For many South Africans and international travellers visiting South Africa, an overnight stopover en-route to various coastal destinations entails a night in a small town in the Karoo on the way down from Johannesburg to the Garden Route or Cape Town. But why not make it a bit more of adventure and spend a night or 2 somewhere new? South Africa offers great value-for-money overnight accommodation in many of its national parks. It offers couples, families and groups travelling together a great opportunity to see and explore new horizons whilst en-route to a particular destination.

So why not break up your next road trip with a late afternoon sundowner drive, a dip in the camp pool followed by a relaxing braai under African skies (or grab a meal at the camp restaurant) and start the next morning afresh with a pleasant game drive on your way out of the park. And if you are tired of driving yourself around both guided game drives and guided walks can be arranged in most of the parks. We have listed a number of our favourite overnight stops in our national parks….

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Overnight travelling from Johannesburg to Cape Town
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mokala

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Mokala National Park
situated 70km south of Kimberley on the N12 the recently established national park is a fantastic overnight stop. Boasting modern camp facilities including swimming pools, restaurant and braaiing facilities. The N12 is also generally a quieter road than the N1 (although slightly longer but not by much) with the added benefit of being toll-free. Cap off the day’s road trip with a sundowner drive around the park where you have a good chance of seeing all the general plains game, black and white rhino, buffalo, roan antelope as well as some unusual creatures such as Cape Fox, Black-footed Cat, Aardvark, Aardwolf and Caracal that are regularly seen.
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karoo

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Karoo National Park
– Located on the doorstep of Beaufort West, a pleasant 5 hour drive from Cape Town and a very scenic 4 hour drive from Plettenberg Bay. The Karoo National Park hosts an interesting array of wildlife such as lion, gemsbok, springbok, zebra (Burchell’s Zebra with the now extinct Quagga red colouration on the rump). Although a harsh dry climate, the Karoo is a great place for reptiles (18 snake species, 5 tortoise species, 2 chameleon found in the park). With its great accommodation facilities and easy access on to the N1 the Karoo national Park is the perfect stopover on a trip to Cape Town or down to the Garden Route.
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Overnight travelling from Johannesburg / Pretoria to the Garden Route
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camdeboo


Camdeboo National Park – set in the geologically inspiring landscape of the Karoo surrounding the historical town of Graaf Reniet one finds the Camdeboo National Park . The park lies within 4 hours drive of Plettenberg Bay and Knysna and has ample accommodation facilities to suit most people’s needs. Look out for interesting creatures such as the aardvark, the aardwolf, bat-eared foxes and meerkat all regularly seen in the park.
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Overnight travelling from Johannesburg and Pretoria to Port Elizabeth and the Eastern Cape

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mtn-zebra

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Mountain Zebra National Park
 – situated close to the town of Craddock lies this lovely and productive national park. As the name suggests the park hosts a healthy population of the fairly rare Cape Mountain Zebra. Lion and cheetah have been successfully re-introduced to the park in recent years. The park has a variety of self-catering accommodation options and is ideally located 3 and a half hours drive from Port Elizabeth so is a great stop over for trips down to St Francis Bay, Jeffreys Bay, Port Alfred and Kenton-on-Sea and other holiday towns in the Eastern Cape.

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Overnight travelling from Cape Town to the Garden Route
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bontebok

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Bontebok National Park
 – this is a very quiet and frequently visited park near the town of Swellendam in the Western Cape. It’s a great stopover for those looking for some peace and solitude. Although the park doesn’t host great numbers of larger game it does host plenty of birdlife and is a great place to tick a few special birds off such as Denham’s Bustard, Blue crane, Malachite Sunbird and Swee Waxbill.
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Overnight travelling from Durban to Cape Town
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ADDO

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Addo Elephant National Park
 – traveling down South Africa’s eastern coastline there is arguably no better place to stop than in one of the many portions that form the combined Addo Elephant National Park. Options range from those looking at staying at the Narina Bush Camp in the Zuurberg Mountains where one can hike out to explore the area or doing a self-drive safari in one’s own vehicle in search of the Big 5 from Addo Main Camp or the rustic Spekboom Tented Camp There are a number of exquisite private lodges and camps in the park for those looking at being pampered such as Gorah Elephant Camp and Nguni River Lodge.
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Overnight travelling from Port Elizabeth to Cape Town
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garden-route
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Garden Route National Park – With a number of very different accommodation options the Garden Route National Park (consisting of the Tsitsikamma Forest and Nature’s Valley, the Knysna Forest and the Wilderness lagoon system. If you are passing through the Garden Route its well worth spending more than one day here. A 2 night stay enables one to do some hiking, canoeing or mountain-biking through well-established trails and on the lake system in the area. Although the larger creatures are timid and not regularly seen secretive elephants still reside in the Knysna Forest.

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Overnight travelling from Johannesburg to Durban
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drakensberg
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Drakensberg – if you are keen to get away for some clean fresh mountain air before hitting the coast then the Drakensberg is perfect for that. The region is a hiker’s paradise and there are routes for all levels of ability. Mountain biking, horse-riding and fly-fishing can also be enjoyed as well as simply taking in nature at its finest.
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goldengate
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Golden Gate National Park – Offering geographically superb vistas on the border of the quaint romantic town of Clarens, lies the famous Golden Gate – a rocky pass at the entrance to the park that shines golden in the late afternoon sun. The park is an exceptional place to hike and you have a chance of seeing the rare Lammergeier or Bearded Vulture that frequent the area.
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Overnight travelling from Durban to Nelspruit and the Kruger Park
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There are a myriad of destinations and accommodation options in northern Zululand in KwaZulu Natal. Why not try:
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Tiger-fishing on Lake Jozini
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hluluwe.
Stay over in Hluluwe Umfolozi National Park – the crown jewel of the KwaZulu Natal parks.
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mkuza

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Pop in to Mkuze Game Reserve – Great game viewing and spectacular scenery
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isi

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iSimangaliso Wetland Park
– including St Lucia and Kosi Bay for boat and canoe based activities.
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rock

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Sodwana Bay – try South Africa’s premier scuba diving and snorkelling location. For untouched wilderness head to Rocktail Bay or Thonga Beach Lodge
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thembe

Tembe Game Reserve – Where big tuskers roam
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ndumo

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Ndumo Game Reserve
– South Africa’s best biridng spot.

So instead of driving for 14 hours break your trip up over 2 days and experience somewhere new and make it an adventure! There is so much to offer in South Africa, the world in one country!

Safari Index manages all South African National Parks bookings which gives you peace of mind and quality assurance. If you are looking for somewhere to stay get in touch with one of our safari travel experts by emailing us on bookings@safari-index.com