From: Justin Gural
May 10, 2010
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South African Safari Lodge MapSouth Africa has more safari lodges than any other country in the region. If you're eyeing this year's World Cup as an opportunity to visit the Rainbow Nation, be sure to extend your trip for a few extra days to explore their vast game reserves.
Exploring by horseback.The country has nearly 600 national parks and reserves plenty of opportunity for the hordes of visitors coming for Africa's first World Cup to do something besides watching football.
Ledwood Lodge. Exeter Leadwood Private Game Lodge,
Sabi Sand Game Reserve.South Africa's best known game reserve is Kruger National Park, near one of the World Cup host cities, Nelspruit, in the north. Kruger boasts the Big Five buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino. The reserve is the size of the state of Massachusetts, but it might still seem crowded with tourists during the June-July World Cup. Still, there are off-the-beaten track options that are just as exciting and probably more accessible, and don't involve malaria tablets.
Those on a budget can make do with glimpsing animals for free on a drive from Cape Town to Cape Point. Others ready to break the bank can lodge at private game reserves and wake up to monkeys at the doorstep.
Three of the World Cup host cities, Johannesburg, Pretoria and Rustenburg, are near Pilanesburg, the fourth largest park in South Africa. It covers 136,000 acres (55,000 hectares) and has more than 7,000 animals, including 24 of the larger species.
You can take a room at Pilanesburg's luxurious Ivory Tree Game Lodge or Bakubung Bush Lodge, or the Tshukudu. Packages usually include lodging, meals and two safaris per day with guide.
Camping options or dormitory-style self-catering places for families can be booked at the Bosele Group Camp or Golden Leopard Resorts. Sites on the edges of the park allow campers or tents.
Read the rest of the story here, via USA Today. By Carley Petesch, Associated Press Writer.