Calling Africa home, is indeed a privilege and honour. The landscape is packed with cultural diversity, archaeological wonders and a natural heritage so rich, it never ceases to amaze. Celebrate Africa Day on 25 May 2018 and head to one of these magnificent landmarks in our Wild Card parks.
If you’ve never sat in a quiet spot somewhere on Table Mountain and gazed out over the city, feeling the breeze against your cheeks as your mind drifted, then there is a small part of you that remains unfulfilled. Table Mountain exudes an energy that can be felt everywhere in Cape Town. It’s no wonder it draws so many visitors to its slopes and lofty summit every year to experience the magnificent views. On a clear day you can see the Cederberg in the north, the Hottentots Holland and Du Toitskloof mountains to the east, as well as the shimmering Atlantic coastline of the Peninsula. Table Mountain is equally famous for the flowers found only on its slopes and for its many moods dictated mostly by the weather. – Tony Lourens
This national park would not have existed were it not for the Augrabies Falls where the mighty Orange River tumbles through a narrow bottleneck before falling 56 metres into an eerie canyon. The name is a derivation of the Nama word “Aukoerebis” which means ‘place of great noise’. The noisy epicentre is wonderful, of course, but the silent remainder of the park is special in its own right. The haunting lunar landscape is punctuated by the silhouettes of klipspringers and quiver trees. The fauna and flora of this riverine desert ecosystem warrant days of exploration. The park’s huge dassie population supports a number of Verreaux’s eagle pairs, nesting near the Ararat and Oranjekom viewpoints. – Nick Dall
Witches, sangomas, ancestral spirits – there’s magic in Mapungubwe, home to the most sophisticated ancient kingdom in Southern Africa. At the park’s heart is Mapungubwe Hill, a looming massif of red sandstone presiding over a valley rich in artefacts. The Hill is the ‘iceberg tip’ of an archaeological record holding 50,000 years of human history. On top of the Hill, surveying the ochre cliffs of the Limpopo-Shashe basin, the glint of the rivers in the distance and the armies of baobabs standing sentry, you could imagine living here as the king or one of the royal family. The settlement on the Hill represents the apex of life in the valley, the most complex social structure. All that’s left of its 5,000 people are remains, found in 27 graves on the Hill itself and in 93 other graves further afield. – Melissa Siebert
Whether you’re an intrepid mountaineer, avid birder, lover of wild flowers or passionate about rock art, you won’t find a better hiking destination than uKhahlamba-Drakensberg Park in KwaZulu-Natal. Declared a World Heritage Site for its natural beauty and cultural significance, the Drakensberg with its monumental sheer-sided plateau, jagged peaks, spires, tumbling waterfalls and deep gorges is truly spectacular and diverse. When you look up the valley of the Thukela River to the basalt cliffs of the famous Amphitheatre, the 3,000-metre-high plateau seems impenetrable, but it can be accessed up the famous chain ladders or steep trails that lead up the passes into Lesotho. The climb will take your breath away, but so will the view from the top. – Fiona McIntosh