Starting at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains, the province of Mpumalanga is considered one of the most beautiful places in South Africa. Here, 500 km, less than an hour’s flight, northeast of Johannesburg, is the Kruger National Park. It is one of the largest parks in Africa, and covers an area roughly equal to the territory of modern Israel. The park stretches for many miles along the border with Mozambique. This reserve can literally be called a paradise for many species of wild animals, including 137 species of mammals, including lions, rhinos, elephants, zebras, leopards, hippos, giraffes, antelopes, etc. Various types of rare and endangered species of animals and birds live here..
According to A2ZDIRECTORY, Kruger Park is adjacent to private reserves, on the territory of which forest hotels (lodges) are located. All lodges are built so as not to stand out from the environment. These are chalet houses or one-story buildings located on a hill above the valley or near the river. Guests directly from the hotel can watch the animals that come to the watering hole or graze in the valley.
Excursions to Kruger Park from Johannesburg are held regularly. Departure from the capital at 7.00, following through Witbank, Belfast, and Hellspruit. In Hazyvier, tourists transfer to open Land Rovers, which take them to the world-famous Kruger Park. Already on the way to the hotel you can meet some species of animals that live here. There are approximately 1467 species of animals in the park, including the famous “Big Five” – elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhinoceros, as well as many reptiles and birds. Since some animals are diurnal, while others are nocturnal, on the first day upon arrival, an evening safari is held in the reserve, after which tourists arrive and are accommodated in a hotel.
The next day is dedicated to getting to know the Park and its inhabitants. Tourists staying at the lodge go early in the morning in an open Land Rover for a photo safari where they can see the animals in their natural habitat. Animals do not perceive a car with tourists as a living object and do not pay attention to it..
After a safari or during it, picnics are practiced here in nature. You will especially remember dinners in nature under the starry sky in the heart of the savannah with national dances around the fire. The third day will provide an opportunity to explore other unexplored corners of the park, once again enjoy the grandeur and diversity of the Kruger Park and after lunch – departure to Johannesburg. Arrival in the capital by 19.00.
Beyond the park’s western boundary are three of the world’s largest private wildlife sanctuaries, with exceptional and exceptionally comfortable lodges staffed by professionals with excellent knowledge of animal life. These are the reserves of Ingvelela, Mala Mala and Londolozi. Mala Mala is famous for the largest concentration of large animal species. The “Big Five” is already represented in full force: rhinos, lions, leopards, elephants and buffaloes.
Tsitsikama Nature Reserve
The very first national marine park in Africa is 80 km of rocky coastline with quiet bays, deep ravines, green forests. A huge number of hiking trails of varying length and difficulty. The marine part of the reserve, overlooking the ocean, provides an excellent opportunity for diving.
Shushluvi-Umfolozi National Park (Maputaland, KwaZulu-Natal)
One of the largest parks in South Africa, consists of 3 reservations – Shushluvi, Umfolozi and Corridor, with a total area of 96,000 hectares. The first two were founded in 1895, and the Corridor in 1989. It was in this park that the world-famous “Operation Rhinoceros” was launched in the 60s to save this species of animals from poachers.
Today, more than one-fifth of the world’s population of black and white rhinos lives in the park. Before the foundation of the park, this area was part of the hunting grounds of the Zulu kings. The landscape of Shushluvi is represented by dense green trees and mountains, while Umfolozi is open, relatively dry bush (savannah). One of the best animal watching points is Mphafa hide in Umfolozi.
National Zoo (Pretoria)
One of the best zoos in the world. More than 3,500 species of exotic animals live on its territory (600 hectares). You can ride the funicular over the park.
Santa Lucia (Maputuland, KwaZulu-Natal), stretching for 70 km along the coast of the lake of the same name, is under the protection of UNESCO. On the territory of the reserve, the highest coastal sand dunes in the world, tropical plants, many different animals, about 7,000 hippos and crocodiles live in their natural environment.
The age of the lake is tens of millions of years, the depth is no more than 1.5 meters and the length is 85 kilometers. The lake is under the protection of UNESCO and includes five different ecosystems. More than a thousand hippos and several thousand crocodiles live here, you can definitely see them on a tour of the lake, driving a boat through the mangroves. The shores of the lake are continuous protected subtropical forests with many wild animals and birds. The beaches and fishing here are excellent.
Sodwana Bay National Park
These are kilometers of wild sandy beaches. The area is home to the world’s largest coastal sand dunes and the world’s southernmost coral reefs. From all over East Africa, large ocean turtles come here to lay eggs and breed.
Reserve Cape of Good Hope
The very first nature reserve that tourists who come to South Africa meet is the Cape of Good Hope nature reserve. The road to the Cape of Good Hope runs through the territory of the reserve of the same name. From afar, it looks like a savannah. And at the first approximation, you understand that the whole earth is densely covered with low-growing shrubs, making your way through which is a big problem for a person, but not for those who have the reserve as their home. The Cape Reserve has several thousand different species of plants, many of which are found only in South Africa, and some – only in this reserve. Of the representatives of the animal world, baboons, monkeys, ostriches, antelopes, cheetahs and other species of animals are found here. Penguins make their nests along the coast. They should be mentioned separately.
Having reached the African continent from their historical homeland of Antarctica, the penguins found this area very attractive for their living. Having first settled on the seashore, the curious animals did not stop there and set off to explore the estates and houses of local residents. There you could find food without much effort. Penguins entered houses through mail holes, and while the owners were at work, they feasted and put their penguins in order.
At first, people did not resist penguin visits and were even glad to hitherto unknown “guests” in these parts. However, over time, penguins began to visit residential buildings so often that it was decided to assign a separate zone to the Antarctic aliens on the ocean. The part of the coast where the main penguin population of South Africa lives is called Boulders Beach. Proud South African penguins feel like the true owners of the coast and almost do not pay attention to the many tourists who come here to look at this miracle of nature.
Near the reserve there is another no less interesting place for European and any other tourist. These are ostrich farms. In general, ostrich farms in this place are not a typical phenomenon, there are not many of them, but nevertheless they are here. Inspection of the farm, riding an ostrich (of course, for persons of light and medium weight category – a maximum of 70 kg), the opportunity to taste an ostrich steak are included in the excursion to the Reserve and the Cape of Good Hope. The cost of the tour – from 50 US dollars.