Top 5 National Parks in South Africa

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From mountains to parched deserts, shark filled coasts to open landscapes where herds and predators roam; the southernmost African country is a paragon of adventure and discovery. Whether you are a foodie, a photographer, wildlife enthusiast or an adrenaline junkie the Rainbow Nation is a haven for all.

Best time to visit: The best time to visit South Africa is either between April and May or September and October as the weather is perfect to view the stunning wildlife of the country.

For avid travellers, South Africa provides a kaleidoscope of the African wild. Here are 5 places in South Africa that you have to visit to experience the region in its full glory.

Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park
The main event at Kruger unfolds every second on its savage expanse and the famous safaris will take you up close to Africa’s wildlife big 5 and more. Here is a peek of what you will be treated to:

  • Safari…
  • Plonk yourself in the middle of the action with a guided bush walk
  • Explore the famous mountain bike trails of Olifants Camp on two sturdy wheels
  • Hop into a hot air balloon for a different view altogether.

Timings: The gates of Kruger open between 5.30 and 6 AM depending on the season, and close between 5.30 and 6.30 PM.

Best months: Winter (June to September) is the best time to visit as you avoid searing temperatures and animal sightings are better.

$$: A full day Kruger Safari would cost around 1200 Rand.

Table Mountain National Park

Table Mountain National Park
A view that has adorned many a postcard, the Table Mountain is home to myriad plant and animal species, not to mention distinctive topography. Pick from a range of experiences in this area:

  • Hike up to Lion’s Head for a panoramic view of beautiful Cape Town
  • Ride a cable car to the top of the mountain
  • Watch frolicking penguins at Boulder Beach
  • Witness the ocean crash into the tip of Africa at Cape Point.

Timings: The gates of Table Mountain National Park open between 10 AM and noon and close between 8.30 PM and 9.30 PM.

Best months: Spring (October and November) and autumn (March and April) are the seasons to visit Table Mountain so you can enjoy the best conditions of the year.

Knysna National Lake Area (Garden Route National Park)

Knysna National Lake Area (Garden Route National Park)
Enjoy a close encounter with the planet’s largest land mammal at the Knysna Elephant Park. The lagoon and waterfront of Knysna are popular places to hang out in.
Here is what you can do when you have said hello to the mammoths:

  • Visit the Birds of Eden, a gigantic free flight sanctuary
  • Head over to Monkeyland, a primate sanctuary and enjoy the antics of the creatures present there. The tickets would cost 360 rand for an adult
  • Tuck into delicious oysters at Knysna LagoonIf you are up for it, try out one of the highest jumps (216 metres!) in the world at the scenic Bloukrans area

Timings: The gates open at 8 AM and close by 5 PM.

Best months: The Garden Route can be visited all year but July coincides with the Knysna Festival, a 10-day affair. Whale watching is best between July and September and the winter months (June to September) are ideal for treks and hikes.

Pilansberg National Park

Pilansberg National Park
Walking safaris and game drives are the best way to explore Pilansberg. Home to lions, elephants and rhino the Pilansberg National park houses other animals including cheetahs and leopards. Here is what you can do to make a trip to the park memorable:

  • Go on a walking safari to see nature up close
  • Choose a game drive to explore Pilansberg
  • Quad bikes are another fun way to experience the wildernes
  • Participate in evening activities which include a bit of traditional dancing around a campfire. Adult foreign nationals have to pay 110 rand for entrance.

Timings: Park entry timings vary throughout the year. Ppening hours are between 5.30 and 6.30 in the morning and the closing times are between 6 and 7 in the evening

Best months: Pilansberg is best for visitors during the winter and early summer (July to mid-October) as the weather is mild and the animal sightings are more frequent.

Hluhluwe National Park

Hluhluwe National Park
The Hluhluwe National Park spreads over 96,000 hectares and from your base in St. Lucia you can book a trip to the location.
Ever wondered if you can drive around the African bush on your own? Here is how your dream can come true:

  • Book self-drive safaris at Hluhluwe National Park
  • Go for a regular guided safari and choose from full day, half day and three hour versions. An 8-hour safari including an African barbeque (braai) would cost around 995 rand
  • Embark on an overnight walking safari
  • Go for a 2-hour hippo and crocodile safari by boat, at around 240 rand per person.

Timings: Day safaris start at 6 in the morning and end by 6-7 PM.

Best months: The dry winter months of May to September are ideal for a visit as the waterholes become a hub of wildlife activity.

An experience that you will remember for life awaits you. Start planning your South Africa trip with GoFro today!

Author: GoFro Travelers’ Network

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