One of the coolest things about my trip to South Africa was meeting all the awesome South Africa animals in their natural environment. I didn’t think much about it before going but it turned out African safari animals are obviously a big thing there and I could easily see species that here I can only meet in the zoo (or not even there!). And it was so much fun!
Most of the people visit South Africa in hope to see the big five: elephant, black rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard. These species are among the most dangerous yet the most popular to hunt for. In 1990 all of them made it to the new rand banknotes.
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Most popular places to see South Africa animals?
The biggest chances to meet all the African safari animals are in Kruger National Park, close to the border with Mozambique. Due to my limited time in South Africa I had to skip that one but I still managed to see some amazing South Africa animals in south part of the country.
When in Port Elisabeth I didn’t really see the city but headed to the nearby Addo Elephant National Park, 3rd biggest park in South Africa. At the beginning of our tour we got a map with all the South Africa animals we’d most likely meet, there were 42 of them. The average is 13, the maximum 24. We spent the whole day driving around Addo and managed to spot 17 various species – not a bad result!
The weather wasn’t the best to take pictures but it was the one that South Africa animals enjoy so our chances to see more of them were actually higher. It was such an exciting day, I felt like a kid on the Christmas day before opening the presents! Seeing all the animals, especially big and famous ones such as elephants or buffalos, was a pretty spectacular moment that left me almost hyperventilating from the joy!
But the best thing was meeting black rhino! There are very few of them left (around 4000 in the whole Africa) and it’s an extremely endangered. Crossing the path with black rhino is a really big deal and we were so extremely lucky as we met him just as we were about to leave Addo! Kevin, our amazing guide, said that he sees one in a month or so, and he’s in the park every day!
Where else should you look for South Africa animals?
Another day full of cute animals was when we went for a Cape Peninsula Tour. On our first stop in Hout Bay there was a possibility of taking a boat to see the colony of seals. Since they are my fave animals ever and I think you can’t find a cuter animal I was almost bouncing around from the joy.
Well, as it turned out I’ve never been that scared in my life! I can’t swim very well so standing at the very front of the boat and holding the handrail only with one hand wasn’t a very comfortable feeling, not to mention the huge waves (few meters big) that we were facing. I was litrally panicking and saying good bye to my life…
But then we saw seals and the world was beautiful again! They were so amazing, so cute and there were so many of them! At that point I didn’t really mind the journey from hell to see them, I was in seventh heaven :) (and fortunately the way back was much better…)
After the seals it was time for penguins! I was really surprised to find these animals live in South Africa but they are, and they’re doing just fine. They occupy the Boulders Beach near Simon’s Town and they might be a troublesome neighbours to the local community. But still they were pretty hillarious to look at, walking funny, bumping into each other. Such a cute little creatures!
Surprising encounters with the animals in South Africa
While seals and penguins were planned activities on that tour the next two species just happened to be on our way. When we were driving from Cape Point to Cape of Good Hope suddenly we were stuck in the traffic jam. As it turned out the bunch of baboons went out for a walk on the street! There were pretty many of them, some jumping on the cars, others just looking around suspiciously.
Just next to our bus there was a mother with a really small baby baboon, probably just 2-3 days old! Soon these two were accompanied by another baboon who just started picking out lices from mother’s back! It was like Animal Planet happening in front of my eyes!
After the baboons, on the way back from the Cape of Good Hope, we met few ostriches, including small ones. Again, they were so close and weren’t afriad of the cars and people at all! Such a cool encounters!
How to see South Africa animals?
The best way to see the animals in South Africa is during the organized tour. The guides know the area and animals and going with them will higher raise your chances to meet the animals. Click on the links below to browse the tour in each destination:
South Africa animals in pictures
I know the quality of the pictures isn’t the greatest and I wish I would have had a better lenses… But here you have pics of the South Africa animals I’ve met.
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