21. The Golden Gate (Golden Gate Highland’s National Park)

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The Zebra Bus treks up the high grassy plains of Golden Gate Highlands National Park, where some of the most dramatic landscapes can be found. Watched over by a big rock called the Sentinel, the bus tries to merge in with an actual zebra herd, but no one is fooled by this little trickery. Continuing on foot, the adventurers stumble upon some fresh dung and stalk a grazing eland.

A helicopter ride gives them a stupendous view of the sandstone formations shaped through the eons where dinosaurs once roamed. To get into the deep canyons they use horses and discover a cave sculpted by water, learning about the origins of the natural world in Nature’s own classroom. They learn about how a wetland functions as a sponge and clean the water and in the process gets very close to some water birds. They explore rock art depicting San mythology, and other pictures of a later era showing cattle.

They also visit the sprawling urban areas of Qwa-Qwa that reaches right up to the park’s border. They conclude that for these beautiful places to survive more youth-orientated activities will attract the young generations – because who else will be responsible for the future of South Africa’s National Parks?

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