As the lockdown progresses, we continually witness wildlife reclaiming little niches they once called home. It is evident that sustaining a symbiotic relationship between humans and nature is essential for a healthy ecosystem. As humans stay indoors, we see large numbers of migratory birds returning to spots they once deserted due to heavy pollution, and also hear tales of lions lazing around the streets of South Africa’s largest nation reserve – Kruger National Park, or see videos of penguins strolling around Simon’s Town, in the Rainbow Nation.
Such visuals – that are doing the rounds of social media – have no doubt sparked wanderlust, and reignited the innate human nature to explore and experience harmony with the environment.
While all forms of travel are currently restricted, there is a way to witness all the wonder that lies beyond your four walls without leaving the safety of your homes. With the increasing sophistication of technology, the screen can now act as a virtual portal between you and the extraordinary national parks of South Africa.
Those looking for travel inspired couch surfing, should take a look at virtual itineraries to South African national parks available at https://www.sanparks.org/do/
virtual-itineraries/. Itineraries include:
Karoo National Park
The Great Karoo is a vast and unforgiving landscape of which the Karoo National Park is but a small portion. Being the largest ecosystem in South Africa, the Karoo is home to a fascinating diversity of life, all having adapted to survive in these harsh conditions. Karoo National Park is dominated by the lofty Nuweveld Mountains and rolling plains, where many species that originally occurred here now once again occupy their former ranges.
Agulhas National Park
Geographical extremes capture the imagination. From ancient mariners to contemporary mankind, the quest has always been to reach the poles, sail around the tips of continents, conquer the highest peaks and dive to the ultimate depths.
Table Mountain National Park
This natural world heritage site, and Natural New 7 Wonder of the World, is a haven of magnificent mountains plunging into crystal seas fringed with bleached white sands of the Cape Peninsula.
Mapungubwe National Park
Mapungubwe National Park and World Heritage Site is the ideal location for anyone interested in wildlife and birds, to those in search of serenity, identity and the extraordinary history of this Park.
West Coast National Park
Just inland from the secluded harbour of Saldanha Bay, and only a 1.5-hour drive from Cape Town's City Centre, one finds the azure waters of the Langebaan Lagoon, focal point of the West Coast National Park
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Nestled in the rolling foothills of the Maluti Mountains of the north eastern Free State lies the Golden Gate Highlands National Park.
Garden Route National Park
Along the South Coast of South Africa lies one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline in the world, home to the Garden Route National Park.
In 2017, team of nature-loving South Africans in partnership with Google Street View also released a large collection of 360-degree imagery of the country’s wildest areas. The trails extended Street View imagery of South Africa’s wilderness areas to include all 19 national parks, 17 previously ‘un-trekked’ nature reserves and many sites of natural, cultural and historical significance in all nine provinces of South Africa.
This followed on from The Mzansi Experience – Discover South Africa, launched in 2016, on Google Maps that allows local and international tourists to visit a family of elephants in the Kruger National Park, take a virtual walk on Table Mountain, Cape Point or along Durban’s Golden Mile.
Discover the wildlife of the Rainbow Nation at your leisure!