Last updated on Jul 7th, 2020 at 04:25 pm

There’s something about nature that is so good for a person’s soul…

Being out in the fresh air, surrounded by beautiful landscapes and witnessing nature at its best helps people relax, reconnect and rejuvenate.

If you’re living in South Africa, you have hundreds of places to go to where you can be one with your environment and switch off from the rush of daily life. Find a weekend or start saving your leave days and plan a trip to some of the best natural getaways in South Africa.

1.      Goegap Nature Reserve

The Goegap Nature Reserve is in Springbok in the Northern Cape. Springbok may be a small town in the Namaqualand area but you can find the Springbok Inn by Country Hotels as well as other Springbok accommodation places to rest your eyes at night after an entire day of being in the nature reserve, only to do it all again in the morning.

The Springbok Inn is only 14 km from the Goegap Nature Reserve and can offer you everything you need in affordable accommodation while on your nature getaway. Visit the reserve between August and October if you want to be spoiled by the aroma and visual beauty of the Namaqualand flowers in full bloom for the springtime. More than flowers, however, the nature reserve has over 45 animal species roaming around for you to look at and listen out for.

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Find an overlooking spot to park your car, open the windows and just sit in the silence of nature. When you think of Springbok, you think “small”, “sandy” and “desolate”. But there really is so much more to see and that unexpected value is what makes it one of the best.

2.      Robberg Nature Reserve

Heading to the Western Cape and, more specifically, Plettenberg Bay, we find the Robberg Nature Reserve. Here you have a mountain-sea view where you can hike, swim, picnic, birdwatch and fish. The perfect nature trip for the whole family to enjoy and find something to do. And it happens to be a World Heritage Site as well.

And when you’ve scoured the entire 1 853 square kilometres, you can make your way to the Keurbooms River Nature Reserve as well as the Plettenberg Bay Game Reserve which are in the surrounding area. Make a holiday out of it and enjoy the uniqueness of landscape, flora and fauna that each reserve offers.

Plettenberg Bay is over five hours drive from Cape Town but it’s still in the Western Cape. The more time you allow yourself to travel along the Garden Route, the more you’ll be able to see before reaching your destination.

3.      Cape Recife Nature Reserve

Many people from Port Elizabeth (PE) in the Eastern Cape drive the two-and-a-half hours to Plettenberg Bay to enjoy the town and reserves there. But there is the Cape Recife Nature Reserve in PE itself that they can drive to and enjoy in their hometown.

On the point of Nelson Mandela Bay, you’ll find this nature reserve with a golf club, lighthouse, wildlife and water sports to keep you busy when you aren’t sitting back and relaxing to the sound the waves and smell of the sea.

This conservancy is there specifically for your relaxation and nature-appreciation. And you could easily spend days here watching the sunset and surfers with your toes in the sand.

4.      Augrabies Falls National Park

Back up to the Northern Cape, we have the Augrabies Falls National Park. At R49 for adults and R25 for children for a day visit, you can get access to the self-drive game drives, the waterfall viewpoints, the hiking and nature trails, and views your camera will love.

So, if you like being in nature where there’s land and water (but not the saltiness of the sea), then the Augrabies Falls Park is where you want to be. You’ll have the opportunity to see baboons, hyenas, caracals, mongoose, giraffes, eland and springbok amongst other wildlife mammals. And, if you’re lucky, you might even spot a leopard.

5.      The Kruger National Park

Heading to the northeast side of South Africa, stretching across Limpopo and Mpumalanga, we have the breath-taking Kruger National Park. It is the nature and game reserve of all nature and game reserves in South Africa, and with good reason.

Nearly 20 000 m2 of African plains with acacia trees, grasslands, wetlands, riversquare kilometres, mountains and wildlife for you to explore and take in. Radio off, windows slightly down and eyes on the lookout for any of the 147 mammal species out in the open, up in the trees and down at the river.

R83 for adults and R42 for children is a small price to pay for the value this park offers. Wake up hours before the sun and start your early morning game drives. Start your days from different gates around the park if you aren’t staying in one of the camps and see something new every day.

These are only a handful of the best nature reserves South Africa has to offer.

You can start living your best travel life right here in your home country by simply spending time in one (or all) of these reserves.