“I owe my being to the hills and the valleys, the mountains and the glades, the rivers, the deserts, the trees, the flowers, the seas and the ever-changing seasons that define the face of our native land”
– I am African, Thabo Mbeki
In the northern part of the iconic Welgevonden Game Reserve, Jamila is surrounded by the Waterberg Mountains and limitless African bush. A nearby waterhole is the prime attraction, which regularly attracts the Big Five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard and rhinoceros). The luxury lodge has also received praise for its conservation efforts.
The 27,000ha reserve is in the Great Karoo of the Eastern Cape. The award-winning luxury safari lodge is home to cheetah, black and white rhino, giraffe, buffalo and herds of antelope and zebra. It is part of the leading conservation project in the area, with Samara focusing on South Africa’s aim to be the third-largest protected area in a global biodiversity hotspot. Activities include game drives, guided walks, wilderness picnics and stargazing.
The elephants at the sanctuary in Hartbeespoort are all rescues from various situations, including zoos and hunting. The elephant-interaction programme allows guests to be introduced to African elephants, and you will get a chance to walk trunk in hand with the gentle giants. The sanctuary also offers accommodation on the premises, which is located an hour away from Johannesburg.
Huddled in the foothills of the scenic Cederberg Mountains, this ecological dream is home to ancient sandstone formations and more than 130 bush art paintings, some dating back more than 10,000 years. Bushmans Kloof in the Western Cape is a South African heritage site and boasts indigenous flora and fauna. Here, you’ll see the evasive aardwolf, wildcat, bat-eared fox, Cape fox and porcupine in their natural habitat.
The pinnacle of the African safari, Kruger National Park is one of the biggest on the continent, and the variety of wild animals is world-renowned. The park plays host to luxury lodges, as well as more affordable family accommodation. Either way, you’re bound to spot lions, elephants and rhinos. Diverse bird species such as vultures, eagles and storks are also common sightings. Whether you’re looking for a self-catering unit or luxury accommodation, Kruger’s closest gate to Johannesburg is a short four-hour drive.