Top five self-drive safari destinations in South Africa

The Kruger National Park is an iconic destination in South Africa, renowned for its phenomenal game viewing.

Self-drive safaris have become incredibly popular, mainly because they are more affordable and allow one to move at their own pace and enjoy the wonders of the African Bush. 

Self-drive safaris are proving to be a more feasible option for families with very young children who don’t meet the minimum age requirement of six years on guided game drives. It is good to know that most family-friendly luxury lodges across South Africa do offer babysitting facilities or the option of a private safari vehicle should you prefer to be led by professional and knowledgeable guides. 

Here are the Top 5 self-drive safari destinations in South Africa that promise an unforgettable experience. 

  1. Kruger National Park


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How are unicorns fake but giraffes are real? What’s more believable, a horse with a horn or a long necked Leopard-Moose-Camel? @muzerious

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The Kruger National Park is an iconic destination in South Africa, renowned for its phenomenal game viewing. Spanning across two million hectares and hosting as many as 147 mammal species and over 500 species of birds, the Kruger National Park is undoubtedly one of Africa’s premier safari destinations. Split into three distinct regions – central, southern and northern Kruger; each area boasts a unique ecosystem that supports the Kruger’s abundant wildlife and provides plenty of opportunities to spot the famous Big 5. Whether you are looking for self-catering camps or luxury 3,4 and 5-star lodges – the Kruger has something to suit your specific travel needs.   

  1. Pilanesberg National Park


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Pilanesberg National Park is arguably South Africa’s most accessible park, located just two and a half hours from Johannesburg. Much like the Kruger, the park is open to day visitors for self-drives and offers various accommodation options – from affordable 3-star lodges to luxurious 4 and 5-star lodges that offer three sumptuous meals a day, exceptional service and a rewarding safari experience led by a team of professional guides. Pilanesberg is home to all members of the Big 5 and is one of the best places in South Africa for a bird watching safari, boasting several bird hides and more than 300 migrant and resident species.  

  1. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve

Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in South Africa, spanning across 96,000 hectares of pristine wilderness near the northern coastline of KwaZulu Natal. The park supports over 96 mammal species, including the Big 5, African wild dogs, cheetahs, hyena, jackal, blue wildebeest, giraffe, zebra, Nile crocodile and hippos. Visitors to the park have the option of driving around the park on their own or venturing out on a guided game drive led by qualified rangers. The accommodation at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi ranges from comfortable safari tents, self-catering chalets and rondavels to luxurious bush lodges. 

  1. Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park is the third-largest park in South Africa and one of the most diverse, with 12 different vegetation types and more than 1,500 plant species – 20% of which are endemic to the region. Addo is home to the Big 5, thirteen species of antelope and 22 species of carnivores, including rarer species such as cheetah, hyena and wild dogs. The malaria-free Addo Elephant National Park is open to the public for day time self-drives but to truly appreciate the unique landscape, we recommend staying at one of the self-catering rest camps or luxury lodges within the park.

  1. Marakele National Park


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Recently voted as the third-best lodge in Africa, there is no shortage of comfort, convenience, animal sightings and natural beauty at Marataba Safari Lodge. Take it all in from any of the luxurious inside and outside leisure areas while you wait for your next trip on Miss Mara or evening game drive. ⁣ ⁣ Enjoy the view.⁣ ⁣ ????: @maratabasouthafrica⁣ ????: Marakele National Park, South Africa⁣ ⁣ #MountainBackdrops⁣ #Waterberge⁣ #MarakeleNationalPark⁣ #ChillTime⁣ #SmallComforts⁣ #SitBackRelax⁣ #Breathtaking⁣ #WaterSafaris⁣ #NightGameDrives⁣ #WelcomeSight⁣ #MaratabaSafariLodge⁣ #OutOfAfrica⁣ #LuxuryCamp⁣ #SustainableTourism⁣ #EcoTravel⁣ #LoveAfrica⁣ #TravelAfrica⁣ #TravelSmart ⁣ #TravelInStyle ⁣ #LuxuryTraveller ⁣ #LuxuryTravel ⁣ #AfricanSafaris ⁣ #SafariJourneys ⁣ #TravelToAfrica ⁣ #HolidayInspiration ⁣ #TravelIdeas ⁣ #ExperienceAfrica⁣ ⁣ ⁣ ⁣

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Marakele National Park lies in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains in the Limpopo province and is the perfect destination for nature lovers. The park boasts mixed bushveld vegetation that is particularly loved by various antelope species, black rhino, elephant and wild dogs. Marakele also supports predators such as brown hyena, leopard and lion; making it possible to see 4 of the Big 5. Malaria-free and offering affordable safari experiences, Marakele has two rest camps that boasts fully equipped self-catering safari tents and a guest cottage for families or groups of friends. Visitors can self-drive the park on their own or book morning and sunset game drives, morning and sunset bush walks and tours up the mountain pass.

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