Search
Close this search box.
What to know before you go a self drive safari
self drive safari
This post may contain affiliate links. Please read our disclosure for more information.

What is a self-drive safari?

 

A self-drive safari is the kind of safari where you are in complete control. You get behind the wheel of your vehicle and head out into the wilderness for a no-frills safari.

A regular two-wheel-drive (2WD) car is sufficient for most self drive safaris in South Africa, including Kruger National Park. This is because most park thoroughfares are either paved or regularly graded.

A four-wheel-drive (4WD) vehicle is highly recommended for almost everywhere else, including the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park. (If you decide to go on a 4WD self drive safari, it’s best to take a refresher or a beginners’ training session in the vehicle you intend to travel in.

The benefits of a self drive safari

 

  • It’s affordable – If you are traveling on a budget, a self drive safari is an excellent option because it is way more affordable than a guided tour.
  • It offers flexibility – With a self drive safari, you can control where to go, when to stop, how long to stop, etc. This is not the case if you are on a guided tour because they may be on a strict travel schedule.
  • It’s private – With a self drive safari, you are traveling with your friends and/or family, as opposed to perfect strangers.

self drive lion parks johannesburg

Things you should know before going on a self-drive safari

Start early

The best sightings for self-drive safaris are almost always early in the morning. You can always nap in the middle of the day or go to bed early, but you don’t want to miss the best time for the sightings.

Make sure you have enough gas/petrol

With the exception of Kruger National Park, most national parks don’t have gas stations. They could be hundreds of kilometers away. To avoid being trapped on a game drive, make sure you have a full tank before entering the park.

Obey the speed limits

Wildlife can be cleverly disguised. There may even be animals right next to the road. You will not see them if you drive too fast. On gravel roads, most national parks have a speed limit of 50 km/h, and dirt roads have a speed limit of 40 km/h or less. That may seem slow, but make sure you stick to these guidelines at all times.

These speed limitations are in place to keep you and the wildlife safe, so don’t be tempted to go faster – even (or especially) if you spot something fascinating in the distance.

Be patient

It’s possible that you won’t see anything for a long time, but don’t be discouraged. They are out there, so be patient. It’s part of the pleasure to not know what’s going to happen next, so accept it and take in the landscape.

Use an app to help you spot the animals

The Latest Sightings app keeps track of sightings in Southern African national parks. Guests report sightings, which are updated in real-time with GPS coordinates, so you can go to the exact location where an animal was spotted.

Turn off external sounds

When traveling about on a self-drive safari, you want to remain as quiet as possible. This means that music, podcasts, audiobooks etc should be turned off at all times and voices should be kept to a whisper.

Stop and listen

Stop your car, turn off the engine, and listen to the sounds of the bush. Keep an ear out for unusual high-pitched animal noises or continuous bird chittering. Smaller animals will usually give this warning sign if they notice a predator hiding in the bush.

Pack a picnic

Game drives can be unpredictable. A two-hour game drive can quickly expand into a three, four, or five-hour game drive. There may be pit stops to get snacks here and there, but this is not always available. It’s, therefore, best to take your own food and water.

Depending on where you go, there may be several authorized picnic locations. You could also eat while you are driving.

Plan your potty breaks

Toilets are often far apart. You are not permitted to leave your vehicle except in authorized areas, so plan your toilet breaks. The toilets are well-marked and noted on maps.

Do not go off-road

Keep in mind that the bush vegetation is extremely fragile. Off-roading causes erosion and the spread of invasive plant species.

Respect the animals and the environment

Please don’t litter, yell, or scare the wildlife while you’re in their natural habitat.

LOVE THIS POST? SHARE IT...
Facebook
Twitter
Pinterest

TAGS:

RELATED POSTS

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

About The Author

Hi! We’re the Cheltens’. We visit South Africa 1-2 times per year. We want to share our experiences with you so that you may make educated decisions when you plan your next trip to the rainbow nation.

Time now at South Africa (GMT+2)

8:53 am
Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Upcoming festivities/holidays in South Africa

April 2024

MO
TU
WE
TH
FR
SA
SU
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
22
23
24
25
26
27
Freedom Day (National Holiday)
All Day
Freedom Day commemorates the first democratic elections in South Africa (27 April 1994), when non-white South Africans stood in lines for hours to cast their first votes. , ...
28
29
30
1
2
3
4
5
Want to have your business or product featured?
We’re always looking for awesome places, products, activities, restaurants, travel accessories, or anything else that promotes the rich and colorful culture of South Africa.
Travel Categories
Best Travel Products
Ceptics South Africa Travel Plug Adapter (Type M) - 3 Pack [Grounded & Universal] (GP-10L-3PK)
  • Small Travel Size - 3 Pack
  • Standard: Type M plug, South Africa CEE 7/16. Grounded 3-Prong plug.
  • Accepts plugs from all countries including USA.
  • New conductivity design - internal metal interfaces provides better Conductivity
  • Grounded 3 Round Prong plug. Max Capacity Up to 3000 Watt (max 250 Volt, 13 A)
Money Belt for Men Travel Security Belt with Hidden Money Compartment Pocket, Cashsafe Anti-Theft Wallet Non-Metal Buckle
  • PATENT PENDING ; (🔥 KEEP YOUR CASH HIDDEN FROM YOUR WIFE / GF!🔥 ) Travel Security Money Belt
  • 🔒 BYE BYE PICKPOCKETS 💵 - DESIGNED FOR TRAVEL TSA 🧳 - keep your cash safe from pickpockets; equipped with an easy-to-use hidden zippered...
  • 💪 DURABLE - Made with Premium YKK Zipper with reinforced non-slip buckle, Adjustable wear-resisting nylon materia for waist sizes 26 to 42 inches....
  • ✅ Easy access and storage; quickly stash and remove your bills, coins, and keys with ease
  • ✅ NOT JUST A NORMAL BELT - It is a Long-lasting companion; made of premium quality top-grade webbing, YKK zipper, and a reinforced buckle; this...
Sale
TRAVELREST Nest Memory Foam Travel Pillow/Neck Pillow - Advanced Neck Support for Long Flights - Patented Design for Optimal Relaxation - Long Travel - Unmatched Sleep - Machine Washable - Blue
  • OPTIMAL SLEEP IN THE SKIES - TOP AIRPLANE NECK PILLOW FOR 2018 - 2023: ENDORSED BY THE NEW YORK TIMES WIRECUTTER. After undergoing multiple...
  • SLEEP INNOVATION: The Travelrest Ultimate shines with its distinctively angled back that stays flat against the seat, ensuring impeccable...
  • REVITALIZE YOUR TRAVEL EXPERIENCE: Engineered with thermo-sensitive memory foam, our flight pillow delivers optimal support for neck, shoulder, and...
  • EFFORTLESS RELAXATION EVERYWHERE YOU GO: Our neck pillow is your ultimate companion for long flights, car trips, train journeys, buses, couch...
  • SEAMLESS TRAVEL CONVENIENCE, STYLISH CHOICES: Explore our flight pillow, featuring sophisticated gray and vibrant blue options. This package includes...
Sale
INIU Portable Charger, Slimmest 10000mAh 5V/3A Power Bank, USB C in&Out High-Speed Charging Battery Pack, External Phone Powerbank Compatible with iPhone 15 14 13 12 X Samsung S22 S21 Google iPad etc
  • ✅【From INIU--the SAFE Fast Charge Pro】Experience the safest charging with over 38 million global users. At INIU, we use only the highest-grade...
  • ✅【Market's Thinnest 10000mAh】 The market’s one and only 0.5-inch power bank that breaks the limit of 10000mAh, easily slipped into any travel...
  • ✅【Only 5% Got USB-C IN&OUT】INIU is the only 5% of power banks got a USB-C IN&OUT port. Unlike others only recharge via USB-C port, INIU can...
  • ✅【3A High-Speed Charging】3A fast charging fuels iPhone up to 78% in just one hour. INIU's AutoFit identifies and meets your device's ideal...
  • ✅【15-Layer SAFE Charging】INIU's unique 15-Layer SmartProtect system shrugs off any unusual charging at the start. Take overheating risk and...
FOLLOW US ON INSTAGRAM @YEBOSOUTHAFRICA