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The history of the South African safari

In recent years, safari holidays have become extremely popular, contributing to a surge in South Africa’s tourism industry.

With many animal species entering the endangered list or becoming completely extinct, more and more people want to witness these rare and beautiful animals in their natural habitat – and safari holidays offer them this exact opportunity.

What is a safari?

A safari is an overland journey, embarked upon by a group of people who wish to observe animals in their natural environment. It’s a brilliant opportunity for budding photographers to capture rare and opportune moments of some of the world’s most exotic and enchanting animals.

South African safaris are particularly popular, and boast the possibility of meeting the Big Five. Consisting of the lion, leopard, elephant, black rhino and buffalo, the opportunity to witness these rare animals is a once in a lifetime experience.

The safari’s origin

Safaris were originally used for big game hunting, but due to many of these animals now being on the endangered list, these types of safaris are growing less and less common.

The word ‘safari’ entered the English language in the 19th century, and means ‘long journey’ in Swahili. This couldn’t be more accurate, as some game drives can go on for hours, ensuring that travellers experience these rare animals at all times of day.

In 1836, the English military engineer and hunter William Cornwallis Harris led an expedition across South Africa which lasted a year. Beginning in Cape Town, Harris and his team of explorers journeyed to Grahamstown and the Kalahari, where he encountered his first Sable Antelope.

Harris seemed to have started a trend, for now safaris and game drives are among the most popular holiday types in the world.

Modern day safaris

It has become increasingly common to blend outdoor adventure with modern day luxury, with many South Africa safari lodges offering guests the chance to embark upon daily game drives and also relax in luxurious accommodations.

This style of holiday is the ultimate blend of old and new, where travellers can experience the pleasures of days gone by whilst appreciating the decadence of modern day comforts.

Oceana Beach and Wildlife Reserve is a prime example of luxury safari living, as they offer both game drives and spa services! So, if you thought a safari holiday would be all rough and tumble – think again.

A safari has so much to offer: sights, sounds and unforgettable experiences. Over the years the nature of game drives may have changed, but the essence is still the same: nature deserves to be marvelled at. And with a bounty of plush South African safari lodges to choose from, lovers of luxury will have no problem easing into the safari way of life.

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