1 day safari South Africa

Last update :

South Africa is a special place, dusty and adventurous, full of incredible wildlife and people. Even a 1 day safari here is worth it and the great thing about South Africa is the diversity you can find in one destination – from the Big Five game reserves, waterfalls, spectacular self-drives, history, culture, great gastronomy, luxury and more. 

You can discover lush scenery, breathtaking mountain views and exotic wildlife with holidays here and a safari here will take visitors from cosmopolitan Cape Town or vibrant Johannesburg to the incredible plains to see the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo in the world renowned Kruger National Park or Phinda Game Reserve.

The best 1 day South Africa Tours 

Price of a 1 day South Africa safari?

Expect a starting price of $150 per person for a 1 day South Africa budget camping tour, going up to $400 per person for a mid-range lodge tour. Luxury tours start at around $800 per person.

Safari packages to South Africa span a wide price range, influenced by several variables. Shared tours are usually cheaper than private tours and on a 1 day trip, you might want to consider a fly-in safari, but these are considerably more expensive than road safaris. 

Check out the seasons too; low-season prices can be favorable and while you’ll probably get some rain at this time, it’s when the scenery is at its best.

Tour breakdown for a typical 1 days in the South Africa

Safari tour highlights

  • Visit Kruger Park to see the Big Five: The lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo
  • Private tour guide in English and other languages
  • All-inclusive tours including lodging, entrance fees, meals, and transport
  • Superb dining, service and local wines from Stellenbosch
  • Game drives in comfortable, open top safari vehicles
  • Optional activity add-ons including hot air balloon safaris

Tour inclusions

The following details typical tour inclusions and exclusions on the best 1 day South Africa safari package:

Tour inclusionsTour exclusions
Game drives per the itinerary as well as pick-up and drop-offVisa fees, laundry services, drinks including mineral water at the hotels
Experienced english-speaking guide and driverInternational/domestic flights
Transport and park entrance feesCultural visits
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and bottled waterTips to the driver guides, waiters and porters
Government taxes

Safari essentials and information

Is a 1 day safari in South Africa sufficient?

1 day is certainly a short amount of time to go on a safari however it’s better than not going on any safari! And, you will get to see the Big 5 including the lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo, even in such a short amount of time. 

The number of days needed to properly do a South Africa safari can range from 1-1 days to 1-2 weeks, depending on how much time and budget a visitor has. 

A longer period of time would be better, however each day consists of an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive, certainly sufficient time to view the big 5 and incredible scenery. On a 1 day trip you can even break up the drive to parks like Kruger with an overnight stay in Phinda Game Reserve or MalaMala Private Game Reserve

Alternatively you can spend all of your time in the famous Kruger National Park. With full days at the reserve, you’ll have plenty of opportunity to explore this iconic safari destination including a full-day dusk-to-dawn game drive that will include lunch at one of the picnic spots. 

Morning and evening game drives are rewarding as well, but on a full day you can get further into the reserve, away from the more-crowded areas. Overall, 1 day is tight but possible, however if you can, try to allocate a few more days to your safari if possible.

Must do on a 1 day South Africa safari

The most popular option for a 1 day South African safari is Kruger National Park. Most visitors fly into O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) near Johannesburg and take a connecting flight to Kruger airport. 

Kruger NP is a popular self-drive destination. You can also hire a car in Johannesburg and drive to the park. The park has nine entrance gates, the closest of which, Numbi Gate, is 375km/235mi from Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International Airport. The drive takes at least four hours.

With nearly 2 million hectares of unrivaled habitats, Kruger offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the very best in Africa. All of the continent’s iconic safari species – elephant, lion, leopard, cheetah, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, zebra and so much more.

Visitors can find over 12,000 elephants, 27,000 African Buffalo, 2,000 leopards and 2,800 lions and it is also regarded as the best place in the world to see a leopard.

On a typical 1-day safari, you’ll be picked up at your accommodation at dawn to get to the park not much after sunrise when animals are most active. You might have a transfer to the park first from where you may start the safari in an open-sided vehicle. You’ll spend the morning looking for animals. Early morning, before it gets too hot, is a good time to spot predators on the prowl. 

If you’re lucky you’ll be able to see some thirsty animals drinking before heading off on the afternoon game drive. You’ll be looking for more animals before you get dropped off back at your hotel in time for dinner.

Animals on a South Africa safari?

You’ll find just about everything in South Africa! The country is home to the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo) and visitors will also find Wildebeest, Diceros, Impalas, Dik-diks, Impalas, giraffes, hyenas, African wild dogs and many more.

Endlessly intelligent and iconic, African elephants continue to capture the hearts of travelers to South Africa. Kruger National Park offers excellent wildlife viewing in general and the scenic KwaZulu-Natal parks are best to see rhinos. In Sabi Sand, the main focus is on seeing the Big Five and it is famous for its habituated leopards.

Other animals to be viewed on a South African safari include hyenas, giraffes, hippos, zebras, African wild dogs, crocodiles, wildebeest, kudu, warthogs, springbok and cheetahs.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Game Reserve, some  280 kilometers north of Durban, is home to over 84 mammals and 350 – 400 bird species as well as the Big Five and cheetahs, zebras, giraffes, hyenas and many more iconic species.  


How much spending money do I need for a 1 day South Africa safari?

Visitors should budget for approximately $250 for a South Africa safari per person per day, including food and accommodation. South Africa safaris can be more expensive than their continental counterparts due to the higher costs of accommodation and food.

What animals will I see on a 1 day South Africa safari tour?

Visitors on a 1 day South Africa safari will see the Big Five (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and African buffalo), hyenas, wildebeest, giraffes, cheetah, zebras, endangered black rhinos, hippos, crocodiles and much more.

What is the best time to go on a 1 day South Africa safari?

The best time to visit South Africa is from May to September, as the cooler winter months in the north bring superb conditions for viewing big game.With an overall moderate climate, South Africa is however considered a great year-round safari, wine and beach holiday destination.