Find your perfect spot in Wild Card parks and reserves with our curated guide.
The culture vulture
What: The Golden Rhino, Interpretation Centre
Where: Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site
It was in the Lost City on Mapungubwe Hill in 1933 where the famous Golden Rhino, together with other evidence of a wealthy African kingdom, was discovered. The rhino, which has captured the hearts of many in and out of Southern Africa, symbolises the power of the African Kingdom, The king, like the rhino, was destined to live a solitary life. Artefacts from the hilltop fortress testify to trade with Egypt, India and China. The Interpretation Centre, which houses the rhino, won the World Building of the Year competition in 2009.
Sip sundowners at the confluence of the Limpopo and Shashe rivers while overlooking Botswana and Zimbabwe. Stay in Leokwe Camp, in spectacular sandstone hills. Spoil your tastebuds in the à la carte restaurant, which also caters for small weddings and special-event celebrations.
Contact: +27 (0)15 534 7925, [email protected]
What: Stone Camp
Where: Mkhaya Game Reserve, Swaziland
For a glamorous safari, Stone Camp gets our vote because there are no walls between you and nature. The luxurious semi-open stone and thatch cottages are laid out along the banks of a picturesque dry riverbed. The entire internal structure of these cottages is open to the external bush, with the outer walls being built to hip height only. The four-star camp oozes romance, especially after sunset, when the meandering pathways are lantern-lit. Dense sub-tropical vegetation adds to the magic. Packages include dinner, bed and breakfast.
Mkhaya is known for intimate encounters with wildlife. Photojournalist Stephen Cunliffe, on assignment for Wild, rated his experience as being “on par with a mountain gorilla encounter in Central Africa.”
Contact: +268 2528 3943/4, [email protected]
What: Golden Gate Challenge, a three-day staged trail run
Where: Glen Reenen Rest Camp, Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Run through some of the most rugged yet scenic mountains of the Free State. The off-road race traverses restricted parts of the reserve such as Little Serengeti and Cathedral Cave. Participants will cover just over 70km in three days, conquering high altitudes on dirt tracks and hiking trails. Proceeds go towards ensuring the survival of the bearded vulture.
Participants are accommodated in private tents in the race village. Creature comforts include showers and full catering, with a 24-hour snack and coffee bar. The last day starts with an early morning night run, which promises to bring out the adventurer in you.
Spoil yourself post-event at the Golden Gate Hotel with its classy décor, state-of-the-art facilities, cocktail bar and coffee lounge overlooking the foothills of the Maluti Mountains. Enjoy fine dining at the sophisticated Masutsa restaurant.
Event date: 21–23 October 2016. Entries close: 30 June 2016.
What: Two Oceans Restaurant
Where: Cape Point, Table Mountain National Park
Sitting on the deck of the restaurant with arguably the most stunning view in the Cape, you could imagine yourself relaxing on an ocean liner with the sea spread out before you. The beauty of this setting is complemented by a stylish, airy interior and a menu of mainly fresh fish and seafood. Where else can you cap your visit to a natural wonder with a beautifully presented plate of sushi?
Contact: +27 (0)21 780 9200, [email protected]
If you can’t get enough of elegant Mediterranean seaside living, the setting of Tintswalo Atlantic Lodge at the base of Chapman’s Peak will take your breath away. This five-star luxury lodge – one of the SANParks Golden Kudus – is nestled on the shore of the ocean between Hout Bay and Cape Town. Expect exclusive accommodation in individually designed suites and five-star fine dining, all a stone’s throw from the ocean.
Contact: +27 (0) 11 300 8888, [email protected]