From the time we first see fantastic markings on zebra and giraffes as children many of us dream about spending time with wild animals in Africa. Perhaps you fell in love with one of the creatures in the Lion King movie, like I did. With modern travel so simple, it is easy to book a safari and spend some time with these spectacular creatures.

South Africa has many wonderful diverse National Parks for you to explore. Each has its own unique geography and habitat for different African animals. Getting to South Africa is relatively easy regardless of what continent you live. Johannesburg is a major world travel hub and there are international arrivals there constantly. If you are looking for cheap flights to South Africa, check for possible flights.

Kruger National Park

Photo By NJR ZA - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0
Photo By NJR ZAOwn work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Link“>NJR ZA – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0

Kruger is the largest of the parks in South Africa with over 2 million hectares of wilderness. It is a magnet for anyone wanting experience African wildlife at their finest. It is an exciting place for its panoramic vistas and vast numbers of animals as well as for its past, stepped in history and legend.

Kruger is one of the few places in the world where it is possible to see the “Big Five” – elephant, lion, cape buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros. The term “Big Five” is a vestige term from the days of big game hunters who wanted to pit themselves against such dangerous beasts. Nowadays the best hunters use cameras and lenses rather than high caliber rifles.

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park Photo Brian Snelson
Addo Elephant National Park – Photo Brian Snelson

Further to the south you can see the “Big Seven”. This is where you can take up the challenge of spotting the aforementioned “Big Five” plus a Great White shark and a Southern Right Whale on a marine eco tour. There is also a horse riding trail here which will get you close to the infamously dangerous cape buffalo and maybe a rhinoceros.

Table Top Mountain National Park

This is the second most visited park, behind Kruger on the somewhat wilder west coast close to Cape Town. Here you will find the Boulders Penguin colony in Simons Town and its attendant squabbling endangered species of African penguins. It’s a place to wander along pristine beaches and follow neat boardwalks to explore the park. This is a great park for a family outing.

KGalagadi Transfrontier Park

Oryx of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park Photo Amada44
Oryx at the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park – Photo Amada44

A park of yet another kind, the KGalagadi Transfrontier is north central, bordering Namibia. Both share the awesome Kalahari Desert. Here you may get the opportunity to view the magnificent black-maned lions of the Kalahari as well stunning desert creatures like gemsbok, eland and springbok. This sparse beautiful landscape cannot fail to leave a lasting memory.

Namaqua National Park

Namaqua National Park – Photo South Africa Tourism

For something completely different you could visit the Namaqualand park during a southern spring in August and September. It seems like overnight the sand and dust becomes a carpet of wildflowers. It is estimated that there are more than a 1000 plants found only in this park and the colorful blooms are a joyful sight.

Camdeboo National Park

Photo by Chris Waddington
Camdeboo National Park- Photo Chris Waddington

This is known for the Valley of Desolation and sometimes also called the Cathedral of the Mountains. The piled dolerite stone columns tower over the Karoo plains making for dramatic scenery and photo opportunities. You will feel enveloped in the timelessness of that southern land formed by ancient volcanic forces that shaped it over a period of 200 million years.

Algulhas National Park

Perhaps fitting for a last suggestion is Algulhas National Park where you can stand on the southernmost tip of Africa facing south to observe two great oceans, the Indian and Atlantic, meet crashing together in tumultuous waves. It is named “Cape of Storms” for a reason and many ship wrecks lie beneath the thundering waves that thrash those southern shores.

The Luxury of Glamping

And Beyond Luxury Tented Camps - Photo Roderick Eime
And Beyond Luxury Tented Camps – Photo Roderick Eime

Just because you are in the wilderness doesn’t mean you can’t expect some luxuries on vacation. South Africa is the perfect place for “glamorous camping” otherwise known as “glamping”. The tented structures have superb amenities with quality linen to indulge your dreams under canvas. And the food and wine are superb from the country’s renowned vineyards and restaurants. You can easily plan a few wine tastings and extra adventures to add to your animal safaris. Your safari in South Africa awaits you.


  1. Our Seaside Baby

    What amazing photographs! I would love to visit a national park with my three year old son. He’d love to see the elephants! South Africa offers so much.Our Seaside Baby recently posted…A Ride on the British Airways i360, Brighton

  2. Carmen Edelson

    Yes, I’m sure he’d love seeing all of the animals! And you too 🙂

  3. Karla | Karlaroundtheworld

    South Africa is really dear to me. I feel like they offer a lot of extraordinary adventures. I will definitely go back

  4. Carmen Edelson

    I can see why it’s so dear to you! There’s just so much to see and do.

  5. These all look wonderful, so many amazing luxury choices and I love the glamping experience. Which is your favorite park to visit?

  6. Carmen Edelson

    Glamping is always a fun treat! And don’t make me choose a favorite 😉

  7. The Adventure Ahead

    This is such a dream tip idea for us. We would love the experience of getting so up close and personal with the animals. Great photographs! The Zebra image is especially wonderful. Sounds like there are some really great adventures to be had here.The Adventure Ahead recently posted…Exploring a Galaxy, Far, Far Away

  8. Carmen Edelson

    Thank you! Yes, so many fun adventures to be had. I’m sure you’d LOVE it!

  9. Jenn and Ed Coleman

    We couldn’t agree with you more about glamping. We went glamping in Thailand last December and it was more glamours than camping. We had the most comfortable we of our entire Thailand trip, fantastic food and an extremely attentive staff to take care of us. Camping doesn’t have to be down and dirty.Jenn and Ed Coleman recently posted…Khao Sok – The Road Less Traveled

  10. Carmen Edelson

    Glamping is the way to go!! I’m glad we’re on the same page 🙂

  11. So much luxury… I will be totally spoilt!
    The wildlife of the parks are so well captured. Light reflected off the Ostrichs’ head makes the pic so fantastic!

  12. Carmen Edelson

    Yes, the light was great! Thanks for reading 🙂

  13. LeAnna Brown

    We stayed right outside of the Kruger (could literally see the fence) at a reserve. Doing the South African Safari was truly one of the most memorable trips we’ve ever taken. I would recommend it to anyone in a heartbeatLeAnna Brown recently posted…Now Fly To and From Europe for Under $100 With Norwegian Air

  14. Carmen Edelson

    Wow, I can imagine it’s incredible memorable! Thanks for sharing, LeAnna!

  15. This is totally on my hubby’s bucket list. He is a photographer and he can’t wait to do a safari. I love the amazing glamping opportunities there are in South Africa, I am looking forward to that part!

  16. Carmen Edelson

    It’s a photographer’s dream…that’s for sure!

  17. Chrysoula

    I have only been to Kenya and loved it. South African parks are on my list too. I would also love to try glamping. A great accommodation alternative.

  18. Carmen Edelson

    Glamping is a really fun and luxurious experience! I’d highly recommend it.

  19. I went to South Africa in October and absolutely fell in love. I can’t wait to get back (and now I have a few more parks to explore!)Mags recently posted…*Guest Post* A Three Day Sydney Itinerary

  20. Carmen Edelson

    We are going on a safari at the end of the year, and I can’t wait.

  21. [email protected]

    I didn’t realize there were so many national parks for viewing wildlife and other natural wonders such as Camdeboo. I’ve yet to go on a safari – I’m hoping to make it to South Africa soon!

  22. Carmen Edelson

    I’m heading to South Africa in December and can’t wait to go explore some of these parks that I haven’t seen.

  23. Jeric Danao

    I’m just wondering if there’s some extraordinary places that you can actually camp inside national parks such as this. Sorry if my comment is crazy, I’m really into glamping nowadays, lol. Thank you for sharing this! I should buckle my seat for some crazy adventures in the future 🙂

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