Posted: January 8, 2020
South Africa is a popular travel destination due to its mild climate, fantastic luxury hotels and lodges (such as the Silo Hotel), game reserves, and the abundance of wildlife. Close to 300 different mammals that have been recorded in South Africa. There are so many various wildlife encounters in South Africa, from water activities, like whale watching and shark diving to game drives, walking safaris, and evening safaris. South Africa is an animal lover’s paradise. Here is a list of some of my favorite wildlife experiences in South Africa.
Boulders Beach is located just 3 miles from Simon’s Town, a southern suburb of Cape Town. Huge boulders have been protecting the cove for more than 500 million years from strong winds, rushing waves and capricious currents. With the safe swimming, soft white sand, beautiful rockpools and sweeping views across False Bay, Boulders is an ideal spot for a family outing.
The “must see” aspect, however, is the colony of thousands of African penguins that roam the area. Watch them preening or guarding a nest. See couples waddling along the sand like long-marrieds. They are curious creatures. They may nose around trying to see what is in your picnic basket or saunter right up to check you out or just to say “Hi!” They will pose while you take a photograph. All as long as you do not touch them or feed them, they are adorable and friendly until they feel threatened. If you see their heads moving from side to side, it’s a warning.
Some of the most exciting whale watching in the world is found off the southern tip of Africa. From June through November, whales make their annual migration from Antarctica to warmer waters where they feed and breed. Southern Right whales, humpbacks, Bryde’s whales, perhaps the rare sighting of an orca—the coastal waters teem with them as they mate, calve and rear their young, all the while providing their enrapt audiences with spectacular performances that rival the balletic grace and acrobatic daring of a Cirque du Soleil.
Whale watching along False Bay means getting high enough for a perfect vantage point and having a very good pair of binoculars. The best spots include Boyes Drive, a winding mountain road; Chapman’s Peak; and Coastal Road between Boulders and Smitswinkelbaai.
Hermanus, a former fishing village southeast of Cape Town, may be the best of the best for whale watching. Southern Rights are drawn to the weaker sun and cooler waters, because they are dangerously susceptible to sunburn and skin cancer. In addition to experiencing the marvel of land-based whale watching, you may also take an aerial tour for a complete view of the whales and their calves in their private moments, or you may prefer a boat tour for the exhilarating experience of the whales coming right up to the boat and having a front row seat for the performance.
Shark diving allows you to interact with sharks while being perfectly protected. Shark diving cages are built to withstand any kind of assault by a shark, while allowing you to watch them surrounding you. The cage floats on the surface of the water, right next to the boat so that you can enter and exit it safely at any time.
From May to October is the best time to cage dive. The magnificent predators are in the waters surrounding South Africa all year, but the winter months are a high season for them due to the warmer water and greater visibility.
In Simon’s Town, you have your choice of tours to dive with Great Whites, Blues, Makos, and sometimes the Broad-nose Sevengill Sharks. It is also the base of operations for diving tours to Seal Island, not far off the coast and home to thousands of Cape Fur seals. The seals attract the sharks, because they are 50% fat and sharks need fat for energy.
You do not have to cage dive to enjoy the boat trips. You can get a good view of the sharks when they swim to the surface.
Safari in Greater Kruger National Park
The Greater Kruger National Park (GKNP) refers to the more than twenty private reserves to the west of the Kruger National Park (KNP). The combined approximately 75,000 square miles are unfenced, and so a huge variety of animals roam freely throughout this spectacular land.
The lodges on the private reserves are luxurious with smaller camps and impeccable service. The number of people and vehicles are limited so that your safari experience is unmarred by crowds. Knowledgeable guides lead walking safaris, game-viewing in vehicles and night drives. The safaris extend through both the private reserves and the
The safaris extend through both the private game reserves and the Kruger National Park for an exhilarating experience of wild animals in their natural habitats, vast plains and savannas, and hippos and crocodiles in the rivers and waterholes. You will also see the smallest insects, small cats and hares, and birds. The Greater Kruger National Park provides the ultimate African safari experience, particularly for first-time visitors.