The most diverse country for a tailor made safari
South Africa is a country with an enormous natural diversity; it has got forests, fantastic coastal areas, desert, and mountains. South Africa has got one of the most impressive safari areas. Especially the private game reserves should feature in your tailor made safari. But unlike in many other countries, your safari doesn’t have to be the heart of your journey, there are numerous other activities to be enjoyed; such as diving, golf, mountain biking, horse riding, mountain climbing, hiking, and fishing, or less strenuous activities such as culinary dining, sunbathing at the beach or taking-in the country’s history and culture.
Van Bommel Safaris can create a fantastic individual, tailor made journey to South Africa, in every price range, using small, private accommodation, especially tailored to your needs, with or without a safari.
Sabi Sand Game Reserve is one of the very best private game reserves in South Africa. The area is famous for its fantastic leopard sightings, but there is also an abundance of lions, elephants, rhinos, buffalo, wild dogs, and other general wildlife. Accompanied by a guide and a tracker you can go on safari in an open Landrover jeep, following the ‘big cats’ through the bush. You’ve never been so close to these impressive animals. It is a truly memorable occasion.
There are scores of lodges in Sabi Sands, all with their own terrain, their own camps, and their own methods and rules. From personal experience we know which lodge would best suit your requirements. Sabi Sands is an absolute ‘must’ for any tailor made safari trip to South Africa.
Face to face with elephants, rhinos, giraffes, hippos, and all kinds of other wildlife. During a self-drive in Kruger Park you can often find them on your own. Lions and leopards though are harder to find; a large dose of luck is needed to see these wild cats at some distance. You are not allowed to stray off the roads and the vegetation is fairly dense so we would always advice to spend at least a few days for a self-drive safari in a private game reserve, to ensure you get the best safari experience. The roads in the Kruger National Park are well kept so you don’t need a 4 x 4 to visit the park.
At a distance of about a three hour drive north from Johannesburg, lies Waterberg. It houses some beautiful safari areas such as Marakele and Welgevonden where you will not only find an abundance of wildlife but also an outstandingly beautiful landscape interspersed with mountains and water.
Do you enjoy a challenge? Make a multiple-day hiking safari guided by one of our experienced rangers and you can feel yourself become one with nature.
This safari area comprises of woodlands and Kalahari sand. Around the desert sands the terrain is dotted with trees, bushes and large open grasslands.
You’ll find that wildlife here differs from that in Kruger Park. In Madikwe you’ll find gemsbok, springbok, and brown hyenas.
Madikwe is also renowned for its African wild dog population. These animals are an extremely endangered species and every safari lover will know how rare it is to spot one of these animals.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is part of the Kalahari. Red sand dunes and two, usually dry riverbeds determine the landscape.
The park is well loved by the more adventurous self-drive safari enthusiast. Mass tourism hasn’t, as of yet, reached this park (so let’s keep it a secret between you and me). If you wish to discover the park together with a guide and meet the local Khomani San and the Mier people, then Van Bommel Safaris can include that in your tailor made safari trip.
KwaZulu-Natal has got near unlimited possibilities for you tailor made safari trip. Be taken back in time as you listen to the ‘history-tellers’. Experience the Zulu culture. Go horse back riding, mountain biking or hiking in the Drakensbergen (dragon’s mountains). Take a safari trip to Hluhluwe/Umfolozi, the cradle of the rhinos. Find out what safari possibilities the private game reserves can offer you. Or if that is more to your taste discover Africa’s most pristine wilderness beaches on the warm Indian Ocean where you can relax in the sun, or dive and snorkel. When you are there during the right season you can even spot whales, dolphins, whale sharks, and egg laying sea turtles.
Tiger Canyons is a fantastic ex-situ tiger conservation project at its very best initiated and founded by the world-renowned nature conservationist and wildlife filmmaker John Varty. The tigers live in a vast fenced game reserve and enjoy a free and wild life. John Varty of course doesn’t want tigers roaming free in African ecosystems so the area that house the tigers has been taken back from old sheep farms to a full nature reserve. It offers a natural and healthy habitat for the tigers.
Now I can almost hear you think. “Tigers in Africa? You are having me on!” Well principally you are right. But consider this; out of the 60.000 tigers still alive, only a few thousand roam free in Asia, the rest is kept in cages the world over. Far too many are in cages and not enough in the wild to ensure that the species has a healthy future. Visit this unique reserve and support this tiger conservation project. You would do the world, but above all yourself a great favour.
Spending a few days in Cape Town and the surrounding area is, in the right season, well worth its while.
There are many activities to be enjoyed and lots of interesting sights to see; Table Mountain, the V&A Waterfront, Robben Island, Cape of Good Hope, the penguin colony, whale spotting, the wine district, and of course the spectacular garden route.
You can either discover the town on your own or be shown the best spots by experienced guides. It’s up to you.
A private game reserve can offer you a lodge in a private area, so there won’t be hordes of tourists. The animals though, can move freely and can migrate at will to for example the Kruger Park. Safari game drive vehicles (open Landrovers) are allowed to go off-road and you can be sure that you get assigned the very best and most experienced guides and trackers. An absolute must for your tailor made South Africa safari.
South Africa in generally speaking a westernised country and many customs are the same as in western Europe. But some tribes and peoples have different traditions. Are you interested in how these people really live? Then Van Bommel Safaris can arrange a visit for you.
Be transported back in time, as you listen to the “historians” as they tell their fascinating stories of the tumultuous times of the English occupation, the Boers and the Zulus.
There are possibilities of following a course in which you learn more about the flora and fauna of Africa. These training courses are primarily meant for people who wish to pursue a career in ecotourism, but more and more tourists are trying to learn more about the African bush. I myself have followed such an eco-training course in the year 2000 and is has provided me with insight and knowledge I still benefit from and I could not have gained anywhere else.
If you wish to do fieldwork with a conservation research team in a renowned “big 5”safari area, that too can be arranged. It can enrich your life in many ways.
You can enjoy nature at our own pace. Get up really early and go directly into the park, then come back later to enjoy a full breakfast or take a packed lunch with you.
Early morning is often the quietest time of the day but late afternoon is often the best time to spot animals at the watering places.
There are many aquatic activities possible. Provided they are in the right season they can be fitted into your tailor made safari trip. Be it restful or active, Van Bommel Safaris can arrange it all for you.
The network of roads and freeways in South Africa is extensive and well kept. But if you don’t want to spend too much time driving, there is the option of taking a fly-in safari. Almost all lodges have their own landing strip that can accommodate small aircraft. A tailor made safari trip around Kruger Park can also be combined with an inland flight to Cape Town.
The best time for a tailor made safari in South Africa:
Winter there is from June until September and is the dry season. Daytime temperatures are comfortable (often above 20ºCelsius/68ºF.) but nights can be a bit cooler. It is an ideal time for a safari trip because during this season vegetation is not too dense and many animals gather at watering places.
In and around Cape Town though, it is the rainy season and there it can get really cold and wet during this time.
Summer, which in South Africa is from November until March, is the wet season. Temperatures can rise to 40ºCelsius/104ºF or above and the humidity is a little higher as well.
For Cape Town area this is the best time.
Beware though, around Christmas time you will be charged premium prices and almost everywhere it will be very crowded.
We have been on safari in Africa a lot. South Africa to me is still a top safari destination: easy to travel in and in my opinion the private game reserves still offer the very best sightings.
Jos van Bommel is a true "black belt" safari expert, he embarasses South Africans with his knowledge on the country, its safari destinations and, above all, its wildlife.