Whether you prefer scenic ocean drives or those with towering cliffs, our national parks have something for everybody. Spare a few hours, grab your camera and head out on one of these short adventures.
|Ai-|Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
You require a 4×4 and five hours. From Sendelingsdrift travel through Halfmens Pass, past the Hand of God, up Akkedis Pass, down Domorogh Pass and over Helskloof back to Sendelingsdrift. Look out for the halfmens plants; enjoy some extreme off-roading and look out for klipspringer, gemsbok and springbok.
Caracal Eco Route – Namaqua National Park
Scenic views await those who have a 4×4 as this route covers most of the coastal section. You need to set six to eight hours aside for the 176 to 200 kilometres, starting at the Skilpad office.
Klipspringer Pass – Karoo National Park
The pass was built according to the Andrew Geddes Bain method, an old eco-friendly building style used to build Mitchell’s Pass in 1843 and Bainskloof Pass in 1849. After three years, it was completed in 1991. In total, 7 800m³ of rock from old kraals and shepherds’ huts were hand-packed. The pass is 8km long with 3,2km consisting of the rock-packed section – budget for at least an hour.
Lenong Viewpoint Road – Marakele National Park
This 22km road will lead you to Lenong Viewpoint, providing fantastic views of the park. The road is narrow and relatively steep, but can be traversed by sedan. Look out for the Cape vultures nesting close by.
Leeudril 4×4 Route – Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Just north of Twee Rivieren you get a road between the water points Leeudril and Houmoed. The route is about 13km and costs R180 per vehicle. Book the route at Twee Rivieren reception.
Gannaga Pass – Tankwa Karoo National Park
The pass descends down the Roggeveld Mountains for 7,94km. It starts on the plateau near Middelpos and ends at the plains of the Tankwa Karoo. Spot the botterboom forest and soaring black eagles.
Chapman’s Peak Drive – Table Mountain National Park
There is a price to pay for this scenic 9km drive, however, the reward outweighs the amount (fees at www.chapmanspeakdrive.co.za). This road between Hout Bay and Noordhoek is known as one of the most scenic drives in the world. With around 114 curves, sheer drops and towering cliffs, this is a paradise for nature lovers.
Valley of Desolation – Camdeboo National Park
The road up the valley, tarred in 1978, offers easy access to some spectacular panoramic views. A number of places offer viewpoints over the plains of the Great Karoo and towering dolerite columns. Get to the valley gate by following the R63 to Murraysburg. It is 5km outside Graaff-Reinet.
Kom se Pad – Garden Route National Park
This drive meanders through lush indigenous forest north of Knysna. Set an hour aside for the 12km drive. Stop at the Terblans Picnic Site for a snack and a short 6,5km nature walk. From Knysna, head towards George, turn right on Ou Kaapse Weg, turn towards Gouna and follow the R339.
Rooiplaat Loop – Mountain Zebra National Park
Panoramic views allow you a 360 degree view of the Karoo plains. The loop is about 13km and you are guaranteed to see wildlife. Predators also hunt there.