• Challenge yourself to something different and try all of these fun things to do in South Africa’s National Parks.

    Once you have gone on countless game drives on a mission to spot the scarce species and walked every hiking trail in the park, it becomes time to do something new. Do something different, tick these activities from your list next time you visit our parks.

    Cycle among the Big Five

    Have you ever cycled in a Big Five park? Olifants in the Kruger National Park is the only camp offering this activity. The trail meanders on the banks of the Olifants River amongst rocky outcrops. Moderate fitness levels are required. No more than six people are allowed. Riders have to be older than 16 years. Remember to book two days in advance to avoid disappointment.
    Enquiries: Olifants camp +27-13-735-6606, central reservations +27-12-428-9111.

    Saddle up and gallop

    For moderately experienced riders able to control a horse, the Addo Elephant National Park offers a unique experience in the Nyathi area, home to the Big Five. Choose between a two hour ride in the morning or afternoon. No children under 16 will be allowed. Behaviour of Big Five species are monitored and if necessary, trails will be moved to a botanical reserve.
    Enquiries: +27-42-233-8600

    Tee off amongst the wild

    Who said you have to go on a game drive to see animals? Test your putting skills surrounded by hippo and impala on the Skukuza Golf Course in the Kruger National Park. The nine-hole course is a par 72. Enquiries: +27-13-735-5543 or [email protected]

    Game, set, match 

    Ever fancied a tennis match with the Brandwag buttress formation as the backdrop? Visit the courts situated at the Golden Gate Hotel in the Golden Gate Highlands National Park. If you forgot your racket, don’t despair, you can hire one with balls.
    Enquiries: +27-58-255-1000

    Pearsons Aloe Trail

    Situated in the Ai/Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park in Helskloof, you can spot thousands of Pearson’s aloes (aloe pearsonii) along the way. Simply take the Helskloof pass, approximately 20km from reception, and be prepared for spectacular views and botanical specimens such as botterboom (Tylecodon paniculatus) and quiver trees (Aloe dichitoma).

    Captain, raise the sails

    It takes some skill at first, but once you know how, it is smooth sailing. You can sail in the Knysna and Wilderness sections of the Garden Route National Park. Alternatively, certain sections of the Langebaan Lagoon in the West Coast National Park are demarcated for water sport. This is a perfect way to enjoy a hot summer’s day and companies in town offer rental options.

    While you’re nearby, you might want to check out the top things to do in Langebaan. The West Coast National Park and Langebaan are on the list too. But you can find out what the other top-rated attractions are in and around this West Coast town.

    Roaring roadtrip 

    There is nothing better than the wind through your hair to give you the feeling of freedom. Plan your next road trip around one of the motorcycle-friendly national parks. They include Agulhas, Knysna, Namaqua, Tanwa, Tsitsikamma, West Coast, Bontebok and the Golden Gate Highlands national parks. You are also allowed on designated routes in the Wilderness section of Garden Route National Park. Augrabies Falls permits motorcycles up to reception, but not in the game viewing area. Contact your nearest park to make sure.

    Cheetah tracking 

    If you have never been close to a cheetah then this is your opportunity to walk in the footsteps of this big cat. Mountain Zebra National Park is the only park where you can get in very close proximity of these majestic animals. The experience can last a few hours and moderate fitness levels are required.
    Bookings: +27-48-881-2427 or [email protected]

    Source: www.sanparks.org

    Taken from SANParks Times, www.sanparkstimes.co.za

    Craig Duffield