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South African National Parks, a 'wild' experience for families
South African National Parks, a 'wild' experience for families

Leopard, Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park

Photo by Kalahari Safaris

A trip to a South African national park is unlike any other. Here, the experience is wild. The land, life and geography. What's more, many of the lodges located in and around the country's national parks welcome kids and offer special activities for children.

Viewing animal and bird life in the wild is one of the greatest adventures. A family wildlife safari in the Kruger National Park is a great place to begin. It is one of the best places in Africa to view the Big 5 - lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and buffalo. And it offers something for every budget and style. Manage your pace on a self-drive safari, relax and take in the sights on a guided wildlife tour, and if your children are 12 years old or more explore the bush on foot. Stay in an economical tented camp or spend the night at a luxury African lodge.

While the Kruger may be the best known game reserve in South Africa it is not the only National Park that offers first-rate game viewing and several are malaria free. A wildlife safari in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier National Park in the Northern Cape province is all about predators. This rugged wildlife sanctuary spanning more than 3.6 million hectares of Kalahari Desert in South Africa and Botswana is ideal for families in search of a remote safari experience. Addo Elephant National Park is but a stone throw from Port Elizabeth making it an ideal destination for families interested in combining a wildlife safari with the family attractions found on South Africa's Wild Coast. Elephant, black rhinoceros and cape buffalo are the main attraction here.

In South Africa, a wildlife adventure need not take place in the bush. With more than 3000 km or nearly 1900 miles of coast, South Africa is one of the best places to observe sea life, even from shore. Agulhas National Park, which marks the southern tip of Africa, is a great place to engage in land-based whale watching. Hiking the Otter trail in the Tsitsikamma National Park affords more than a trek along some of Africa's most beautiful coast, intrepid families undertaking this 4 1/2 day hike are likely to spot schools of dolphins and porpoises frolicking just meters from shore.

Yet families traveling to South Africa need not venture to the tip of the continent or partake in a wildlife safari to enjoy nature. Table Mountain, part of the Table Mountain National Park is just a hike or cable car ride from Cape Town. Hike, rock limb or simply take in the breath taking views at this World Heritage Site. Where else can you enjoy a true outdoor experience in a major metropolitan area?

Discover one or more of South Africa's National Parks and take your children on an adventure in the wild.

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