South Africa encompasses one of the most diverse landscapes on the entire continent. Habitats ranging from verdant forests, stony deserts and soaring mountains to lush grasslands and classic African savannahs are home to an astounding number and variation of species. Wildlife-watching is a pure joy here. One day you can see African penguins on the Cape Peninsula, the next spot whales off Hermanus, followed by meerkats and ostriches in Oudtshoorn. Flamingos, caracals and sables, wild dogs, dwarf mongoose, hulking African elephants and rhinos, proud lions and zippy zebras: all can be seen in more than 700 publicly owned reserves (including 19 national parks) and about 200 private reserves with world-renowned Kruger National Park and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park being the largest.