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April 16, 2018

With more than 80 national parks and reserves to pick and choose from, the Wild Card is your ticket to experiencing nature at its most beautiful. These top ten thrilling adventures offer a fresh perspective on the great outdoors. Are you ready?

#1: Fly like a bird

Get strapped into harnesses at Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve and venture deep and high into the mountains. Soar like eagles from platform to platform in the heart of this World Heritage Site with Cape Canopy Tour. It’s an exhilarating and unforgettable experience for everyone from 5 to 75 years old. And with altitudes ranging from 500m to 1,590m, this is one adrenalin filled adventure not likely to be forgotten. http://www.wildcard.co.za/hottentots-holland-nature-reserve/ https://www.canopytour.co.za/l...

Cost: R895 per person Info: +27 (0)21 3000 501, zipline@capecanopytour.co.za

#2: See game from the saddle

Picture courtesy of Big Game Parks of Swaziland

Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary, Swaziland’s oldest protected area, is a must-see destination for ample reasons. Think plains game grazing placidly, dreamy sunsets and intimate wildlife encounters. What better way to explore and get close to Mlilwane’s wildlife than on guided horseback safari? Beat this: a fully-catered tour of Nyonyane Mountain and Mantenga Valley, and spending the night in a cave that overlooks the impressive Valley of Heaven known as Ezulwini. http://www.wildcard.co.za/mlilwane-wildlife-sanctuary/

Info: +268 2528 3943/4, reservations@biggameparks.org

#3: Go river rafting on the Palmiet

Picture courtesy of CapeNature, Scott Ramsay

When the winter rains swell the mountain streams of the remote Kogelberg Nature Reserve (from June to September), the Palmiet River becomes a playground for rafting enthusiasts. It’s your chance to embark on a 5km route that takes about two hours to complete. This unspoilt wilderness setting will take your breath away. Take note that this activity is for competent kayakers, so book a trip with a certified company to guide you through the roaring rapids. http://www.wildcard.co.za/kogelberg-nature-reserve/

Info: +27 (0)21 483 0190 for more about certified river operators, gear and equipment

#4: Climb Table Mountain


Looking down on the world from atop Table Mountain is a real bucket-list experience. The route up Platteklip Gorge may be the most popular, but India Venster is described as the mountain’s prettiest hike. Know before you go: it’s a potentially dangerous hike and climbers have to be fit. We’re not talking Olympic athlete fit, but it’s safe to say that your muscles will be put to the test. The altitude change of 400m+, rocky climbing and steep cliffs won’t be everyone’s idea of a leisurely nature stroll. http://www.wildcard.co.za/table-mountain-national-park/

#5: Step back in time in the Cederberg

Picture by Arnold Ras

The Cederberg, known for its sandstone formations, spectacular landscapes and the Clanwilliam cedar tree, is also home to more than 2,500 rock art sites between 300 and 6,000 years old. Many of the sites can be easily accessed on foot making the Cederberg and its precious rock art an ideal destination for young and old. Don’t leave your camera at home – the area’s many astounding rock formations beg to be captured. Truitjieskraal Interpretive Trail at Matjiesrivier Nature Reserve features many informative boards that will answer all your burning questions. http://www.wildcard.co.za/cederberg-wilderness-area/

#6: Journey into an ancient cave

Picture courtesy of SANParks

Ever heard of the Cathedral Cave Hike? The strictly guided four-hour walk to this sacred circular cave in picturesque Golden Gate Highlands National Park will transport you to another world. Under the cavern’s soaring roof it’s easy to grow quiet and feel nature’s power. Because the hike has a low difficulty rating, the whole family can marvel at this natural wonder. For the true adventurer, remember your swimming gear – inside the heart of the cave awaits two icy pools. The hike is offered to a minimum of four hikers. http://www.wildcard.co.za/golden-gate-highlands-national-park/

Bookings: +27 (0)58 255 1000

#7: Spend the night in a bird hide

Picture courtesy of SANParks

Three kilometres from Kruger National Park’s Mopani Rest Camp, you will come across the Shipandani Overnight Hide. Situated on the banks of the Tsendze River, the hide is a great spot for seeing waterbirds and the Big Five. Best news? You can spend the night here! Beds flip down from the walls creating a bedroom in the heart of the wilderness. The hide has a braai area with table and chairs, plus a bush toilet, but no running water. Kruger will come alive not only in your dreams, but right in front of your eyes. http://www.wildcard.co.za/kruger-national-park/

Bookings: +27 (0)13 735 6535/6, +27 (0)82 802 1113

#8: Fall in love with the night sky

Picture courtesy of CapeNature, Rudolph de Girardier

Anysberg Nature Reserve, situated in the Little Karoo, is a stargazing hotspot. Aside from an incredible canopy of stars, the reserve’s expert stargazing guides are trained to help you find constellations using binoculars and telescopes. Did you know that Anysberg even has its own stargazing platform? Sign up for the Planet Trek – walk, cycle or travel on horseback to Tapfontein to explore our solar system and stargaze deep in the heart of the reserve. It’s your chance to disconnect completely from the modern world – there’s no cellphone reception in Anysberg. http://www.wildcard.co.za/anysberg-nature-reserve/

Info: +27 (0)23 551 1922, anysberg@capenature.co.za

#9: Answer the call of Augrabies

Picture courtesy of SANParks, Rudolph de Girardier

One of South Africa’s many iconic landscapes, Augrabies Falls National Park has two hiking trails on offer for those keen to explore this remarkable park. Choose between the Dassie Trail, a 5km self-guided circular route, or the slightly more challenging three-day Klipspringer Trail, which leads hikers along the falls’ granite gorge and back. Hikers should keep their eyes peeled for rock dassies, Broadley’s flat lizards, klipspringers and Hartmann’s mountain zebra. But beware, the thundering Orange River will steal your heart. http://www.wildcard.co.za/augrabies-falls-national-park/

Info: +27 (0)54 452 9200, augrabiesres@sanparks.org

#10: Go in search of shipwrecks

Picture courtesy of SANParks

The southernmost tip of Africa has become the graveyard for many ships and their crews. Agulhas National Park is home to several shipwrecks scattered along the coastline, from the Arniston to the Zoetendal. Whether you think it’s spooky or intriguing, one cannot help but wonder what went down on those stormy nights when the rough seas around Cape Agulhas became these ships’ final resting place. The wreck of the Meisho Maru makes a stunning backdrop for pictures. http://www.wildcard.co.za/agulhas-national-park/

Gate times: 07:00-19:00 Info: +27 (0)28 435 6078 

You could win one of five couple Wild Cards and HI-TEC vouchers to the value of R2,500. 

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