Bordering the northern tip of Lesotho in the Free State of South Africa, the Golden Gate Highlands National Park is named for the golden hues of its sandstone cliffs as the sun sets upon them. The park has a population of rare creatures (wildebeest, springbok, ibis, and bearded vulture among them), many caverns (the weathered recesses of Cathedral Cave are especially worth a tour), and a handful of superlative vantage points that the park's rock formations provide.
Brandwag Rock (pictured) is the most famous, but the two-day Rhebok Trail is an excellent way to test your conditioning and see the best wilderness views in the region, while the climb to the top of 2,495 meter/8,185 foot Generaalskop will test even the hardiest trekker.
Location:Free State, South Africa
Note:The Golden Gate Highlands are about 4.5 hours from both Durban and Johannesburg.