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South Africa is an excellent destination for wildlife spotting. The vast variety is not limited to the iconic Big Five (elephants, rhinos, buffalo, lions, and leopards). Numerous game parks and reserves offer everything from huge predators and mammals to reptiles, amphibians, and colourful insects. We'll skip the more commonly found species, and focus on the exclusive ones.
You might be able to spot two critically endangered species—De Winton’s Golden Mole and the Riverine Rabbit. Other endangered animals you might encounter are the African Wild Dog and the Mountain Zebra. Some of the most prominent endemics include the Cape Elephant Shrew, Cape Grysbok, Cape Mole-rat, Cape Kudu, Bontebok, Springbok and the Cape Horseshoe Bat. The endangered Samango monkey should also be added to your must-see list!
Great biodiversity is also observed among reptiles and amphibians. The endemics that can be spotted include the Geometric Tortoise, Southern Adder, Speckled Padloper, Cape Legless Skink and Giant Girdled Lizard. Some can only be found in South Africa, namely the Table Mountain Ghost Frog, the Mistbelt Chirping Frog, and the Knysna Spiny Reed Frog.
Birdlife and marine wildlife are also abundant but the seasons differ from general wildlife observation, which is during the dry period in May to September when wild African residents stick around the water sources. Moreover, visibility is better due to the scarce vegetation. Some of the most popular game-viewing places are located in the north-east of the country. These are Kruger National Park, Sabi Sand GR, Phinda Game Reserve, Mala Mala GR, Hluhluwe-Imfolozi GR, iSimangaliso Wetland Park (for the rarest Samango monkey amongst all), Tembe Elephant Park, as well as Drakensberg, Umdloti and Durban.