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Addo Elephant National Park

Addo Elephant National Park 

This diverse wildlife conservation park situated in the beautiful Sundays River Valley, 70km north of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is one of the country's 19 national parks.

This is a malaria-free game park with a very large population of elephants and other African wildlife, including the "Big 7" - lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, elephant, whale and dolphin. At the opening of the park in 1931 only 11 elephants lived in this area. Today the park is managed through a coordinated ecosystem to offer 550+ elephants a sanctuary.

The Addo Elephant Park offers travellers an unforgettable experience on a diverse safari. By integrating the Zuurberge, the Sunday River and the Bushman's River, the landscape is unique, with 180 000 hectares, it is the third largest national park in South Africa.

Agulhas National Park

Agulhas National Park 

The area around the southern-most tip of Africa, often referred to as the Agulhas Plain, has rich natural and cultural features, which make it worthy of national park status. The Agulhas Plain is of international significance due to its rich plant biodiversity, with species richness values equalling those of tropical rain forests.

It has approximately 2000 species of indigenous plants including 100 which are endemic to the area and over 110 Red Data Book species. Consequently, the Agulhas Plain is a very important component of the Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest and richest of the world's six plant kingdoms.

The Agulhas Plain is unique in that a wide variety of wetlands occur in the area, contributing to a high diversity of wetland plants and aquatic invertebrates. This is also home to the endangered Cape platanna and the micro frog. In addition these wetlands attract a host of water birds, with over 21 000 migrant and resident wetland birds estimated to occur in the area annually. The coastline supports a rich marine and intertidal life, with breeding sties of rare coastal birds such as the African black oystercatcher. The nearby islands are home to a variety of seabirds and seals.

In spring and early summer southern right whales frequent the waters of the Agulhas coast. Besides its ecological importance, the Agulhas area has a rich cultural heritage. A reconnaissance of the area has established the presence of significant archaeological sites along the coast. The discovery of stone hearths and pottery, together with shell middens, link the archaeological deposits with the era of Khoisan migration and settlements.

The Agulhas area also provides history of a different kind – numerous shipwrecks of the early explorers attempting to conquer the wild seas off the southern tip of Africa, dot the coastline. Many national monuments are found in the area, such as the historical Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1849. In addition, historical buildings such as the water mill at Elim and certain homesteads reflect the European influence in the history of the region.



Africa’s largest natural gorge, some of the world’s oldest rock paintings,one of the richest botanical hot spots on earth and Namibia’s most popular hiking trail.

Ai-Ais means burning water in the local Nama language and refers to the sulphurous hot-water springs found in the park along the Fish River. The park is dominated by the Fish River Canyon–the second largest in the world –that took over 600 million years to evolve. It also contains some hidden treasures such as the little-known Apollo 11 Cave, containing animal image more than 25000 years old.

Augrabies Falls National Park

Augrabies Falls National Park 

The name Augrabies was given to the Water Fall by a Swede, Hendrik Jakob Wikar, when he passed there in 1799.

The name is derived from the Nama word as the Khoi people would refer to “Aukoerebis” meaning the "Place of Great Noise." This refers to the Orange River water thundering its way down the 56 m spectacular main Water Fall.

In 1954 the Upington Publicity Association requested the National Parks Board to proclaim the water fall a national park. After the Minister of Lands approved the Park in principle in 1955, the Department of Water Affairs objected to the proclamation of a national park. After a series of negotiations, Augrabies Falls National Park was eventually proclaimed on 5 August 1966. The park currently consists of 55 383 hectares. The establishment was based on the following objectives: To conserve and restore the biotic diversity of the Orange River Broken Veld with its associated flora and fauna, to maintain the Augrabies Water Fall and its surroundings in an unspoilt state, to provide opportunities for Environmental Education and to provide opportunities for research of the fascinating flora and fauna."

Early Stone Age 

The ancestors of modern history have inhabited the area surrounding the Orange River since the Early Stone Age. During this time, there is evidence that early man had developed weapons for hunting animal like hippopotamus. They knew to establish themselves near good water sources like the Orange River. During the Middle Stone Age man had created more formal work tools and began to utilise fire. The Late Stone Age, which dates back 22 000 years, is characterized by tools that are smaller from the previous periods. The most prolific archaeological features are the stone cairns or graves from the later Stone Age. Excavations have shown that not all the cairns contains human skeletal remains.


The area is inhabited by the Nama People who over the centuries have managed to adapt to the harsh conditions of the area.

A traditional expression from this area is that the traditional domed huts known as ‘matjieshuise’ and a direct translation would be ‘mat houses’. These houses are extremely well suited for the hot climate in this area. During the summer, the stems and culms from which the mats are mad up of shrink, allowing gaps to appear. This results in a breeze being able to flow through and cool the hut down. In winter the stems expand keeping out the cold winds and rain.

Traditional Food 

Many delicacies unique to this area may be enjoyed here, like homegrown raisins and dried fruit. Traditional dishes like “puff adders” (named after the snake); are intestines with the fatty portion inward, stuffed with minced liver and skilpadje (tortoise) stomach net fat wrapped around a small piece of liver are always popular.

Bazaruto Archipelago National Park

Bazaruto Archipelago National Park 

The Bazaruto Archipelago National Park (BANP) is a protected area in the Inhambane Province of Mozambique on the Bazaruto Archipelago. The park was proclaimed on 25 May 1971. It is off the coast of the Vilanculos and Inhassoro districts, covering a large expanse of ocean and six islands.

The BANP is a popular tourist destination. As of 2011, the park had five hotels promoting high-value, low-impact programs. The hotels make an important contribution to the local economy through employment and tax revenues. The World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has a program to help the local communities to become more sophisticated in realizing a share of revenues in return for protecting valuable ecological resources.

In December 2017, management of the park passed to African Parks.

Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park 

This National Park was originally established to conserve a species – its namesake, the Bontebok.

When the species was approaching extinction in the early 1800s (approximately 17 Bontebok left) some land owners set aside portions of their properties to form temporary reserves for the Bontebok. Mr. P. V. van der Byl, his son, Mr. A. van der Byl, and the van Breda and Albertyn families recognised the perilous situation of the species – without these families’ efforts the Bontebok might well have become extinct.

In 1931 the first Bontebok National Park was proclaimed on an area near Bredasdorp. The Park was later moved to the area it is in now, to suit the habitat requirements of the Bontebok. By 1969 it was estimated that the numbers had grown to around 800 globally.

Today, the smallest national park in the South African National Park stable, Bontebok is proud to boast of its achievements in biodiversity conservation, from the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal Renosterveld, to the bontebok! The conservation story of this species is one of heart-warming success, bringing the numbers world-wide from a mere 17 bontebok, to a current global total of approximately 3000, 200 of which call Bontebok National Park their home (the maximum this park can support taking into consideration biodiversity conservation as a whole). The Park today offers much more for nature lovers, from a diversity of indigenous animal life to over 200 remarkable bird species.

Cultural History of the Area 

Southern Africa has one of the longest records of human activity anywhere in the world. The Swellendam region in the Overberg is rich in historic sites dating from over 1 million years ago to more recent colonial settlements. The later Stone Age can be linked to the Khoe Khoe who, in the Swellendam region were known as the Hessequa. This name translates to mean “people of the trees”.

The Hessequa Khoe Khoe entered the Overberg region some 2,000 years ago. They were a clan of herders; farming fat tailed sheep and long horn cattle. The Hessequa’s moved freely across the western area of the Overberg and lived on the banks of the Breede River where they grazed their large herds. Every Khoe Khoe settlement was controlled by a captain and at times up to 17 captains would set up camp with their nomadic dwellings at the settlement of the most powerful Hessequa chief.

European settlers landed at the Cape of Good Hope in 1652 and the first contact with the Hessequa Khoe Khoe was in 1660. Lourens Visser, a representative of the Dutch East India Company established a trading post in the area in 1667. To protect the company interests, Drostdy was built in 1745 as the official headquarters and residence for the magistrate. The town of Swellendam developed in 1747 in honour of the Cape Governor, Hendrik Swellengrebel. Land was cleared of fynbos as extensive wheat and sheep farming ensued.

The arrival of settlers in the Overberg was catastrophic for the indigenous inhabitants. Smallpox, land competition, alcohol and tobacco decimated the clans of the Hessequa’s living in this region. Two Hessequa captains and their followers lived in the area where the Bontebok National Park is now situated. The Park’s rest camp is named after the first of them, a remarkable female captain by the name of Lang Elsie. Between 1734 and 1800 she lived with her followers at the southern part of the Park, grazing their stock all the way to the Buffeljags River.

Visitors to the park can still see the open werf area where Lang Elsie’s kraal of woven reed huts was situated. Next to this open space are the ruins of a small stone house where Captain Lang Elsie lived, according to the author of Geskiedkundige Swellendam (Tomlinson, 1934).

Nouga Saree, a contemporary of Lang Elsie, lived with his followers in the western part of the Park, at what came to be called the Ou Tuin. Here too an open werf area is evidence of their settlement. Their sheep and cattle grazed in the area that is now the old Resies Baan (Race Track), so named as this area was used by the Swellendam Turf Club for their race meetings. It is said that these races were so popular that on one occasion the Kadie, a steam ship, was chartered to transport race goers from Cape Town to Swellendam. Jockeys were drawn from the now servile Hessequa and so dangerous was the track, that many would be killed.

According to authors and residents of Swellendam, the graves of Nouga Saree and some of his people were found at the foot of the small ridge above Ou Tuin when the Bontebok National Park was established. People recalled that the graves were covered with ‘blue mountain stones’. Although there are several references to the Khoi graves in the Ou Tuin, these graves are not to be found today. The park is committed to preserving these cultural heritage sites and plans are in place for further research and interpretation of Lang Elsie’s Kraal and the gravesite of Nouga Saree.

Bwabwata National Park

Bwabwata National Park 

The park was first proclaimed as the Caprivi Game Reserve in 1966 and upgraded to the Caprivi Game Park in 1968. It was gazetted as the Bwabwata National Park in 2007 and incorporated the former Mahango Game Reserve. The park has had a chequered history as it was declared a military area by the South African Defence Force during Namibia’s war of liberation. It was not until after Independence in 1990 that the park could be properly run as a conservation area.

Cambedoo National Park

Cambedoo National Park 

This National Park was proclaimed as a National Park under the management of South African National Parks on 30 October 2005.

Following an extensive process of negotiation and discussion between government, conservation groups, and concerned stakeholders, Marthinus van Schalkwyk, Minister of Environmental Affairs and Tourism, announced the intention to proclaim the park in the area surrounding Graaff-Reinet. This was made possible by the World Widelife Fund in South Africa (WWF-SA), which donated the 14500 hectare Karoo Nature Reserve to be the centrepiece of the project.

A public consultation process was followed to decide on the new name for the park, culminating in the choice of Camdeboo National Park.

The Karoo Nature Reserve was established in 1979 when the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and the World Wildlife Fund recognised the urgency for conservation measures in the Karoo biome and listed this action as a world conservation priority.

The vision for the future is ultimately to link Camdeboo National Park with Mountain Zebra National Park, protecting a huge diversity of plant and animal species. This will assist in the conservation of the endangered Cape mountain zebra. The idea is to create a single mega-conservation area over 120km in length and including up to 520 000 hectares of land under conservation, to be accomplished in the main by public/private partnerships.

Early history of the park includes use of the area by early, middle and later stone age people. Evidence of occupation by these people can be found in the form of stone age industry sites on the south eastern plains of the park. Artefacts found in these sites include bored stones, percussion-made hand axes, scrapers, blades and grinding stones.

Khoisan hunters and herders left evidence of their occupation during the late stone age in the form of rock paintings in the eastern section of the park.

The Inqua tribe occupied the park area during the mid 1600's, grazing their vast herds of cattle and fat-tailed sheep on the apron veld from the Camdeboo River near Aberdeen, across the Sundays River to Agter-Bruintjieshoogte near Somerset East.

White farmers settled on the Camdeboo Plains and Sneeuberg in 1770, introducing merino sheep and angora goats, as well as exotic plants. Over the years overgrazing and the effects of exotic plants have resulted in soil erosion and an increase in woody species or unpalatable plants.

Until the park was first proclaimed as a reserve in 1979, it was used as a town commonage with tenants grazing their livestock and contributing to overgrazing and erosion of some areas.

Cape Cross Seal Reserve

Cape Cross Seal Reserve 

Cape Cross has both historic and biological significance and is a popular tourist attraction.The Portuguese navigator, Diego Cão, landed here in 1486 on his second expedition south of the equator and planted as tone cross(padrão) to mark his journey. A replica is visible here today. Inclusive of a second replica,the area has been listed as a National Heritage Site. In the late 1800s, thousands of tons of guano (dried excrement of fish-eating birds used as fertiliser) were collected and exported to Europe. South African (Cape) fur seals were also harvested.

About 100 workers lived at Cape Cross and a police station, customs and post office were established at the settlement, while a railway –The first in the country was built to cross the salt pan and transport workers. Many men lost their lives due to the harsh conditions on the Skeleton Coast.

Central Kalahari Game Reserve

Central Kalahari Game Reserve 

Nothing prepares you for the immensity of this reserve, nor its wild, mysterious beauty. There is the immediate impression of unending space, and having the entire reserve to yourself. Waist-high golden grasses seem to stretch interminably, punctuated by dwarfed trees and scrub bushes. Wide and empty pans appear as vast white stretches of saucer-flat earth, meeting a soft, blue-white sky. At night the stars utterly dominate the land; their brilliance and immediacy are totally arresting.

The Central Kalahari game Reserve (CKGR) is the largest, most remotely situated reserve in Southern Africa, and the second largest wildlife reserve in the world, encompassing 52 800 sq kms. During and shortly after good summer rains, the flat grasslands of the reserve’s northern reaches teem with wildlife, which gather at the best grazing areas. These include large herds of springbok and gemsbok, as well as wildebeest, hartebeest, eland and giraffe.

At other times of the year, when the animals are more sparsely distributed, the experience of travelling through truly untouched wilderness, of seemingly unending dimensions, is the draw. The landscape is dominated by silver terminalia sandveldt, Kalahari sand acacias, and Kalahari appleleaf, interspersed with grasslands, and dotted with occasional sand dunes, pans and shallow fossil river valleys.

CKGR is unique in that it was originally established (in 1961) with the intention of serving as a place of sanctuary for the San, in the heart of the Kalahari (and Botswana), where they could live their traditional hunter/ gatherer way of life, without intrusion, or influence, from the outside world. The reserve was closed for about 30 years, until in the 1980s and 1990s, both self-drive and organised tours were allowed in, albeit in small, tightly controlled numbers.

The Botswana government has initiated plans to develop tourism away from the Okavango and Chobe areas, and has allocated concessions for lodge construction, both at the peripheries of and inside the reserve, allowing for fly-in tourists. The northern deception valley is one of the highlights, principally because of the dense concentrations of herbivores its sweet grasses attract during and after the rainy season (and of course the accompanying predators). It is also the most travelled area of the reserve, with a number of public campsites, and proximity to the eastern Matswere Gate. The other two gates are completely at the other side of the reserve, at Xade and Tsau, where public campsites are also available.

Chikunto Safari Lodge

Chikunto Safari Lodge 

Located within the South Luangwa National Park, Chikunto Safari Lodge is less than an hour's drive from the Mfuwe gate. Flanked by rolling plains, plateaus, river banks and miombo vegetation our lodge is situated in an area of distinctive natural beauty, renowned for the density and variety of its animal and bird sightings - especially the normally-elusive leopard. 

Our Accommodation 

Enjoy a luxury safari experience in untouched wilderness set along the iconic Luangwa River. Our small game lodge offers 5 luxurious, raised safari tents with covered verandas as well as a thatched main area with a cosy bar and dining area. 

Consider upgrading to the amazing Combination and Sleep Out & Stargazing Suite - experience a private sundowner and dinner up on the spacious elevated deck before falling asleep under the stars in the super-comfortable king size bed. 

After safari activities, relax in the pool with panoramic views of the river or spend some time watching the animals in the new photographic hide overlooking the onsite waterhole.  

We also offer massage treatments; stay connected with friends and family via Starlink Broadband. 

For direct accommodation bookings please visit our website or click on the convenient link "Rates & Online Bookings" link in the Additional Details section. 

About the Area 

Zambia, especially the Luangwa Valley, is famous for its incredible walking safaris. Here, our guests discover the environment on foot, enjoying eye-opening and exciting sightings. Experts have dubbed the South Luangwa one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The concentration of game around the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons is among the most productive in Africa, and is frequently referred to as "The Valley of the Leopard". 

The countryside in the Luangwa Valley is remarkable. The vegetation is characterized by riverine forest which is wonderfully green all year round. The South Luangwa National Park offers spectacular wildlife viewing and is recognized as one of the best parks in Africa to encounter the elusive leopard. Elephants abound and expansive herds of buffalo are often seen. The Luangwa River is home to crocodile and sizeable pods of hippo. 

One of the most well-known endemic species in the Luangwa Valley is the Thorneycroft's giraffe. Their distinctive pattern consists of large, irregular shaped brown to black patches separated by white to yellow bands.

Chimanimani National Reserve

Chimanimani National Reserve 

Chimanimani National Reserve (Portuguese: Reserva Nacional de Chimanimani) is a protected area in Manica Province of Mozambique. It is located in the Chimanimani Mountains on the border with Zimbabwe, and together with Zimbabwe's Chimanimani National Park it forms the Chimanimani Transfrontier Park. In 2020, the Mozambican side of the Chimanimani was declared to be a national park.

The reserve was proclaimed in 2003, and has an area of 634 km2. The reserve includes the Mozambican portion of the Chimanimani Mountains, including Monte Binga (2436 m), Mozambique's highest peak. The reserve has a larger buffer zone (1723 km2), which extends into lower-elevation areas to the south, east, and north, and includes the Moribane, Mpunga, Maronga, and Zomba forest reserves. The forest Moribane, Mpunga, and Maronga reserves were established in 1953.

The locals preserve the cave paintings, ancient traditions and beliefs, all of which give the park a cultural identity. The Reserve can be reached across the border from Machipanda, the city of Beira (Beira Corridor) from the city of Chimoio. The reserve has several road connections with the north, center and south of Mozambique, as well as with Zimbabwe.

The park contains rare species such as the Red-capped robin-chat and the Welwitsch's bat.

Chizarira National Park

Chizarira National Park 

The northern portion of the park is situated within the Southern miombo woodlands ecoregion, while the southern part is located within the Zambezian and mopane woodlands ecoregion. The escarpment falls steeply some 600 metres (2,000 ft) to the Zambezi River valley floor and offers magnificent views towards Lake Kariba, 40 kilometres (25 mi) north. Rivers such as the Mcheni and Lwizikululu have cut almost sheer gorges in the escarpment. At the north eastern extremity of the park lies Tundazi, a mountain on which, according to local legend, resides an immense serpent, the river god Nyaminyami. The southern boundary is marked by the Busi River which is flanked by floodplains supporting winter thorn Faidherbia albida woodlands.

Chizarira is Zimbabwe's 3rd largest national park, with a hugh population of four of the Big Five animals with the rhinos missing . The terrain is excellent for leopard, and there is a good variety of herbivore. Its main attraction is its enormous wilderness appeal. Walking safaris are a big part of the experience. Arguably Zimbabwe’s third largest National Park and indisputably the most remote wilderness area, Chizarira national park derives its name from the Batonga word “Chijalila” which means “The Great Barrier”, an orientation of phenomenal mountains and copious hills that form a fabulous portion of the Zambezi Escarpment. The terrain in the park is craggy, punctuated with ragged mountains, intensely incised by gorgeous gorges and awesome gulches. In the intensely impenetrable valleys, sandwiched by the unique open plain rests the lush vegetation comfortably suckled by vibrant natural springs. This has made the park an amazing place to appreciate nature.

Chobe National Park

Chobe National Park 

Whether arriving by air or road, the first glimpse of the river – deep and dazzling in the sandy terrain – is always breathtaking. It appears as a swathe of brilliant, peacock blue ribbon, winding its way through the tiny town of Kasane, and ensuing wilderness – the Chobe National Park. Undoubtedly one of Africa’s most beautiful rivers, the Chobe supports a diversity and concentration of wildlife unparalled anywhere else in the country.

Established in 1968, the park covers approximately 11 7 00 sq kms, encompassing floodplains, swamps and woodland. The Chobe River forms its northern boundary. There are four distinct geographical areas in the park: the Chobe Riverfront, the Ngwezumba pans, Savuté and Linyanti. The most accessible and frequently visited of Botswana’s big game country, the Chobe Riverfront is most famous for its large herds of elephants and cape Buffalo, which during the dry winter months converge upon the river to drink.

During this season, on an afternoon game drive, you may see hundreds of elephants at one time. You may be surrounded by elephants, as the main Serondella road becomes impassable and scores of family herds cross the main road to make their way to the river to drink, bathe and play. Driving the loops that hug the river’s edge, you may see up to 15 different species of animals on any one game drive, including waterbuck, lechwe, puku (this is the only part of Botswana where they can be seen), giraffe, kudu, roan and sable, impala, warthog, bushbuck, monkeys and baboons, along with the accompanying predators lion, leopard, hyena and jackal.

Take a river cruise – and you’ll experience the park, and the animals, from another vantage point. Here you’ll get up close and personal with hippo, crocodile and a mind-boggling array of water birds. Over 460 bird species have been recorded in the park, making it one of Africa’s premier venues for bird Safaris. Common species to be seen include the Sacred ibis, Egyptian Geese, the ubiquitous cormorants and darters, Spur-winged Geese, pel’s Fishing Owl, carmine Bee-eaters, most members of the kingfisher family, all the rollers, the unmistakable Fish Eagle, the Martial Eagle, and many members of the stork family.

The Chobe River rises in the northern Angolan highlands, travels enormous distances before it reaches Botswana at Ngoma. Like the Okavango and Zambezi rivers, the Chobe’s course is affected by fault lines that are extensions of the Great Rift Valley. These three mighty rivers carry more water than all other rivers in Southern Africa.

Daan Viljoen Game Park

Daan Viljoen Game Park 

Just 24 kilometres west of Windhoek lies the Daan Viljoen Game Park, which is a sanctuary for a relatively large population of game species typical of Namibia’s highlands such as mountain zebras, giraffes, blue wildebeests, springboks, kudus and klipspringers among others as well as more than 200 species of birds. As there are no predators in this game and nature reserve you can explore this natural environment without a guide on several hiking trails varying in length from 3 and 9 km to 32 kilometres. 

Proclaimed before Independence to preserve the ecosystem of the Khomas Hochland, the park was named after a former administrator, Mr. Daan Viljoen, who played a major part in establishing this national park.

The convenient location of the Daan Viljoen makes the park an ideal venue for day visits and a perfect stopover for travellers seeking the tranquillity of the African bush, including a restaurant with a swimming pool and accommodation facilities such as a campsite and a lodge.

Dorob National Park

Dorob National Park 

This area is known as an angler’s paradise, with kabeljou, galjoen and steenbras the most prized species. But it also contains a few surprises. Extensive lichen fields are found north of Wlotzkasbaken and Cape Cross, while the Messum Crater in the north contains San rock paintings and archaeological sites from Damara nomads.

It is bordered to the north by the Ugab River and the Skeleton Coast Park. The Omaruru River bisects it, while the Swakop River is situated just south of its boundary. The towns of Henties Bay and Swakopmund are found within its boundaries, along with the hamlet of Wlotzkasbaken. The Cape Cross Seal Reserve is a separate reserve in the northern section of the area.

Etosha National Park

Etosha National Park 

One of the greatest game parks in Africa–and one of the oldest–is also Namibia’s number-one tourist destination. Home to 114 large and small mammal species,more than 400 recorded bird species, scores of reptiles and even a fish species, Etosha is the country’s flagship park. The size of the park has been reduced considerably since it was first proclaimed in 1907, but its till remains larger than several European countries.

The Ondonga name for the pan was Etosha, meaning ‘the place where no plants grow’, but early European traders, unable to pronounce the name, called it ‘Etosha’. The pan was once part of the massive Lake Kunene fed by the Kunene River,which at sometime in the distant past dried up, leaving the current pan system. Newly excavated fossils belonging to marsh-dwelling antelopes such as sitatunga, lechwe and tsessebe, and a 90- cm long catfish, are testament to much wetter periods.

Fish River Canyon

Fish River Canyon 

This Canyon, is located in the south of Namibia. It is the largest canyon in Africa, as well as the second most visited tourist attraction in Namibia. It features a gigantic ravine, in total about 160 kilometres (100 mi) long, up to 27 km wide and in places almost 550 meters deep.

The Fish River is the longest interior river in Namibia. It cuts deep into the plateau which is today dry, stony and sparsely covered with hardy drought-resistant plants. The river flows intermittently, usually flooding in late summer; the rest of the year it becomes a chain of long narrow pools. At the lower end of the Fish River Canyon, the hot springs resort of Ai-Ais is situated.

Public view points are near Hobas, a camp site 70 km north of Ai-Ais. This part of the canyon is part of the Ai-Ais/Richtersveld Transfrontier Park. The other 90 km of this canyon are privately owned.

Gannaga Lodge

Gannaga Lodge 

Situated close to Middelpos, you will find our Gannaga Lodge on 20 hectares of private grounds within the Tankwa National Park - formerly known as the Tankwa Karoo National Park. Here, in the Roggeveld Karoo at the summit of the breathtaking Gannaga Pass you will stay in some of the most spectacular countrysides in the Northern Cape province. Middelpos, which is 28 kilometres from our guesthouse, is located on the R354, exactly halfway between Sutherland and Calvinia. We run the only establishment within the boundaries of the national park that offers bed and breakfast, half-board and full-board accommodation as well as a restaurant, bar facilities and self-catering facilties as well. 

Our Accommodation 

Whether you are visiting us by motorbike or car, choose between bed and breakfast rooms in the old farm house or converted stables, or cater for yourself in the Kliphuis.

Relax in our swimming pool with scenic views or enjoy walks, 4x4 driving and fabulous star gazing. 

Constructed from local stone retrieved from old farm outbuildings, the air-conditioned reception building contains a well-stocked bar with DSTV (satellite television), spacious lounges, including a library of over 750 books in English and Afrikaans; the dining room and a meeting room which is suitable for seminars as well as small conferences. From here, you enjoy glorious views towards Langkloof and over the Gannaga Pass into the Ceres Karoo. 

Our on-site restaurant specialises in traditional local food, using local produce wherever possible, including, of course, the delicious Hantam lamb - amongst the best in the world.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

Golden Gate Highlands National Park  

Judging by the primitive stone tools and rock paintings found at various places throughout Golden Gate, the first inhabitants of the area were the Khoisan (Bushman/Hottentot group). There is no doubt that they lived under the many overhangs which offered excellent shelter.

After the arrival of the Basotho and the Europeans (hunters, cattle farmers and Voortrekkers) on the scene, the bushman moved away during the first decade of the 19th century. In the 1830s, the first European settlers colonized the area joining Golden Gate. Many Voortrekkers trekked through this land when it was still savage and raw.

On the afternoon of 23rd September 1837, a number of Voortrekkers under the leadership of Piet Retief came into the well-known Liebenberg’s Kloof. As they were planning to stay there for six days, Commandant Coenraad Meyer and some of his men asked Retief’s permission to shoot game in the narrow passes which separate Golden Gate and the surrounding area. They returned to the laager with nine wagons loaded with venison and hides. This gives us an idea of how plentiful game was.

During this time, bands of marauders and assassins sent out by Shaka and Dingaan of Natal, and Silkaats, chief of the Matabele in Transvaal, massacred or scared away almost all of the black tribes in the north-eastern parts of the Free State.

After the European farmers moved into the area, many Natal people left their homes and settled in the area west of the Drakensberg —some in the vicinity of Golden Gate. Because there was no real boundary, clashes between the Free Staters and Basothos occurred mainly in this area.

The Free State Volksraad refused to appoint a border patrol, but Sir Percy Wodehouse, the governor of the Cape, was asked in 1846 to erect beacons on the Rooiberge. The first of these was erected on a very high mountain top (the present Wodehouse-kop), and a second one on Bakenkop behind the Wilgenhof Environmental Education Center.

The area came under British rule for the first time when the area between the Orange and Vaal rivers was proclaimed by Sir Harry Smith. After the Battle of Boomplaas, Golden Gate remained under British rule for six more years.

During this time, the problem with stock theft surfaced again. Moshesh (pictured) lead a surprise attack on Seconyella and conquered the area in which Golden Gate lies (Casalis, 1997). The Orange Free State became an independent republic in 1853, and after this numerous Basotho wars were waged. The era after the second Basotho war is of importance for Golden Gate because the farms which later became the park were incorporated into the OFS as part of the area which was conquered by the joined forces of the Transvaal and OFS.

The battles of Naawpoortshek, and the role played by Paul Kruger later in the war, lead to the founding of the town of Clarens (named after the town in Switzerland where Paul Kruger died in exile). The area south and east of the Rooiberge were given to Moshesh—in other words, the area where Golden Gate is situated was still a part of Basotholand. Though Moshesh honoured the agreement, some of his followers still clashed with the inhabitants of Bethlehem. President Brand persuaded the Free State Volksraad to declare war in 1865. After the treaty of Thabo Bosio in 1869 it was decided to give all the boers who fought in the second Basotho war the opportunity to buy land along the Caledon River in order to protect the border. A.G.P van den Bosch, the surveyor-general, determined the areas of three farms, namely Noord-Brabant, Vuurland and Witsiesoorsprong.

In a historic review of the farms which later became the Golden Gate Highlands National Park, Dr. A.P.J. van Rensburg related that the farm Vuurland was sold in December 1869 to Jacobus Charl Bender for R460. When it was later found that Bender did not have the full amount to buy the farm, it was confiscated by the Free State government and used as compensation for farmers who suffered stock losses during the Basotho wars.

The van Reenens bought the Vuurland farm in the valley in 1878. When moving to their new farm, the van Reenens reached the valley in the late afternoon just as the sun was setting behind two magnificent sandstone cliffs. The sun’s rays casting soft and delicate shades against the sandstone cliff-face inspired the name Golden Gate.

Van Reenen named his new land Golden Gate. He was so impressed with the neighbourhood that after repeated attempts, he bought a section of Noord-Brabant (58 Morgen) in 1880 from his neighbour for only R50. In 1890, Abraham Albertus Cilliers divided his farm between his two sons, and one portion of the portions was named Gladstone which is currently where the admin and staff accommodation is located. In 1928, the young Cilliers who owned Gladstone divided the farm further and named the other half Wilgenhof. This is where the Environmental Education Centre is situated.

Golden Gate was not spared the ravages of the Anglo-Boer wars. Everything was razed to the ground during the Second Anglo-Boer War. Some 50,000 British troops entered Bethlehem and the Boers retreated into the Rooiberge. When the Southern passes were occupied by the British, the main Boer force retreated in the direction of Golden Gate. General Prinsloo eventually surrendered.

As the Boers retreated, they abandoned their heavy ammunition wagons. To avoid allowing the British to take the ammunition, they set the wagons alight. The intense heat from this fire scorched the earth, and there are some areas in the park which are still sterile. Even now, no grass can grow there. A good example of this can be seen near Mount Pierre.

A.A. Cilliers was sent to Ceylon as a prisoner of war, and Jan van Reenen was held captive in Ladysmith. All stock was raided, crops set alight and houses ransacked. The women and children were taken to concentration camps at Harrismith. However, Mrs. Cilliers and her children chose the dangers of the veld rather than the ‘mercy’ of the concentration camp and for many weeks took refuge in the hollow kranzes of Gladstone and Vuurland. Many groups have used caves for shelter.

In 1962, the government bought Golden Gate and handed the land over to the National Parks Board. In 1963, 4,792Ha were declared a National Park and in 1981 it was enlarged to 6,241Ha. In 1983 the park was enlarged to its present size, a total of 11,630Ha and borders Qwa Qwa National Park and Lesotho.