We’ve drawn up 10 bucket-list suggestions for making this year your wildest one yet. Have a look at our ideas for adventure, romance, escaping the city and must-try challenges!
#1: Share your sightings
They say a pleasure shared is double the pleasure… Sharing your wildlife sightings is easier than ever with a range of new apps. The most popular app for visiting the Kruger National Park is Latest Sightings – Kruger. The app lets you tag the location and animal sighting that you’ve seen. It’s a great way to record your sightings and share them with other fellow wildlife lovers.
Visiting the Kgalagadi? Make sure you take photos of any leopard sightings that you have. The Kgalagadi Leopard Project would love to see your photographs as a way to keep track of the park’s leopard population. Dr Matthew Schurch who heads the project uses the sightings to identity leopards and make it easier for us to learn about leopards that we see.
#2: Exercise in nature’s finest places
We have to admit that we enjoy outdoor training far more than indoor exercise. It’s even better that we have some of the world’s most beautiful protected areas to explore right on our doorstep! Why not make this the year to get fit in nature? The New York Times voted Cape Town as the number one destination to visit in 2014. We couldn’t agree more. There’s so much to do in this scenic city and with the Table Mountain National Park within easy access, there are plenty of routes to explore by bike, on foot and on horseback.
#3: Plan an unforgettable trip
Everyone deserves a holiday away from the busy city. That’s why we propose planning a trip that you’ll never forget. The most relaxing way to enjoy a break is in a place that lets you get away from all the trappings of everyday existence – cellphones, iPads and computers! The parks are places that are far away from anything that will remind you of stressful living and you can turn off your cellphone (or hope that there is no signal!). Have a look at Wild Card destinations where you can spend quality time enjoying the best of what South Africa has to offer.
#4: Admire masses of wildflowers
Every year the winter rains transform the West Coast and Namaqua national parks into wildflower gardens in spring. Every year the display is completely different because the rainfall and temperatures vary. Find out what the weather is like before you plan a trip. Flowers are always best seen in sunny conditions. Take along your camera, an ID guide and picnic to make the most of a day amongst the flowers.
#5: Brush up on your bush knowledge
There’s always something new and surprising to learn about nature. Keep up with the latest in the world around you by reading books and attending inspirational events. Wild hosts a number of talks along with our partners Cape Union Mart. Find out about guest speakers in our monthly electronic email or online under events. We also have a dedicated book blog with reviews of the latest nature, wildlife, adventure and travel reads.
#6: Picnic in parks
Enjoy more picnics in the wild. In a question that we posted on the Wild Magazine Facebook page we asked you to tell us your favourite picnic site in a Wild Card park/reserve. These picnic sites came out as firm favourites: Pafuri, Kruger Park; Nkuhlu, Kruger Park; Babalala, Kruger Park; Mooiplaas, Kruger Park. Other favourites were Tweede Tol, Limietberg Nature Reserve; Jacks, Addo Elephant National Park; Buffelsbaai, Cape Point section of Table Mountain National Park; Mlondozi, Kruger Park; and Silvermine Reservoir, Table Mountain National Park.
#7: Tick off the Big Six
Challenge yourself to spotting the most wanted birds in Kruger. These iconic bird species include: the ground hornbill, kori bustard, lappet-faced vulture, martial eagle, saddle-billed stork and the most difficult to see of all, Pel’s fishing owl. Are you up to the challenge? Click here to find out more about Kruger’s Big Six.
#8: Romance in the wild
Whether it is proposing to your partner, getting married or simply enjoying a romantic getaway, we have all the very best places for doing just this! During summer think of enjoying time with your special person near the ocean. Summer is also great for open-top game drives at night, mountain picnics and hikes. Winter getaways can be just as fun: take your partner stargazing (best under clear winter skies) and enjoy fireside chats, game viewing and cosy cabins.
Our favourite romantic destinations are Tankwa Karoo National Park, De Hoop Nature Reserve, Goukamma Nature Reserve and Mkhaya Game Reserve.
#9: Hike an iconic trail
Southern Africa has a large number of world-famous, scenic hiking trails. If you love hiking then make it your goal to try at least one special trail this year. The following well-known hiking trails should be on your bucket-list: Whale Trail in De Hoop, Giant’s Cup Trail in the Drakensberg, Olifants Backpack Trail in Kruger, Otter Trail in Tsitsikamma and Hoerikwaggo Trail along Table Mountain.
#10: Travel with your tent
Camping is becoming an increasingly popular and affordable way to travel. There’s something very thrilling about taking your tent and spending time out in a wild and quiet place. This year we’d like to encourage you to spend more time with your tent. Document your camping adventures and share them with us. Read Wild’s camping blog to give you ideas for choosing the best and wildest camping destinations!