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Head for the (National) Parks

Head for the (National) Parks
Our national parks have something for everyone.

Whether you’re planning a week-long trip, long weekend or day trip, hop in the car and head to one of your favourite parks.

1. For an active day – Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Park at reception, get a permit and take a hike up the famous Brandwag Buttress. The hike is not too strenuous, but the last section is quite steep. Set aside about two hours to get up and down. The park is a short drive from Clarens.

  • Price: Daily Conservation fees of R53 per adult, per day and R27 per adult, per day for South African citizens; R105 per adult, per day and R53 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R210 per adult, per day and R105 per child, per day for foreign visitors. Check the SANParks website for the most up to date fees.
  • Remember: Water and sunscreen. The weather is unpredictable, so be prepared.

2. Relaxed game drive and picnic – Addo Elephant National Park

Head towards Jack’s Picnic Spot, a lovely picnic site tucked away in a botanical reserve inside the main game area. The spots are semi-private and also attract a variety of bird species. It will take at least 30 minutes to get there from Addo’s Main camp.

  • Price: Daily Conservation fees of R77 per adult, per day and R39 per child, per day for South African citizens; R154 per adult, per day and R77 per child per day for SADC Nationals; R307 per adult, per day and R154 per child, per day for foreign visitors. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Picnic basket.

3. A view from the top – Karoo National Park

Book a guided walk up the Pointer Hiking Trail. The trail culminates in a spectacular viewpoint overlooking the Karoo landscape. The park is a 10-minute drive from Beaufort West.

  • Price: R210 per person plus conservation fees of R55 per adult, per day and R28 per child, per day for SA citizens; R109 per adult, per day and R55 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R218 per adult, per day and R109 per child, per day for foreign visitors. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Water, sunscreen and suitable shoes

4. A (board) walk to remember – Augrabies Falls National park

The main attraction in the park is the waterfall. Explore it via the boardwalk along the gorge. Stop at the main waterfall and the Twin Falls. Watch out for the cute rock hyrax along the way. The park is not too far from Upington.

  • Price: Conservation fees of R53 per adult, per day and R27 per child, per day for SA citizens; R105 per adult, per day and  R53 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R210 per adult, per day and R105 per child, per day for foreign visitors. Be sure to check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: A camera.

5. Imprints in stone – Ai/Ais-Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

If you find yourself passing through the park on the way to Namibia, take a detour and see the Hand of God. It is approximately 15km from Sendelingsdrift and is a giant boulder featuring what looks like a handprint. The park is not too far from Alexander Bay.

  • Price: Conservation fees of R71 per adult, per day and R36 per child, per day for SA citizens; R142 per adult, per day and R71 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R243 per adult, per day and R122 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: You need a 4×4 to drive in the park

6. Endangered species – Mokala National Park

This park is home to sable, tsessebe, roan and disease-free buffalo. See if you can find all of them in a day. The park is close to Kimberley.

  • Price: Conservation fees of R45 per adult, per day and R23 per child, per day for SA citizens; R89 per adult, per day and R45 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R178 per adult, per day and R89 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Arrive early to make the most of your day.

7. Explore the coast – Namaqua National Park

Think historical caves, seal colonies, rocky shores and white sandy beaches when you opt for a drive on the Caracal Eco Route. It is a 4×4 route with some very sandy sections.

  • Price: Conservation fees of R43 per adult, per day and R22 per child, per day for SA citizens; R85 per adult, per day and R43 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R85 per adult, per day and R43 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Check route options beforehand as the entire trail can take eight hours or more.

8. Birds of a feather – West Coast National Park

This park is a birder’s paradise with a handful of hides to enjoy waders from. When you are tired of sitting, take a drive around for different bird species in the fynbos vegetation. The park is close to Langabaan.

  • Price outside of flower season (October to July): Conservation fees of R59 per adult, per day and R30 per child, per day for SA citizens; R87 per adult, per day and R44 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R87 per adult, per day and R44 per child, per day for foreign nationals.
  • Price during flower season (August to September): Conservation fees of R83 per adult, per day and R42 per child, per day for SA citizens; R127 per adult, per day and R63 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R186 per adult, per day and R93 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Binoculars

9. Lighthouse and walk – Agulhas National Park

First take in the history of the lighthouse before taking the steep stairway to the top. From here you can really appreciate the views of the surroundings. The park is a 40-minute drive from Bredasdorp.

  • Price: Conservation fees of R43 per adult, per day and R22 per child, per day for SA citizens; R85 per adult, per day and R43 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R170 per adult, per day and R85 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.
  • Remember: Also visit the southernmost point of Africa.

10. Moments with giants – Garden Route National Park

Spend some time in the forest and visit some of the giants that still stand today. There is the Woodville Big Tree in Wilderness, the Diepwalle Big Tree in Knysna and the Tsitsikamma Forest Big Tree. All of these Outeniqua Yellowwoods will leave you in awe at their sheer size. The park is close to George.

  • Prices for Tsitsikamma section: Conservation fees of R59 per adult, per day and R30 per child, per day for SA citizens; R118 per adult, per day and R59 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R235 per adult, per day and R118 per child, per day for foreign nationals.
  • Prices for Nature’s Valley section: Conservation fees of R53 per adult, per day and R27 per child, per day for SA citizens; R53 per adult, per day and R27 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R105 per adult, per day and R53 per child, per day for foreign nationals.
  • Prices for Wilderness section: Conservation fees of R43 per adult, per day and R22 per child, per day for SA citizens; R85 per adult, per day and R43 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R142 per adult, per day and R71 per child, per day for foreign nationals.
  • Prices for Knysna section: Conservation fees of R35 per adult, per day and R18 per child, per day for SA citizens; R69 per adult, per day and R35 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R138 per adult, per day and R69 per child, per day for foreign nationals. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees.

Other Park Attractions

  • Spectacular views and soaring vultures – Marakele National Park: Take a drive up the Lenong Viewpoint. Look out for the Cape vultures flying overhead. They nest nearby so your patience might be rewarded. Set aside about an hour to get there. Remember: Binoculars.
  • Meet the neighbours – Mapungubwe National ParkThe confluence and viewing decks are a great choice for a laid back day. The Shashe and Limpopo Rivers meet here, uniting South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana. Remember: Picnic basket.
  • Ancient art – Mountain Zebra National Park: Spend time on foot visiting some of the park’s cultural heritage sites. The San people left evidence of their lives in a number of rock shelters in the park. Price: R55 per adult, per day and R28 per child, per day under 12 for SA citizens; R109 per adult, per day and R55 per child, per day for SADC Nationals; R218 per adult, per day and R109 per child, per day. Check the SANParks website for the latest fees. Remember: Water and sunscreen.
  • A view over the valley – Camdeboo National Park: The spectacular scenery of the Valley of Desolation and Toposcope attracts large amounts of visitors annually. Walk the Crag Lizards Trail while you are there to truly appreciate the beauty. Remember: Water, sunscreen and suitable shoes.
  • Historic times – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park: Auchterlonie about 35km from Twee Rivieren is the spot to be if you want to learn more about the park. It is the perfect distance to travel and still have time for photos if you enter as a day visitor. Remember: A high rise vehicle is preferred.
  • Hike the famous icon – Table Mountain National Park: Instead of taking the cable car to the top, take a hike to the top via the Platteklip Gorge. You will get a lovely view of Cape Town from the top, but it is also the most steep, direct route. Remember: Good hiking shoes and relative good fitness levels.
  • Laid back day – Bontebok National Park: Die Stroom Day visitors area is ideal for a laid back family day right on the banks of the Breede River. Pack the picnic basket, bring the fishing rods and remember the swimwear. Remember: Bring your own braai grid.
  • Gannaga Pass – Tankwa Karoo National ParkIf you find yourself in the vicinity and need a fun roadtrip, head in the direction of the Gannaga Pass. Experience the striking contrasts between the top of the Roggeveld Mountains and the Tankwa Karoo plains below. Remember: Distances are vast
  • Roadtrip where the game viewing is rich – Kruger National Park:  Get to Crocodile Bridge Gate as it opens. Pack padkos for the drive along the S28 dirt road past Ntandanyathi Dam. Stop in for lunch at Lower Sabie or Mlondozi Dam Picnic Site. Head back along the H4-2 tar road and take a detour via Hippo Pools before you head back out the gate. With only a day in the park, an area such as this where game viewing is best. Remember: Picnic basket
Lenong Viewpoint
Gannaga Pass
Valley of Desolation

Things to note:

  • A Wildcard will give you free entry.

Words René de Klerk, Safari News Editor

Photography Supplied

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