The final round of the Wild Parks Challenge has come to a close. That means it’s also the end of the overall competition for greatest number of park visits over a year. Here are the winners.

Do Wild Card members stick to a few tried and trusted parks? Or do they plan trips to take in several protected areas all at once? Do they head to parks for day visits, weekends or longer holidays?

These were some of the questions answered by the Wild Parks Challenge. The goal? To find out which Wild Card member would visit the most individual parks. The competition ran from 1 November 2018 to 31 October 2019, with free Wild Card renewal up for grabs every quarter.

Winner in round 4

The fourth and final quarter ran from 1 August to 31 October 2019. Spring is a beautiful time in our Wild parks and reserves. In the Northern and Western Cape, wildflowers cloak the landscape, while up country, animal baby season gets into full swing.

A popular road trip option this season was a Karoo circuit, with Karoo, Camdeboo and Mountain Zebra national parks on the cards. Some travellers combined this with stopovers along the Garden Route. Talk about a trip of contrasts!

The winner in round 4 is Wild Card member Brendon Solomon, who travelled with his wife, Natalie. They visited 9 parks and reserves: Addo, Bird Island, Camdeboo, Cederberg, Karoo, Mountain Zebra, Tsitsikamma, West Coast and Wilderness. They had hoped to get to more parks, but “life, the weather and rugby got in the way”.

Nature lover Brendon Solomon at Bird Island, one of nine parks and reserves he visited this quarter.

“The stars in the Karoo were breathtaking. Each night was more magnificent than the one before,” they say. An extended stay at Addo allowed the Solomons to complete the Darlington 4×4 Trail and a hike at Woody Cape – next time they plan to stay at the Langebos huts. “We can’t wait to discover some new spots next year.”

Bonus prize winner Jeanne Hopwood in West Coast National Park when the spring flowers were in full bloom.

The winner of the bonus prize of two nature reads (Scent of Fear and An Elephant in My Kitchen) is Jeanne Hopwood. She visited not one, but four of the parks in the spotlight.

Overall winner

The Wild Card offers a year’s free access to more than 80 protected areas. Would anyone come close to visiting even half of these? The winner from the second quarter, Bheki Makgabo, almost managed it with a total of 31 visits. But he was beaten out by Dirk Wissing, who visited an astounding total of 57 parks in the course of the year. Dirk wins the grand prize of a five-day holiday in the national park of his choice.