ENJOY A DIFFERENT KIND OF ISOLATION AT THE NORTHERN CAPE’S GAME PARKS
There is something special about being in the African bush, far away from other people and the city, and close to nature and the animals of our continent. From the sounds – the hum of frogs and crickets – to the sights, like the sun as it paints the evening sky, the African bush lets us feel at peace, making relaxation inevitable.
Scattered across the Northern Cape are six national parks, which are protected and managed by South African National Parks (SANParks) and welcome tourists from all over the world. These include the ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, the Tankwa Karoo National Park and the latest addition, Mokala National Park.
The province is also home to a number of private reserves and secluded game lodges. These, together with the national parks, provide a wide range of options for an isolated getaway during the Easter and winter holidays.
ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
Situated in the north-west of South Africa and straddling the border with Namibia, this national park is characterised by rough valleys and high mountains. It is known as a mega-ecosystem, part of the succulent Karoo, with more than 360 plant species to be found in one square kilometre of land and with less than 70mm of rainfall per year.
Animal species common to this park include springbok, klipspringer, grey rhebok, steenbok and baboon. Hartmann’s mountain zebra, a protected species, also inhabits the park. Here are five reasons to visit the ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. There are a host of accommodation facilities, including campsites and self-catering chalets.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
The Kgalagadi, meaning “place of thirst” in Setswana, is a national park that forms part of the southern region of the Kalahari Desert. Although you won’t find rivers flowing very often in the park, the vegetation has adapted to underground water that exists in this area. Two rivers, the Nossob and the Auob, meander through the park and although both are dry rivers, they provide underground water for grass, trees and shrubs.
In the park you will find an abundance of wildlife, including lion, cheetah, leopard and hyena, as well as wildebeest, springbok, eland and red hartebeest, and about 280 species of birds. The park is a wildlife lover’s dream destination. Accommodation in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park ranges from campsites to rest camps and luxury lodges – there is something for every visitor. For more information about prices and availability, click here.
Tankwa Karoo National Park
The Tankwa Karoo National Park is situated in the south of the province, on the border of the Western Cape, a few hours’ drive from Cape Town. Declared a biodiversity hotspot by Conservation International, this national park is home to vast natural vegetation, interesting mammals and predators, and extensive birdlife.
Must-do activities at the park include birdwatching, plant spotting and stargazing. You can also venture up to the Elandsberg Viewpoint, surrounded by the Elandsberg Wilderness Camp, and drive along the Gannaga Pass. Accommodation options include guest houses, lodges and camping. Click here for more.
Mokala National Park
Mokala National Park is SANParks’s newest park, proclaimed in 2007, and is situated approximately 70km south-west of Kimberley. Its landscape includes koppieveld (hills) and large open plains, both grassy and sandy. The Riet River runs through the park, allowing for spectacular game viewing.
Wildlife found in the park includes black and white rhino, buffalo, tsessebe, roan antelope, reedbuck, gemsbok, eland and springbok, among many others. Enjoy guided game drives, rock art excursions and a bush dining experience. Click here for accommodation options in the park.
Mattanu Private Game Reserve
Situated just over 50km north-west of Kimberley, Mattanu Private Game Reserve is a conservation-focused reserve with a four-star guest lodge offering all-inclusive tented and cabin-style accommodation, as well as self-catering options. Day visitors are also welcome, and guests can enjoy the opportunity to spot rare antelope like roan, black impala and golden gemsbok.
Mattanu Private Game Reserve is an undisturbed hideaway and the perfect spot to escape for a few days.
Just a short drive south-east from Victoria West you will find Camp Nguni, a 1 000ha private wildlife reserve that is home to eland, zebra, sable antelope and rhino, among others. When booking a stay at Camp Nguni, you have the option to take it easy or be kept busy with game drives, bush walks, horse riding and mountain biking.