The most important question at this time of the year is: Do you have travel plans? To make the most of the December holidays and 2018, the summer issue of Wild magazine has plenty of ideas for trips with your Wild Card.

Wildlife

Wild 41 summer 2017-min

In our very own Small Cat Diaries, we encounter the four elusive species of felines that you would be very, very lucky to see. Pro guide Trevor Carnaby, who has spotted them all, tells us where to find them and describes the encounter when time stood still: “It is good to know there are still species that provide experiences photos cannot match. I was acutely aware of how lucky I had been.”

The moral of the story: Spend some time in our awesome wild places and you may just have the experience of a lifetime. Why not plan a trip to some of the destinations featured in our summer issue?

Last-minute adventure

This weekend escapade takes in one national park, two nature reserves and a wilderness area – all in two days of travel on gravel out of Cape Town. Calvin Fisher and Kelly Lodewyks busted out of work at 16:00 on a Friday and pointed their 4×4 in a northerly direction along the Cape–Namibia route.

Bespoke Trail, De Hoop Nature Reserve

Each itinerary on this alternative to the Whale Trail is tailor-made for a specific group of hikers. Over three days the panoramas vary from dramatic mountain ridges and a protected coastline to internationally important wetlands and fynbos hot spots. Day one found me in a unique viewing position – flat on my back.

More adventure

Marakele National Park: What happens on a weekend of game drives and bush walks? Nature lover Lerato Tshabalala and her sister zoom in on intimate sightings and dazzling night skies – and experience the warm fuzzies of connecting with nature and each other.

Mountain Zebra National Park: Upmarket and sophisticated best describe the new accommodation in Mountain Zebra National Park, says Julienne du Toit. “But the most unforgettable – by far – is the view, wall to wall, floor to ceiling.” The Rock Chalets, opened in September 2017, add a sophisticated element to the accommodation offerings at this highly biodiverse and popular national park just outside Cradock in the Eastern Cape Karoo.

Bontebok National Park: Through the lens of birding, and a pair of binoculars, there’s plenty to discover in South Africa’s smallest national park. “I never expected to be this person—a ‘birder’,” writes Morgan Trimble. “I used to beg ‘Come on bird nerds, can’t we please look for lions?’ as my friends peered into an unremarkable bush for what felt like hours. Until I too caught the birding bug.”