park and reserve infoSouth Africa & Swaziland National Parks & Reserves
ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK
Addo Elephant National Park covers 164 000 ha and lies within the dense valley bushveld of the Sundays River region of the Eastern Cape. The original Elephant section of the park was proclaimed in 1931, when only eleven elephants remained in the area.
Today this finely tuned ecosystem is sanctuary to over 450 elephants, 400 Cape buffalo, 50 black rhino, lions, spotted hyenas, leopard, a variety of antelope species including eland, kudu, red hartebeest, bushbuck as well as the unique flightless dung beetle, found almost exclusively in Addo. Due to a variety of habitats Addo offers excellent birding opportunities. Addo National Elephant Park is in the process of expanding into a 360 000 ha mega-park, including a 120 000 ha marine reserve. ADDO ELEPHANT NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 35, 36, 38, 39, 40 & 41
AI-AIS/RICHTERSVELD TRANSFRONTIER PARK
The Ai-Ais Richtersveld – Transfrontier Park spans some of the most spectacular scenery of the arid and desert environments in Southern Africa. Bisected by the Orange River, which forms the border between South Africa and Namibia, it comprises the Ai-Ais Hot Springs Park in Namibia and the Richtersveld National Park in South Africa.
Rugged kloofs (ravines), high mountains, dramatic landscapes and sandy planes form South Africa’s largest mountain desert park, covering 160 000 ha, The harsh Richtersveld nurtures 30% of all South Africa’s succulent species among which the famous “half man plant” and three quiver tree species. With less than 50mm of rain annually, the park is home to leopards, lizards, Hartmann’s mountain zebra, gemsbok, springbok, klipspringer, ground squirrel and suricate. It’s the land for adventurers and the indigenous Richtersveld people.
Some of the distinctive features on the Namibian side include the Ai-Ais Hot springs and the 2nd largest canyon in the world, the Fish River Canyon. Ai-Ais, which means, “burning water” in one of the local languages, refers to the sulphurous hot springs which are found in this area. The awe-inspiring Fish River Canyon measures 160 km in length, up to 27 km in width and reaches a depth of 550 m. Although the Park is not known as a game park, springbok, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra, kudu, klipspringer and ostrich survive in this harsh land. AI-AIS/RICHTERSVELD TRANSFRONTIER PARK is included in Tours 09, 21, 22, 24, 25, 31, 32, 33 & 50
AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK
Cape Agulhas, the southern-most tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, falls within Agulhas National Park. Amongst the mysteries associated with this region, is the legendary ‘Cape of Storms’ which wrecked many ships en route to the East. The second oldest working lighthouse in Southern Africa guards over the coastline and houses a unique lighthouse museum.
This park hosts a variety of habitat types and great biodiversity as far as birds are concerned. The Southern Right Whales come to the bays to breed from August to November. AGULHAS NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 36, 39, 40, 41 & 42
AUGRABIES FALLS NATIONAL PARK
The Augrabies Falls National Park covers 60 000 ha of arid rocky desert landscape. The 56 m high Augrabies Falls is the sixth largest waterfall in the world when South Africa’s largest river, the Orange is in flood. The word Augrabies derives from the Khoi meaning ‘place of great noise’. Augrabies Falls National Park has awesome viewpoints such as Ararat and Oranjekom on the 18 km Orange River Gorge and the “Swartrante” (Black hills) from where one has a great view of this arid rocky desert landscape.
Although Augrabies is essentially a scenic park, game such as giraffe, springbok, gemsbok, eland, kudu, red hartebeest, Hartman’s zebra and klipspringer survive in this unique riverine ecosystem. Fish eagles and black eagles are common residents AUGRABIES FALLS NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 06, 07, 08, 15, 16, 20, 22, 23, 24, 25, 33, 34, 35, 36 & 40
Bird Island lies about 100 m off-shore of Lambert’s Bay on the Cape West Coast. The island, almost three hectares in size, is connected to the mainland via a breakwater. It is an important breeding and roosting site for seabirds, particularly Cape gannets and cormorants. African penguins used to be common on the island, and Cape fur seals still frequent the rocks on the sea side of the island.
Bird Island is one of only six sites world-wide where Cape gannets breed, and it is also the only breeding site easily accessible to the public. In the modern gannet lookout, visitors can get close to the birds and witness the unique mating dances and vocalizing of the thousands of gannets on their nests. BIRD ISLAND is included in Tour 34
BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK
Bontebok National Park lies within the Cape Floral Kingdom, now heralded as a world heritage site, with the majestic Langeberg Mountains providing a picturesque backdrop and the Breede River providing an idyllic western border. The Park is proud to promote its achievements in biodiversity conservation, from the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal Renosterveld to the namesake bontebok! Once these colourful antelope numbered a mere 17, and through effective management the present world population amounts to around 3000.
The Park is home to 200 bontebok, the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra, Red Hartebeest, Grey Rhebok, Steenbok, Grysbok and smaller predators such as Caracal, Bat-Eared Fox, Cape Fox, Aardwolf, various mongoose species and the Cape clawless otter. The park is home to 200 bird species and larger species such as Denham’s (Stanley’s) Bustard. Blue Crane, Spur-wing Goose, Secretarybird and Southern Black Korhaan are common. BONTEBOK NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 36, 39, 40, 41 & 42
CAMDEBOO NATIONAL PARK
Formed hundreds of millions of years ago, the Karoo of South Africa is one of the great natural wonders of the world. Camdeboo National Park covers 19 405 ha and surrounds the town of Graaff-Reinet in the Eastern Cape and provides the visitor with insights into the unique landscape and ecosystem of the Karoo, not to mention awesome scenic beauty in the Valley of Desolation where dolerite pillars rise to heights of 90 – 120 metres.
Camdeboo National Park supports a diverse spectrum of wildlife including Cape buffalo, Cape Mountain Zebra, kudu, red hartebeest, gemsbok, steenbok, springbok, blesbok, black wildebeest grey duiker, klipspringer and 13 smaller carnivore species. At least 225 bird species have been recorded in the park, with species typical of both the Great Karoo and Eastern region. CAMDEBOO NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 35, 36, 38, 39 & 40
CEDERBERG WILDERNESS AREA
The Cederberg Wilderness Area lies some 200km north of Cape Town, covering some 71 000ha of rugged, mountainous terrain. The Cederberg is renowned for its spectacular landscapes and rock formations, as well as its namesake, the increasingly rare Clanwilliam cedar tree. Vegetation in the Cederberg Wilderness Area is predominantly mountain fynbos. San and Khoi people inhabited the Cederberg area from earliest times and the Cederberg offers hundreds of rocky overhangs and caves with fine examples of rock art. These paintings vary in age between 300 and 6 000 years, Baboons, dassies, grey rhebok, klipspringers, duiker and grysbok are fairly common. The leopard is the largest predator and is fairly common although very shy. Smaller predators include African wild cat, lynx, bat-eared fox, aardwolf and Cape fox. More than 100 bird species occur here, with black eagle, rock kestrel and jackal buzzard being the most common raptors. CEDERBERG WILDERNESS AREA is included in Tours 34
DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE
De Hoop Nature Reserve falls in the Cape Floral Kingdom and is approximately 34 000 ha in size and situated in the Overberg region, near the southern tip of Africa. The adjacent De Hoop Marine Protected Area, which extends three nautical miles (5 km) out to sea, is one of the largest marine protected areas in Africa and provides a sanctuary for a vast and fascinating array of marine life and it is a favorite destination for whale watchers during the winter and early summer months, Marine mammals such as dolphins and seals occur in the waters off the coast and southern right whales calve and mate in the sheltered bays of De Hoop each year between May and December.
Land mammals include the rare bontebok and Cape mountain zebra, as well as eland, grey rhebok, baboon, yellow mongoose, caracal and the occasional leopard. De Hoop is famous for its variety of resident and migratory bird species and more than 260 species have been recorded on the reserve. The De Hoop Vlei attracts large numbers of water birds. The only remaining breeding colony of the rare Cape vulture in the Western Cape occurs at Potberg. DE HOOP NATURE RESERVE is included in Tours 36, 39, 40, 41 & 42
The Northern Cape West Coast, known as the diamond Coast, stretches from the Orange River mouth southwards for about 300km. It has remained virtually unknown to the public at large as it is within the restricted and previously forbidden diamond mining areas. Today most of these areas are open to the public and the area between the Groen- and Spoeg Rivers have been introduced into the Namaqua National Park. The Diamond Coast offers alluvial diamond mine tours, a world-renowned resident seal colony containing more than 350 000 animals, shipwrecks, the Orange River mouth, which is a RAMSAR declared estuary, various conservation areas, South Africa’s only lichen field, eco friendly 4x4 trails, excellent bird life, rough coastline with unspoiled beaches, spring flowers in season, mild summers and a seafood delicacy, crayfish. DIAMOND COAST is included in Tours 24, 25, 30, 31, 32 & 33
GOEGAP NATURE RESERVE
Goegap Nature Reserve is situated near Springbok and features most of Namaqualand’s natural riches in 15 000 ha of typically granite, rocky hills and sandy flats. It supports close to 600 indigenous flower species, which can change this barren area into a carpet of colour during spring after adequate winter rains, The Hester Malan Wild Flower Garden is a spectacular additional feature, showcasing many Namaqualand succulents and a rock garden.
Goegap is home to Hartmann’s Mountain Zebra, gemsbok and springbok. 94 Species of birds have been identified, with the Jackal Buzzard the most common raptor. Various lizard species are common sightings. GOEGAP NATURE RESERVE is included in Tour 20
GOLDEN GATE HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK
Golden Gate Highlands National Park is nestled in the foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State. 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 11 600 hectares of unique environment is true highland habitat, providing home to a variety of mammals – black wildebeest, eland, blesbok, oribi, springbok, grey rhebok, mountain reedbuck grey duiker and Burchell’s zebra – and birds, including the rare bearded vulture and the equally rare bald ibis, which breed on the ledges in the sandstone cliffs. Black Stork, Bald Ibis, Cape Vulture, Verreaux’s (Black) Eagle, Martial Eagle and Jackal Buzzard soar in the skies. GOLDEN GATE HIGHLANDS NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 43 & 45
HLUHLUWE-IMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE
Set in the heart of Zululand in Kwazulu-Natal Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is the oldest game reserve in Africa and one of South Africa’s most popular game parks. The Park covers some 96 000 ha and contains an immense diversity of fauna and flora. Hluhluwe is characterized by hilly topography, and the northern section of the park is noted for its wide variety of both bird and animal life. As the home of Operation Rhino in the 1950s and 60s, the Park became world renowned for its white rhino conservation.
The wide range of plant life in the park gives rise to a diversity of mammals, birdlife, reptiles and amphibians. The Big Five – lion, rhino (black & white) elephant, buffalo and leopard are all to be seen in the park, as well as a variety of other species, including cheetah, wild dog and giraffe. It is also one of the best places in the world to see nyala. HLUHLUWE-IMFOLOZI GAME RESERVE is included in Tour 45
ISAMGALISO WETLAND PARK
St Lucia Estuary is one of the tourism focal points of the iSimangaliso Wetland Park, a recently declared World Heritage Site. The Park comprises a number of conservation areas, the oldest of which is the St Lucia Game Reserve, established in 1895.
St Lucia Estuary is the gateway to the Eastern Shores of Lake St Lucia. The region contains the highest vegetated dunes in the world, extensive and diverse wetland systems, as well as coastal grasslands with an associated fauna which includes the Africa’s highest density of common reedbuck. Numerous waterfowl, grassland, forest and sea birds provide an attraction to birdwatchers from around the world. Tourist amenities include the Santa Lucia boat tour, the St Lucia Crocodile Centre and a short self-guided trail through the coastal forest along the edge of the estuary. ST LUCIA ESTUARY is included in Tour 45
KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK
Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park covers an area of 37 000 square km park, which is one of the largest conservation areas in the world and one of the last truly unspoilt ecosystems.
Endemic game such as gemsbok, springbok, eland, giraffe, blue wildebeest and red hartebeest roam the sparsely vegetated red sand dunes and the dry river valleys of the Nossob and Auob where a variety of acacia species thrive.
The Park is well known for good sightings of lion, leopard and cheetah and spotted – and brown hyena are common residents. Because of an abundance of prey in the form of mice, whistling rats, birds and insects, smaller predators thrive in the park.
The park is home to caracal, honey badger, black-backed jackal, bat-eared fox, cape fox, African wildcat, mongoose and the ever-popular suricate (meerkat). Kgalagadi is a bird watcher’s paradise with more than 300 species recorded including at least 20 larger raptor species. The world’s heaviest flying bird, the Kori bustard and the stately secretary bird patrol the riverbeds while the noisy northern black korhaan rule in the dunes. KGALAGADI TRANSFRONTIER PARK is included in Tours 01-14, 22, 24, 25, 28, 29, 32-36, 38-40, 48, 49, 53, 54 & 59-63
ITHALA GAME RESERVE
Situated in the rugged, mountainous thornveld of northern KwaZulu-Natal, Ithala Game Reserve’s multitude of habitats host a spectacular array of wildlife species. Its scenic beauty aside, Ithala’s most characteristic feature is perhaps its astonishing geological diversity. Some of the oldest rock formations in the world are found here, dating back 3 000 million years. With a topographic profile varying from 400m above sea level in the north to 1 450m near Louwsberg in the south, Ithala’s terrain extends over lowveld and densely vegetated riverine valleys to high-lying grassland plateaus, ridges and cliff faces. Ithala’s big game species include white- and black rhino, elephant, Cape buffalo and numerous giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest and a wide variety of antelope.
These include impala, oribi, red hartebeest, eland, kudu, waterbuck, tsessebe, common and mountain reedbuck, steenbok and grey duiker. Predators which are not often seen are leopard, spotted hyena and brown hyena. Sightings of large birds at Ithala may include black eagles, lappet faced and white-backed vultures ostriches and secretary birds. Redbilled oxpeckers were reintroduced to Ithala and they now breed successfully in the park. ITHALA GAME RESERVE is included in Tours 43 & 45
KRUGER NATIONAL PARK
The world-renowned Kruger National Park covers 2 million ha and offers a wildlife experience that ranks with the best in Africa. Established in 1898 to protect the wildlife of the South African Lowveld, this national park of nearly 2 million hectares is the flagship of the South African National Parks. Kruger is home to an impressive number of species: 336 trees, 49 fish, 34 amphibians, 114 reptiles, 507 birds and 147 mammals.
Kruger is one of the premier game-watching destinations in the world. The estimated numbers of “Big Five” in the park are 1,500 lion, 12,000 elephant, 2,500 buffalo, 1,000 leopards and 5,000 rhino (black and white). Except the Big Five there are plenty of other fascinating animals and birds in Kruger Park.
Except the Big Five it is possible to see all the classical African big game, including, hippo, giraffe, zebra, buffalo, warthog and many antelope species. Other large carnivores include cheetah, wild dog and spotted hyena. There are also many smaller mammal species. Kruger is an excellent birding destination and has a list of over 500 species, some of which are not to be found elsewhere in South Africa. KRUGER NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 43-46
KAROO NATIONAL PARK
The Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in these harsh conditions. Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, where many species that originally occurred here now occupy their former ranges.
The Karoo National Park has a wide variety of endemic wildlife. Many species have been relocated to their former ranges – such as black rhino and Cape buffalo, as well as Cape mountain zebra. Large herbivores such as Red Hartebeest, Black Wildebeest, Eland, Burchell’s and Hartmann’s Mountain zebra, kudu, springbok and Klipspringer are regularly seen. Carnivore species include cararcal, bat-eared fox, Cape fox, aardwolf and African wildcat. The Park is also home to the endangered riverine rabbit. Over 20 breeding pairs of black eagle find sanctuary within the park. There is also a wide diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles. KAROO NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 23, 25, 35-40
MAPUNGUBWE NATIONAL PARK AND WORLD HERITAGE SITE
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is rich in biodiversity, great scenic beauty and the cultural importance of the archaeological treasures of Mapungubwe. The Park is situated in the most northern corner of South Africa, at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe Rivers, overlooking Botswana and Zimbabwe. At Mapungubwe Hill, a far developed African civilization prospered between 1200 and 1270 AD. The area was already inhabited by a growing Iron Age community from 900 AD and became rich through trade with faraway places like Egypt, India and China. This is the place where archaeologists excavated the famous golden rhino and other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom.
Elephant, giraffe, white rhino, eland, gemsbok and numerous other antelope species, lion, leopard & hyena roam free between the three countries and the park is home to 400 bird species. The Limpopo Tree-top Boardwalk and hide is a magnificent facility allowing the visitor into the trees alongside the birds. MAPUNGUBWE NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 46, 52 & 56
MARAKELE NATIONAL PARK
The Marekele National Park in the heart of the Waterberg Mountains, the transitional zone between the dry western and moister eastern regions of South Africa. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterize the park. Rare finds of yellowwood and cedar trees, five meter high cycads and tree ferns, are some of the plant species found here.
All the large game species from elephant and rhino to lion, leopard, cheetah, brown and spotted hyena, antelope species such as reedbuck, mountain reedbuck, eland and tsessebe as well as an amazing variety of birds including what’s probably the largest colony of endangered Cape vultures (more than 800 breeding pairs) in the world, have settled here. MARAKELE NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 46 & 49-54
MKHUZE GAME RESERVE
Situated in northern Zululand, Mkuze Game Reserve was proclaimed a protected area in 1912. Mkuze covers 40 000 ha and has an astonishing diversity of natural habitats, from the eastern slopes of the Lebombo mountains along its eastern boundary, to broad stretches of acacia savannah, swamps and a variety of woodlands and riverine forest. Animals to be found in the reserve include black and white rhinos, elephant, giraffe, leopard, buffalo, nyala, blue wildebeest, warthog, impala, kudu, the rare suni and other smaller antelope. Larger predators include leopard, cheetah and hyena.
Mkhuze is renowned as a mecca for bird lovers, with more than 420 bird species on record. Two beautiful pans, Nhlonhlela and Nsumo, lie in the north and east respectively, home to communities of hippo, crocodile, pinkbacked and white pelicans, as well as a diversity of ducks and geese which gather in spring. Fish eagles swoop over the pans, snatching prey spotted from their perches in the fever trees. MKHUZE GAME RESERVE is included in Tour 43 & 45
MOKALA NATIONAL PARK
Mokala National Park is South Africa’s newest park and is situated 80 km south of the diamond city Kimberley in the Northern Cape Province. The land of the previous Vaalbos National Park near Barkly West was handed back to local people and in a huge operation more than 800 head of game was trans-located from Vaalbos to Mokala. The grassy plains studded with camelthorn trees and isolated dolerite hills give Mokala a typical African feeling.
Mokala is home to many endangered species including black- and white rhino, Cape buffalo, roan antelope, sable antelope and tsessebe. Other species include black & blue wildebeest, giraffe, eland, kudu, gemsbok, red hartebeest, Burchell’s zebra, waterbuck and mountain reedbuck .are some of the species roaming the sandy plains. Various bird species, including a white-backed vulture breeding colony numbering 200 birds and many lizard species can be seen in Mokala and leopard tortoises are common sightings in summer. MOKALA NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 08, 18, 19, 24, 37-39 & 40
NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK
Namaqua National Park is situated in the world’s only arid biodiversity hotspot. Namaqualand is home to more than 6000 plant species, 250 species of birds, 78 species of mammals 132 species of reptiles and amphibians and an unknown number of insects, making it the world’s most diverse arid environment. More than 40% of these species are found nowhere else on earth. During early August and September, seemingly overnight, the dusty valleys of Namaqualand are transformed into a wonderland, carpeted with wildflowers. Being a winter rainfall area, Namaqualand is home to the richest bulb flora of any arid region in the world. During the rest of the year the Namaqualand is still worth a visit to enjoy the star-studded night skies, rough coastline and the barren landscape with enormous granite outcrops.
Namaqua National Park is in the process of expanding including a marine reserve between the Groen – and Spoeg Rivers, with a very scenic, but barren coastline. NAMAQUA NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 20, 24, 25, 30-33
MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK
The Mountain Zebra National Park lies near Cradock in the Eastern Cape. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved the Cape mountain zebra from extinction, and currently their population stands at 300 where they roam 28 412 hectares of land. Other mammals found here include the Cape buffalo, black rhino, eland, black wildebeest, red hartebeest, gemsbok, blesbok, springbok, duiker and steenbok while mountain reedbuck, grey rhebok and klipspringer frequent the higher areas and kudu the wooded valleys. Cheetah, caracal and brown hyena are the larger carnivores in the Park.
Ostrich, Secretarybird, Blue Crane and Ludwig’s Bustard are the larger more visible bird species and Verreaux’s (Black) and Martial Eagle and Jackal Buzzard are the most common larger raptor species. The park is home to various smaller species in different habitats including mountain plateau, wooded kloofs, acacia stands and grassland. MOUNTAIN ZEBRA NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 35, 36, 38-41
PILANESBERG GAME RESERVE
Pilanesberg Game Reserve is 2 hours drive from Johannesburg. The crater of a long extinct volcano is the setting of Pilanesberg Game Reserve. Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Its rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature.
The vegetation ranges from open grasslands to densely wooded valleys. More than 35 large mammals, including Elephant, giraffe, hippo, buffalo, zebra and 19 antelope species occur in the park. It is sanctuary to the world’s third largest white rhino population. Predators include lion, leopard, cheetah, brown-hyena and smaller species such as large-and small spotted-genets, bat-eared fox, black-backed jackal and caracal. More than 350 bird species have been recorded. PILANESBERG GAME RESERVE is included in Tours 40, 51 & 52
RICHTERSVELD CONSERVANCY & WORLD HERITAGE SITE
The Richtersveld, including the Richtersveld Conservancy was recently declared a World heritage Site. This harsh and unpredictable land in one of the most remote and hostile corners of the Northern Cape Province and South Africa is home to small populations of Nama people and other ethnic groups. Many of them still practice the old way of sheep – and goat herding from very remote outposts. This diamond rich desert land is home to the richest diversity of succulent plants on Earth and the dramatically shaped mountains, harsh climate and interesting geology make the Richtersveld a unique environment. The Orange River mouth near Alexander Bay was a restricted diamond area, but is now open to public. The Orange River Wetland is declared as a RAMSAR site and is home to more than 60 bird species including pelicans and many flamingos. RICHTERSVELD CONSERVANCY is included in Tours 09, 21, 22, 24, 25, 31-33
ROCHERPAN NATURE RESERVE
Rocherpan Nature Reserve lies 25 km north of Velddrif on the Cape West Coast, and comprises 914 ha. The reserve consists largely of a seasonal vlei which is usually dry between March and June. The adjacent section of the Atlantic Ocean was declared a marine reserve in 1988.
The combination of land, vlei and marine environments provides ample breeding and feeding habitats for various birds. A total of 183 species has been recorded, of which about 70 are waterbirds. White pelicans, greater and lesser flamingoes as well as many thousands of waders and ducks rely on the vlei as their major source of food, particularly when the water levels drop. Rocherpan is one of the Cape shoveller’s most important breeding sites and provides a sanctuary for Southern Africa’s second rarest coastal bird, the African black oystercatcher. Southern right whales may be sighted in the marine reserve and along the coast from June to September. ROCHERPAN NATURE RESERVE is included in Tours 34
TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK
Situated at the south-western tip of Africa, the Table Mountain National Park encompasses the incredibly scenic Table Mountain Chain stretching from Signal Hill in the north to Cape Point in the south and the seas and coastline of the peninsula.
The narrow finger of land with its beautiful valleys, bays and beaches is surrounded by the waters of the Atlantic Ocean in the west and the warmer waters of False Bay and has within its boundaries two world-renowned landmarks – majestic Table Mountain and the legendary Cape of Good Hope as well as the jackass penguin colony at Boulders and Kirstenbosch Gardens. The Park is recognized globally for its extraordinarily rich, diverse and unique fauna and flora – with rugged cliffs, steep slopes and sandy flats – is a truly remarkable natural, scenic, historical, cultural and recreational asset both locally and internationally. Nowhere else in the world does an area of such spectacular beauty and such rich bio-diversity exist almost entirely within a metropolitan area – the thriving and cosmopolitan city of Cape Town. TABLE MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK is included in Tour 34 and optional in Tours 36, 39-42
TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK
Tankwa Karoo National Park is situated on the southern boundary of the Northern Cape with the Roggeveld Escarpment in the East, Cederberg in the West, and Klein Roggeveld Mountains in the South. Just a four hour drive from Cape Town brings you to this unique national park situated within the Succulent Karoo Biome where you’ll find rare and endangered plant species, rich endemic birdlife, and landscapes that will take your breath away – from the sheer cliffs of the Roggeveld Escarpment to the moonscapes of the Tankwa Desert. While Tankwa Karoo National Park is still in a developmental and land consolidation phase, expanding from the original 26,000 hectares in 1986 to nearly 111,000 ha in 2009, it is the ideal destination for those seeking the brightest stars in Africa, a once in a lifetime glimpse of a rare endemic bird or perhaps nothing more than a silence that reaches deep into the soul. Gemsbok, springbok, red hartebeest, steenbok, black backed jackal and bat-eared fox are the most common mammal species in this harsh environment. TANKWA KAROO NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 23, 25 & 37
TEMBE ELEPHANT PARK
This remote park, deep in an area of sand forests, pans and wetlands in northern Tongaland, lies on the border between KwaZulu-Natal and Mozambique. The diversity of birdlife is spectacular. The park is situated within the sand veld ecological zone and consists mainly of closed woodland and secondary thicket formation. The zone falls within a transition area between tropical and sub-tropical forms and therefore is home to a great diversity of vegetation. With this diversity of habitats Tembe is home to a spectacular variety of animals and birds. Only ten vehicles are allowed into the park on a daily basis and these must be 4X4s.
TEMBE ELEPHANT PARK is included in Tour 45
TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK
Tsitsikamma National Park “the place of much water,” is situated near Plettenberg Bay in the Eastern Cape. The heartland of the park stretches some 5 km to sea, protecting a wonderland of inter-tidal life, reef and deep-sea fish and the gentle giant of the ocean, the southern right whale visits here, coming inshore to breed.
Although Tsitsikamma boasts a magical world of intertidal life and reefs in its marine part, there is also the famous terrestrial part of the park with its lush forest, delicate fynbos and sheer cliffs. One of the most known trees is the Outeniqua yellow-wood, Podocarpus falcata.
Birding in Tsitsikamma offers a variety in choice of habitat. There is the open shoreline as typified by the environment at Storms River Rest Camp. There is the more sheltered water ways of the Nature’s Valley Lagoon and the Groot River. There is the forest experience of the Tsitsikamma Forest. Then there is the mountain fynbos one can explore in the Tsitsikamma Mountains in the Soetkraal section. TSITSIKAMMA NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 36, 39-42
WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK
Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, a Ramsar site. (sites deemed to be of global significance to wetland bird species). Langebaan Lagoon is the focal point of the West Coast National Park. Thousands of seabirds roost on sheltered islands, pristine golden beaches stretch endlessly into the early morning mist and brooding salt marshes are home to vast concentrations of migrant waders from the northern hemisphere.
During the spring the strandveld is embroidered with a tapestry of multi-hued flowers, while in the Postberg section many antelope are to be seen in a setting that is as unique as it is idyllic. The Geelbek hide provides excellent birding opportunities. During spring, sections of the park change into carpets of colourful flowers. WEST COAST NATIONAL PARK is included in Tour 34
WILDERNESS NATIONAL PARK
In the heart of South Africa’s famous Garden Route, a captivating world of lakes, rivers, estuaries and beaches gently unfolds against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains – all elements that characterise the Wilderness National Park. Nature trails wind through densely wooded forest and along tranquil rivers, affording you the opportunity to encounter the brilliantly coloured Knysna lourie, or one of the five kingfisher species that occur here. During spring, a carpet of flowers, further enhance the verdant beauty of this national park. Whales & dolphins are seen often from Dolphin Point.
The series of lakes connected by the Touw River (Eilandvlei, Langvlei and Rondevlei) host a variety of aquatic species and is an internationally proclaimed Ramsar site. The forested hillsides that surround the area are home to several raptors, including Cuckoo Hawk, Crowned Eagle, Forest Buzzard, Black and Rufous-chested Sparrowhawk and African Goshawk. The park has several walking trails, several of which are named after kingfisher species and not without reason, as Brown-hooded, Malachite, Giant, Pied and Half-collared can all easily been seen. WILDERNESS NATIONAL PARK is included in Tours 36, 39-42
WITSAND NATURE RESERVE
Few eco-destinations in the Northern Cape are as scenic as Witsand Nature Reserve. Only Witsand can offer you sensual, flowing white dunes, twenty to sixty meters high, surrounded by copper-red Kalahari sand, Acacia woodland and the Langberg Mountain range. Home of the famous “Brulsand” or Roaring Sands of the Kalahari. Under the right conditions, these dunes utter an eerie rumble when disturbed.
Witsand Nature Reserve is a scenic park, teeming with bird life, including the Namaqua sandgrouse, sociable weaver and Africa’s smallest raptor the pygmy falcon. WITSAND NATURE RESERVE is included in Tours 07, 08, 17, 19 & 24
HLANE ROYAL NATIONAL PARK (SWAZILAND)
Hlane Royal National Park is Swaziland’s largest protected area and lies in the vast bushveld expanse of eastern Swaziland where the hot, still sun of Africa beats on the dry but life-giving soils as it has for thousands of years, and the rumbling roars of the lions are heard in the cool dusky evenings,. Hlane Royal National Park is home to the largest herds of game in the Kingdom. Hlane covers 30 000 hectares of Swazi bushveld, dominated by ancient hardwood vegetation. Hlane is home to lion, elephant , white rhino and various antelope species with an abundant and diverse bird life, including the highest density of nesting white backed vultures in Africa. HLANE ROYAL NATIONAL PARK is included in Tour 43 & 45