The South African Safari
Until November 2019, the only way to enter South Africa was with a South African visa that was only obtainable from an embassy or consulate. Citizens from visa exempt countries had it easiest because they only need their passport to get into the country. Well, the Online South African Visa is here and after it has passed the pilot phase will be made available to citizens of some select nationalities. The list of countries that will be eligible for the eVisa is yet to be published but this option will certainly make going to South Africa much easier than it currently is. https://www.southafricavisa.com/ is the page to watch for updates.
Most people will shy away from a holiday plan that includes a safari? There is no two ways about it; going on safari is usually rather costly. For the lucky few, many hold off until after retirement or as part of a honeymoon package. But what about the rest of us? They can employ money saving tips which anyone can use to bring down the overall budget of a South African safari. Well, it is time to stick your neck out because the money you have in your pocket might just be more than enough to take the safari experience you have always dreamt about.
For a lot of people, this possibility will only make sense when they see it unfolding before their eyes. The words budget and safari would previously never be used in the same sentence because of obvious reasons. The secret is to do things not as a tourist is expected to do, but as the locals do. Try the following tips then.
Take time to tour national parks
South African National Parks, sanparks.org (SANParks) is in charge of the 20 locations spread all over the country. Whether you are staying on their property or enjoying the view of wildlife in their sanctuaries, the cost of everything will be way cheaper than what someone using facilities in a privately operated lodge would pay. To cut your costs even further down, take a traditional holiday package that involves taking car hire from Johannesburg to Kruger national park. You will pay about £18 a day as an adult while kids pay half off that to spend the entire day at the park. If you decide to stay over at the park and sleep over, there are plenty of options to choose from; huts, cottages and even tents within protected campsites all which can be booked from the park’s website.
Take flights to the major airports
Since there are a lot of tourists visiting South Africa at most times of the year, the country has constructed many internal airports to ease transportation. However, landing in bush airstrips such as those close to Skukuza, Hluhluw, Hazyview, Hoedspruit, and Richard’s Bay is quite expensive. If you are able to choose, opt for a safari that is near a big city where many airlines offer on-budget trips. If you have plenty of time to tour South Africa, how about you hire a car which you can use to get to and from your various destinations? Pilanesberg national park which is a malaria free zone is a 2-hour car ride from Johannesburg and if you take a car from Lanseria airport in the city, it will take you one hour and a half to get to the park.
Take advantage of morning walks
Just outside the borders of Kruger is a private reserve known as Klaserie private nature reserve. In here is the Africa on Foot trail, where people take nature walks every morning to view nature from their own level. If you are up for a guided tour in the morning, take to the on-foot safari. If you are a bit apprehensive of mingling freely with wildlife, wait to take the guided game drives in the evening. The perfect spot for those who love interacting with nature at a personal level – The Klaserie has a couple of unfenced borders with Kruger national park so visitors on either side get to encounter wild dogs, cheetahs, big five, honey badgers, aardvark, porcupine, and small cats like the caracal, civet and serval.
Take your vacation during low season
Most African countries have excellent outdoor weather throughout the year and South Africa is no exception. This means that there is tourist potential in almost all months. Between the months of May to September when it is pretty cold in this region, the locals consider it to be winter. While many people will keep away from the tourist destinations during this time, the northern part of the country is still open for game watching. When it is a bit dry, animals can be seen congregating around watering holes and this is the best time to watch animals in their natural habitat.
Find accommodation right outside national parks
You will save quite a lot of money you could have used for transport if you booked accommodation just outside the destinations you are interested in. a perfect example of a national park that has plenty of affordable accommodation options is the Addo Elephant national park. It is only an hour’s drive from the airport at Port Elizabeth. There are many supermarkets and restaurants within this location so food and snacks are in plenty. When you are ready to go to sleep, the B&B Halstead Farm which is a stylish property is just 10 minutes away.
Use a discount site for bookings
Most tourist destination in South Africa have an online presence in the form of discount sites. Such sites act as sales rooms where unsold rooms are advertised and people who book in advance get even cheaper rates. You never know when an accommodation is offering offers to always look out for offers or register your email to receive updates. BushBreaks for instance rewarded late bookers with a 41% discount on their accommodation fees at the boutique Elephant Rock Lodge located in KwaZulu Natal’s Nambiti reserve which is a malaria-free zone.