Bontebok National Park in South Africa
Bontebok National Park is the smallest park in South Africa. It was formed to save the bontebok species from the brink of extinction as they were protected from hunting practices within the park. This park has helped the bontebok species thrive, along with plenty of other animals, birds and indigenous plants known as fynbos. Travel here at the right time and feel as if you're in a dream as blossoming fynbos brings bright colour to the land. This is the ideal destination for outdoor adventurers as you can hike and walk through the park, as well as swim and canoe in the Breede River.
Best Time to Go
October - May
Average Safari Cost
$150 to $700 pp/day. Park fee: $8 (adult), $4 (child)
Beautiful scenery, mountain biking, canoeing, walking, hiking, fishing, excellent birding, swimming at Die Stroom and more.
Why Visit Bontebock National Park
While there are no predators to be found in the Bontebok National Park, there is still plenty to see and do! This is an ideal family destination with a multitude of fun outdoor activities to partake in. You can walk and hike freely throughout the park without worrying about dangerous wildlife and cool off from the hot days by taking a dip in the Breede River. Canoeing and kayaking is also allowed on the river if you have your own equipment.
Bontebok National Park is the perfect destination for people who enjoy the outdoors, bird watchers and nature enthusiasts. There is enormous plant and bird diversity to see along with plenty of bontebok, zebra and hartebeest. This is an ideal place to stopover if you're on your way to the renowned Garden Route. Spend a couple of nights on the banks of the river and kick back with a spectacular view!
Pros and Cons
- You can walk and hike freely
- Many outdoor activities
- Beautiful accommodation overlooking the river
- Stunning scenery
- Great birdwatching
- Limited wildlife
- Your own equipment is needed for canoeing/kayaking
Best Time to Go
Bontebok National Park can be visited throughout the year. Spring time is from September to October, which is when the flowering fynbos covers the park and creates a colourful landscape. This is a truly beautiful sight to see. September to May is arguably the best time to visit this park as days are warm with little rainfall and beautiful flowers and wildlife can be seen. The fresh spring months lead into hot summers where swimming and river activities can be enjoyed. Temperatures average 82˚F (28˚C) during the hottest months.
While it can rain throughout the year, the wettest months are from April to September during winter. It can get extremely cold in these months with temperatures dropping to about 41˚F (5˚C). Heavy rainfall can also make it difficult to travel around the park and disrupt the outdoor activities that the park offers.
For more information when to visit see our South African Safari - Complete Travel Guide.
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Wildlife and Birds
Even though there are no big predators within the park, there is still plenty to see! Bontebok National Park is famous for its bontebok population as it saved the species from extinction when there were less than 30 remaining. Hartebeest, springbok and rhebok can also be found here. There are also a couple of the endangered Cape Mountain Zebra wandering around the park.
While the antelope species are abundant, there are also some small predators to see. Elusive caracals can be seen hunting in the night while smaller carnivores, like the Small Grey Mongoose, can be seen finding their prey during the day. If you're very lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the rare aardwolf!
- Aardwolf, caracal
Frequently Seen Animals
- Bontebok, springbok, zebra, mongoose, red hartebeest, grey rhebok, grysbok, steenbok.
Bontebok National Park is a great spot for bird watching as there are approximately 200 recorded species within the park. Majestic secretary birds stalk through the plains, while fish eagles and ospreys watch over the river. Keep a look out for brightly coloured malachite kingfishers skilfully diving for fish.
- Cape vulture, black harrier
- Cape francolin, grey-winged francolin, black bustard, ground woodpecker, cape sugarbird, orange-breasted sunbird, cape weaver, Karoo lark, cape bulbul
Getting There and Safety
Most visitors coming to South Africa will fly to Cape Town International Airport or O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg. Bontebok National Park is very close to Swellendam and only a couple of hours drive away from Cape Town.
For the flights to South Africa, it is advised to check Skyscanner (for multiple destination flights), to see which airlines can take you there and compare various ticket prices.
If you are based in the UK and Europe, check out these flights to South Africa.
If you are based in the USA and Canada, check out these flights to South Africa.
All foreign visitors must have a passport that is valid for at least 6 months after their visit. Most nationalities may obtain a 90-day entry permit upon arriving in the country. You can find out whether you need to apply for a visa in advance or obtain one upon arrival on South Africa's Department of Home Affairs website.
For more information on visas see our South African Safari - Complete Country Guide.
Check with your local medical authority which vaccinations are necessary. The recommended vaccinations for South Africa are: Diphtheria, human papillomavirus, meningococcal, pertussis, pneumococcal, shingles and tetanus. Depending on which areas you travel to in the country, the following may also be necessary: hepatitis A and B, typhoid and rabies.
There is also risk for malaria within some regions of South Africa so check whether you will need to take anti-malarial medication.
Check your local travel health authority for more information:
Going on a safari in Africa comes with obvious risks. We recommend you get travel insurance for all safaris in South Africa. Make sure your insurance has full medical coverage, emergency air evacuation, repatriation and the standard travel insurance for cancellations, delays and luggage cover.
Check World Nomads’ travel insurance calculator to see the cost of your safari trip cover.
For more details on what to pack see our Safari Packing List.