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Top Places to Visit in Southern Africa

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by Cheryl Goodenough (subscribe)
A journalist by profession, my work includes writing and editing for newspapers, not for profit organisations and businesses.
Published November 29th 2012
A list inspired by the works of Tony Park
Australian-born author Tony Park has spent about six months of every year travelling around Southern African for about 15 years. Much of that time has been driving in a land-rover and sleeping in a tent, accompanied by his wife, Nicola. The places that he has visited are the basis for his novels, which include the most recently published Dark Heart, as well as African Dawn, The Delta, Ivory, and Silent Predator.

tony park, south africa
Author Tony Park

Tony writes his books while in Southern Africa, and is writing about specific places when he visits them. His travels, research and intense interest in Southern Africa make him a good authority on recommended national parks to visit in Southern Africa.

1. Without hesitation, South Africa's Kruger National Park, tops Tony's list. So much so that he recently bought a home on the edge of the park. "Kruger is the best run, best value for money national park in Southern Africa," he says. The big five -- lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo -- live in the extensive, two million hectares of Kruger. But the park is not only about the big five -- the variety of sightings are evident from the almost 150 mammal species, as well as 34 amphibian, 507 bird, 114 reptile, and 336 tree species that live in Kruger.

kruger national park, south africa
Elephant in Kruger National Park

2. Tony's number two is Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe. "It's pretty much the wildest place in Africa in which you can camp by yourself. You could have elephants at your barbeque, and lions around your tent."

south africa
A lion in Kruger National Park

3. Next on Tony's list is Etosha National Park in Namibia. "I would put it on the list for the wide open spaces, and waterholes teeming with animals. It's definitely the best place in Africa to see the endangered black rhino."

4. Tony's number four is the Costa del Sol restaurant in Maputo, Mozambique. He recommends the seafood platter eaten on the veranda as his idea of a "perfect lunch".

5. The final recommendation on Tony's Top Five list is Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park in the southern Kalahari Desert. It's on his list for the "incredible images of cheetah patrolling down red sand dunes". Varied wildlife occupy the park, including lions, leopard, hyena, and herds of springbok and gemsbok move through the area.

south africa
Hyena in Kruger National Park

Note: Tony's enthralling latest book Dark Heart is set in the Kruger Park, as well as Zambia and Rwanda. It covers the topic of the genocide in Rwanda, as well as the mountain gorillas, which have doubled in population in Rwanda over the last 17 years.

tony park, south africa
Set in the Kruger Park and other locations, 'Dark Heart' is Tony Park's latest book.

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Why? Because Africa is addictive.
When: Depends on where you're travelling. Check out the options.
Where: Southern Africa
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