The Best of South Africa’s National Parks


Occupying the bottom end of the most fascinating of the continents on Earth, South Africa isn’t exactly hurting when it comes to quality national parks. In fact, for those seeking to take in the very best that this nation has to offer, the problem becomes, which parks do I include to the exclusion of others?

Not an easy task, and to be honest, it will depends greatly on what interests you when it comes to natural reserves. Whether you want to go on safari, go walking amidst picturesque mountains, or walk through one of the world’s most harsh desert environments, South Africa’s national parks have your bases covered.

The following parks fill each need in admirably, and contain highlights you might not have expected. Let’s talk about each in detail, starting with…

Kruger National Park

Those seeking to tick off a ton of boxes with regards to the stereotypical animals that Africa is known for will be best served by heading towards Kruger National Park. Located in the nation’s northeast on its border with Zimbabwe and Mozambique, this park is a massive game reserve that protects most of the continent’s remaining wild rhinos, elephants and big cats (lions and cheetahs).

While the topography isn’t much to write home about, the show here is all about the animals that can only be found in zoos in other parts of the world, living, thriving and dying in their natural habitat.

Royal Natal National Park

If topography is important to you as a vital characteristic of a national park, then venturing to Royal Natal National Park will prove to be a much more fruitful endeavor. Situated almost 300 kilometres northwest of the eastern city of Durban, the defining feature of this park is the dramatic Drakensburg Mountain Range, which counts a five kilometre cliff face that rises 3,000 metres above its base as its prime stand out attraction.

Animal fans will love trying to spot baboons in the trees here, while those less concerned with our primate friends will derive enjoyment from strolling alongside gushing mountain streams that run vigorously beneath the vegetation cloaked mountains that tower above it.

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

One of the world’s most hostile deserts, the Kalahari, straddles the border between Botswana and South Africa, and despite its harsh nature, its red sands draw a considerable amount of visitors each and every year. Despite the challenging environment, many species of fauna can be found within the borders of Kgalagadi, as ostriches, leopards and lions all manage to scratch out an existence in this arid place.

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