National Parks & Game Reserves in South
Addo Elephant Park
Augrabies Falls N P
Bontebok N P
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Kalahari Gemsbok N P
Karoo N P
Kruger N P
Mountain Zebra N P
Madikwe G R
Pilanesberg N P
visitors to South Africa will want to visit at least one of the country's
protected wilderness areas, so they can experience, first-hand, the wonder of
nature in an untamed environment.
Wildlife viewing is highly enjoyable
throughout the year, but the ideal time to visit is from April to September,
during the South African winter. In the wildlife areas most rain falls during
the South African summer, encouraging lush vegetation and making wild animals
more difficult to spot. In the winter the bush is more sparse, forcing the game
to drink at rivers and waterholes, where it can be more easily viewed. Best
time of the day for seeing the game is in the early morning or late afternoon
through to dusk. This is when the animals are at their most active. In the heat
of the day they will retreat to the shadows so look for them sheltering under
trees or bushes.
Nevertheless, the wildlife in South Africa's parks
and reserves is so prolific that an unforgettable experience is more or less
guaranteed and many visitors will get the chance to see at least some of the
"big five" -
buffalo, as well as
hippo, a numerous variety of antelopes and an
abundance of bird species.
South Africa's wildlife sanctuaries fall
into three main categories: nature parks, private and national game reserves.
||ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
National Park was originally established in 1931 to protect the huge herds of
elephants that once roamed the area. Over the years that park region has been
extended and it is now the third largest national park in South Africa.
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BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK
located in the Western Cape Province six km south of Swellendam, and is a small
plot that was specifically set aside to protect the almost extinct Bontebok
antelope, that is found nowhere else. Birdlife in the park is abundant and it
is home to numerous antelope. The park also has large variety grasses and other
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GOLDEN GATE HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK
north-eastern Free State, Gate Gate Highlands National Park is a small park
covering an area of about 116 sq km. The park derives its name from the
brilliant shades of gold cast by the sun on the park's sandstone cliffs,
especially the imposing Brandwag rock, keeping vigil over the main rest camp.
This is a unique environment; a true highland habitat, providing home to a
variety of mammals black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok
and Burchell's zebra - and birds, including the rare bearded vulture
(lammergeier) and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the
sandstone cliffs. Ribbokkop, the highest point in the park, reveals a
breathtaking tapestry of red, yellow and purple hues as its warm shades merge
with the cool mountain shadows towards evening.
There is a lovely
camping site situated next to Mushroom Rock and there is a restcamp with
Rondavals and rooms - booking in advance is adviseable.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
The oldest game reserve in South
Africa, which was formed for the sole purpose of saving the
THE KALAHARI GEMSBOK NATIONAL PARK
although not as well known as some other parks in South Africa is worth a
visit. It is located in the Northern Cape Province and borders with Namibia to
the north west and Botswana to the north east and covers an area of
approximately 9591 sq km on the South African side and a further 1.8 million
hectares in Botswana which makes it one of the largest protected areas in
Africa. Although much of the landscape is semi-desert it is the territory of
the majestic, rapier-horned gemsbok, the delicate springbok and the Kalahari
lion as well as supporting large populations of birds, reptiles and small
mammals and antelope. Much of the wildlife is concentrated around and along the
Nossob and Aoub River beds and waterholes, where wildlife viewing is quite
There are rest-camps at Twee Rivieren, Mata Mata and Nossob offering a range of
fully equipped cottages and camping facilities. Again, if you want to stay in
the park you will need to pre-book accommodation with the South African
National Parks . There are plenty of places offering accommodation on route to
KAROO NATIONAL PARK
Located in the Western Cape
Province near Beaufort West covering an area of 330 sq kms. The Karoo landscape
and scenery is spectacular and the park home to 60 species of mammal, the most
common being the dassie and bat-eared fox. A few rhino's have recently been
introduced but not much big game is found here. There is a three day hiking
trial within the park.
is available in the form of a
caravan park and 2 person chalets. It is best booked in advance through the
South African National Parks .
||KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
The world famous
Kruger National Park was established in 1898 by Paul Kruger. It offers a
wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Home to a wealth of
animals, including 147 species of mammals, including the BIG5, 500 species of
bird and 33 types of amphibian.
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MADIKWE GAME RESERVE
Located 360 km from
Johannesburg, an easy 3 ½ hour drive on National roads. It is situated
in the North West Province and is bordered by Botswana in the north, the
spectacular Dwarsberg Mountains to the south, the Marico river to the east. The
diverse habitat in the Madikwe Reserve, from acacia savannah to riverine,
ensures a unique combination of species such as springbok, gemsbok, sable and
impala. The birdlife is spectacular and it is also one of the few reserves in
South Africa that is malaria free.
In 1992, Madikwe Game Reserve,
created from 750 sq km of farmland, which had been extensively degraded by
overgrazing, was chosen as the site of Operation Phoenix. The
government-sponsored, biggest-ever game- relocation programme in Africa
involved re-stocking and conserving flora and wildlife, which had long since
disappeared from the region. Ten thousand animals of 27 major species,
including wild dog, cheetah, lion, white and black rhino, buffalo and elephant,
have been re-introduced to the Reserve over a six year period with animals
coming from various reserves and breeding centres and game viewing is now at
its prime. Madikwe Game Reserve is currently the countrys fourth largest
MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK
approximately 30kms from Cradock on the northern slopes of the Bankberg
Mountain Range offering magnificent view over the Karoo. This small park
protects on of the rarest animals in the word - the mountain zebra, but it is
also home to many antelope species. There are few roads and you can choose to
go on a three day Mountain Zebra Trail or two short day walks.
is available at The
Doornhoek, which is a restored farmhouse dating back to 1836 and located in a
secluded valley. There are also camp sites and cottages available which can be
booked through the South African National Parks .
PILANESBERG NATIONAL PARK - click to view recommended Tours and Safaris
Located in the North-West province, the park adjoins Sun City and protects
an area of more than 500 sq. km. It is situated on the site of an ancient
volcanic crater and boasts a large diversity of plant and animal life,
including the white and black rhino, elephant, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, zebra,
leopard, jackal, hyena and wide variety of antelope and although rare, you
could even be fortunate to spot a cheetah.
There are various types of
accommodation available in the park: two restcamps with chalets, three
restcamps with safari tents and some luxurious lodges and