• Bitten by the whale watching bug Bitten by the whale watching bug We don’t realise how lucky we are in South Africa, and in particular the Western Cape, to have the mightiest of the marine mammals visit our coastline between every year ...
  • The Whale Trail The Whale Trail The Whale Trail is not a new trail, having been around since about 2002, but it has become extremely popular. It is truly a unique experience, perhaps comparable with ...
  • 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa Combine your trip to South Africa with a relaxing, revitalising visit to a health spa and experience Africa at it's finest. Our favourite 10 Pamper-Perfect Spas in South Africa are ...
  • Locals share their favourite getaways Locals share their favourite getaways We ask 30 local South Africans to share their favourite holiday destinations and getaways with us. From the more popular destinations like Knysna and the Kruger Park to ...
  • The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip hike The Oude Skip walk shares portions of its hike with the larger Karbonkelberg Traverse, which is roughly seven hours of hard walk from Hout Bay harbour to Llandudno ...
  • 10 Amazing Game Lodges 10 Amazing Game Lodges South Africa is world renowned for her game reserves and wildlife. The lodges which allow us to experience these in luxury are no less awe inspiring. Our favourites are ...
  • 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town 101 Things to Do with Kids in Cape Town As much as your kids will tell you they can’t wait for the school holidays, the words "I’m bored" inevitably cross their lips. Our "101 things to do with kids in Cape Town" will ...
  • "World's most beautiful Cities" "World's most beautiful Cities" Open space makes Cape Town special. Renowned English sea navigator Sir Francis Drake once referred to Cape Town as the fairest cape in the world. The city houses the ...

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Game and Wildlife Encounters

This category includes posts and reviews about game lodges and South Africa’s fabulous national parks, nature and game reserves. South Africa boasts a huge collection of wildlife regions encompassing every possible landscape from deserts to forests … Visit SA-Venues.com for more information about South Africa Game Reserves.

Thursday, 3 April 2014

10 Best Places To See Cheetahs In South Africa

The Cheetah: fastest land animal on earth over short distances; can reach a speed of 120 kilometres an hour; measures two metres from the snout to the end of its tail; weighs between 40 – 60kgs; is the only cat with semi-retractable claws, and has a spotted coat.

Cheetah are listed as Vulnerable, and Critically Endangered in North Africa and Asia.

Cheetahs prefer open plains where they run down their prey, but they can function as well in savanna woodland. They no longer occur in almost 80 percent of their historic range in Africa, although they have been reintroduced in about 38 reserves in South Africa. However, their populations are small and isolated… Continued

Monday, 30 December 2013

Why I love the Kruger National Park

Why I Love Kruger

Why I Love Kruger

As young girl, I first visited the Kruger National Park with my parents and brother.  We stayed in a camp just outside and drove in during the day seeking out animals and waiting for them to burst out from the bushes.

For large chunks of the drive we didn’t see much except bush, acacia trees and large rocks forming little mountains. But each time my brother and I laid eyes on an elephant herd making its way across the road or a giraffe bending over to eat the leaves of trees, it was magical.

This year, I was able to visit this wildlife haven again.  We stayed inside the park at Jock Safari Lodge and went out before the sun rose and again before sunset to witness animals at their most active times… Continued

Monday, 9 December 2013

Know where to see the BIG FIVE – we list the top reserves

The Big Five are not only  the most popular animals in Africa, they’re also among the most dangerous. Yet people fly into South Africa intent on sighting them. Not everyone manages to tick them off the list (the leopard in particular is rather elusive).

We give you the lowdown on exactly where to find the BIG FIVE… Continued

Monday, 25 November 2013

The secret life of South Africa’s little five

What do the leopard tortoise, buffalo weaver, elephant shrew, ant lion and rhinoceros beetle have in common with their large counterparts?  Very little other than the names they share. What they are is a sharp reminder of the neglected small creatures – the “forgotten inhabitants of the African savannah”.

It’s human nature to support the little guy. In psychology terms this is known as the appeal of the underdog; the Davids (as opposed to Goliaths) of this world… Which is one explanation for Rael Loon’s concept of South Africa’s Little Five. As opposed to the Big Five – one of the major reasons tourists visit the country.

The massive Big Five push (just about every tourism document in the country promises sightings on safari) needed a nudge to return to the heart of the issue  – that of conservation. Continued

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

On Safari in Sibuya Game Reserve

So when the day came for us to check in to Sibuya Game Reserve in Kenton on Sea, we completely missed the boat.  Literally, at 11:30am the boat chartered all the guests across from the reception to the reserve.  Except for us.  We arrived late from Hogsback and Ranger Chris came all the way this side of the river to collect us in time for lunch.

As we boated along the river, looking out for birds and even game beside the water’s edge I realised that so much of this game reserve’s beauty lies in the fact that you can only access it by water. We stopped to see a tiny malachite kingfisher perched above his nest on the bank.  It wasn’t long before he took off, his bright blue and orange colours disappeared quickly… Continued

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The wild reveals its secrets at Jock Safari Lodge

From the time we pulled up at Jock Safari Lodge in the Kruger National Park, I knew that it was going to be a bush experience of note and a luxurious one at that.  Smiling staff came straight to the car and offered to carry all of our suitcases, backpacks and bags to our rooms.  We were offered an ice cold glass of juice whilst checking in and even the general manger, Louis Strauss, came out to meet and introduce himself.

Our villa in the bush captivated me immediately.  As we were shown around the room, I took in the splash pool built on a wooden deck, our shaded A-frame lounging area built with a spectacular view over the dry riverbed and our outdoor dining area where we could choose to have our meals.  Continued

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Exploring South Africa’s oldest private reserve, the Sabi Sand Private Game Reserve

The first pioneers of the Sabi Sand Game Reserve date back to the late 1920’s.  They aimed to protect the beautiful fauna and flora of the land and today six of those families have third and fourth generation owners of the land. It was only in 1948 when landowners formed Sabi Sand private nature reserve.  Here you’ll find endangered species, surreal safari experiences, moving landscapes and world-class lodges. Endangered species on the reserve include Honey Badgers, Red-billed Oxpeckers,  Wild Dogs, Bats and Ground Hornbill. Continued

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Meerkats – Where to Find Them in South Africa

The suricate. Looks like a mongoose – and should as it belongs to the same family -, lives in mobs or gangs, does a lot of standing on its rear legs to survey the lie of the land – and with good reason as they’re a snack size for the average Martial eagle and jackal – weighs all of 0.9 kilograms, and has something of a cult following in the UK due to a series of television adverts for the insurance company Compare the Market.

The meerkat in question, named Aleksandr Orlov, is Russian and sports a heavy Russian accent, comes from aristocratic stock and spends most of the advert’s duration frustrated over the confusion between his website (compare the meerkat dot com) and compare the market dot com (there is an added play on the similarity between market and meerkat).

All of this is, of course, completely inconsistent with the natural home of these creatures, found predominantly in Africa. Continued

Monday, 4 March 2013

Saving Our Rhinos – 9 Ways You Can Help

The Rhinoceros

The Rhinoceros

I don’t know about you, but I feel despondent every time I read about the desperate plight of the aggressively poached rhinos in South Africa. I feel dismayed, frightened and utterly appalled. I also feel enraged because there doesn’t seem to be anything I can actually DO about it, other than give money to one organisation or another.

And I get countless desperate rhino emails, smses and FB pleas to share this, like this or send this. But does it help? And how is it helping? What can I actually do to change the situation? Somehow sharing a gut wrenching picture of butchered rhinos with all of my friends feels like a distasteful parody of hand-wringing, and may well leave my ‘friends’ feeling ineffective.

It has reached the stage when I delete anything about rhinos rather than face the guilt when I fail to respond to the pleas for yet more money (can donor money balance the finance that drives the slaughter, and which organisation would it best serve?). Continued

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Meet Dave Moffatt of KhakiWeed Photographic Safaris

We’d like to introduce Dave Moffatt of KhakiWeed Photographic Safaris. Dave has shared some of his amazing wildlife photographs with us and we thought they were too good not to share with all of you! Thank you for sharing your wonderful photographs with us Dave, they are incredible images.

“My name is Dave Moffatt, born in Ireland I came here in my early years and love the bush and wildlife . About four years ago I went on a trip to the Kruger Park, as I have done before except this time I took a new toy with me a SLR canon Camera with a 300mm lens. I had done photography in the past with a film camera I purchased whist living in Canada. Continued

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

Explore Mountain Zebra National Park

Mountain Zebra

Mountain Zebra

The Mountain Zebra National Park is a haven for some of the most awesome wildlife of the country, having protected the Mountain Zebra from near-extinction since its establishment in 1937. Today, there are hundreds of Mountain Zebra residing in safety in this park.

The entire area boasts the rustic beauty so typical of the Eastern Cape – valleys, hills and rocky outcrops with plenty of green Karoo vegetation and scrubby landscapes. It is within this untouched beauty that the Mountain Zebra National Park is nestled, home to a variety of fauna and flora.

This national park is located near Cradock and is free of the threat of malaria, making it a prime option for families with young children and the elderly. It is less than 300 kilometres from Port Elizabeth in Nelson Mandela Bay, making it accessible and ideal as a weekend getaway. Still, there is so much to see and do here that visitors are urged to stay a little longer and get a real taste of the wild side of the Eastern Cape. Continued

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Where To Spot A Leopard

Part Of The Big 5

Part Of The Big 5

The leopard is one of the official Big 5 (along with the elephant, buffalo, lion and rhino). More than this, it is an exquisite wild cat, an accomplished hunter and mysterious for its elusiveness. It is the smallest of all the wild cats and certainly one of the most beautiful. However, because it is a naturally shy animal, avoiding contact with humans, it is sometimes difficult to find within its natural habitat.

In South Africa, leopards can be found in a number of reserves, parks and wildlife facilities. The Kruger National Park is a good option for travellers wanting to see leopards, as well as a number of other awesome wildlife species. Still, Kruger is an enormous park with plenty of hiding places for leopards. So, visitors may search for hours, even days, to find one of these cats. This means that visitors need plenty of time here. Therefore, a smaller park, with less room or a higher concentration of animals per square kilometres, may yield better results.

For even more of a guarantee, consider visiting a rehabilitation facility (such as the Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre near the Drakensberg Mountains or the Leopard and Predator Project, which has a number of projects around South Africa). Continued

Monday, 10 September 2012

Know Your National Parks – Spend a Day for FREE in a National Park this Week

Table Mountain Park

Table Mountain Park

All locals can get into national parks around the country free of charge for the week of Monday 10 September until Friday 14 September 2012.

The free access doesn’t apply to overnight visitors (sad luck) but it does give anyone in the country the chance to experience a national park without any of the entry fees attached to the visit. That’s rather a benefit, from where I stand.

The exceptions: The only parks to which this free access does not apply are Boulders in Table Mountain National Park (understandable as the penguins would not cope with the influx of people), Mokala National Park and the Namaqua National Park. Continued

Monday, 27 August 2012

Explore the Pumba Private Game Reserve

Pumba Game Reserve

Pumba Game Reserve

The Pumba Private Game Reserve is situated on Lake Kariega in the heart of the Eastern Cape. This luxury reserve showcases the true beauty of South Africa within the comfort of opulent lodges and world-class amenities. As the home of some of the world’s most beautiful animal species (including the Big 5), Pumba promises visitors a really rewarding wildlife experience.

Pumba Private Game Reserve makes for the perfect destination for a romantic honeymoon, a family getaway, business trip or spa escape. It is close enough to towns like Grahamstown (a 20-minute drive, in fact) and Port Elizabeth (about 90 minutes away) to be conveniently situated, without any of the stresses and strains of city living. Continued

Wednesday, 22 August 2012

Explore the Kariega Game Reserve

Kariega Game Reserve

Kariega Game Reserve

The Kariega Game Reserve is a stunning escape in the heart of the Eastern Cape, boasting each of the magnificent Big 5 (lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard and elephant). However, nature-lovers are in for a very rewarding experience because, in addition to these impressive species, there is a plethora of other animals to see within their natural habitat. This includes almost 300 bird species and 25 different kinds of game.

International visitors are assured that this entire area is a malaria-free zone, so no extra precautions need to be taken. The reserve is situated on the Kariega River and the Bushman’s River, which introduce yet more biodiversity. It is about 140 kilometres from Port Elizabeth, Nelson Mandela Bay, and only about 20 kilometres from the coastal village of Kenton-on-Sea. The mountains, rivers and valleys create a haven of tranquillity in which a fascinating hive of activity emerges. Kariega invites visitors to immerse themselves in this serenity. Continued