uth AfrucaSouth Africa is the destination of choice for safaris, but first-timers might find the planning process to be a little overwhelming. Here is the perfect itinerary for beginners for an amazing safari experience in South Africa that covers must-see animals and more.
Fly to Johannesburg
Johannesburg, South Africa’s biggest city, has the best links to South Africa’s safari destinations. Since South African Airways has a new fleet of A330-300, it’s probably the best bet in terms of comfort and also route options. The economy class is unexpectedly roomy and each seat is provided with a 10-inch screen and a USB charging port. Business class has lie-flat seats and a spectacular selection of South African wines.
The city of Joburg shouldn’t be treated as just a quick pit stop. Spend at least one night there to readjust yourself after a long flight. You can visit the Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa to unwind. It’s located just 30 minutes away from the airport. Fairlawns feels like it worlds away with big green lawns and a relaxing Asian-inspired spa that just seems to go on and on. This beautiful hotel makes an impeccable first impression.
Details: Fairlawns Boutique Hotel & Spa starts at ZAR 6,900 (US$476.07) per room per night. It includes the accommodation, wifi, breakfast, transfers within a 5km radius of the hotel and complimentary transfers to the Gautrain Sandton Station.
Going on a Safari
After a quick-but-needed recharge in Joburg, it’s time to head to a safari. South Africa offers multiple safari destinations, and the most impressive for the big five (leopard, lion, black or white rhino, Cape buffalo and African elephant) is Kruger National Park and its surrounding territory. The airport to the said park is Skukuza Airport which is an hour’s flight from Joburg.
Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve is the epitome of a luxury safari experience and is perfect for first-time safari goers. The reserve is placed on the border of Kruger and forms part of the Greater Kruger Park, which makes it ideal for spectacular wildlife including the big five.
Experience this without the hassle of huge crowds that can often overwhelm Kruger. A few other reasons why Sabi Sabi is the best choice for newcomers is because it’s made of four completely unique lodges that offer something for every group:
Named after the 19th century Selati Railway that previously ran through parts of Sabi Sand Wildtuin, Selati Camp offers an old fashioned safari experience. Old world antiques, claw foot tubs and four-poster beds furnish the setting for honeymooners and couples.
This lodge is sculpted into the earth and the walls are made of a mix of mud, cement and an invasive grass species to give it an eco-modern take.
Perfect for families that include children and plenty of space. Not to mention, it hosted a certain Prince Harry.
Little Bush Camp
This is the smallest in Sabi Sabi, offering only 6 well-appointed suites and a vibey and intimate African design aesthetic.
All of these lodges are members of the National Geographic Unique Lodges of the World program and all of the properties are unfenced, which means that the wildlife viewing does not stop when you return from your daily game drives.
Some of the most amazing experiences will be watching beautiful wildlife surrounding the waterholes, or even your private pool, while you eat at the breakfast table. The elephants especially seem to love munching on the marula tree in front of Earth Lodge.
For your first trip, it’s best to stay at least 2 or 3 nights, although you’ll still find it difficult to leave.
Sabi Sabi starts at ZAR 15,000 (US$1033.65) per person per night. This includes breakfast, lunch, “boma” dinner, WiFi, a house selection of beverages, open-vehicle safaris by day and night to view Africa’s big game with qualified trackers and rangers and transfers from Sabi Sabi Airstrip.
Take On Cape Town
After a couple of nights in the bush, you would probably want to a night or two in Cape Town – South Africa’s most grand city.
There are natural wonders such as Table Mountain and Lion’s Head, historical sites like Robben Island, and an exquisite gastronomy scene that would wow the world’s scariest foodies.
The Test Kitchen makes appearances on many best-of lists and is arguably the best restaurant in all of Africa.
Relax on the Western Cape
Finish your trip off with a stay at the immaculate Grootbos Private Nature Reserve which is around 2 hours away from Cape Town by car. This magnificent eco-haven gives access to the marine big five (Southern right whale, great white shark, Cape fur seals, African penguins, and bottlenose dolphins), and also to botanical safaris where the property’s passionate and informative nature guide takes visitors in an open-top Land Rovers to explore the beautiful floral kingdom.
Grootboos Private Nature Reserve starts at ZAR5200 (US$358.33) per person per night based on 2 people sharing. This includes accommodation in a one bedroom luxury suite at the Garden Lodge, full board dining, horse-riding through the reserve, guided walks including milkwood walks and fynbos nature tours, various coastal walks including Klipgat Cave, Walker Bay Nature Reserve and De Kelder’s cliff walk, and also seasonal land-based whale and bird watching.
If you’re not residing in South Africa and planning to visit for the astounding safari, it’s highly suggested to get roaming data. It’s important to constantly be connected to the internet to locate these places with your GPS.
The average local SIM card available to roam throughout South Africa is priced at US$34.15 (sourced from Hello1010 and SimCorner). To get your money’s worth, it’s better to opt for Flexiroam South Africa Local Data Plan, which only costs $32.40.
HOW TO GET THE FLEXIROAM south Africa LOCAL DATA PLAN?
Here are a few steps you should follow.
Step One: Get your microchip or starter pack from our Online Shop.
Step Two: Download our Flexiroam X App from Google Play Store or from the iOS App Store. Without the Flexiroam X App, you will NOT be able to activate and use the microchip. The app is free for you to download.
Step Three: Follow your activation guidelines and start roaming.
Step Four: Buy Xtra Data from the App with these steps.
(i) Click ‘Get Xtra Data‘ on the App’s home page.
(ii) At the top of the ‘Get Xtra Data‘ page, click ‘Local Data‘ (next to the ‘Global Data’ tab).
(iii) Search for the local data plan of your choice in the search box (insert full name of your intended destination with the right spelling). Type South Africa in the search bar and it will come out. Select.
(iv) In the local data plan page, set your arrival date, then choose the data size you want and complete your purchase.
LOCAL DATA PLAN TIP!
BUY 90 DAYS AHEAD AND GET 70% OFF!
BUY 30 DAYS AHEAD AND GET 50% OFF!
Remember that data is only valid to use in South Africa.
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