A South African safari from wherever you are

Whether you have already been on an African safari and are missing the magical sounds of the bush or you are still dreaming of going, this article will bring you into the heart of some of the best South African game reserves from behind your laptop!

Observing two elephants playing with sand and water at the Tembe Elephant park – a remote area of KwaZulu Natal by the border with Mozambique – I noticed a large camera focused on the waterhole. Several game parks are equipped with webcams broadcasting all the activity around the waterholes live. Once home I dug into it and I went on multiple safaris this way spotting hyenas, elephants, lions, a black rhino, the most wonderful birds, warthogs, a wild cat, spotted genets and more from my comfortable couch. Here is my top 5 live-cam safari destinations, so turn in your sound and just follow the links!

1. Tembe Elephant Park

Famous for world’s largest elephants it is an off the beaten path park that is fairly tricky to reach and requires a 4×4 to explore the precious sandforest. The camera is installed in a dense forest with one clearing: its waterhole. As in a real safari patience is required. Expect to spot elephants of course and also nyalas, the little suni antelope, waterbuck, impalas, elephants, giraffes, lots of birds (there are about 340 species in the park!) and if you a really lucky some lions, rhinos or even a leopard. Like with most, this live camera is movement-sensitive and pans and zooms in on the animals – even at night as it is an infrared camera. Hit the link and travel to the sandforest of the Tembe Elephant park and let me know in the comments which animals you spot: http://tembe.co.za/web-cam/

2. Naledi Cat-Eye in the Kruger Park

The Naledi Cat-Eye offers the highest definition images to my taste, even at night. It also scans the area for wildlife and has an amazing zoom. Your chances of spotting, or hearing a pride of lions are pretty decent. Also the elephants, wild cats and genets are pretty active in this area. What makes this viewing extraordinary is that the camera is put very low to the ground, its images are very sharp and sounds of high quality. The lions were roaring this morning. If there is no activity when you check the camera you can always go for the highlights of the past days that will give you some great footage: http://www.africam.com/wildlife/naledi_cat_eye_live_wildlife_channel

3. Nkhoro Bush Lodge in the Sabi Sand Game Reserve

On this cam you can expect any of the Big Five (lion, buffalo, leopard, elephant, rhino) at any moment as this area is well known for its big game activity around the popular waterhole! At the moment of writing, slightly after sunset at the waterhole, and with the headphones on, the call of a hyena causes goosebumbs. Check out what is going on now and let me know:  http://www.africam.com/wildlife/nkorho_pan_webcam

4. Olifants Rivier in the Kruger Park

In search for hippos, crocodiles, great birdlife or mighty elephants a bit more North in the Kruger park? This camera is well positioned too and gives you a clear view on what is going on in the Olifants River, a remote area frequently visited by lots of wildlife. Get up close to the Olifants Rivier (Afrikaans for Elephant River) following this link: http://www.africam.com/wildlife/olifants_river_live_channel

5. Kwa Maritane, Pilanesberg National Park

From rock dassies at sunrise, to zebras at mid-day and herons showing off their fishing skills at night, this camera is set on one of the waterholes along the slopes of an ancient volcano. There is lots of wildlife in this transition area between the Kalahari Desert and the bush of the Lowveld, a relatively short drive away from Pretoria and Johannesburg. Follow this link to practise your safari skills and identify animals: http://www.africam.com/wildlife/kwa_maritane_live_wildlife_channel

Marcella van Alphen (text)
Claire Lessiau (photographs)

Travel tips:

  • You feel inspired to take the plunge and visit South Africa? Check out this interactive map for the specific details to help you plan your trip and more articles and photos about the area!

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For more safari-inspired articles, click on these images:

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