Wildlife of South Africa

The “rainbow nation” of South Africa is world famous for its multi-ethnic society, encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. It has one of the best constitutions in the world and is a beacon of hope at the southernmost tip of the mother continent of Africa.

Cape Town from the air.jpg

Some of the tourist highlights of this amazing country include:
• Picturesque natural landscapes;
• 8 UNESCO World Heritage Sites;
• Excellent infrastructure in terms of transport and accommodation options;
• a Generally temperate climate;
• Diverse cultural heritage and rich history;
• The Mother City of Cape Town with her myriad of attractions;
• Highly regarded wines, olive oils, whiskey, brandy(cognac) and “Rooibos” tea;
• Some of the best game reserves (over 100 at last count) and national parks (20 in total) on the continent, the most famous being the Kruger National Park.

South Africa is without a doubt one of the top nature and wildlife destinations, not just in Africa, but the entire planet. The country boasts an incredible array of diverse habitats, including:
• a 2,500 km (1,553 mi) long coastline along two oceans (the South Atlantic and the Indian) with an array of habitat found in this long stretch
• an almost flat inland plateau with an altitude of between 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and 2,100 m (6,900 ft) surrounded by the Great Escarpment that includes the spectacular Drakensberg mountain range
• the arid Karoo in the western parts of the country
• the almost Mediterranean-like Cape Peninsula area in the southwest corner
• the Kalahari desert with its red sand dunes in the far northwest
• the bushveld savannah in the north
• the Lowveld area to the far northeast of the country

This diversity of habitat has led to an incredible amount of fauna and flora having been recorded in South Africa. In fact, the country is ranked 6th out of the world’s megadiverse countries.

Some of the species include:
•   22,000 Different higher plant species (9% of all the known species on Earth), including 130 different Protea species and the species of the endemic Fynbos biome.
•   297 Species of mammals occur, including the famous Big Five (Lion, Leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino), African Wild Dog, Cheetah, several endangered golden mole species, the critically endangered Riverine Rabbit and numerous species of whale and dolphin.• a bird count of 858, including almost 40 endemic species; special species include Blue Korhaan, Knysna Turaco, Ground Woodpecker, Southern Bald Ibis, Cape and Drakensberg Rockjumper, Cape Sugarbird, Orange-breasted Sunbird and many more.
•   447 Species of reptile have been listed, including Angulated Tortoise, Qudeni Dwarf Chameleon, Augrabies Flat Lizard, Yellow-bellied House Snake and many others
•   Amphibian diversity is also high (132 species) with highlights being Western Leopard Toad, Spotted Shovelnose Frog and the critically endangered Table Mountain Ghost Frog.
Many of these fantastic species can be seen in South Africa’s parks and wildlife reserves. Some of the most famous and often visited of these are
•   The huge Kruger National Park, one of the true great parks of Africa. Kruger has more mammals than any other park anywhere in the world, along with incredible landscapes, 500 bird species, a wide variety of accommodation options and a rich history.
•   The innovative Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park straddling the border between South African and Botswana. It has red sand dunes and sparse vegetation, but abundant and varied wildlife.
•   The diverse Addo Elephant National Park close to Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape province that contains five of South Africa’s seven major biomes (vegetation zones). It is the only park in the world to have the “Big Seven” (Big Five plus whales and Great White Shark) in their natural habitat.
•   The province of Kwazulu-Natal’s Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, famous for its hilly topography, lots of rhinos, the Big Five, several rare species of fauna and flora (Nyala, Suni, Pink-throated Longclaw, Shelley’s Francolin) and for being the oldest proclaimed reserve in Africa (1895).

We would love to take you on safari in South Africa. Our current set-itinerary trips include several Kruger National Park safaris, but we can customise your trip to include any of the country’s parks, reserves and tourist attractions, depending on your preference. Get in touch with us at info@naturetravelafrica.com and we will work out the perfect South Africa safari for you.

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