They say the early bird catches the worm, and judging by these stunning sunrises snapped in various national parks and reserves across South Africa, we can see why! We bring you top five destinations with spectacular sunrises to start your day in the wilderness. By Olivia Wickstrom

Whether it’s a giraffe at dawn in the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, or a pair of seagulls celebrating the sun’s arrival in De Hoop Nature Reserve, a wilderness sunrise promises much more than the break of another day. Journey with us to five Wild spots and experience the start of a new day.

1. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

The Kalahari Desert may be frosty first thing in the morning, but the early start is worth it. Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and its vast array of wildlife offer endless sightseeing opportunities. Picture gemsbok wandering the red dunes and pygmy falcons weaving through the camel thorn trees. Whether you’re sipping coffee in front of your chalet or birding in the riverbeds, the sunrise is bound to be memorable. Whatever you do, don’t forget your camera.

Bookings: SANParks Central Reservations +27 (0)12 426 9111 or www.sanparks.org

Giraffe sunrise-Kgalagadi-Willem Kruger

Picture by Willem Kruger

2. Tsitsikamma

Enjoy a quiet sunrise over the Indian Ocean as the prelude to a busy day. Tsitsikamma National Park is filled with activities to follow your early morning start to the day. With hiking, Lilo adventures, boat cruises, canopy tours and mountain biking, everyone in the family can find an activity they enjoy. Whatever you do, you’ll find yourself surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in South Africa. But before heading off on your next adventure, savour the lap of the waves against the rocks and the pastel colours in the brightening sky.

Bookings: SANParks Central Reservations +27 (0)12 426 9111 or www.sanparks.org

Wild sunrise-Tsitsikamma-Mahomed Haffejee

Picture by Mahomed Haffejee

3. De Hoop Nature Reserve

De Hoop Nature Reserve is abundant in areas to enjoy the sun’s first rays. Spend the early morning on the dunes scanning for whales or strolling along the De Hoop Coastal Trail. Search for wildlife in the grassy hills or birds on the beach. Better yet, pack a bag and hike the Whale Trail, a 55km hike including five overnight cabins to stop at along the way. Wake up to coastal views and lush surroundings while enjoying breakfast and the day’s beginning – is there a better way to spend a sunrise?

Bookings: CapeNature Central Reservations +27 (0)21 483 0190

De Hoop Nature Reserve - Western Cape - South Africa

Picture courtesy of CapeNature, Scott Ramsay

4. Robberg Nature Reserve

Begin your day at a World Heritage Site surrounded by nature dating back 120 million years. While the sun rises you can stroll along Robberg’s hiking trails, picnic on viewing decks, or even watch for dolphins. Spend some time among the ancient Gondwanaland rocks or the Cape Seal Lighthouse and watch the waves break while the sky lightens. If you’re feeling adventurous, book the Fountain Shack and hike to the wooden cabin overlooking the beach. Stay over and enjoy breakfast on the cabin’s patio while the sun climbs and illuminates the ocean below.

Bookings: CapeNature Central Reservations +27 (0)21 483 0190

Wild sunrise-Robberg Nature Reserve-Court CapeNature

Picture courtesy of CapeNature

5. Kruger National Park

The size of a small country, Kruger National Park offers endless opportunities to see beautiful sunrises. Find accommodation in a safari tent or one of the park’s trademark thatched bungalows and watch the sun rise through the leafy trees. Dawn is an excellent time for game viewing, so join a guided walk in a wilderness area or board a safari vehicle for a game drive. End your morning with breakfast by visiting one of the park’s restaurants. With many overlooking the bush or rivers, you can relax and continue to watch the morning unfold.

Bookings: SANParks Central Reservations +27 (0)12 426 9111 or www.sanparks.org

Wild sunrise-Kruger-Mariska Nortje

Picture by Mariska Nortjé 

Video courtesy of CapeNature

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