Reviews of Game Parks in South Africa

The reviews of the parks on this page are my own subjective opinions based on the limited time I was there. In each case, I indicate the dates I was in the park and I offer a short description. I also give each park a rating of "G" (Good); "VG" (Very Good) or "E" (Excellent).

South Africa:

South Africa has a very well-developed safari industry and it is easily possible to see all the animals one typically associates with Africa, including the "Big 5." Rhinos and leopards, non-existent or elusive in some other parts of Africa, are usually easier to find here. But South Africa is also a huge country with a wide variety of landscapes (and seascapes), indigenous cultures, unique flora, plus Cape Town, one of the most beautiful cities in the world. For more information about the country and the places I visited, see the separate South Africa page.

If game viewing is your primary goal, South Africa is an excellent choice. If game viewing is only one of your interests, South Africa is still an excellent choice!

Djuma Reserve (July 12-16, 2002):    Rating: E

Djuma Game Reserve is one of "private" reserves that border South Africa's huge Kruger National Park. There are no fences between Kruger and the private reserves, so the same animals are visible in both areas. The advantage of the private reserves, however, is freedom from the restrictions that Kruger must impose because it is a public park: no night game drives; no bush walks; no off-road driving. While at Djuma, I had excellent sightings of cheetah, lions (including a mating pair), elephant, impala, baboons, waterbuck, hyena, buffalo, white rhino (including a baby), wildebeest and a great many birds. We also had quick sightings of a leopard and a serval cat. On a night game drive we watched as several hyenas tore apart the remains of a Cape buffalo. While in Djuma I stayed at the Djuma Bush Lodge, one of several choices for accommodation on the reserve. It was an excellent place to stay (although the bathrooms could use a face lift). For photos of the animals and more, check out the separate Djuma Game Reserve page.

Great White Shark Diving (June 19-21, 2002):    Rating: E

Although it doesn't really qualify as a "game park," diving with the great white sharks off Gansbaai on South Africa's southern coast certainly qualifies as an exciting wildlife experience. I went out two different days and had excellent sightings of the great whites both days (though on the first day it was not possible to go into the cage because of rough seas. There is a separate page devoted to the experience. I stayed at the nearby Grootbos Nature Reserve, which offered excellent accommodations plus walks and other activities on their private nature reserve. The area is home to South Africa's unique "fynbos" plants.

For reviews of game parks in other countries see: Botswana Game Parks, Kenya Game Parks, Namibia Game Parks, Tanzania Game Parks, Uganda Game Parks, Canoe Safari in Zambia and Zimbabwe Game Parks.