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National Parks in South Africa

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National Parks in South Africa are not just protected areas; they are sanctuaries of biodiversity, cultural heritage, and natural beauty. With a diverse range of ecosystems spanning from the lush forests of Tsitsikamma to the arid deserts of the Karoo, the national parks in South Africa offer a glimpse into the country’s rich natural heritage. Each park tells its own unique story, whether it’s the rugged coastline of Table Mountain National Park, the ancient rock formations of Augrabies Falls National Park, or the iconic wildlife of Kruger National Park. From the smallest creatures to the largest mammals, these parks are home to a wealth of wildlife, including the Big Five and numerous endemic species. But beyond their ecological significance, South Africa’s national parks also hold cultural importance, with archaeological sites, rock art, and historical landmarks scattered throughout their landscapes. Whether visitors seek adventure, relaxation, or a deeper connection with nature, the national parks of South Africa offer something for everyone, inviting travelers to explore, discover, and appreciate the wonders of the natural world. Here are the 19 national parks in South Africa.

List of National Parks in South Africa

1. Richtersveld National Park (Northern Cape)

Richtersveld National Park, located in South Africa’s Northern Cape, is a mesmerizing and distinctive national park that offers visitors a truly unique experience. This remote nature reserve is characterized by mountainous wilderness, rugged kloofs, and dramatic landscapes bordering the Orange River.

Encompassing an area of approximately 5,920 square kilometers, Richtersveld National Park is a part of the ǀAi-ǀAis/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park, which is a peace park straddling the border between South Africa and Namibia. This transfrontier park is a testament to the collaborative conservation efforts between the two countries.

The park offers various activities for visitors, including several campsites, a network of 4×4 tracks, and seasonal hiking trails within the South African portion of the Transfrontier park. It is a haven for outdoor enthusiasts, offering opportunities for adventure and exploration amidst breathtaking and otherworldly surroundings.

Richtersveld national park entrance fee

Richtersveld national park entry fee Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R74 R37
SADC Nationals R148 R74
International (non-South African) Citizens R296 R148

 

Read more about Richtersveld National Park accommodation

2. West Coast National Park (Western Cape)

national parks in south Africa

Nestled 90 kilometers north of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa, the South Africa West Coast National Park is a coastal wonderland renowned for its diverse ecosystems and stunning natural beauty. Encompassing an area of approximately 140 square miles, this park offers visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in a rich array of landscapes, from azure waters to colorful flora and fauna.

The park is home to the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, a picturesque body of water that provides a habitat for a myriad of bird species and an ideal spot for appreciating the colorful flora endemic to the region. Known for its crosswinds, the park is a haven for water sports enthusiasts, offering activities such as windsurfing, snorkeling, kayaking, and kitesurfing, making it an ideal destination for adventure seekers and nature lovers alike.

The West Coast National Park is celebrated for its rich birdlife, coastal wetlands, and high diversity of fynbos, making it a hotspot for birdwatching and nature photography enthusiasts. The park’s unique blend of marine, wetland, and terrestrial environments provides a sanctuary for a wide array of plant and animal species, contributing to its significance as a biodiversity hotspot in South Africa.

Read more about West Coast National Park accommodation

West Coast National Park entry fee

West Coast National Park entry fee outside of flower season Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R74 R37
SADC Nationals R116 R58
International (non-South African) Citizens R116 R58
West Coast National Park entry fee flower season (Aug & Sept) Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R110 R55
SADC Nationals R169 R85
International (non-South African) Citizens R247 R124

3. Tankwa Karoo National Park (Western Cape)

tankwa karoo

Nestled within the Succulent Karoo Biome, Tankwa Karoo National Park stands as a testament to the unyielding beauty of South Africa’s national parks. Located approximately 316 kilometers from Cape Town in the Northern Cape, this unique park spans over 1,436 square kilometers, offering visitors an immersive experience in a captivating semi-desert landscape.

Renowned for its mind-blowing landscapes and unique vegetation, the park is a haven for nature enthusiasts, photographers, and those seeking to explore the tranquility of the Karoo wilderness. The park’s rugged terrain, characterized by expansive plains and rugged koppies, provides a captivating backdrop for an array of outdoor activities, including stargazing, birdwatching, and hiking.

Visitors to Tankwa Karoo National Park can revel in the breathtaking vistas of the Roggeveld Escarpment to the east, the Cederberg to the west, and the Klein Roggeveld Mountains, which envelop the park in a sense of serene isolation. The park’s diverse landscape and unique flora and fauna, including species such as Steenbok and Klipspringer, offer an opportunity to witness the resilience of life in this arid environment.

Find out more about Tankwa Karoo National Park accommodation

Tankwa Karoo National Park entrance fee

Tankwa Karoo National Park entrance fee Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R110 R55
International (non-South African) Citizens R220 R110

4. Table Mountain National Park (Western Cape)

Table Mountain National Park South Africa, a crown jewel among the national parks in South Africa, is a diverse and iconic natural reserve that encapsulates the rich biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes of the Cape Peninsula. Extending from Signal Hill and Table Mountain in the north to Cape Point in the south, this park spans approximately 70 kilometers, encompassing a unique blend of coastal, mountain, and marine environments.

The park’s namesake, Table Mountain, is a flat-topped mountain that stands as a prominent landmark overlooking the city of Cape Town, offering visitors unparalleled panoramic views and an opportunity to immerse themselves in the rich flora and fauna that call this natural wonder home. The park’s diverse ecosystems, including fynbos, forests, and coastal marine areas, make it a biodiversity hotspot and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Table Mountain National Park is not only a haven for nature enthusiasts and hikers but also a sanctuary for a diverse array of plant and animal species. The park’s extensive network of hiking trails provides opportunities for visitors to explore the park’s natural beauty and encounter its rich biodiversity.

In addition to its terrestrial wonders, the park’s marine protected areas, such as the Cape of Good Hope section, offer a glimpse into the rich underwater world, making it a paradise for snorkelers, divers, and marine enthusiasts.

Table Mountain National Park Cape Town South Africa stands as a testament to the natural wonders of South Africa’s national parks, offering an immersive experience in the heart of the Cape Peninsula’s diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes.

Learn more about Table Mountain National Park activities

Table Mountain National Park entrance fees

5. Namaqua National Park (Northern Cape)

Namaqua national park
Photo: Northern Cape Tourism Authority

Namaqua National Park, situated in the Northern Cape of South Africa, is renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and remarkable biodiversity. Spanning across a vast area, the park is celebrated for its vibrant display of wildflowers during the spring season, attracting visitors from around the world to witness this natural spectacle. The park’s diverse ecosystems, which include coastal, mountainous, and semi-desert regions, provide a habitat for a rich variety of plant and animal species, contributing to its significance as a biodiversity hotspot in South Africa.

Visitors to Namaqua National Park can explore its stunning natural beauty, engage in outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching, and immerse themselves in the tranquility of the park’s unique landscapes. The park’s commitment to conservation and environmental preservation ensures that it continues to be a sanctuary for indigenous flora and fauna.

Find out more about Namaqua National Park accommodation

Namaqua National Park entrance fee

1 November 2023 – 31 October 2024 Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R110 R55
International (non-South African) Citizens R110 R55

6. Mountain Zebra National Park (Eastern Cape)

list of national parks in south africa

Spanning over 28 412 hectares of rugged terrain, Mountain Zebra National Park South Africa showcases the breath taking beauty of the Eastern Cape’s landscapes. Its namesake species, the Cape mountain zebra, roams freely across the park’s rolling plains, offering visitors a glimpse into the region’s rich ecological heritage. But it’s not just zebras that call this park home. From graceful antelopes like the eland and red hartebeest to elusive predators such as the Cape leopard and black-backed jackal, the park is teeming with an array of wildlife waiting to be discovered.

Beyond its diverse wildlife, Mountain Zebra National Park captivates visitors with its dramatic scenery and rugged beauty. Towering mountains, deep valleys, and expansive grasslands create a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures. Hiking trails wind through the park, offering panoramic vistas of the surrounding landscape and opportunities to encounter wildlife up close. Sunset drives provide the perfect vantage point to witness the changing hues of the African sky as the day draws to a close, casting a golden glow over the savannah below.

Mountain Zebra National Park accommodation ranges from rustic campsites nestled under star-studded skies to luxurious safari lodges with all the comforts of home. With its unparalleled natural beauty and abundance of outdoor activities, the park beckons adventurers and nature lovers alike to discover the untamed wilderness of the Eastern Cape.

Mountain Zebra National Park entrance fee

Mountain Zebra National Park South Africa Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

7. Mokala National Park (Northern Cape)

Nestled in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, Mokala National Park stands as a hidden gem, beckoning adventurers with its rugged beauty and rich biodiversity. Spanning over 26 485 hectares of pristine wilderness, this park offers a sanctuary for an array of wildlife, including rare and endangered species such as the black rhinoceros and roan antelope. With its diverse landscapes ranging from rolling hills and rocky outcrops to expansive savannahs and tranquil waterholes, Mokala National Park provides a picturesque backdrop for unforgettable safari experiences.

For those seeking a more immersive experience, Mokala offers a range of accommodation options, from cozy cottages and safari tents to luxury lodges, allowing guests to unwind in comfort after a day of exploration.

Mokala National Park accommodation fees

Mokala National Park prices

Mokala National Park Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R57 R29
SADC Nationals R114 R57
International (non-South African) Citizens R228 R114

8. Marakele National Park (Limpopo)

Nestled within the majestic Waterberg Mountains of South Africa’s Limpopo province, Marakele National Park offers a captivating blend of biodiversity and breathtaking landscapes. Encompassing over 67,000 hectares of pristine wilderness, the park is renowned for its rich variety of wildlife, including the iconic Big Five – lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, and leopards.

Marakele’s diverse ecosystems range from rolling grasslands and verdant valleys to towering cliffs and ancient forests, providing a haven for an array of flora and fauna. The park’s unique location at the meeting point of the dry western and moist eastern regions of South Africa results in a remarkable diversity of habitats and species, making it a hotspot for biodiversity enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Marakele National Park accommodation self-catering

Marakele National Park prices

Marakele national park Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

9. Mapungubwe National Park Limpopo

Mapungubwe National Park

Located along the Limpopo River in the northern reaches of South Africa lies the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Mapungubwe National Park Limpopo. This 28 000-hectare unique park is renowned for its rich cultural history, stunning landscapes, and diverse wildlife. Once the center of a thriving African kingdom dating back to the Iron Age, Mapungubwe is home to ancient archaeological sites, including the famous Mapungubwe Hill, where evidence of early civilization and trade routes have been unearthed.

Beyond its cultural significance, the park boasts a wealth of natural beauty, from rugged sandstone formations and lush riverine forests to expansive savannahs teeming with wildlife.

Mapungubwe National Park accommodation

Mapungubwe National Park entrance fees

South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

10. Kruger National Park (Mpumalanga)

Kruger National Park
Picture: Mich Logan/ Pixabay

Kruger National Park stands as an iconic symbol of South Africa’s commitment to conservation and wildlife preservation. Spanning nearly 20,000 square kilometers across the provinces of Mpumalanga and Limpopo, it is one of Africa’s largest game reserves and a cornerstone of the country’s national parks system. Established in 1898, Kruger National Park boasts an impressive array of wildlife, including the Big Five – lions, elephants, rhinoceroses, buffaloes, and leopards – as well as a multitude of other species, from graceful antelopes to elusive predators. Visitors to Kruger are treated to unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing, whether on self-drive safaris, guided game drives, or bush walks led by experienced rangers.

Map to Kruger National Park

Kruger National Park places to stay

Kruger National Park tickets price

South African Citizens and Residents R122 R60
SADC Nationals R243 R122
International (non-South African) Citizens R486 R243

11. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Northern Cape)

Straddling the borders of South Africa and Botswana, this vast wilderness sanctuary spans over 38,000 square kilometers, making it one of the largest conservation areas in Africa. Renowned for its breathtaking landscapes and abundant wildlife, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park offers visitors a truly immersive safari experience unlike any other. The park is characterized by its expansive red dunes, dry riverbeds, and sparse vegetation, creating a starkly beautiful backdrop for observing the park’s inhabitants, including iconic species like the Kalahari lion, gemsbok, and meerkat.

Kgalagadi transfrontier park location

Kgalagadi transfrontier park accommodation

Kgalagadi transfrontier park entrance fee

South African Citizens and Residents R116 R58
SADC Nationals R233 R116
International (non-South African) Citizens R465 R233

12. Karoo National Park (Western Cape)

Nestled in the heart of the Great Karoo region in South Africa, Karoo National Park beckons travelers with its rugged beauty and unique desert landscapes. Spanning over 80,000 hectares, this vast wilderness area is a haven for those seeking solitude and connection with nature. Karoo National Park South Africa showcases the stark contrast of the Karoo’s arid terrain against the backdrop of expansive skies, making it a photographer’s paradise and a sanctuary for wildlife enthusiasts. Whether camping under a canopy of stars or staying in cozy cottages, visitors to Karoo National Park are sure to be captivated by the raw, untamed beauty of the Karoo landscape.

Tankwa Karoo National Park accommodation

Karoo National Park prices

Karoo National Park South Africa Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

13. Golden Gate Highlands National Park (Free State)

Golden gate highlands national park

Nestled in the breathtaking Maluti Mountains of South Africa’s Free State province, Golden Gate Highlands National Park is a treasure trove of natural wonders and cultural heritage. Spanning over 11,000 hectares, the park is renowned for its dramatic sandstone cliffs, golden-hued rock formations, and expansive grasslands dotted with vibrant wildflowers. Named for the golden glow cast by the setting sun on its sandstone cliffs, Golden Gate Highlands National Park offers visitors a picturesque backdrop for outdoor adventures and wildlife encounters.

Hiking trails wind through the park’s rugged terrain, leading to panoramic viewpoints and hidden caves adorned with ancient San rock art, providing a glimpse into the region’s rich cultural history. Birdwatchers will delight in the park’s diverse avian population, while wildlife enthusiasts may spot indigenous species such as eland, mountain reedbuck, and black wildebeest roaming freely across the plains. With its network of campsites and cozy chalets nestled amidst the mountains, Golden Gate Highlands National Park invites visitors to immerse themselves in the tranquility of nature while marveling at the beauty of one of South Africa’s most picturesque national parks.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park accommodation

Golden Gate Highlands National Park entry fee

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

 

14. Garden Route National Park (Western Cape)

garden route national park

Stretching along South Africa’s famed Garden Route, Garden Route National Park South Africa is a coastal paradise renowned for its diverse ecosystems and stunning natural beauty. Encompassing a mosaic of landscapes, from lush forests and pristine lakes to rugged coastlines and sandy beaches, this park offers a haven for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike.

Divided into three sections Wilderness, Knysna, and Tsitsikamma – Garden Route National Park boasts a wealth of recreational opportunities, including hiking, canoeing, snorkeling, and birdwatching. Visitors can explore the ancient forests of Wilderness, home to towering yellowwood trees and elusive forest elephants, or paddle along the tranquil waters of the Knysna Lagoon, where endangered seahorses and rare bird species thrive.

Garden Route National Park accommodation

Garden Route National Park activities

Garden route National Park entrance fee

Tsitsikamma Section – Storms River Mouth Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R74 R37
SADC Nationals R148 R74
International (non-South African) Citizens R296 R148
Tsitsikamma Section – Nature’s Valley Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R67 R33
International (non-South African) Citizens R133 R67
Wilderness Section Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R110 R55
International (non-South African) Citizens R190 R95
Knysna Section Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R47 R23
SADC Nationals R93 R47
International (non-South African) Citizens R186 R93

 

15. Camdeboo National Park (Eastern Cape)

Nestled in the heart of the Eastern Cape province, Camdeboo National Park is a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by nature enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Spanning over 19,000 hectares, this diverse park showcases the unique landscapes of the Karoo region, characterized by rolling plains, dramatic cliffs, and ancient fossil beds. The iconic Valley of Desolation, with its towering dolerite columns carved by centuries of erosion, offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding countryside and serves as a testament to the geological wonders of the area.

Camdeboo National Park accommodation

Camdeboo National Park entrance fee

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R110 R55
International (non-South African) Citizens R169 R85

16. Bontebok National Park (Western Cape)

Bontebok National Park Swellendam stands as a sanctuary for one of the country’s rarest antelope species, the bontebok. Spanning over 28 square kilometers, this small but significant park is dedicated to the conservation of the bontebok and other indigenous wildlife, as well as the preservation of the region’s unique fynbos vegetation. Visitors to Bontebok National Park can enjoy leisurely walks along the riverbanks, where the sights of bontebok grazing peacefully amidst the scenic landscapes are common.

The park also offers opportunities for birdwatching, with over 200 bird species recorded in the area, including the iconic fish eagle and African black oystercatcher. In addition to its natural attractions, Bontebok National Park boasts a rich cultural heritage, with archaeological sites revealing evidence of early human inhabitants dating back thousands of years.

Bontebok National Park Campsite

Bontebok National Park entrance fee

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R85 R42
International (non-South African) Citizens R169 R85

17. Augrabies Falls National Park (Northern Cape)

Augrabies Falls National Park

Located in the Northern Cape province of South Africa, Augrabies Falls National Park is a testament to the awe-inspiring power of nature. Spanning over 55 383 hectares along the Orange River, the park is renowned for its dramatic landscapes, towering granite cliffs, and, of course, the iconic Augrabies Falls. Cascading over 56 meters into a granite gorge below, the falls create a mesmerizing spectacle that draws visitors from far and wide.

Beyond its namesake attraction, Augrabies Falls National Park Northern Cape boasts a wealth of biodiversity, with rugged desert terrain giving way to lush riverine vegetation along the banks of the Orange River. Wildlife enthusiasts can spot a variety of species, including rock hyraxes, klipspringers, and even the elusive black rhinoceros. The park also offers a range of activities for outdoor enthusiasts, from scenic hikes and 4×4 trails to birdwatching and river rafting excursions. With its stunning landscapes and diverse ecosystems, Augrabies Falls National Park provides a captivating glimpse into the natural wonders of South Africa’s national parks, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the beauty and tranquility of this remote wilderness area.

Accommodation in Augrabies Falls National Park

Augrabies Falls National Park entrance fee

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R67 R33
SADC Nationals R133 R67
International (non-South African) Citizens R266 R133

18. Agulhas National Park (Western Cape)

Cape Agulhas lighthouse

Situated at the southernmost tip of Africa, Agulhas National Park holds a special place in South Africa’s natural heritage. Encompassing a diverse range of landscapes, from rugged coastlines and pristine beaches to rolling plains and limestone fynbos, this coastal gem offers visitors a unique opportunity to explore the meeting point of the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The park is home to a rich variety of wildlife, including endemic bird species, small mammals, and marine life, making it a haven for nature lovers and birdwatchers.

Visitors can hike along scenic trails that wind through the park’s coastal dunes and limestone outcrops or explore the rocky shores and tidal pools in search of marine creatures. One of the highlights of Agulhas National Park is the iconic Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, which has guided sailors safely around the treacherous coastline for over 150 years. With its rich biodiversity, stunning scenery, and cultural significance as the southernmost tip of Africa, Agulhas National Park offers a captivating glimpse into the natural wonders of South Africa’s national parks, inviting visitors to embark on a journey of discovery along the rugged coastline of the Cape.

Agulhas National Park accommodation

Agulhas National Park entrance fee

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R55 R27
SADC Nationals R110 R55
International (non-South African) Citizens R220 R110

19. Addo Elephant National Park (Eastern Cape)

Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park, located in the Eastern Cape province of South Africa, stands as a symbol of conservation success and a haven for Africa’s iconic giants. Established in 1931 to protect a small population of elephants, the park has since grown into one of the country’s premier wildlife destinations, spanning over 180 000 hectares. Today, it is home not only to over 600 elephants but also to a diverse array of other species, including lions, buffalo, black rhinoceros, and a variety of antelope.

One of the park’s most unique attractions is its marine section, which protects a stretch of coastline inhabited by marine species such as great white sharks and southern right whales. Visitors to Addo Elephant National Park South Africa can embark on game drives, guided walks, or horseback safaris to explore the park’s varied landscapes, from dense thickets and rolling hills to open plains and seasonal wetlands. With its rich biodiversity and commitment to conservation, Addo Elephant National Park offers an unforgettable wildlife experience making it one of the best national parks in South Africa.

Addo Elephant National Park map

Activities in Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park accommodation

Addo Elephant National Park prices

Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
South African Citizens and Residents R99 R50
SADC Nationals R199 R99
International (non-South African) Citizens R397 R199