National Parks & Reserves

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    Tracking cheetah ain’t easy

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    Wildlife viewing got a whole lot more exciting when Mountain Zebra National Park acquired, first, four cheetah, then three lion, for its natural precincts. Thing is, this beautiful reserve is a massive sprawling territory — some 28 500 hectares — so even though the cat populations have increased, it takes some cunning sleuthing to come face to face with one.

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    Malgas Pont & De Hoop NR

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    A nature reserve whose name comes from a farm that once bred Andalusian horses… Repository of 1,500 species of limestone-adapted ericas and pincushions and leucadendrons… A place of vleis and flamingos and fish eagles, of miles of bone-white sand dunes, of lobtailing whales in the ocean and planing Cape vultures in the sky. De Hoop is about nature and conservation and peacefulness.

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    Gamkaberg Nature Reserve

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    Gamkaberg, the first conservancy visited in our week-long, 875-kilometre, off-road circular trip through three Cape Nature reserves… Think nicely appointed tented camp (rented out privately to a single group), gas and solar power (plus eco compost loo), birdsong to wake you and to serenade the sundown, long and short hikes, a 4×4 trail.

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    Anysberg Nature Reserve

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    Anysberg, the second conservancy visited in our week-long, 875-kilometre, off-road circular trip through three Cape Nature reserves… Think simple but characterful labourer's cottages, a pleated rim of mountain slopes as backdrop, a reservoir to swim in. Walk on the reserve, sign up for an overnight guided horse trail, try the 4×4 route, or enlist a guide to show you the stars through a telescope.

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    Grootvadersbosch Nature Reserve

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    Grootvadersbosch, the third conservancy visited in our week-long, 875-kilometre, off-road circular trip through three Cape Nature reserves… Think innovative wood cabins with a double-volume entertainment space that opens up on three sides to the surrounding woodland. Walks and hikes in fynbos and rare Tsitsikamma-style indigenous forest

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    Victoria Falls in September

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    Did you know that Makgadikgadi Salt Pans are the remnant of an ancient lake (paleolake) produced by geological uplift which blocked the course of the upper Zambezi and this lake eventually created the Victoria Falls? The damming of the river redirected the flow away from where it once met the Limpopo.

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    Northern Kruger Remoteness

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    Fat-girthed baobabs and giant canopied nyala trees. Crocs and hippos. A varied and prolific bird life (think waterbirds and raptors, shimmery-plumaged show-dancers and strutting kommandants). And, if you’re lucky, migrating herds of elephant (depending on the rain and the seasons). But, most of all … Wildness and Solitude, the kind where you’re the only 4×4 on the road.

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    Mokala, place of sable & roan

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    Our excitement spiked a notch when, outlined on a bouldered kopje with the nimble stance of a mountain goat, was the masked face and arched horns of a roan antelope. Next, a harem of kudu females with a dinky calf high-tailed it into the thicket, bobbing pom-poms like white warning flashers.

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    Mapungubwe & Tshugulu Eco Trail

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    We were standing on the cliff edge of the lozenge-shaped hill kingdom. This, according to our mischievous guide Cedric Sethlako, was the ‘proposal spot’. Here, he said, a suitor would make his lady love teeter while deciding on a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’ to his marriage proposal (bones at the foot of the precipice were testament to wrong decisions made in the past).

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