Welcome back to the blog! If you were here last week, you’ll have seen the first installment of this mini-series: The world’s favorite National Parks: part 1, where we’ve been counting down the ultimate national parks around the globe. Today we’re back with round two, where we’ll be heading further east from the Americas and setting our sights on Europe, Africa, Asia, and Oceana. Let’s get right to it!
Kruger, South Africa
We’re heading to Kruger National Park in South Africa first, which is apparently one of the oldest and most famous parks in the world. Kruger is around 200 miles long and 40 miles wide, giving its wild animals real room to grow and live their lives peacefully.
Incredibly, you can spot the Big 5 at this park (leopards, lions, elephants, buffalos, and rhinoceroses) as well as another 145 species of mammal, 500 species of bird, 230 different types of butterfly, 110 species of reptile, and up to 330 types of trees, which is plenty to be getting on with we think.
Getting around the park is simple thanks to its well signposted and well-maintained trails that can be completed either on foot or in a safari tour group, which run throughout the day. You can even lodge on site, and there’s something for everyone, whether you want a romantic getaway for two or full on family frolics in this delightful and flawless landscape that’ll have you snapping away on your camera continually.
In Nordic mythology, Jotunheimen is home of the giants, so it’s no surprise this mammoth sized park was named after them. With 440 square miles of trails to track your way through, Jotunheimen is the largest of Norway’s national parks.
With striking views as far as the eye can see, you can escape the every day in this stunning landscape. You can even spot 26 of Norway’s highest peaks dotted around the scenery (or try to climb them if you’re really daring!).
During winter, Jotunheimen is a popular spot for skiers, so if that’s your kind of holiday, I guess it’s time to think ahead and book your Nordic ski holiday too (where you’ll have a much different experience than you would in the US, that’s for sure). If you’re more of a hiker, you’ll find enough trails in this national park to keep you satisfied too. One of the best things to do at Jotunheimen is climb the Galdhøpiggen, where you’ll get some spectacular views to write home about.
Khao Sok National Park, Thailand
We’re heading to southern Thailand now, where you’ll discover Khao Sok National Park – with dense forest and jungle features to rival any of the other national parks we’ve already talked about. Here you can trek through the jungle and rainforest, meet elephants, and even take yourself uplake in a canoe, unless you take a guided tour along the water that is…
Unlike the desert landscape and the exotic and wild animals of South Africa’s Kruger, Khao Sok offers even more exotic creatures like gibbons, tigers, leopards, and for those not scared of snakes: pythons. There’s also a wide variety of beautiful flora and fauna that thrive off of the humid and wet atmosphere that south Thailand has to offer.
This spot alone gets almost 12 ft of rain per year, and chances are you’ll be getting wet no matter what time of year you choose to visit Khao Sok. Having said that, you’ll get the best weather between December and April, so be mindful of that if you’re wanting to stay as comfortable as possible. If you don’t mind what time of year you go, try November, December, or January, as you’ll get to witness their orchids in full bloom, which is a sight to behold.
Abel Tasman National Park, New Zealand
If we jump continents now, we’ll land in New Zealand, in the south island’s world famous Abel Tasman park, which may be New Zealand’s smallest national park, but it’s a breathtaking one which can be trekked over a few days.
Tourists flock to Abel Tasman year on year, with many choosing the popular hiking routes that also allow them to camp their way through the remarkable trail which offers everything from lucious, sandy beaches to dense thickets of ferns and trees. The routes are available for all abilities, ranging from complete beginners to advanced walkers who want a challenge. If you’re not up for a long walk though, you can take the water taxi up and down the bay, where you may even catch a glimpse of dolphins if you’re lucky. Otherwise, New Zealand is known for its lack of venomous and dangerous creatures, which should make you feel at ease if you do want to camp. New Zealand is well-known for its beautiful birds though, who are so used to people walking these routes that they’re completely docile, and will often come close to get a good view of you.
Kakadu Park, Australia
We’ve almost made a full turn of the globe, and we’re ending our search for the world’s favorite national parks down under, where UNESCO World Heritage Kakadu National Park awaits you.
If you’re looking for millions of birds (literally), this site is the spot for you, and you’ve got up to 7,700 square miles to discover, so you’ll never run out of things to do here. Kakadu sits in the north of Australia, and you’ll find every type of landscape there is on offer throughout the coutry (apart from the drylands), making this an intriguing and striking national park with a lot to offer. Catch waterfalls in all their glory, as well as swamps and gorges, and uncover cave paintings from the deep past of Australia’s native people.
The best time to visit this park is between May and October, when the weather is at its best and the views are to die for. You’ll need a park pass to enter the park, and the tours range from boat trips, walking tours, scenic flights and even coach tours, that you’ll need to plan well in advance.
Recap of the World’s Favorite National Parks
So there we have it – the world’s favorite national parks in their full glory. We’ve had:
- Zion National Park, Utah
- Yellowstone, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho
- The Grand Canyon, Arizona
- Banff, Canada
- Los Glaciares, Argentina
- The Galápagos, Ecuador
- Maasai Mara, Kenya
- Kruger, South Africa
- Jotunheimen, Norway
- Khao Sok, Thailand
- Abel Tasman, New Zealand
- Kakadu, Australia
but which one is your favorite? Let us know down below in the comments, and we’ll be back next week for April’s first installment!