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South Africa

Page excerpts taken from Wikipedia

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The country has a range of different habitat types and an ecologically rich and diverse wildlife, vascular plants being particularly abundant, many of them endemic to the country. There are few forested areas, much savanna grassland, semi-arid Karoo vegetation and the fynbos of the Cape Floristic Region. Famed for its national parks and big game, 297 species of mammal have been recorded in South Africa, as well as 858 species of bird and over 20,000 species of vascular plants.

Addo Elephant National Park

Agulhas National Park

  • The Agulhas National Park is a South African national park located in the Agulhas Plain in the southern Overberg region of the Western Cape, about 200 kilometres (120 mi) south-east of Cape Town. The park stretches along the coastal plain between the towns of Gansbaai and Struisbaai, and includes the southern tip of Africa at Cape Agulhas. As of January 2009 it covered an area of 20,959 hectares (51,790 acres). Although one of the smallest national parks in South Africa, it boasts 2,000 native plant species and a wetland that provides refuge to birds and amphibians.

Augrabies Falls National Park

  • Augrabies Falls National Park is a national park located around the Augrabies Falls, about 120 km west of Upington in the Northern Cape Province, South Africa. It was established in 1966.

  • The Augrabies Falls National Park covers an area of 820 km² and stretches along the Orange River. The area is very arid. The waterfall is about 60 metres high and is awe-inspiring when the river is in flood. The gorge below the falls averages about 240 m deep and runs for 18 kilometres. The gorge provides an impressive example of erosion into a granitic basement.

 

Bontebok National Park

  • Bontebok National Park is a species-specific national park in South Africa. It was established in 1931 to ensure the preservation of the Bontebok. It is the smallest of South Africa's 18 National Parks, covering an area of 27.86 km2 The park is part of the Cape Floristic Region, which is a World Heritage Site.

  • The park is located 6 km south of Swellendam, in the foothills of the Langeberg Mountains. It is bordered to the south by the Breede River.

The Camdeboo National Park

  • The Camdeboo National Park is located in the Karoo and almost completely surrounds the Eastern Cape town of Graaff-Reinet.

  • Camdeboo National Park was proclaimed as South Africa's 22nd National Park under the management of South African National Parks on Sunday 30 October 2005. It covers an area of 194 square kilometers.

  • 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 South Africa's 22nd National Park in the area surrounding Graaff-Reinet. This was made possible by the World Wide Fund for Nature 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 Garden Route National Park

  • The Garden Route National Park is a national park in the Garden Route region of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape provinces in South Africa. It is a coastal reserve well known for its indigenous forests, dramatic coastline, and the Otter Trail. It was established on 6 March 2009 by amalgamating the existing Tsitsikamma and Wilderness National Parks, the Knysna National Lake Area, and various other areas of state-owned land.

  • The park covers about 1,210 km2 (470 sq mi) of land; of this, about 685 km2 (264 sq mi) was already part of the predecessor national parks. The park includes a continuous complex of approximately 605 km2 (234 sq mi) of indigenous forest.

Golden Gate Highlands National Park

  • Golden Gate Highlands National Park is located in Free State, South Africa, near the Lesotho border. It covers an area of 340 km2 (130 sq mi). The park's most notable features are its golden, ochre, and orange-hued, deeply eroded sandstone cliffs and outcrops, especially the Brandwag rock. Another feature of the area is the numerous caves and shelters displaying San rock paintings. Wildlife featured at the park includes mongooses, eland, zebras, and over 100 bird species. It is the Free State's only national park, and is more famous for the beauty of its landscape than for its wildlife. Numerous paleontology finds have been made in the park, including dinosaur eggs and skeletons.

The Karoo National Park

Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park

  • Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park is a large wildlife preserve and conservation area in southern Africa. The park straddles the border between South Africa and Botswana and comprises two adjoining national parks:

  • The total area of the park is 38,000 square kilometres (15,000 sq mi). Approximately three-quarters of the park lies in Botswana and one-quarter in South AfricaKgalagadi means "place of thirst."  In September 2014, more than half of the Botswana portion of the park was sold for gas-fracking.

Kruger National Park

Mapungubwe National Park

Marakele National Park

Mokala National Park

  • Mokala National Park is a reserve established in the Plooysburg area south-west of Kimberley in the Northern CapeSouth Africa on 19 June 2007. The size of the park is 26,485 hectares. Mokala is the Setswana name for the magnificent camel thorn, a tree species typical of the arid western interior and common in the area. There is currently 70 km of accessible roads in the national park.

Mountain Zebra National Park

Namaqua National Park

  • Namaqua National Park is a South African national park situated approximately 495 km north of Cape Town and 22 km northwest of Kamieskroon. It has an area of more than 1300 km2. The park is part of Namaqualand, an area covering 55,000 km2 located within the semi-desert Succulent Karoo biome. This biome is a biodiversity hotspot with the largest concentration of succulent plants in the world. The park also has an arid environment with succulent plants. The park was created to protect its flowers. During the spring, wildflowers bloom there in a spectacular fashion. The park's main tourist attraction is this abundant spring bloom of brightly coloured wildflowers.

 

The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park

  • The Richtersveld Transfrontier Park is a peace park straddling the border between South Africa and Namibia. It was formed in 2003 by combining the Namibian ǀAi-ǀAis Hot Springs Game Park and the South African Richtersveld National Park. Most of the South African part of the park forms part of the buffer zone of the Richtersveld Cultural and Botanical Landscape World Heritage Site, which measures 5,920 square kilometres (2,290 sq mi). The Fish River Canyon is located in the park, the largest canyon in Africa. A Memorandum of Understanding was signed on 17 August 2003 by the presidents of South Africa and Namibia, which formalized the establishment of the park.

  • The Sendelingsdrift tourist facilities were opened in 2007 to enable tourists and locals to travel between Namibia and South Africa within the boundaries of the park. Immigration offices were set up on both sides of the Orange River. It is also known for being a biodiversity hotspot, which means it is under constant threat from human encroachment.

Table Mountain National Park

Tankwa Karoo National Park

  • Tankwa Karoo National Park is a national park in South Africa. The park lies about 70 km due west of Sutherland near the border of the Northern Cape and Western Cape, in one of the most arid regions of South Africa, with areas receiving less than 100 mm of average annual precipitation, moisture-bearing clouds from the Atlantic Ocean being largely stopped by the Cederberg mountains. Other low areas receive little more, as the Roodewerf station (co-ordinates: S32°14’27.9” E20°05’44.5”) with 180 mm of mean annual rainfall. In the hottest areas of the park, the mean maximum temperature in January is 38.9 °C, and in July the mean minimum temperature ranges from about 5 to 7 °C. Before this Park's proclamation, the only protected area of Succulent Karoo was the 2 square kilometre patch of the Gamkaberg Nature Reserve. Succulent Karoo has, together with the Cape Floral Kingdom, been declared a Biodiversity Hotspot by Conservation International.

  • Tankwa's area has been increased from an initial 260 to 1436 km2. It is bounded on the east by the Roggeveld Mountains, on the west by the Cederberg, to the north by the Kouebokkeveld Mountains and on the south by the scattered foothills of the Koedoesberge and Klein Roggeveld Mountains, and the Tankwa River. The park's headquarters are located at Roodewerf (GPS co-ordinates: S 32° 14’ 27.9” E 20° 5’ 44.5”). Distances from the nearest towns to the park's headquarters are: Ceres (180 km), Sutherland (120 km), Calvinia (110 km) and Middelpos (52 km).

  • In 1998 Conrad Strauss sold 280 km2 of sheep farm to the South African National Parks. The park has started the reintroduction of game that used to be found naturally in the area. Research was done beforehand to ensure that introduced animals would survive on the overgrazed veld. The vegetation in the park falls within the Succulent Karoo biome and has been described as very sparse shrubland and dwarf shrubland. Several unique succulent genera occur here, such as TanquanaBraunsia and Didymaotus. The park is home to a large variety of birds (188 species – 2015 figure), such as the black-headed canaryLudwig's bustard, and the black-eared sparrow-lark. Peak birding season is August to October.

West Coast National Park

  • The West Coast National Park lies 120 km (75 mi) north of Cape Town in the Western Cape province of South Africa. It is 36,259.8 hectares (140.000 sq mi) in size. It is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the west and the R27 coastal road, and runs from the town of Yzerfontein in the south up to the Langebaan Lagoon. The park was proclaimed in 1985. The park is particularly well known for its bird life and for the spring flowers which occur in the months from August to September, especially in the Postberg flower reserve section of the park. The park, with the islands in Saldanha Bay, has been identified by BirdLife International as an Important Bird Area.

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