Break away to our national parks and ditch your phone and computer for a digital detox. At these remote escapes it’s all about connecting to Mother Nature, not the network. By Gaynor Siljeur

Bitterpan Wilderness Camp, Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

It’s difficult not to lose your heart to the Kalahari’s endless dunes of red sand. Nestled in South Africa’s northern corner between Botswana and Namibia, the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is rich in wildlife and magnificent sunsets.

BItterpan Wilderness Camp is the ideal destination when you want to trade in your busy lifestyle for a few days of solitude. The four huts in this unfenced camp, which each sleep two people, overlook a waterhole, giving you a perfect view. From your deck you can watch the wild animals come for a drink, play in the water or search for prey.

This secluded camp is on a one-way 4×4 route about two and a half hours’ drive from Nossob Rest Camp. The site uses gas and solar energy and is blissfully quiet. Here it’s just you, the animals and the wide Kalahari.

Good to know: As the wilderness camp is in the middle of the Kalahari, firewood and drinking water are not provided.

Rates: R1,862 for two people

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office on +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at www.sanparks.org.

Picture courtesy of SANParks

Varschfontein Cottage, Tankwa Karoo National Park

The peace and quiet of the Tankwa Karoo’s vast open plains welcome you upon arrival. The uninterrupted vistas are a balm for tired eyes, the deep hush for frayed nerves.

Find tranquillity at Varschfontein Cottage, tucked away about 45km from the Roodewerf park offices. The secluded cottage sleeps nine people in three bedrooms and has an open-plan kitchen and living room, as well as braai facilities. The reservoir outside is perfect for swimming in warmer months, but in winter the open hearth is where you’ll want to congregate.

Stargazing needs to be at the top of your list when you visit Tankwa. At night the stars are the only thing lighting up your surrounds. By day, hop in your vehicle and travel the Leeuberg 4×4 Trail and get to know the array of succulents in the area.

Good to know: Leeuberg Trail is an 11km 4×4 route that takes in impressive hills. A spare tyre, puncture repair kit and compressor are essential items to pack.

Rates: From R737 for two people per night (R873 in August and September 2019), R263 for an additional adult and R132 for an additional child per night.

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office on +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at www.sanparks.org.

Picture courtesy of SANParks

Tatasberg Wilderness Camp, |Ai-|Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

Along the Orange River is where you’ll find the arid mountain desert of |Ai-|Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The isolation in nature proves the perfect cure for all of life’s stresses.

Overnight at Tatasberg Wilderness Camp, whose reed and canvas chalets blend in with the natural surrounds. There are four 2-bed rustic chalets with hot shower, fridge, double gas hotplate and a large deck with braai. Solar panels provide light and gas geysers ensure a supply of hot water.

With over 200 bird species, including Verreaux’s eagle, African fish eagle, jackal buzzard and goliath heron, the park is a treat for twitchers. This winter the Richtersveld has already seen rain, so visitors could witness the sight of flowers in the desert – a truly special occurrence.

Good to know: The water at Tatasberg is not suitable for drinking and it is recommended that guests provide their own drinking water.

Rates: From R924 for two people per night (R1,024 in August and September 2019)

Contact: SANParks Central Reservation office on +27 (0)12 428 9111 or book online at www.sanparks.org.

Picture courtesy of SANParks

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