3 under-rated SA parks make Forbes top 7 list

Posted on 28 January 2020

It’s no secret that Africa boasts some of the world’s most beautiful scenery and fantastic safari experiences, but we have to agree with a Forbes article that says, ‘The popularity of African safaris can make some over-crowded reserves seem more like zoos than wildlife refuges.’

In South Africa, Kruger National Park springs to mind as far too busy in the high season over the December holidays, so, we’re not that surprised that Forbes listed three of South Africa’s slightly less well-known parks in its list of ‘Top 7 Under-The-Radar African Safaris‘.

Dusty white rhino in Madikwe Game Reserve.. Werner Dippenaar

Two of South Africa’s National Parks, Addo Elephant National Park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park got the nod as did the private Madikwe Game Reserve which Forbes said is so attractive because, ‘not only does it offer the Big Five, but, unlike Kruger, it’s malaria-free’.

The Kgalagadi was described as having ‘jaw-dropping landscapes’ (we must concur) and acknowledges its awesome stargazing opportunities and spectacular sunsets.

Jackal at Poletswa waterhole in the Kgalagadi trying to catch a dove. Photo credit: Michiel Duvenhage.

Addo Elephant National Park is highlighted as South Africans’ go-to park when we want to ‘safari away from crowds of tourists’ which is fairly accurate, however, the article erroneously states that you won’t find the Big Five here. Lions were introduced into Addo in 2003 and the park has leopard (typically elusive), elephant (of course), Cape buffalo and black rhino.

A young lioness yawns in the morning light in the Colchester section of Addo. Photo by Melanie van Zyl.

The other four parks, spread throughout Africa, on this alternative safari bucket-list are Zambia’s Lower Zambezi National Park, Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe, noted for being a UNESCO World Heritage Site and ‘also one of the least developed (hence least touristed) safari areas in Africa,’ Mozambique’s Niassa National Reserve and Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania.

The Lower Zambezi National Park was noted for its boat, kayak and canoe safaris where ‘hippos, crocs, buffalo, and elephants are in plentiful supply as are wetland birds, including the majestic fish eagle’. In Niassa National Reserve it feels like you have ‘an entire reserve to yourself’, Selous Game Reserve stands out for having ‘one of the world’s largest populations of hippos’.


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A wonderfully scenic and calm view over flooded grasslands on the edge of the Zambezi. The world keeps turning but right here, it’s as if time stands still. #zimbabwe #zambezi #mpalajena #zambezinationalpark

A post shared by Beverly Joubert (@beverlyjoubert) on


Featured image: Melanie van Zyl

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