The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa (Travel Guide eBook)
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386 pages

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The Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa

Make the most of your time on Earth with the ultimate travel guides.
World-renowned 'tell it like it is' travel guide, now with free eBook.

Discover the Game Parks of South Africa with this comprehensive and entertaining travel guide, packed with practical information and honest recommendations by our independent experts. Whether you plan to take a jeep safari, tick off the big five or sleep in a camp in the lap of luxury, The Rough Guide to the Game Parks of South Africa will help you discover the best places to explore, eat, drink, shop and sleep along the way.

Features of this travel guide to Game Parks of South Africa:
Detailed regional coverage: provides practical information for every kind of trip, from off-the-beaten-track adventures to chilled-out breaks in popular tourist areas
Honest and independent reviews: written with Rough Guides' trademark blend of humour, honesty and expertise, our writers will help you make the most from your trip to South Africa
Meticulous mapping: practical full-colour maps, with clearly numbered, colour-coded keys. Find your way around Kruger National Park, aHluhluwe-Imfolozi Park and many more locations without needing to get online
Fabulous full-colour photography: features inspirational colour photography, including a field guide to the animals you are likely to see
- Time-saving itineraries: carefully planned routes will help inspire and inform your on-the-road experiences
Things not to miss: Rough Guides' rundown of the animals you shouldn't miss and the parks' best sights and top experiences
Travel tips and info: packed with essential pre-departure information including getting around, accommodation, food and drink, health and outdoor activities, culture and etiquette, shopping and more
Background information: comprehensive 'Contexts' chapter provides fascinating insights into the wildlife of South Africa
The ultimate travel tool: download the free eBook to access all this from your phone or tablet

You may also be interested in: Rough Guide to South Africa; Rough Guide to Kenya; Rough Guide to Cape Town The Winelands and The Garden Route

About Rough Guides: Rough Guides have been inspiring travellers for over 35 years, with over 30 million copies sold globally. Synonymous with practical travel tips, quality writing and a trustworthy 'tell it like it is' ethos, the Rough Guides list includes more than 260 travel guides to 120+ destinations, gift-books and phrasebooks.



Publié par
Date de parution 01 octobre 2020
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781789195514
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 9 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0034€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Where to go
When to go
Author picks
Things not to miss
Tailor-made trips
Getting there
Getting around
Food and drink
Game parks, reserves and wilderness areas
Crime and personal safety
Travel essentials
1 Gauteng, North West Province and Western Limpopo
2 Kruger National Park and environs
3 KwaZulu-Natal
4 The Western Cape
5 The Eastern Cape
6 The Northern Cape
Geology and geography
Reptiles, amphibians and invertebrates
Conservation past and present
Animal checklist
Introduction to
Game parks of South Africa
South Africa is a large, diverse and incredibly beautiful country. It is home to a stunning collection of wildlife, much of which lives protected within the borders of the country’s bountiful game parks. The size of France and Spain combined, and roughly twice the size of Texas, South Africa varies from picturesque Cape Town and the Garden Route towns of the Western Cape to the raw subtropical coast of northern KwaZulu-Natal, with the vast semi-desert Karoo and Kalahari extending across its central plains, and the hulking sandstone cliffs of the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg at its elevated heart.
For many, South Africa’s most outstanding feature is its wildlife. Foremost among its quite wonderful game parks is the immense Kruger National Park , which ranks as one of Africa’s premier Big Five destinations. Elsewhere, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi harbours the world’s densest population of rhinos, the remote Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park protects a starkly beautiful dunescape inhabited by lions, leopards, cheetahs and a host of smaller carnivores, while the lakes and waterways of iSimangaliso Wetland Park are alive with hippos, crocs and aquatic birds.
For budget- and independent-minded travellers, a joy of South Africa’s many national parks and other public reserves is that most are well suited to self-drive safaris . The Kruger, for instance, must rank as the top DIY safari destination anywhere in Africa. Like most of the country’s other state- and provincially run reserves, it boasts a good network of surfaced or all-weather dirt roads along with affordable restcamps and campsites offering amenities suited both to first-time safarigoers and to more experienced hands.
South Africa is also a continental leader when it comes to private reserves . The many privately owned conservancies that share open borders with Kruger lead the pack when it comes to superlative guided Big Five viewing in open vehicles based out of luxurious lodges steeped in bush chic. And there are dozens of other such reserves dotted around the rest of country, from Tswalu in the deep Kalahari and Phinda in subtropical KwaZulu-Natal to Shamwari near Port Elizabeth and Gondwana on the Garden Route east of Cape Town.
Many visitors are pleasantly surprised by South Africa’s excellent infrastructure . Good air links and bus routes, excellent roads, and plenty of accommodation suited to all budgets make the country perfect for touring. Despite this, after 25 years of democracy, the “ rainbow nation ” is still struggling to find a new identity. Apartheid is dead, but its heritage still shapes South Africa in many ways and has left it as one of the world’s most unequal societies.
Culturally, South Africa doesn’t reduce simply to black and white. More than eighty percent of the population comprises black Africans whose diverse cultural heritages are reflected in the existence of eleven official languages (and several more unofficial ones). White people of European descent make up just under nine percent of the population, split roughly evenly between those who speak English as a first language , and those who speak Afrikaans (a derivative of Dutch). There are a similar number of (mostly Afrikaans-speaking) Coloureds , the mixed-race descendants of white settlers, Africans and slaves from Southeast Asia, while 2.5 percent of the population is descended from indentured Indian labourers who came to KwaZulu-Natal in the late nineteenth century. Unsurprisingly, then, each of South Africa’s nine provinces has its own style of architecture, craftwork, food and sometimes dress.


Fact file With a population estimated at almost 58 million people, South Africa has eleven official languages : isiZulu, isiXhosa, Afrikaans, English, Sepedi, Setswana, Sesotho, Xits The country is a multiparty democracy , the head of state being President Cyril Ramaphosa of the African National Congress (ANC). Parliament sits in Cape Town, the legislative capital , while Pretoria is the executive capital , from where the president and his cabinet run the country, and Bloemfontein is the judicial capital. Each of the nine provinces has its own government. • South Africa has a 2850km South Africa has a 2850km coastline split between the Atlantic Ocean to the west and the Indian Ocean to the east. The two oceans meet at Cape Agulhas, the most southerly point in Africa. The interior rises to the uKhahlamba-Drakensberg , which is both the most extensive and the highest range in southern Africa, with several peaks topping 3400m. South Africa is listed as one of the world’s seventeen megadiverse countries thanks mainly to its flora , which includes 22,000 described species of vascular plant, sixty percent of then unique to this one country. It also boasts an impressive fauna including roughly 300 mammal, 850 bird and 350 reptile species. Despite a dramatic increase in rhino poaching since 2010, South Africa is far and away the world’s most important stronghold for these vulnerable giants. Indeed, the largest surviving populations of both black and white rhino live within its borders, representing around eighty percent of the world’s individual rhinos, of all five species!
Crime isn’t the indiscriminate phenomenon that press reports suggest, but it is an issue. Really, it’s a question of perspective – taking care, but not becoming paranoid. The odds of becoming a victim are highest in downtown Johannesburg, where violent crime is a daily reality; there is less risk in other cities, and less still in the most rural areas surrounding game reserves.
Where to go
While you could circuit South Africa and visit several scattered game parks in a matter of weeks, it’s more satisfying to focus on one or two specific regions, depending on the time of year and your interests. Broadly speaking, the county’s game parks can be divided into five safari regions , all of which have much in common in terms of wildlife, but each with its own distinct character and pros and cons.
South Africa’s most established and popular safari destination is the Greater Kruger , which lies in the eastern lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces, half a day by car, or an hour’s hop by air, from the cities of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The regional focal point is the mighty Kruger National Park , which extends across an incredible 19,500 square kilometres of bushveld inhabited by scores of large mammals including the country’s largest single populations of all the Big Five (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino). Kruger itself is relatively budget friendly, ideal for self-drive exploration, and so extensive that you could easily dedicate a fortnight to meandering from the bustling south to the remote and little-visited north. The national park also shares open boundaries with a number of concession lodges and private reserves that offer superlative all-inclusive upmarket guided safari packages within their own small corner of the vast Greater Kruger ecosystem.


Second only to Kruger in stature, the Zululand safari circuit is centred on the iSimangaliso Wetland Park , a 3320-square-kilometre UNESCO World Heritage Site set along the subtropical north coast of KwaZulu-Natal . Zululand isn’t a single, vast, unfenced conservation area like Greater Kruger, but compensates with its incredible diversity of terrestrial, freshwater and marine habitats. iSimangaliso itself comes across less like a unified conservation area than a patchwork of perhaps a dozen small reserves – of which the most important are Lake St Lucia (hippos and waterbirds), uMkhuze Game Reserve (Big Five) and Sodwana Bay (snorkelling and diving). Outside of iSimangaliso, Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park is a superb self-drive Big Five destination that hosts the world’s highest densities of both white and black rhino, while Phinda and Zimanga are the pick of a pack of top-notch private reserves. As with Kruger, it would be easy to dedicate a couple of weeks to exploring Zululand, the difference being that this subtropical coastal circuit, with its gorgeous beaches and liberal scattering of forests and lakes, offers a far greater scenic, biological and experiential variety.
A negative of the Greater Kruger, and to a lesser extent Zululand, is that they carry a low risk of malaria , at least during the wet summer months, when they can also be stiflingly hot. For this reason, an increasing number of visitors to South Africa, especially those with young children, gravitate towards the North West Circuit , which is entirely free of malaria, and closer to Johannesburg and Pretoria. The main self-drive Big Five destination in North West Province is Pilanesberg National Park , while its coun

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