The country of South Africa is a large area of the tip of the African continent, and has been making large strides in terms of developing tourism over recent years. The end of Apartheid in the country may have been a turbulent time for the people of South Africa, but it was also an important step in making the country acceptable in the eyes of the rest of the developed world. Today tourism is an important part of the economy of this African country, and it is the natural beauty and the sights that can be seen here that bring people into the country from around the world.
Kruger National Park
The Kruger National Park is probably the most famous of the parks in South Africa, and is located in the north east of the country spanning the borders with Mozambique and Zimbabwe. As well as being one of the most well known, it is also one of the largest parks in Africa, with animal stocks recovering well after a significant period of poaching in the 1980s. A safari in the Kruger National Park can reveal all of the important game animals in one trip on a good day, with healthy populations of African Elephants, Black Rhinos, Buffalo, Lions and Leopards to be found in the park.
This national park is one that is geared towards tourism, with several sites across the park that allow visitors to stay overnight for extended visits in the park.
The Addo Elephant National Park
This is one of the most impressive natural locations in South Africa, located in the Eastern Cape area of the country which is on the south coast. Although the park itself is named after the elephants that are to be found in the park, the mission of the park is to maintain populations of the five major game animals spotted on safari along with the whales and white sharks to be found in the waters off the coast of the park. With over four hundred elephants living in the park this is one of the main attractions but a guided safari will often allow visitors to also spot buffalo, leopards, lions and zebra too.
The Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park
While many people may associate South Africa with safari and the rolling plains, the Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park is located around the eastern borders of Lesotho. The park incorporates much of the Drakensberg mountain range which has some sensational scenery, and also has some of the best hiking routes in South Africa taking visitors through some sensational locations. The park is home a variety of highland animals such as the bushbuck, mountain reedbuck, baboons and the lammergeier, a huge species of bearded vulture. As well as the animal attractions here, the park is also home to over five hundred caves filled with rock art.
Mapungubwe National Park
Located on the northern border of South Africa, Mapungubwe is not only a naturally beautiful location but is also one of historical significance, with archaeologists having revealed a significant Iron Age settlement on the site. There are many animals that live in the park, but as well as the game animals Mapungubwe National Park is also noted for the diversity of the bird population in the park. The sandstone outcroppings of the hills in this region give Mapungubwe a very distinctive landscape that is different from many other parts of the country.