#Dare2Dream: Amazing bush break experiences to have in South Africa

25 April 2020

There's no doubt about it. We love a good bush breaks. And with some of Africa's greatest wildlife expériences literally on our doorstep, there's no better place to 'safari' than in Mzansi.

Apart from just enjoying game drives, a sundowner G&T and that catchup around the boma, there are many truly bucket list experiences that we can enjoy in our local game reserves. International visitors fly for hours to see what we have a short domestic flight or two-hour drive away.

Here's the ultimate South African safari experience to add to that wishlist.

A walking safari

Get as close to nature as possible on a walking safari. While walking safaris aren't exclusive to South Africa, nowhere else are they as accessible, or is there so much choice.

If you're in the Kruger National Park, take a walking safari at Jock Safari Lodge. Or lace up the 'tekkies' and embark on a walking safari at Bakubung Bush Lodge in the North West and the Wildside Camp in Limpopo.

If you're going to have the kids in tow, Bakubung Bush Lodge is a family favourite. It's a two-hour drive from Johannesburg and 10 minutes from Sun City, making for an easy combo of bush and beach in one.

Sleep like a royal

If you're looking for the ultimate honeymoon escape, romantic getaway for two or like the luxe life, check-in at Tshukudu Bush Lodge, situated in the malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park. It takes the cake as one of the area's most romantic lodges.

The lodge sits on a hill and overlooks a waterhole and savanna. So if you want to game watch from your private pool or not leave the bathtub, this is where to do it.

Tee off a mountain

Are you missing practising your swing? Get the (travel) hole-in-one teeing off at Limpopo's Legend Golf and Safari Resort's world-famous 19th hole. It's the world's longest and highest Par 3.

Golfers who aren't afraid of a little height are whisked up to the Hanglip Mountain by helicopter to tee off on the edge of the mountain, 400 metres above the Africa-shaped green below.

Support the endangered African Wild Dog

South Africa's game reserves are home to many iconic species in need of protection, but the African Wild Dogs can sometimes be forgotten. And they really shouldn't. African Wild Dogs are the second most endangered carnivore in Africa and research suggests there are just 5,000 Wild Dogs left in the world.

The Madikwe Game Reserve in the North West offers the opportunity to see this rare species. The lodge has also introduced a Wild Dog identification kit, which guests can use to try to identify who's who of the dogs they spot.

If you're keen to volunteer, join a volunteer programme run by the Wildlife Act in Zululand, KwaZulu-Natal, where you can help to track and monitor the Wild Dog population.

Wildlife Act offers many other opportunities to support and volunteer with the conservation of several other vulnerable species.

Dune bash in the Kalahari

While the Kalahari probably doesn't come to mind when you're dreaming of your bush break, this region of the Northern Cape offers a bush escape with a difference. Sometimes called the "forgotten corner" of South Africa, it's easy to see why. You can travel for kilometres and not see another soul.

The distinctive red dunes of the Kalahari Desert stretch up into Botswana and Namibia, making this desert the largest area of unbroken sand in the world.

While you won't tick off the Big Five here, you can spot more unusual creatures. The area is home to species such as the Cape fox, hyena, jackals and, first prize, the black-maned lion. Spotting these rare and shy creatures is a real treat.

Get lost in the Karoo

Another more unusual bush escape is the Karoo. The vast expanse of the Karoo is 'get-off-the-grid safari' at its best.

Take in the views over the hauntingly beautiful Valley of Desolation, marvel at the eagles and go on game drives to spot buck of almost every type imaginable, Cape Mountain Zebra, black rhino, bat-eared foxes and, yes, even a lion or two.

Tick off the classic Big Five

What would a bush escape be without ticking off the Big Five at least once in your lifetime?

The big-name parks, such as the Kruger National Park, Pilanesberg and Madikwe, are much-loved places to spot the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo. And don't forget about their little neighbours either. Keep your eyes peeled to spot the Little Five – the elephant shrew, ant lion, rhinoceros beetle, buffalo weaver and leopard tortoise.

Or head to the Eastern Cape's Addo National Park and spot the Big Seven – the Big Five plus the great white shark and southern right whale.

They say there's nowhere like home. In the case of these unique bush break experiences, we'd have to agree.