Celebrating National Parks Week With Free Entry To Parks
3 min read
National Parks Week is coming up, with the 18th annual SA National Parks Week taking place from 16 to 24 September 2023. SANParks celebrates by granting free entry to most of its parks during this week, and we’re here to tell you which parks are easily accessible from Cape Town.
Table Mountain National Park (16-22 September 2023)
Table Mountain National Park is a massive park across the Cape Peninsula, and includes Table Mountain, Signal Hill, Lions Head, the Cape of Good Hope, Silvermine, and the Boulders Penguin Colony (free entry does not apply to Boulders). Keep your eye out for a variety of wildlife, including Eland, Red Hartebeest, Bontebok, and Zebra across the park. Cape of Good Hope offers hiking, surfing, angling, picnicking, beaching, and cycling, as well as stunning views from the two lighthouses that are placed at the most southwestern point of Africa. Silvermine offers some of the best hiking routes, including a short and wheelchair-friendly boardwalk around the dam. Signal Hill and Lions Head are two iconic peaks, with the first being the location of the noon day gun which marks 12:00 in Cape Town, and the latter being the must-do hike while visiting the Mother City.
West Coast National Park (16-22 September 2023)
Located an hour away from Cape Town CBD, the West Coast National Park is a sight to behold at this time of year – the wildflowers are in full bloom and the wildlife are very active. Located between Yzerfontein and the Langebaan Lagoon, the West Coast National Park’s flower season is quickly becoming one of the country’s biggest hotspots with over 14 different species on display. The park is great for hiking, with Eve’s Trail being a highlight, biking, kayaking, birdwatching, having a picnic and braai, whale watching, and game viewing.
If you are looking to explore the beautiful Western Cape while staying with us, we recommend the following two parks, which are both around a 2 hour and 45 minutes’ drive away from Cape Town city centre.
Agulhas National Park (16-24 September 2023)
Agulhas’s claim to fame comes from two interesting factoids: the southernmost point of Africa is located at 34° 49’ 58" south and 20° 00’ 12’’ east in Agulhas (a cairn marks the spot), and the Atlantic ocean and the Indian ocean meet at this longitudinal point. The park stretches between Gansbaai and Struisbaai and has many other great activities to offer. Visit the Cape Agulhas Lighthouse, which was built to aid early seafaring explorers through the rough seas off Cape Agulhas. The second oldest working lighthouse in southern Africa was built from stone mined at the adjacent limestone quarry and seventy-one steps gets you to the top. While there, keep a lookout for the many shipwrecks along this coastline. The building also houses a museum, where remains of ancient stone fish traps used by the Khoisan people can be seen. The Agulhas National Park is an excellent location for horticulturists interested in fynbos and birders looking for a variety of bird species, including endangered ones like the African Black Oystercatcher. There are also two popular hiking trails, the Two Oceans Trail and the Rasperpunt Trail.
Bontebok National Park (16-24 September 2023)
The Bontebok National Park is located 6 kilometres south of Swellendam and is a species-specific national park, established to ensure the preservation of the Bontebok. The park was established in 1931 and is the smallest of South Africa’s 18 national parks, covering an area of 27.86 km². Here, you can enjoy a picnic and braai alongside the Breede River and do a game drive (look out for the Bontebok, Grey Rhebuck, Red Hartebees and other smaller mammals). The park is home to over 200 species, with the Denham's (Stanley's) Bustard enticing enthusiastic birdwatchers to the area. There are three hiking trails within the park. Visitors can have a swim, kayak, and canoe in the Breede River, with access points located at the Rest Camp Area and at Die Stroom.
Celebrate South African biodiversity this September with National Parks Week and enjoy free entry to the above parks, as well as most of the other SANParks. Make our hotel your base and know that you’ll return from a lovely day in nature to a comfortable bed and a warm shower. Be sure to reach out to our lovely team if you have any questions, are in need of directions, or would like to make a booking.