Places to Visit During Safari Vacations in South Africa

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When planning safari vacations in South Africa, it’s important to ensure that your tour includes some of the most beautiful and diverse areas.
 

Robben Island

 

In addition to sharing the magnificent and diverse wildlife of South Africa, Robben Island has a rich history. It was used to house political prisoners from the seventeenth century, along with serving as an animal quarantine station and a leper colony. Visitors who explore this South African National Heritage Site and UNESCO World Heritage Site today are often guided by former prisoners.

 

One animal you’re sure to see on Robben Island is rabbits. The island is home to as many as 25,000 rabbits. If you’re looking for something a little more exotic, keep your camera ready as you take the ferry to the island. You may see Cape fur seals, Southern right whales, and dusky and Heaviside dolphins. Once on the island, you may see one of the 23 species of mammals that live there, such as the Bontebok, Springbok, Steenbok, fallow deer or Eland. Lizards, geckos, snakes, tortoises and ostriches also make their home on the island.

 

Look up to experience the 132 species of birds that make the island home. Some birds make the journey from the mainland to breed and roost while others live there full time. You’ll see sea birds, water birds and terrestrial birds, some of them endangered.

 

Table Mountain National Park

 

Safari vacations in South Africa aren’t complete without visiting Table Mountain National Park, a Natural World Heritage Site and one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. Table Mountain’s peak was visible to Nelson Mandela and gave him hope during his long imprisonment on Robben Island. He credited the sight of the mountain with giving him the fortitude he needed to survive his prison exile.

 

The national park is home to one of eight protected areas that comprise the Cape Floral Kingdom, which houses over 8,200 species of plants. It’s home to 1,406 threatened plant species, including 300 which are endangered or critically endangered. Have your camera ready to snap photos of the rare plants that you won’t find growing anywhere else in the world. The Cape Floral Kingdom is the smallest of the world’s six floral kingdoms but it’s the richest.


The animals of Table Mountain National Park are smaller than those you find on most safaris but they are just as exciting to spot. Stay on alert for tiny klipspringer bucks, as well as grysbok, the common duiker, grey rhebok and steenbok. Larger antelope species, such as Eland, red hartebeest and Bontebok can also be found in the park.

 

It’s also worth looking down as you explore for a chance to see one of the 22 species of snakes in the park. Given that 10 of the species are non-venomous, it’s also worth looking down so you avoid stepping on one of the other 12 snake species. Fortunately, snakes tend to be shy and avoid human contact. You may be lucky enough to see the venomous puff adder sunning itself on a rock or pathway along your tour.

 

Although photos of the Big 5 are exciting, safari vacations in South Africa aren’t complete without enjoying visits to historic sites and parks with a unique and diverse selection of smaller animals and plants.

Cape Town

Johannesburg

Kruger National Park

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