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Bontebok National Park

Bontebok is the corner store of South Africa’s national parks: It’s small and nearby (if you live in Cape Town), yet it has everything you need for a laid-back day trip. Sprawled out on the Breede River, at the base of the Langeberg, it’s the kind of place where you loaf around, not speed off looking for the Big Five. Fill your coffee flask and start your day on the Eastern Drive game-viewing loop. The dirt road is stony in places and should keep you busy for about an hour. The park might not have any big predators, but you can look for bontebok (duh), Cape mountain zebra, red hartebeest, secretarybirds and Denham’s bustard in the renosterveld.

Then head to Die Stroom in the south-western corner of the park-the day visitor’s area on the bank of the Breede. There’s no restaurant in the park, but you can bring your own picnic or supplies for a braai. (Bring your own grid and wood.) Now you’re ready to relax. Have an afternoon nap or read a book. The river hugs the cliffs on the opposite bank and aloes bloom next to the deck of the day visitor’s building. You might even hear the splash of a Cape clawless otter in the water…

Bontebok National Park
Bontebok National Park

Don’t forget your swimming costume and fishing rod. If you’re the type of person who can’t sit still, bring your kayak and paddle the river or your mountain bike and explore the gravel roads on two wheels. Those keen on walking can do the Bushbuck Trail (5,4 km), which starts near the Lang Elsie’s Kraal rest camp and follows the river upstream to a viewpoint, ending at the day visitor’s area. There are also two shorter trails – Acacia (1,6 km) and Aloe Hill (3,3 km).

How to get there? The park is about 5 km south of Swellendam via the N2.

Gate times: 7 am to 6 pm.

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