There are many wonderful and attracting features of South African National Parks, but as a generalization the biggest drawcard of our parks are the mammals.
International tourists come to South Africa to see her big game in particular the big 5 of buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard and rhinoceros. But in reality there is much more to see and experience in the 20 odd national parks in terms of mammal watching. In fact at the time of writing (September 2001) only the Kruger National Park is currently home to all the big five although one or more of the "big five" are found in many of the other parks. As two of the other parks consolidate adjacent land and expand in size (Marakele and Greater Addo), the reintroduction of lion will complete the quintuplet in these parks.
Several of the coastal parks play home to whales and dolphins. Other parks have specialised in
saving endangered species from extinction e.g.:
- Mountain Zebra National Park (the Cape Mountain Zebra);
- Bontebok National Park (the Bontebok) and
- Karoo National Park (the Riverine Rabbit and recent efforts to rebreed the Quagga).
Additionally certain mammal species are synonymous with certain parks - Tsitsikamma National Park and its world famous Otter Trail (the Cape Clawless Otter); Greater Addo National Park (the last of the Elephant in the Cape) and Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Gemsbok and Black-maned Kalahari Lions). Each of the parks has their own unique spectrum of mammals. For park specific information, please visit the respective park.