Travel to Eastern Cape Safaris

Eastern Cape Safaris

There are several great parks and reserves in the malaria free Eastern Cape.  Just 75 years after its proclamation to protect the 11 elephants that remained in the area, the Addo Elephant National Park is now a world-famous mega park. Elephant numbers have swelled to over 450, one of the densest elephant populations in Africa.  The park is also home to buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino and, with great white sharks and southern right whales in the marine section of the park, South Africa’s Addo is one of the few reserves in the world that boasts the Big 7!

From just 2 500ha in size at proclamation, Addo Elephant National Park is now 164 000ha in size, with plans to expand to a massive 360 000ha. Already traversing 5 of the 7 biomes found in South Africa, this expansion will further enhance its diversity.  In Addo, you will find 1 000 year-old cycads, hillsides adorned with pastel-colored proteas, primeval impenetrable thicket, bizarre-looking spiny noorsveld, and wide-open plains where antelope graze. Lion and spotted hyena have been reintroduced into the park and there are kudu, red hartebeest and eland too.

The rare flightless dung beetles of Addo are a more unusual attraction. Always busy rolling perfect balls from elephant dung, the park is full of signs warning visitors to avoid harming these unique creatures.  The marine section of the park includes the world’s largest breeding colony of Cape gannets on Bird Island and the second largest colony of African penguins. Rare Roseate terns come to Bird Island to breed in winter, Siberian falcons breed in the coastal dunes nearby and Caspian and Arctic terns stop off on the island on long-haul flights.

Shamwari Private Game Reserve stands in a class of its own. It has been voted the best game reserve and conservation company in South Africa for 10 consecutive years.  The reserve has even become a favorite among international celebrities. Golfer Tiger Woods got engaged here and Hollywood aces Brad Pitt, Nicolas Cage and John Travolta have all visited Shamwari in the past few years.  Shamwari Game Reserve not only boasts Africa’s most sought after ‘big five’ animals, it also aims to rehabilitate an ecosystem almost destroyed by centuries of farming.  Situated along the Bushmans’ River, the area comprises five of the country’s seven biomes: no wonder the 25 000 hectare area supports a stunning variety of flora and fauna. Because of the focus on responsible tourism, the reserve has received the Global Nature Fund Award for Best Conservation Practice.

Shamwari Game Reserve in South Africa is also home to two sanctuaries of the Born Free Foundation, which cares for lions and leopards that have been rescued from poor conditions in circuses or zoos around the world. Visitors are welcome to pay their respects to these ‘pensioner cats’.  For families with children there is no better safari destination than Shamwari Private Game Reserve, which caters to the curiosity of kids.  With or without children, after a morning of admiring the reserves magnificent wildlife, you deserve a treatment in one of three luxury spas. You can also spend the afternoon on one of the local beaches nearby before enjoying the sunset back at the reserve, with drink in hand and the sound of jackals performing a suppertime serenade.

Pumba Private Game Reserve is the third largest privately owned game reserve in the South African province of the Eastern Cape. It covers an area of 6790 hectares and includes five of South Africa’s seven biomes. This means that there is an undeniable wealth of plant- and animal species to enjoy.
The vegetation consists of a mixture of the unique Eastern Cape Valley Bushveld, a dense type of plant cover that is especially popular amongst elephants and antelope. Extensive open plains give guests the coveted opportunity of watching antelope and the endangered White Rhinoceros graze in peace and serenity.

In addition to the famous Big 5 (leopards, lions, rhinos, buffaloes and elephants), Pumba is home to approximately 40 other species of mammals and hundreds of bird species. These animals range from commonly seen species (such as the graceful giraffe) to more elusive animals, like the White Lion and the leopard.

Overview

South Africa is a breathtaking blend of game-rich wildlife reserves and wilderness, miles of pristine beaches, magnificent wine and cuisine, sunny weather and a unique African pulse that make it a supreme vacation location.

People

The people of South Africa welcome visitors to experience their hospitality. Feel the rhythm and soul of Africa. Encounter the majestic wildlife. Have a memorable journey through South Africa’s ancient and recent past. Enjoy the nation’s many natural wonders. Get to know the many cultures of The Rainbow Nation.

Language

The people of South Africa welcome visitors to experience their hospitality. Feel the rhythm and soul of Africa. Encounter the majestic wildlife. Have a memorable journey through South Africa’s ancient and recent past. Enjoy the nation’s many natural wonders. Get to know the many cultures of The Rainbow Nation.

History

Historically, South Africa was the pariah of the world under its infamous apartheid regime, but caught the imagination of all with Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, followed by the peaceful, first democratic elections in 1994. Since then, it has become one of the top travel destinations, blending elements of both ‘Africa of old’ with modernity. On one hand, one can escape to wild, remote areas and experience exceptional game viewing and true wilderness on a safari getaway. Then, there are modern cities and hotels that compete with the best in the world. With 11 official languages and a diverse range of cultures and ways of life, it is no wonder that Mandela has named South Africans “the rainbow nation”.

When it comes to wildlife and scenery a South Africa vacation has a plethora of places to see, including a number of World Heritage Sites and incredible game reserves. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is built among an entire, unique Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six Plant Kingdoms that cover the Earth. There are more naturally occurring, different species of flowers just around Cape Town than there are in the whole of North America or the whole of Europe! On the other side of the spectrum are the deserts and arid areas, including the world’s first National Park that traverses the borders of two countries, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The coastline of South Africa is enormous, offering superb scenery, such as sandy beaches and sheer, fynbos-covered cliffs on the Garden Route, as well as amazing wildlife opportunities, from southern right whales breaching off Cape Town to pristine coral reefs on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast. The pride of South Africa’s natural heritage is the Kruger National Park. At 2 million hectares and over 186 miles long, this enormous area encompasses a savannah landscape with 147 mammal species including the Big 5 (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo), over 400 bird species and numerous reptiles, amphibians and insects.

This diversity is echoed in its peoples. Ancient rock art is a silent testimony to the vanished culture of the first human inhabitants - the San or Bushman people - and the powerful civilisations of Mapungubwe and Thulamela who traded with Chinese and Arab traders a thousand years ago remain entrenched in the ruins of their rock-walled hilltop cities. Later the subregion became a stepping stone between Europe and the spices of the East, and then its own mineral riches were discovered. At the beginning of the 21st century this is a country filled with a colorful mixture of people and cultures, a heady history and not least, a natural heritage that has South Africans defining their land as “a world in one country.”

Travel Guide

Currency

Historically, South Africa was the pariah of the world under its infamous apartheid regime, but caught the imagination of all with Nelson Mandela’s release from prison in 1990, followed by the peaceful, first democratic elections in 1994. Since then, it has become one of the top travel destinations, blending elements of both ‘Africa of old’ with modernity. On one hand, one can escape to wild, remote areas and experience exceptional game viewing and true wilderness on a safari getaway. Then, there are modern cities and hotels that compete with the best in the world. With 11 official languages and a diverse range of cultures and ways of life, it is no wonder that Mandela has named South Africans “the rainbow nation”.

When it comes to wildlife and scenery a South Africa vacation has a plethora of places to see, including a number of World Heritage Sites and incredible game reserves. One of the most beautiful cities in the world, Cape Town is built among an entire, unique Cape Floral Kingdom, one of only six Plant Kingdoms that cover the Earth. There are more naturally occurring, different species of flowers just around Cape Town than there are in the whole of North America or the whole of Europe! On the other side of the spectrum are the deserts and arid areas, including the world’s first National Park that traverses the borders of two countries, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.

The coastline of South Africa is enormous, offering superb scenery, such as sandy beaches and sheer, fynbos-covered cliffs on the Garden Route, as well as amazing wildlife opportunities, from southern right whales breaching off Cape Town to pristine coral reefs on the KwaZulu-Natal Coast. The pride of South Africa’s natural heritage is the Kruger National Park. At 2 million hectares and over 186 miles long, this enormous area encompasses a savannah landscape with 147 mammal species including the Big 5 (lion, elephant, leopard, rhino and buffalo), over 400 bird species and numerous reptiles, amphibians and insects.

This diversity is echoed in its peoples. Ancient rock art is a silent testimony to the vanished culture of the first human inhabitants - the San or Bushman people - and the powerful civilisations of Mapungubwe and Thulamela who traded with Chinese and Arab traders a thousand years ago remain entrenched in the ruins of their rock-walled hilltop cities. Later the subregion became a stepping stone between Europe and the spices of the East, and then its own mineral riches were discovered. At the beginning of the 21st century this is a country filled with a colorful mixture of people and cultures, a heady history and not least, a natural heritage that has South Africans defining their land as “a world in one country.”

Weather

There is no bad time to travel to South Africa. When to travel all depends on what you want to see and do. Great bird watching can be found mid-October. Cape flower season is after the winter rains are over - July and August through September is best for game safari as the visibility is best and it’s birthing season. Surfing, diving and hiking are best after the summer’s peak.

Also take into account the major South African holiday seasons. Festive Season is mid-December and early January and is the busiest period. Mid-winter is another prime time when locals head for warmer weather.

Health Requirements

Prevention against malaria is recommended for all travel to the Lowfeld of Mpumalanga (including Kruger National Park), Limpopo and on the Maputoland coast of KwaZulu-Natal. Malaria is at low risk in the winter months – however, it is advisable to use mosquito nets and insect repellent to avoid being bitten. Consult your doctor for advice on medical precautions against malaria. No vaccinations are required but please seek current travel advice from your GP at least 4 – 6 weeks prior to travel. Hepatitis A, Typhoid, Polio and Tetanus-Diphtheria are currently recommended. If entering South Africa from a yellow fever zone, possession of a valid international yellow fever inoculation certificate is essential.

For more information, please visit:  http://wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/

Visa Requirements

No visa required for US passport holders staying up to 90 days but it is important to ensure that you have at least two consecutive clean pages in your passport. A validity of at least 6 months remaining on your passport following your trip is required.

Tipping & Porterage

• In restaurants and bars, 10% is the accepted tipping standard
• Parking attendants and security guards are common in parking lots and at roadside bays. A tip of R2 and up should be offered, depending on the length of your stay
• In South Africa there are still attendants at gas stations to fill up vehicle tanks, check oil, water and tire pressure, and clean the windshields. From R2 up is an acceptable tip
• Airport porters is around R5 per piece of luggage
• Roadside newspaper vendors are traditional in South Africa. It’s custom to give the seller a few cents - rounding off the cost of your newspaper should be sufficient
• Some of the other service providers you may want to tip are taxi drivers, tour guides and assistants in hairdressers and beauty salons a small monetary amount

Credit Cards

All major credit cards are accepted in South Africa, particularly MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Diners Club. Be aware, however, that you can’t purchase fuel on a credit card. In most restaurants credit cards machines are portable an your card will be swiped in your view so you don’t have to lose sight of your card.

Electrical Appliances

Visitors to South Africa should be aware that:
• The South African electricity supply is 220/230 volts AC 50 HZ
• Most plugs are 15 amp 3-prong or 5 amp 2-prong, with round pins
• US-made appliances may need a transformer
• Most hotel rooms have 110 volt outlets for electric shavers and appliances

Water

Drinking water in South Africa is quite safe when taken from the tap or faucet - in fact it is said to be some of the safest and cleanest in the world.  Some tap and natural water may have a slight brown tinge from humic acid, which is harmless and does not affect drinking water quality in South Africa.

Destinations

Explore the rest of our South Africa destinations:

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Eastern Cape Safaris

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