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Time to spare ? – visit these five family-friendly add-ons close to the Kruger National Park

  • Sunday, 18 March 2018
  • Linda Chivell

Iconic as it may be, a holiday to Kruger National Park can keep the family entertained for more than a day or two. Here’s why.

elepahny sancturay

  1. Elephant Sanctuary in Hazyview

It offers experiences/tours/programs daily. The close encounters with elephants you experience are truly is one of a kind. When meeting the elephants you will discover that each one has a different character, personality and temperament. Be prepared for an experience of a lifetime whilst gaining knowledge and a greater appreciation of an elephant’s “world” and the beauty of the largest land mammal in the world. We would advise you bring comfortable walking boots or shoes that can become dirty, a hat, a windbreaker/jacket and a desire to be enthralled by all the “Big-Foot” members of the Elephant Sanctuary’s resident Elephant herd. They practice responsible tourism.

Moholholo

  1. Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centres

This is always a great educational experience for families. Good examples are Moholoholo Animal Rehabilitation Centre and the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre. Members of the public are able to get an up close and personal experience via a hands-on approach of the Centre. They demonstrate to the public the threats and problems our wildlife is facing today. The Centre has a long-standing and successful Serval Breeding Project and more than 160 have successfully been reintroduced to areas where they have become extinct. They are actively involved in research on the movement and behaviour of leopards and also on a number of vulture species that they monitor daily at their “vulture restaurant”. A visit to the Centre is “an experience of a lifetime” and will leave you with lasting memories.

blyde river canyon overlook

  1. Blyde River Canyon

This is considered the largest 'green canyon' on earth, due to its subtropical foliage. It has some of the deepest precipitous cliffs of any canyon on the planet. It is the second largest canyon in Africa after the Fish River Canyon and is known as one of the great wonders of nature on the continent. Various activities can be pursued and the canyon thus offers everything from family-friendly hiking trails, to quad biking, paintball, horseback riding river cruises, micro flights and hot-air balloon rides.

Graskop elevator in Graskop

  1. The Panorama Route:

The Blyde River Canyon is part of the Panorama Route. The route starts at the town of Graskop and includes God's Window, the Pinnacle and Bourke's Luck Potholes - top additions to any family holiday.

Graskop recently opened a glass lift that operates daily from 08h30 to 17h00. The lift descends 51m down into the Afromontane forest below, at 1m per second. It offers a panoramic view of the Motitsi waterfall, views of the forest canopy and the Graskop Gorge during the descent. Special features include the mushroom and butterfly sections.Butterfly Bar has a sugar water fountain dotted with bright flowers that attract butterflies and a comprehensive information board; while Mushroom Corner explains how fungi ‘talk to one other’ through tiny threads called mycelium. A fascinating feature is a log that has been primed with mushroom spawn, giving visitors to the forest a chance to learn how to grow their own mushrooms and watch the development of the fungi. This section too has informative boards

pilgrims rest

  1.         Gold Mining Village at Pilgrims Rest

Pilgrim's Rest alone has a rich history. Not only it is the birthplace of South Africa's gold rush, more than a couple of stories about robbers to add to the allure of the pass. The Robber's Grave, perched above the town, where a thief – banished and convicted for stealing a tent - was shot as he returned to Pilgrim's Rest. But he isn't the robber for whom the pass is named, despite the grave's fame. Well worth a visit is the museum where the history is depicted on a timeline and in artefacts. Be sure to inquire inside the museum about the gold panning and ghost tours

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