Many of the national parks in South Africa steal all the limelight but often, it's the smaller, lesser-known ones that are the best to visit.
This is especially true if you're coming at a very busy time of year, like Christmas or Easter, when the national parks appear to have more people than animals in them!
A particular favourite of ours is the diminutive but perfect Bontebok National Park just outside Swellendam, less than two hours from Cape Town. It is a species-specific park, established with the sole purpose of protecting the beautiful bontebok, which is a large antelope (larger than a gembok, smaller than a kudu). The park is also home to many endangered mountain zebra and has no predatory game.
This is where the park comes into its own. It's utterly wild, with the large, wide, slow-moving Breede River to the south, full of wildlife and birds but with no lodges, no game viewers, and the ability to walk, cycle, and roam as you please.
Personally, we love to camp with our Land Rover but frankly, it's not for everyone so instead, choose the beautifully built wooden chalets on the shore of the river for your stay.
Most likely, you'll be the only guest!