National Park covers was originally a volcano crater from an eruption which happened 1,200 millions of years ago. This gives the whole landscape a different look to its surroundings. Of interest to those who like to try their luck, the Sun City Resort with its many hotels and casinos is located close by.

Enjoy a different safari adventure in South Africa this year, taking in the vast African plains and an exciting range of wildlife.