This is South Africa’s smallest national park, but has played a vital role in African conservation: it is responsible for saving the endangered Bontebok antelope from extinction. From a population of only 17, this antelope now numbers 3 000. It also hosts one of the most prolific vestiges of the Khoisan people. Size: 2 786 hectares. Situated near the town of Swellendam in the south west of South Africa.
Bontebok National Park
After Karoo National Park, my next stop was Bontebok National Park near Swellendam in the Western Cape.
This is the smallest national park in the country, and came into existence for one reason: as a saviour of the beleagured Bontebok antelope, endemic to the region. By the end of the 1800s, thousands of these antelope had been hunted, and just a handfull remained. I've written about this before in a previous blog, but if it wasn't for the work of some concerned farmers, the bontebok would probably be extinct now.
Subsequently to the national park's proclamation, we've realised that in fact there is another inadvertent, important reason for this protected area. The renosterveld Read more »
While we were staying at Bontebok, the park was hosting a Pick n Pay ‘Kids in Parks’ group of grade 7 children from H. Venter Primary School in Ashton, with their teacher Jacobus du Toit. On our second night we went to join them for a frog talk and excursion that rangers Masindi Raselabe and Johannes Matabata and community officer Marloise Groenewald from SanParks were hosting.
Our first impression was how well behaved the kids were! They were all completely attentive and hanging on Masindi’s every word. We learnt about the life cycle of frogs, and that many frogs of the same species have different markings, which means that you can only tell their Read more »
The Bontebok National Park near Swellendam in the Western Cape is the smallest national park in the country - just 3495 hectares - but has been so important for the survival of South Africa's rarest antelope.
The park was originally established in 1931, taking over from a group of farmers who had, in 1864, realised the importance of protecting the last remaining bontebok from extinction. Colonial hunters had reduced their numbers from probably several hundred thousand to just a hand full. Land was first found near Bredasdorp, but this area was not well suited to the animals and in 1960 the park was moved to where it is now. It plays an important role in both preserving and breeding bontebok for other parks as well as conserving the precious coastal renosterveld, much of which has been Read more »