As you will come to see from my blogging, I am attracted to nature. It gives me my energy and it is where I spend my energy. It picks me up and feeds my soul. Where some may see desolate, open veld, I see a wide canvas awaiting. Where some may see a dense, chaotic forest, I see intricacy and harmony.
I tend to seek out the best of natural settings. In our midst we are fortunate to have large tracts of land under conservation. Sanparks, for instance, manages some 19 national parks across the country, alongside many other parks and reserves managed by provincial and local authorities. I have visited all but one of the parks under Sanpark’s care (Richtersveld, on the Namibian border alludes me.) Each park is unique in its appeal. Some (like Kruger) are more popular than others (not everyone’s heard of Mokala and Marakele). But popularity is not a measure of beauty. In fact, sometimes it is the relative calm of these smaller parks that is the very essence of its beauty.
You’ll get to journey with me to some of these spectacular parks as I blog about current (and past) trips. But to kick it off, here is my recommendation list of lesser known Sanparks that stand out:
1. Mokala National Park
What to expect: Camel thorns dotting a landscape of red sands and golden grass.
Closest town: Kimberley (70 km)
2. Mapungubwe National Park
What to expect: Giant upside down trees (or boababs) stand out in this lush landscape on the banks of the Limpopo River.
Closest towns: Musina and Alldays (70 km)
3. Marakele National Park
What to expect: Laze on the deck of your tented camp at Tlopi watching the Waterberg mountains being painted by the sun.
Closest town: Thabazimbi (12 km)
4. Tankwa Karoo National Park
What to expect: Starry nights, wide vistas; a perfect escape from it all.
Closest towns: Sutherland (120 km), Ceres (180 km)
5. Bontebok National Park
What to expect: Swim in the Breede River after waking up to sound of munching bontebok outside your tent.
Closest town: Swellendam (5 km)
Look out for future blogs for more about these and other special parks.