By Arnold Ras
The High Flier
Where: N’wanetsi in Kruger National Park
Enjoy the sounds and sightings at this rustic picnic spot while your picnic fire blazes, then wander off to the lookout deck. The highlight is the cliff-top viewpoint, with a 180-degree view of the Lebombo Mountains and N’wanetsi River. Keep your eyes peeled for the hundreds of bird species and other wildlife that call Kruger home. Refuel and relax before heading to your next stop.
CONTACT Satara Reception 013-735-6306/7
The Riverside Rambler
Where: Nkuhlu in Kruger National Park
Situated on the banks of the picturesque Sabie River in the park’s Maroela Region between Skukuza and Lower Sabie, the Nkuhlu Picnic Site offers a viewing deck to encounter Kruger’s impressive hippos and crocodiles up close and personal. Relax under Natal mahogany trees and make use of the site’s gas braais or traditional braai facilities for an outdoor feast on the river’s edge. Don’t forget your binoculars as wildlife is in abundance.
CONTACT Skukuza Reception 013-735-4196
Where: Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary
Moms and dads will score brownie points after spoiling the kids with a picnic at Mlilwane in the heart of Swaziland. Here impala, warthog and nyala roam free with a swimming pool and children’s play area for added entertainment. Gather the troops and broaden their cultural horizons with a visit to the Interpretation Centre to learn about the Swazi way of life, the country’s history and its heritage.
CONTACT Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary +268-2528-3943/4
Where: Cobham Nature Reserve
Anglers will fall hook, line and sinker for the rolling grasslands, valleys and gorges of the Maloti-Drakensberg Park. Make fresh-water fishing in the Pholela River a family affair and take time out next to the water to reconnect with loved ones. Cobham has no braai facilities, so you will have to pack your own kit. Remember, only fly tackle is permitted and you need to obtain a permit at the Cobham office.
CONTACT Cobham Nature Reserve 033-702-0831
The Water Baby
Where: Shongweni Dam & Nature Reserve
Waterfalls, forests, water sports and fishing. This National Heritage Site near Durban encompasses 51 hectares of water and is a picnic paradise for the whole family. Lay a blanket next to the dam, enjoy spectacular views of Shongweni Hill and let the youngsters run free. If you’re planning a weekend visit, arrive early and choose a spot near the dam’s historic wall, built in the 1920s.
CONTACT Shongweni Dam & Nature Reserve 031-765-7724
The Earth Child
Where: Matopi at Mokala National Park
Picture unspoilt nature, sightings such as the black springbok, and no fences! Mokala, 70km from Kimberley, is known not only for red sandscapes, but also signature Kalahari thornveld transforming the landscape into an almost mystical environment. Make memories with a soulful picnic, have a down-to-earth braai, or simply be quiet and content in nature. Bird hide for twitchers close by.
CONTACT Mokala National Park 053-204-8000
The Beach Bum
Where? Oudekraal in Table Mountain National Park
Oudekraal, between Camps Bay and Llandudno, is one of South Africa’s most beautiful picnic destinations. Surrounded by giant boulders and views of the Twelve Apostles buttresses, the relatively shallow, crispy-clear ocean is a playground for young and old alike. Make use of the braai facilities and leave all that heavy braai equipment home. Each spot offers a unique setting, perfect for a no-sweat picnic lunch with some rib eye on the grill and Wild’s hassle-free summer salad. Life’s a beach…
CONTACT Oudekraal Picnic and Braai Site 021-712-7471
The Forest Fairy
Where: Krisjan-se-Nek in Garden Route National Park
Spend quiet time surrounded by lush forest and green pastures in the Knysna section of this national park at Krisjan-se-Nek Picnic Site, which is also the start of the 3km or 9km Circles in the Forest hiking trails. Pack your swimwear as there are several waterholes to cool down in or play ball games on the large lawns. Wooden tables, benches, braai facilities and ablutions are available. Pets not allowed.
CONTACT Diepwalle Forest 044-382-9762
Source: Wild Magazine
Kruger National Park (South and Central)
Kruger National Park (North and Far North)
Cobham Nature Reserve
Ntini Trail, Shongweni Dam
Mokala National Park
Table Mountain National Park
Garden Route National Park