1. Agulhas National Park, South Africa
Cape Agulhas is best known as the southernmost tip of Africa, with a cairn marking the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans collide. But other sights abound too, such as its candystriped lighthouse. Inland, you’ll find plains carpeted with lowland fynbos (scrubland) and wetlands with exotic wildlife such as micro frogs. The park recently unveiled the Iconic Map of Africa Monument, a 30m-wide 3D relief map of the African continent.
2. Kakadu National Park, Australia
Australia’s largest national park turns 40 this year, and the federal government has promised to invest A$200 million in it. Saltwater crocodiles and close to 13,000 other species, such as sandy wallabies, can be found within its borders that span savannah woodlands, wetlands and lowlands. It’s also home to Aboriginal cave paintings and rock carvings dating back over 20,000 years – archaeological marvels recognised by Unesco.
3. Kahurangi National Park, New Zealand
Earlier this year, this national park, which shot to fame thanks to its starring role in the Lord of the Rings movies, was expanded by 64,000ha – roughly half the size of Auckland. It now measures a whopping 517,335ha in total, making it the second largest national park in New Zealand. Within its folds lie a multitude of rare creatures, from the endangered great spotted kiwi to over 20 species of carnivorous land snails.
4. Grand Canyon National Park, United States
Arizona’s UNESCO-designated national park has long been mesmerising visitors with its spectacular geological formations and shifting, shimmering hues. Challenge yourself with one of its many hiking tracks, such as the 15.3km Bright Angel Trail, which offers spectacular views of the inner canyon. The park is currently commemorating its centenary with a year-long calendar of events, including lectures on the canyon’s rich history.
5. Yorkshire Dales National Park, United Kingdom
Britain’s 15 National Parks are celebrating their 70th anniversary this year. While most visitors flock to the better-known, postcard-perfect Lake District, the vastly underrated Yorkshire Dales in northern England – with its windswept moors and craggy outcrops – is equally worthy of mention. It’s a landscape best explored on foot or by bike, thanks to an extensive network of pathways like the Swale Trail, which opened in the spring of 2018.
6. Southern Cardamom National Park, Cambodia
For a long time, this swathe of land located a few hours from Phnom Penh was under threat from illegal loggers and poachers. Fortunately, it has since come under the protection of the Cambodian government and the Wildlife Alliance. To promote sustainable tourism, glamping resort Shinta Mani Wild set up camp here late last year. The luxe resort makes a great base to explore the entirety of the park.
Illustration by Nathalie Lees
SEE ALSO: By the numbers: Camp Adventure, Denmark
This article was originally published in the July 2019 issue of SilverKris magazine