South Africa has three main geographical areas: the plateau, the mountains and the coast, and all present a different wildlife watching experience. The terrain contrasts from semi-dessert, subtropical forests, floodplains, rock coves and sandy beaches, to the soaring Drakensberg Mountains.
There are almost 300 animal species including the Big Five: elephant, lion, buffalo, rhino and leopard, as well as other big cats such as cheetah, serval and caracal. Endangered species such as African wild dogs and mountain zebra, and less-known animals such as kudu can also be spotted.
Something that not everyone expects to find on a sun-soaked beach are penguins, which nest on Boulders Beach in Cape Town. Cape fur seals, dolphins and southern right whales can also be spotted off the Garden Route’s coastline.
South Africa is well-known for its birdlife, with over 850 bird species residing here. Popular birds to be on the lookout for include saddlebilled storks, African goshawk, African broadbill, narina trogon, bee-eaters, sugarbirds and sunbirds.
In the spring the Western Cape is awash with flowers, and photographers and nature lovers alike flock here to witness the riot of colour. Namaqua National Park is a great place to witness the phenomenon.