When folks consider seeing the Big 5 in Africa, they sometimes image the Masai Mara, Kenya, the Serengeti in Tanzania or Kruger National Park in South Africa. These parks are all improbable, however they are often fairly crowded and to not point out, expensive! South Africa boasts among the greatest nationwide parks for viewing wildlife, but most individuals solely go to Kruger NP.

There are different locations to see lovely wildlife with much less crowds, the place you are able to do self-drive safaris and on a finances! Going on a self-drive safari is so thrilling. You’re capable of have extra intimate encounters with the animals and may go at your individual tempo. Yelling out “STOP!” whenever you spot one thing shifting within the brush and slamming on the brakes actually will get the center pumping. It’s an adrenaline rush like no different.

south african safari
Going on a self-drive safari in South Africa is a good way to benefit from the wildlife and the surroundings

Here’s a listing of our favorite, lesser-known National Parks in South Africa that everybody can afford:

1. Addo Elephant National Park:

This park is closest to our hearts. It’s the place we noticed our very first massive African wildlife! The dust roads listed below are well-marked and the comb isn’t too excessive, which makes for simpler wildlife recognizing.

safari in south africa
2 huge male lions sauntering in the direction of us…the digicam wasn’t on zoom, they have been so shut! They got here proper beside the automobile, we might have touched them

This park is dwelling to leopards, buffalo, jackals, black and white rhinos, lions, antelope, zebra…and naturally, elephants! It’s additionally dwelling to the flightless dung beetle, discovered nearly completely right here.

south african safari
The flightless dung beetle, discovered nearly completely at Addo National Park

The greatest a part of happening safari right here? 

You can do a self-drive! We drove our little Chevy Spark automobile throughout that park and noticed Eight out of the 9 lions that stay there, elephants, buffalo, the uncommon caracal cat, jackals and extra! Just choose up one of many simple to observe maps on the entrance and also you’re in your means.

south african safari
Up shut and private with an elephant at Addo Elephant National Park

Pack a lunch and cease on the outside designated (and gated off!) picnic space. We counsel getting there when the park opens and leaving when it closes. Trust us, you’ll need a full day right here!

The price of this South African safari is 160ZAR ($17.21) for adults and 80ZAR ($8.69) for kids below 12.

A fairly whole lot in the event you ask me!

2. iSimangaliso Wetland Park – St. Lucia Estuary:

This huge wetland park protects 280kms of shoreline and 5 foremost ecosystems: offshore reefs & seashores, wetlands, woodlands, coastal forests and lakes. It’s such a singular place!

The St. Lucia Estuary a part of the park is the place to go to see hippos and crocs. You’ll discover them lounging round the entire marshy wetlands and floating round within the lake. You also can see leopards, antelopes and rhinos (though we didn’t see any of these!)

safari in south africa
Lazy hippos at St. Lucia Estuary

As with Addo National Park, this can be a great spot to do a self-drive safari. The “roads” are nice for driving on, the surroundings spectacular and there are lots of locations you may even get out of your automobile (in the event you’re feeling courageous sufficient) and take a look out at some view factors.

south african safari
Walking to a view level at St. Lucia Estuary, be careful for predators!

The greatest a part of this South African safari is the doorway is free!

3. Hluhluwe Umfolozi (Imfolozi) National Park:

This park is close to St. Lucia, near the border with Mozambique. As with the opposite parks, there’s an amazing probability of recognizing among the massive wildlife right here, particularly white rhino! This park has probably the most white rhino on the earth.

safari in south africa
Beautiful rhino at Imfolozi NP

Again, we have been capable of do a self-drive safari right here, and once more, it certain didn’t disappoint! There are some “hides” right here the place you will get very near the wildlife round a watering gap, however they don’t know you’re there since you’re “hidden” in a camouflaged shelter. An effective way to see the animals up shut.

south african safari on a budget
A stare down with a blue wildebeest, St. Lucia Estuary

This is the place to go to see blue wildebeest, giraffes, elephants, lions, buffalo and many antelope. We had some nice encounters with giraffes right here in addition to the wildebeest.

going on a south african safari
A lone giraffe, all to ourselves! Imfolozi NP

The entrance charge to Imfolozi National Park is 110ZAR ($11.83) for adults and 55ZAR ($5.90) for kids below 12.

4. Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland.

Ok, so we understand this doesn’t rely as doing a safari in South Africa because it’s situated within the tiny nation of Swaziland. However, in the event you’re in South Africa, you’ll almost definitely make a detour right here. Swaziland is bordered by South Africa and Mozambique and is someplace you must positively go!

swaziland safari
Hiking by means of the Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary

The Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary is spectacular. What makes it so nice is the truth that you may hike throughout the park and never fear (an excessive amount of) about any predators.

south africa safari
Hippo Island. They weren’t too near us so we felt protected!

The solely harmful animals listed below are crocs and hippos and since they have an inclination to stay to the water, you may hike across the plains and hills with none points  – be careful for snakes although.

south african safari
I wouldn’t need to get in the best way of these jaws! Milwane Wildlife Sanctuary

Another perk of this nice sanctuary is staying proper on the grounds! We stayed in a gorgeous roundavel hut and went to mattress, and awakened with, antelope, ostrich and warthogs on our entrance yard! An unforgettable expertise.

going on safari in swaziland
Good morning Mr. Warthog! View from our roundavel on the Milwane Sanctuary

Besides having intimate encounters with the wildlife, an amazing perk of coming right here is that the doorway charge is 40SZL ($4.31). Unbelievable.

We extremely advocate these improbable, finances pleasant, lesser-known National Parks in your South African safari. We have been capable of spot all the things we wished to see and extra…all the things apart from the elusive leopard, the uncommon black rhino and cheetahs, these must wait till we have been within the Masai Mara in Kenya!

All you want is a map, some meals, a automobile and a way of journey. Grab your binoculars and get on the market!

Have you been on a safari in South Africa? What was your expertise like? Tell us about it beneath!

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South African Safari: National Parks You Can Afford!

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