Wildlife As Wondrous As The Wine: On Safari With Micato In Southern Africa

By Micato Staff March 21, 2023

The sophisticated sizzle of Cape Town, the sublime vintages of wine country, rainforests, surfing, skiing, and a few UNESCO World Heritage Sites thrown in for good measure.

Southern Africa really does have it all.

And did we mention wildlife? No, not yet, but that was our point: Peruse the litany of listicles out there about the very best things to see and do in Southern Africa, and safari certainly makes the list, but it’s often not the first or even second thing on it.

Don’t get us wrong, we love — as do Micato travellers — that Southern Africa is a one-stop shop of sorts for everything you could possibly want to do on vacation. But to underscore our point that Micato safaris in Southern Africa can be every bit as bountiful and exhilirating as Micato safaris in East Africa, we’re going to lead off this post with animals.

Because really, we think you’ll find that, like Micato, Southern Africa’s wildlife is worthy of being #1.

Yes, there are leopards on safari in Southern Africa. Photo: Micato Safari Director Brian Nel

Wildlife Galore 

South Africa plays host to four of our favourite game reserves and national parks: Ulusaba Private Game Reserve, Tswalu Game Reserve, Madikwe Game Reserve, and Kruger National Park and Sabi Sands Game Reserve. A visit to any one of these places is divine but hitting all of them on a private custom South Africa safari would make for quite the trip. While Kruger delivers classics like the Big Five, Tswalu brings expansiveness and rare mammals like black rhinos to the table. If you’re looking for an exquisite sampling of the best wildlife Africa has to offer, a South Africa safari can deliver that in short order. 

Not to mention the fantastic lodges and camps you’ll rest in along your journey. Lodges like Tswalu Motse and Sir Richard Branson’s three lodges at Ulusaba are some of our favourites. Mingling with wildlife in South Africa has never been more luxurious. 

City Lights

Considered one of the top tier cities the world over, Cape Town sparkles with waterfront views, fantastic food, and liveliness. Here at Micato, we simply adore Cape Town and believe you will, too. Foodies will find themselves wide-eyed at the local flavours, scents, and colours of the markets, not to mention at one of Cape Town’s world-class restaurants. Micato guests on the hunt for some amazing finds are in for a treat too because Cape Town artisans are known for creating beautiful jewellery, fine art, ceramics, and crafts. Throw in the amazing sights and culture, and you can begin to understand why Cape Town is an incredible city to explore with us on a South Africa safari. 

Indulge in a Glass or Several on a Vineyard Tour

The Cape Winelands are a marvel. Complete with stellar views and distant rocky hills, the Cape Winelands of South Africa make Napa and Sonoma blush. In addition to the numerous award-winning vintages you’ll have the pleasure of sipping on, you may be surprised to discover the Winelands is considered the culinary capital of South Africa. While the food you’ll eat in Cape Town is delicious, the meals you’ll enjoy in the Cape Winelands are nothing short of superb. In fact, the region serves as home to three of the top 10 restaurants in South Africa and one in the top 50 in the entire world. 

While visiting the Cape Winelands, you’ll also have the opportunity to stroll about the Dutch colonial towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, tour family-owned cheese farms and vineyards, and enjoy a delectable meal at the celebrated Delaire Graff Estate. Making your way through the Winelands will often have you questioning, “am I still in Africa?” The answer, fortunately for you, is a resounding “yes!”   

Visit a UNESCO World Heritage Site

Inducted as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004, the Cape Floristic Region is recognized as one of the world’s six floristic kingdoms and is one of the most biologically diverse places on planet Earth. While it may be the smallest kingdom of six, it’s home to roughly 9,000 vascular plant species. Of those 9,000 species, 69 percent are endemic to the region. Because of this, it has been dubbed as one of the world’s “hottest hotspots” in terms of its ongoing evolutionary and biological processes.

Considering all of this, the Cape Floristic Region is a must for nature lovers. Popular plant species here include the king protea, South Africa’s national flower, and the red disa. While plant life vastly outnumber mammals in this hotspot, there are still 90 species of mammal that call the Cape Floristic Region home, with four of those species being endemic to the region. Those four endemic species include two different species of golden mole: the endangered Van Zyl’s golden mole and the Fynbos golden mole. A larger mammal of note is the bontebok, a stunning antelope that was nearly driven extinct in the 1800s. There are many other endemic species of reptiles, amphibians, birds, freshwater fish, and invertebrates to be found in this region as well.

Have Fun in the Sea or Mountains

If you’re interested in experiencing more of South Africa’s waterfront, consider stopping by the Eastern Cape. This wondrous area is home to the famed Garden Route, a 120-mile trail that winds its way along South Africa’s scenic southern coast from Mossel Bay in the Western Cape to Storms Bay in the Eastern Cape. The Garden Route passes through several picturesque towns which make those many miles even more enchanting. Furthermore, the Eastern Cape has gorgeous beaches, lovely vegetation, and secluded lakes and lagoons. If you fancy a visit to the coastline of Jeffrey’s Bay, a rainforest heavy area, you can fit in some legendary surfing time. 

If you’re interested in sticking near Cape Town, you can always visit the two penguin colonies close by. Yes, you read that right, penguins in Africa! Established in the 1980s, these thriving colonies can be found while touring the picturesque Cape Peninsula. Depending on how close you want to get, you can observe the penguins from the wooden walkways at Stony Point or head over to Boulder’s Beach and swim nearby them in the southern Atlantic. Visiting the penguins of South Africa can be a perfect activity for a romantic day trip considering penguins also mate for life.  

If you feel more at home on the slopes than in the sea, don’t worry. South Africa has its own ski resort, Tiffindell. The resort is located 8,920 feet high in the Southern Drakensburg Mountains. No matter what hobbies or interests you have, South Africa is sure to deliver on practically every front. 

Revel in the Wonder of South Africa with Micato

After all these suggestions, it may be a better question to ask what South Africa can’t deliver on. This country is absolutely splendid and is the perfect destination for those looking for a place that delivers on practically every African staple. It has its fair share of surprises too. Now that South Africa is open again to travellers, it may just be the best time to visit considering it will feel as though you have the reserves and parks to yourself. In light of this, get in touch with one of our Safari Specialists today and make your dreams of South Africa a magnificent reality.

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