Take a walk on the wild side this year

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The family Wild Card costs R745 and after just five days in the Kruger Park, your family's card will have paid for itself. Picture: Etienne Rothbart

Johannesburg - With 2013 declared the “Wild Family Year”, it’s your chance to explore the great outdoors. Discover family activities that will take you to another world, yet bring you all closer together.

School holidays, whether long (like the ones just gone) or short (like others in the year) and pubic holidays scattered throughout the year bring quality down time for everyone. That’s plenty of time to have fun as a family. And just as much time to realise you don’t know what to do with yourselves.

Fortunately, there’s one option that doesn’t cost much; that’s just as suitable for thrill seekers and chill seekers; that’s ideal for parents and kids who want to hang out together and have fun. The great outdoors is the ultimate destination for family fun and the Wild Card makes it affordable.

An All Parks Family Wild Card gives two adults and their children a year’s free entry to more than 80 parks and reserves in South Africa and Swaziland. A family Wild Card makes provision for up to seven members: two adults and five children or one adult and six children.

And because you don’t have to pay conservation fees every time you visit, you can afford to pop in for a quick walk or a picnic whenever you feel like it. The family Wild Card costs R745 and after just five days in the Kruger Park, your family’s card will have paid for itself.

Wild Card have canvassed expert travellers and adventurers to help create the ultimate list of hands-on wild activities. Here are three exciting summer adventures to get you started:

1. Go rockpooling

This is just about the ultimate family-friendly nature activity. Scramble over sea-weedy rocks and explore the wonders of the watery world below the surface.

Remember to visit the beach at low tide – you want to access the biggest and best rockpools. Pack a net and a plastic container for your finds (just to look at; remember not to take anything home from nature reserves besides memories and pictures), and a diving mask to dip your head in the water. To peek under rock ledges, take a small mirror taped to the end of a stick.

2. Hunt for dragons and damsels

Go dragonflying and familiarise yourself with these “fierce” predators: emperors, emeralds, spreadwings, skimmers, malachites and jewels. Check out the action in ponds, wallows, rivers and dams. Some dragonflies hunt from a perch, while others cruise around looking for something to eat. Notice the differences in how they fly, where they decide to rest and what time they are active.

3. Become a shutterbug

Plan day trips to photograph nature’s beautiful scenes, animals and objects. You can choose a theme, like patterns in nature or unusual angles. Practice makes perfect. Family members can pin their images onto separate digital boards and build excitement for the next great adventure. - Saturday Star

l For more information on family-friendly destinations and seasonal activities go to: www.wildcard.co.za

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