19 Ways To Celebrate SA National Parks Week

South Africa has some of the most diverse fauna and flora in the world. We have it all, majestic mountains, expansive bushveld, unparalleled star-gazing in the Tankwa Karoo. Where else can you find elephants, lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard plus the southern right whale and great white shark all in one park? No where else in the world except Addo. Parks like the Golden Gate Highlands National Park preserve the important cultural heritage of our beautiful country by protecting unique rock art while Mapungubwe National Park teaches us about complex ancient civilizations.

Next week most of our 21 National parks are granting free access for day visitors with an emphasis on encouraging local communities to visit.

To celebrate Heritage month Travelstart brings you fabulous ideas of which parks to visit and what to get up to while you’re there.

SA National Parks week free entrance 2016

Remember to take along your ID to gain free entrance to the parks next week.

Visit the Lost City on Mapungubwe Hill, budding young archaelogists will love visiting Mapungubwe National Park.


Courtesy of Marius Loots via Wikipedia Creative Commons

Frolic in the flowers at the West Coast National Park.

flowers west coast

Look out for the Big 7 in Addo.

Addo Elephants - Nomad Tours
Hermanus Whale Watching

Spot pink flamingoes in the bird hide at West Coast National Park.

flamingoes west coast

Courtesy of marcelasaitua via Instagram

Visit the southernmost tip of Africa in Agulhas National Park.


Courtesy of iamtyco via Instagram

Visit ‘Aukoerebis’ the place of great noise, the 56m thundering waterfall at Augrabies Falls National Park.

Augrabies Falls

Have a peaceful picnic and braai at Die Stroom in Bontebok National Park.

bontebok national park

Courtesy of thornexbow via Instagram

Not only can you visit those stripy horses but as of August there are now lion cubs in Mountain Zebra National Park (another great activity is to track cheetahs on foot with a guide- only R338.35 per person).


Courtesy of SANParks

Marvel at the ancient Valley of Desolation in Camdeboo National Park and look out for the elusive bat-eared fox.


Courtesy of plg via Instagram

valley of desolation camdeboo national park

Courtesy of jianlovespandaforevs via Instagram

Celebrate our heritage by visiting rock art in Golden Gate National Park.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Mountain bike, bird-watch and picnic in the lush Garden Route National Park.

robberg garden route

Follow the Fossil trail in the Karoo National Park and keep a look out for the Verreaux’s eagle (there are over 20 breeding pairs in the park).

karoo national park

Courtesy of hvroseyt via Instagram

Snap a pic with the hyperactive and super cute families of Meerkats in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, if you’re lucky you might spot a black-maned lion.


Take advantage of free entrance at world-famous Kruger and enjoy over 2 million hectares of wild animals.


Take time out at peaceful Marakele National Park where you have a good chance of spotting leopard and elephant.

marakele national park

Courtesy of safarifriends via Instagram

Visit SANParks’ newest park Mokala, a great pitstop if you’re travelling on the N12 near Kimberley. Have a picnic and look out for the gentle Tsessebe and other large antelope.

Mokala national park courtesy sanparks

Enjoy unparalleled star gazing in the remote Tankwa Karoo National Park.

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Drive to Cape Point and marvel at the magnificent, rugged landscape that proved treacherous for many ships.

cape point
baboons cape point

Go off the grid in remote |Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld National Park (4×4’s essential).


Important to note:

Entrance is free for day visitors however the diversity of affordable accommodation on offer in SANParks is impressive and there are camping options available in many of the parks.

The Mountain Zebra Park is limited to 100 free visitors per day on Saturday 17 September and Sunday 18 September as is the Karoo National Park.

Namaqua National Park is excluded from the special as is Boulders Penguin Colony and the Agulhas lighthouse.

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