South Africa has a wealth of national parks covering around 3% of the total area of the country – over 35,000km sq. Most national parks in South Africa are easily accessible with good infrastructure and facilities, and can be visited in 2WD cars as self drive. Parks and all facilities within them are managed by South Africa National Parks.
Use the above map to locate national parks in South African. Click the safari icons to see more info about each national park and zoom and scroll the map for more details. Read overviews of each South African national park below.
Top National Parks in South Africa
Addo Elephant National Park
75km north of Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape, aside from the 450 resident elephants the park contains plenty of buck, along with buffalo and black rhino.
Agulhas National Park
The area also known as the Agulhas Plain is an internationally signicifanct national park, primarily due to its’ rich plant biodiversity.
Ai Ais Richtersveld Transfrontier Park
An arid, rugged wilderness with dramatic desert landscapes in the Northern Cape, forming part of the border with Namibia.
Bontebok National Park
Situated around the Breede river in the Southern Cape, the park is home to over 300 bontebok, with a spectacular range of flora and forna.
Camdeboo National Park
Stunningly scenic park, the Cameboo National Park is pary of the unique Karoo landscape.
Golden Gate Highlands National Park
Set in the foothills of the Maluti mountains of the northern Free Sate Highlands, the park is an area brimming with game animals.
Karoo National Park
The Karoo biome includes a huge diversity of succulent plants and small reptiles, and an interesting variety of endemic wildlife – including black rhino & buffalo.
Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park
Regarded as one of Africa’s top parks, the rugged Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is made up of The Kalahari Gemsbok National Park in South Africa and Gemsbok National Park in Botswana.
Kruger National Park
The centrepiece of South African national parks, Kruger has a worldwide reputation as offering one of the best wildlife experience…and a great chance to spot the big five.
Mapungubwe National Park
Aside from a decent amount of wildlife, the Mapungubwe National Park containts plenty of rich fossil deposits, Bushman rock art and gold and metal artefacts of ancient civilisations that once lived here.
Marakele National Park
The Waterberg mountain range provides mountain landscapes – punctuated with hills and valleys – along with an impressive variety of wildlife.
Mountain Zebra National Park
A sanctuary for the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra, as well as over 200 bird species.
Namaqua National Park
Famed for the variety of bulb flora, during August and September the park blooms into an area carpeted with wildflowers.
Table Mountain National Park
South Africa’s number 1 tourist spot is also a national park. Don’t expect to see big game once you get to the top – Table Mountain is all about the incredible views.
Tankwa Karoo National Park
Another of South Africa’s national parks situated within the Succulent Karoo biome, Tankwa Karoo is rich in birdlife and home to many rare and endangered plant species.
West Coast National Park
A coastal park featuring miles of deserted golden beaches, fringing salt marches and the Langebaan Lagoon.
Wilderness National Park
Situated in the heart of the Garden Route, Western Cape, the Wilderness National Park is a combination of rivers, estuaries, lakes and beaches, with a backdrop or lush forests and mountains.
Self drive safaris are definitely an option in South Africa, with national parks all over the country allowing you to drive yourself around so long as you follow the basic rules of safari etiquette. Even still, you may want to review our list of safari tour companies in South Africa to get some inspiration on itineraries, or read our overview on taking a safari in South Africa.
Have you been to a national park in South Africa, or got some useful information you’d like to share on the topic? Please feel free to get involved in the comments section below.