General information about the National Parks along the scenic Garden Route.
National Parks Along the Garden Route
Addo Elephant ParkAddo Elephant Park is located in the Eastern Cape- a delightful reserve near Port Elizabeth. The Garden Route is an area of great scenic beauty that stretches along the lush Indian Ocean coastline and inland to the semi-desert Little Karoo.Addo Elephant Park's biggest attraction is its big 330 Elephants and many antelope like Eland, Bontebokke etc. Another animal (insect) that lives here is the flightless Dung Beetle, it has survived in South Africa only in this area. The insects roll big breeding balls from Elephant dung and transports them into subterranean breeding chambers.The Elephants used to be tightly packed in this park but it has recently been expanded so that these large but quietly trodden pachyderms have a wider area in which to roam. Due to this, it is harder to see them but evidence will be all around. An Elephant produces 150kg (330.6 pounds) of dung every day (about one drop every 15 minutes), so the precious flightless dung Beetles have quite a job to do.Addo Elephant Park's accommodation is in basic but attractive chalets that overlook a well trodden path to the waterhole in front of the main lodge. You can eat at the basic restaurant or take your own barbeque food and cook it on your patio, while watching Elephants pass by. Just after dusk the Silverbacked Jackals often start howling, making an eerie serenade in the silence.
Mountain Zebra National ParkThe rocky heights of Mountain Zebra National Park's Bankberg embrace rolling plains and deep valleys becoming an entrancing preserve for the Cape mountain Zebra. The proclamation of the park in 1937 saved these animals from extinction, and currently their population stands at 350. Other mammals found here include Eland, Black Wildebeest, Red Hartebeest and Gemsbok. Mountain Reedbuck and Grey Rhebok frequent the higher areas, whilst Caracal occupy the niche of primary predator.Mountain Zebra National Park's climate comprses of warm summers, and winter nights are cold. Rainfall averages some 390mm per annum, with regular snowfall on high lying areas.The highlight of the park's mammalian fauna is obviously the 350 or so Cape Mountain Zebra after which the park is named. These Zebra differ from the plains or Burchell's Zebra, by having narrower stripes, absence of shadow stripes and orange facial colouration. Other noticeable species of the mountain plateau are the red Hartebeest, Eland and Springbok. In the more wooded valleys visitors should search for Kudu, and 2 of the park's more recent reintroductions, the African Buffalo and the Black Rhino.
Birds in Mountain Zebra N.P:Black and Martial Eagle and Jackal Buzzard soar impressively over this mountain habitat. Palewinged Starling is very conspicuous on the mountain plateau, where Ostrich, Secretary bird, Blue Crane and Ludwig's Bustard are the larger more visible species. Grey winged Francolin, Ground Woodpecker, Thick billed and Long billed Lark, Cape and Sentinel Rock Thrush, Mountain Chat and Orange breasted Rock jumper should also be searched for, while Pink billed Lark and Rock Pipit are less common.
Vegetation in Mountain Zebra N.P:The park contains a rich variety of plant species and in spring the Veld is covered with flowers. Fynbos and Rensoterveld bush flourish in the temperate climate where the rains come mainly during early summer and winter.
ActivitiesActivities in Knysna include profound game viewing from your own vehicle, several short nature trails, hiking, horse riding, swimming - just to name a few.
Shamwari Game ReserveShamwari Game Reserve is a 20 000 hectares (49 000 acres) private game reserve, situated in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This is the ultimate African adventure and conservation; it has received numerous international awards, including the World's Leading Conservation Company and Game Reserve for 5 consecutive years. It is situated in verdant bush along the Bushman's River, halfway between Port Elizabeth (45 minutes drive outside the city) and Grahamstown, a pleasant drive from Cape Town, forming a natural extension to the famous Garden Route. Game viewing - Big Five.Shamwari is about conserving a vanishing way of life and is the realisation of one man's dream, and the success of many people's passion. Steeped in Settler history, and dating back to the time when a multitude of game roamed wild and free, the 20 000 hectare reserve boasts 5 eco-systems, thus enabling the support of many forms of plant, animal and bird life.
Tsitsikamma National ParkThe Tsitsikamma National Park (untouched natural landscape) is an 80Km long coastal strip between Nature's Valley and the mouth of the Storms River.Tsitsikamma is situated in the Garden Route, which has a Mediterranean Maritime climate, with moderately hot summers, and mild to chilly winters. It's one of the richest rainfall areas, most of which occurs in the winter months, brought by the humid sea-winds from the Indian Ocean. Any time of the year is good for visiting the areas peaceful retreat during the winter months or a bustling holiday destination during the summer.
Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve:Tsitsikamma National Park is Africa's oldest and largest marine reserve, it plays a vital role in the preservation and conservation of marine fauna and flora. The Tsitsikamma National Park is internationally recognized for its forests, which harbour and conserve the giant Outeniqua yellowwood - one of the few true monarchs of the world's forests. This enormous tree is one of the most successful species in existence, having survived unchanged for millions of years.
A place of many waters:Tsitsikamma is the Khoi-San word for a place of many waters. It is the perfect description of this exquisite area but does not do justice to the overwhelming experience the Tsitsikamma provides for those fortunate enough to visit it and to indulge in its unique pleasures.
Activities:Activities range from walking to Mountain bike in the heart of the tranquil Tsitsikamma. Hunting safaris on a farm and fishing excursions - to the best fishing spots in the area. Adventure activities in the area range from Black Water Tubing, Kloofing and many others.Hiking:
The popular Otter Trail of 48km (29.83 miles) and the Tsitsikamma Trail of 72km (44.7 miles), both offer the well-trained hiker an experience of a unique plant and animal world. Some indigenous Yellowwood trees still exist here, over 800 years old. Besides the diverse birdlife, one can also observe smaller mammal species, the cute Dassies for example, which often graze near the beach. This is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, remaining indelibly imprinted on your mind.
Walking:Short walking paths lead through the coastal rainforests, to the hanging bridge at the mouth of the Storms River and to the famous Schietklip, a rock in the sea which causes thundering giant waves.
Wilderness National ParkWilderness National Park is situated in the heart of South Africa's famous Garden Route. It is a charming world of lakes, rivers, fens, estuaries and beaches gently unfolding against a backdrop of lush forest and lofty mountains.Wilderness National Park is situated close to the N2 highway, 15km (9.3 miles) from George, 315km (195.7 miles) from Port Elizabeth and 415km (257.8 miles) from Cape Town. The closest airport is at George, where car hire facilities are available. Access and internal roads are gravelled.Nature trails wind through densely wooded forest, Wilderness National Park, and along tranquil rivers, affording you the opportunity to encounter the brilliantly coloured Knysna Loerie, or one of the 5 Kingfisher species that occur here. During spring the lakes are surrounded by a carpet of flowers, further enhancing the verdant beauty of this wetland national park.
Climate:Temperate coastal climate with rain occurring throughout the year. September and October reflect the highest rainfall figures. Wilderness National Parks region enjoys sunny days for 50% to 60% of the year.
Reception hours:08h00 - 13h00 and 14h00 - 17h00
December / January school holidays: 07h00 - 20h00.