Wildlife enthusiasts and animal lovers, get ready to have up-close encounters with some of your favorite animals. South Africa is home to countless national parks, game reserves, and wildlife parks dedicated to the conservation of some of the world’s most beautiful and intriguing life forms. Some of these wildlife protection areas serve as homes to endangered or critically endangered species. The next time you start planning a vacation, consider going on a safari through the vibrant ecosystems that South Africa has to offer.
These mammals can sometimes be found living in the same conservation parks as elephants. For example, the Cape Buffalo share a space with elephants at the Addo Elephant Park. They must drink frequently, so Cape buffalo tend to frequent marshy areas, forests, and swamps. If you wish to look for Cape Buffalo in South Africa, you should only do so with extreme caution from a car or with a barrier between yourself and the animal. These animals are known to charge people and other animals with their horns.
Lions aren’t difficult to find in South Africa – in fact, the Kruger National Park is home to over 2,000 of these gorgeous creatures. Other great places to catch glimpses of lions include Hluhluwe-Umfolozi National Park and Pilanesberg National Park. If you want to catch a glimpse of these beasts at night, check out the Lion Park in Johannesburg, where you can take a nighttime drive. Don’t forget to follow the safety protocol set forth by these national parks and your guides – it should go without saying that the King of the Jungle is known to be dangerous in close contact with humans.
Poachers around the world are threatening the survival of this stately animal. Several game and national parks in South African are cracking down on security to create safe environments for rhinos to roam and live. Organizations like the World Wildlife Fund are dedicated to increasing awareness about the importance of rhinoceros protection. In fact, the white rhino was saved from the cusp of extinction in Imfolozi Park, and they have been removed from the critically endangered list due to conservation efforts.
You’ll need sharp eyes to catch a glimpse of a leopard during a safari, since these creatures tend to lounge in the sun, sitting still while their spotted fur helps them blend into their surroundings. Leopards enjoy hanging out in trees at they watch for passing prey, and they will even take their meals up into the branches to keep meat away from other predators. They are known for their extraordinary bursts of speed, which help them bolt after prey while avoiding other large predators. If you want a chance to see leopards in South Africa, be sure to check out the Leopard Hills game reserve right next to Kruger National Park.
Elephants are abundant throughout South Africa, and you can get a closer look at these majestic creatures by visiting the elephant sanctuaries in Plettenberg Bay, Hartbeespoortdam, or Hazyview. Elephants are extremely intelligent and emotional creatures, and scientists believe that they have greater memory abilities than humans. These animals are known to exhibit compassion and mourning. Elephants are the only creatures besides humans to exhibit elaborate funeral rituals, and they will often rush to aid other elephants in distress.
Animal lovers and adventure seekers can have a thrilling experience in South Africa. There are countless opportunities to see wildlife at game reserves and national parks. Many of these locations offer guided safari services, so make sure to inquire about these as you plan your vacation.