No visit to South Africa would be complete without a visit to cosmopolitan Cape Town at the foot of spectacular Table Mountain. Many travellers choose to start or finish their African odyssey here. The Rainbow Nation’s biggest city — Johannesburg — is also becoming increasingly popular with travellers, and offers a wealth of unexpected cultural and historical experiences.
Explore the picturesque Garden Route, and visit Addo Elephant National Park in Eastern Cape — home to the Big Five: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Visit Cathedral Peak in the Drakensburg Mountains — South Africa’s highest mountain range — where peaks soar above 3,000 metres. Kruger National Park is located in the country’s northeast corner. It’s the most famous wildlife reserve in Africa. Enjoy game drives in open top safari vehicles, and outdoor ‘boma’ dinners back at your camp.
Journey through Botswana to the incomparable Okavango Delta and Chobe National Park. Victoria Falls is one of the natural wonders of the world. It’s fed by the mighty Zambezi River that flows through Zambia and Zimbabwe.
The open savannahs of the Serengeti, Masai Mara and Amboseli national parks and reserves in East Africa teem with wildlife. Predators stalk huge herds of antelope and ancient elephant trails snake across the landscape. Lake Naivasha and Lake Nakuru are home to an amazing array of bird species — including huge colonies of flamingos.
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Africa travel tips
➲ Only got a limited amount of time to get to know a new city? Our Big Five City Guides can help. We break each destination down into culture, history, dining, shopping and relaxation must-sees and dos. Access our city guides here.
➲ Check the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website for travel advisories regarding your chosen destination, and always register your travel plans with Smart Traveller.
➲ Africa is a continent of huge weather extremes. In terms of animal viewing, the dry season is usually the best time to visit as the grass is low and visibility is better. However this can also be peak tourist season and prices may be considerably higher. In East Africa the wildebeest migration occurs between July and October. In Southern Africa the dry season runs from May to October, which is the best time to visit Kruger National Park. Note: It can get incredibly cold in Africa even in the warmer months — particularly on early morning game drives. Always pack warmly!
➲ As you would expect, there is every conceivable style of touring available in Africa. If you are contemplating an extended overland safari check the standard of the vehicles used. Some are extremely basic and therefore they can be extremely uncomfortable over the long distances covered. Check also whether you will be required to assist with food preparation and cleanup etc. If you are camping then a good quality self-inflating mattress, pillow and head-lamp are essential items of kit.
➲ Check with your doctor regarding immunisations required for Africa (particularly Yellow Fever) and pack a comprehensive First Aid kit. Generally the standard of food and food hygiene is very good but always exercise caution. As always, freshly cooked is best.
➲ Africa’s wildlife is fabulous but always show it respect. Give all wild animals a wide berth, even those that seem right at home in your hotel grounds. The hippo is the deadliest threat of all and attacks are largely driven by fear rather than a predatory nature. Follow the directions of your guides at all times, particularly when on foot.
➲ Perseverance is the name of the game on game drives and no two drives are ever the same. Something amazing will always happen, usually when you least expect it. Be still and quiet as much as possible. Keep all arms, legs, other body parts and cameras inside your safari vehicle. Animals generally only make out the overall shape of the vehicle — until someone, or something, breaks the shape. Then they’ll probably decide to flee, or possibly, in the case of baboons and lions, take a closer look!
➲ While travelling in Africa be vigilant but not paranoid. Be open to experiences but be aware of your surroundings and personal safely at all times. Poverty is widespread and petty crime can be a problem. Avoid travelling alone in isolated areas or city centres at night. If something feels wrong it probably is. Trust your intuition!
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