Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park

Did you know that Bontebok National Park, located in the Western Cape of South Africa, is South Africa’s smallest of 19 national parks, covering an area of just 27.86 km2? 

Despite its size, this park plays a crucial role in the conservation of endangered wildlife and offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy.

Key Takeaways:

  • Bontebok National Park is the smallest national park in South Africa, covering 27.86 km2.
  • The park was established in 1931 to protect the endangered Bontebok antelope species.
  • The park is a biodiversity hotspot in the Cape Floristic Region, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Bontebok National Park is home to various other species, including birds, otters, and reptiles.
  • Visitors can enjoy self-guided game drives, hiking, and birdwatching activities in the park.

Wildlife and Conservation Efforts at Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park is home to the rare and uniquely marked Bontebok antelope. These antelopes were once on the brink of extinction due to European settlement and hunting. In 1931, 17 Bonteboks from a relic population were translocated to the park, and today, the worldwide population of Bonteboks is derived from this group.

The park also protects other species, including the African clawless otter, Stanley’s bustard, Secretary bird, Blue crane, Grey Rhebok, Cape Grysbok, Steenbok, Grey Duiker, Caracal, Red Hartebeest, Cape Mountain Zebra, and over 200 species of birds.

Conservation efforts in the park focus on preserving the endangered fynbos veld type, coastal renosterveld, and other unique plant species found only in the region.

Recreation and Activities in Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park offers a range of outdoor activities for visitors to enjoy amidst its breathtaking natural beauty. With no major predators, the park is an ideal destination for engaging in self-navigated game drives, immersing oneself in the wonders of birding, embarking on exhilarating hikes, and exploring the serene surroundings on a cycling adventure.

Explorers can choose from three scenic hiking trails within the park: the Acacia Trail, Aloe Hill Trail, and Bushbuck Trail. These well-maintained trails offer awe-inspiring views and provide an opportunity to connect with the diverse flora and fauna closely. Nature enthusiasts will be thrilled to discover over 200 species of birds, including magnificent creatures like the Denham’s bustard and blue crane, making Bontebok National Park a birdwatcher’s paradise.

For those seeking accommodation within the park, Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp offers a variety of options to suit different preferences. Guests can unwind in comfortable wooden cottages or immerse themselves outdoors by camping in stands with or without electricity points. Day visitors can use the dedicated picnic area at Die Stroom, which offers ablution facilities and braai areas while providing a children’s play area and access to the river for relaxing swims, fishing adventures, or invigorating kayaking experiences.

1 November 2022 – 31 October 2023 Adults (12+ years) Children (2 – 11 years)
RSA Citizens and Residents R74 R37
SADC Nationals R148 R74
International (non-RSA) Citizens R296 R148

Looking for an adventure-filled stopover between Cape Town and the Garden Route? Bontebok National Park near Swellendam offers a plethora of exciting activities to satisfy your wanderlust.

Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, wildlife lover, or simply seeking a tranquil escape, Bontebok National Park has something for everyone. Embark on remarkable tours, uncover hidden gems, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this incredible South African national park.

From thrilling wildlife encounters to awe-inspiring birdwatching spots, prepare to be captivated by the wonders of Bontebok National Park. Let’s dive into the top attractions and things to do at this awe-inspiring destination.

Wildlife Viewing at Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park offers a unique wildlife viewing experience, showcasing the conservation success story of the bontebok. While you won’t find the Big Five, you can spot a variety of wildlife species in the park, including:

  • Bontebok (Damaliscus pygargus pygargus)
  • Cape Mountain Zebra (Equus zebra zebra)
  • Grey Rhebok (Pelea capreolus)
  • Klipspringer (Oreotragus oreotragus)
  • Cape Grysbok (Raphicerus melanotis)
  • Cape Cobra (Naja nivea)
  • A large variety of bird species

Bontebok National Park is home to approximately 200 bonteboks, one of the rarest antelope species in the world. These majestic creatures were once on the brink of extinction but now thrive within the park’s protected boundaries. Observing these elegant animals in their natural habitat is a truly remarkable experience.

In addition to the bonteboks, you’ll have the chance to see other unique wildlife species such as Cape Mountain Zebras, known for their striking black and white stripes, and elusive Grey Rheboks that gracefully inhabit the mountain slopes. The park’s rugged terrain also attracts Klipspringers and Cape Grysboks, offering excellent opportunities for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers seeking to capture these fascinating creatures on camera.

Wildlife Species Description
Bontebok A rare antelope species with a rich chestnut-brown coat, prominent white rump, and curved horns.
Cape Mountain Zebra A visually stunning equine species with bold black and white stripes across its body.
Grey Rhebok A mountain antelope known for its impressive jumping abilities and distinctive grey fur.
Klipspringer A small antelope with a unique ability to thrive in rocky environments and a remarkable ability to leap onto steep cliffs.
Cape Grysbok A small antelope species characterized by its reddish-brown coat and preference for fynbos habitats.
Cape Cobra A venomous snake species native to South Africa, recognized by its impressive size and hooded appearance.
Bird Species A diverse array of avian species, including raptors, waterbirds, and colorful songbirds.

Whether you’re exploring the park on foot or embarking on a guided game drive, keep your eyes peeled for these incredible creatures. Bontebok National Park’s wildlife is a testament to the park’s commitment to conservation and offers a unique opportunity to observe and appreciate South Africa’s natural heritage.

Birdwatching and Nature Photography at Bontebok National Park

When it comes to birdwatching and nature photography, Bontebok National Park offers endless opportunities to indulge in your passion. The park boasts a range of bird species that will leave you in awe of their beauty and diversity.

For avid birdwatchers, some of the must-visit spots in Bontebok National Park include the De Hoop Vlei, where you can observe waterbirds in their natural habitat, and the Lang Elsies Kraal Rest Camp, which provides an ideal setting for spotting a variety of bird species.

With over 200 bird species recorded in the park, you can expect to encounter a wide range of feathered friends. From the vibrant Cape glossy starling to the graceful Malachite kingfisher, each bird species offers a unique photographic opportunity.

Whether you’re an experienced nature photographer or just starting out, Bontebok National Park presents an awe-inspiring backdrop for capturing the wonders of the natural world. From the picturesque landscapes to the delicate details of the birdlife, every corner of the park is a treasure trove for photographers.

When it comes to visiting Bontebok National Park, timing is everything. The park is at its best during the spring and summer months, from September to March. This is when the landscape bursts with vibrant colors, and migratory birds fill the skies. Be sure to check the weather forecast before your trip, as South Africa’s climate can be changeable.

Once inside the park, immerse yourself in the incredible wildlife and bird species that call Bontebok National Park home. Keep an eye out for the park’s namesake, the bontebok, an endangered antelope species with its distinctive white face. You may also spot other fascinating animals like Cape mountain zebras, reedbucks, and grey rheboks.

If bird watching is your passion, Bontebok National Park will not disappoint. With over 200 bird species recorded here, including the African fish eagle and African black duck, bird lovers are in for a treat. Remember to bring your binoculars and a field guide to fully appreciate the park’s avian wonders.

When it’s time to recharge, Bontebok National Park offers various accommodation options to suit every traveler’s needs. Whether you prefer camping under the stars or a cozy chalet with all the comforts of home, there is an option for you. Additionally, take advantage of the park’s proximity to other attractions, such as the historic town of Swellendam and the breathtaking De Hoop Nature Reserve.

So, get ready for an unforgettable adventure at Bontebok National Park. Follow these tips and create memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t forget your camera and your sense of wonder as you explore this remarkable South African gem. Enjoy your visit!

While exploring the park, you may also encounter other fascinating animals such as Cape mountain zebra, grey rhebok, and red hartebeest. Keep your camera ready as these magnificent creatures roam freely in their natural habitat.

Award-Winning Conservation Efforts

Bontebok National Park plays a vital role in the conservation of the bontebok and other wildlife species. The park’s conservation efforts have been internationally recognized, contributing to the protection and preservation of South Africa’s natural heritage.

By visiting Bontebok National Park, you not only get to witness the wonders of nature but also support important conservation initiatives. It’s a win-win for both wildlife enthusiasts and the environment!

Wildlife Bird Species
Bontebok African fish eagle
Cape mountain zebra African spoonbill
Grey rhebok Blue crane
Red hartebeest Black harrier

The table above highlights some of the incredible wildlife and bird species you can encounter during your visit to Bontebok National Park. Please note that this is just a glimpse of the diverse array of animals and birds that call the park their home.

Accommodation and Nearby Attractions at Bontebok National Park

When planning your visit to Bontebok National Park, you’ll be pleased to find a range of accommodation options that cater to different preferences. Whether you prefer camping under the stars or a cozy chalet, there’s something for everyone.

For nature enthusiasts, the park offers well-maintained camping sites with basic facilities. Wake up to the sounds of bird songs and enjoy the tranquility of the surrounding landscape. If you prefer a bit more comfort, there are also self-catering chalets available, equipped with all the amenities you need for a relaxing stay.

While staying at Bontebok National Park, take the opportunity to explore the nearby attractions. Just a short drive away, you’ll find the picturesque town of Swellendam, known for its historic architecture and charming cafes. Don’t miss the chance to sample some delicious local cuisine and immerse yourself in the town’s rich history.

If you’re looking for outdoor adventure, nearby Marloth Nature Reserve offers scenic hiking trails where you can marvel at the diverse flora and fauna. Take your time to explore the natural wonders around you and embrace the beauty of the surrounding wilderness.

Visitors can choose between camping sites or self-catering chalets, ensuring a comfortable stay in the heart of nature. We also mention the nearby attractions, such as the historic town of Swellendam and the Marloth Nature Reserve, where visitors can enjoy additional activities and immerse themselves in the natural beauty of the region.

Visiting Bontebok National Park is a breeze. Whether you choose to drive from Cape Town, which is only a 2.5-hour scenic journey away, or fly into Cape Town International Airport and catch a light aircraft to Swellengrebel Airfield, you’ll find easy access to this natural gem. Once you arrive, prepare to be immersed in breathtaking mountain scenery and embrace the opportunity to explore the park safely on foot.

The park gates open at 7am and close at 7pm during summer, and at 6pm in the winter months. This ensures you have ample time to appreciate the beauty of the park and soak in all that it has to offer.

So, grab your walking shoes, camera, and sense of adventure, and get ready to embark on a memorable journey through Bontebok National Park!

Facilities and Activities at Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park offers a range of facilities and activities for visitors to enjoy. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a hiking fanatic, or simply looking for a peaceful escape, the park has something for everyone.

Nature Trails

With three nature trails available, Bontebok National Park provides the perfect opportunity for hiking and mountain biking. These trails offer stunning views of the park’s natural beauty, allowing you to immerse yourself in the peaceful surroundings. Whether you prefer a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek, there’s a trail to suit your preferences.

Game Viewing Roads

Explore Bontebok National Park’s diverse wildlife and picturesque landscapes with 25 kilometers of gravel game viewing roads. Hop in your car and experience the thrill of spotting various animal species in their natural habitat. Keep your eyes peeled for the majestic Bontebok, after which the park is named.

Bird Watching

If you’re a bird enthusiast, Bontebok National Park is a paradise. With over 200 bird species, including the vividly colored Malachite Kingfisher and the elegant Grey Heron, the park offers endless opportunities for bird watching. Grab your binoculars and enjoy the symphony of the park’s feathered residents.

Water Activities

Cool off and enjoy the refreshing waters of the picturesque Breede River. Whether you choose to take a dip, go canoeing or kayaking (equipment not provided), or angling with a valid permit, the river provides the perfect setting for water-based activities. Please remember to adhere to safety guidelines when engaging in any water activities.

Picnic and Braai Areas

Take a break and unwind in one of the park’s designated picnic and braai areas. Experience the serene ambiance while enjoying a delicious meal amidst nature’s splendor. These areas are equipped with facilities to enhance your experience, providing a comfortable and convenient spot to relax and indulge in a BBQ or picnic feast.

Nature Trails Hiking and Mountain Biking
Game Viewing Roads Spotting Wildlife
Bird Watching Identifying Bird Species
Water Activities Swimming, Canoeing, Kayaking, Angling
Picnic and Braai Areas Relaxing and Dining

Accommodations at Bontebok National Park

Bontebok National Park offers two accommodation options for visitors, allowing you to stay immersed in the tranquil beauty of the park. Whether you prefer the comfort of self-catering chalets or the simplicity of camping, Bontebok National Park has something for everyone.

Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp

If you’re looking for a cozy retreat with stunning views, Lang Elsie’s Kraal Rest Camp is the perfect choice. This camp features 10 self-catering chalets, each offering magnificent views of the Breede River and Langeberg mountains. Wake up to the sight of Bontebok grazing nearby and start your day in the midst of nature’s beauty.

Caravan and Camping Site

If you prefer a more adventurous camping experience, there is a caravan and camping site located at Lang Elsie. Bring your own camping equipment and enjoy the freedom of being surrounded by nature. Spend your evenings under the starry sky, sharing stories around the campfire, and waking up to the sounds of birds chirping.

Whether you choose to stay in a self-catering chalet or set up camp, Bontebok National Park accommodations provide the perfect opportunity to relax and connect with the natural wonders of this unique park.

Park Information and Climate

Planning a visit to Bontebok National Park? Here’s everything you need to know about the park’s opening hours, entrance fee, location, and climate.

Opening Hours

Bontebok National Park welcomes visitors from 7am to 7pm during the summer months. In winter, the park closes at 6pm. Whether you’re an early riser or prefer to explore during the golden hours, you have ample time to enjoy the park’s natural beauty.

Location and Access

Conveniently located just 6 kilometers from Swellendam on the N2, Bontebok National Park is easily accessible by road. The last 5 kilometers leading to the park are on gravel roads, giving you a taste of the wilderness before you even enter. If you’re using GPS or a map, simply search for Bontebok National Park, and it will lead you straight to this hidden gem.


As part of the winter rainfall region, Bontebok National Park experiences its highest rainfall from April to September. The lush greenery and vibrant flora during this time create a picturesque landscape. If you plan to visit during the summer, be prepared for warm temperatures, with January being the hottest month at an average of 28°C. Winter temperatures can drop to around 5°C in June and July, so make sure to pack some warm layers for those chilly mornings and evenings.

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