#BlackPanther: You can visit Wakanda IRL at Golden Gate National Park

2018-02-26 21:00 - Gabi Zietsman
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Cape Town - Still need some more Wakanda in your life? The Atlanta Airport may be offering flights to the fictional Wakanda, but for us South Africans it's only a hop, skip and jump away in the Free State.

Although most of the scenes in Black Panther were filmed in South America, the US and South Korea, Business Insider revealed in an interview with local drone cinematographer Jonathan O'Connell that some of the aerial scenes were in fact shot in Golden Gate Highlands National Park.

SEE: Want to fly to Wakanda? Atlanta Airport wins on social media with Black Panther post

The scenes were digitally enhanced to insert futuristic Wakandan aircraft and a high-tech African city in the South African landscape, and it's not hard to see why the Maluti Mountains was chosen for these breathtaking scenes.

Besides its conservation value, Golden Gate is also a historically significant site, filled with artefacts and rock art left behind by Khoisan, and subsequent farming and clashes between Voortrekkers, British, Basotho and Zulu groups had changed the landscape drastically over the years.

ALSO SEE: #BlackPanther filming spots bursting with African Pride

Here's why Golden Gate Highlands National Park is the perfect place to live out your Wakandan fantasies.

Ride a horse through the bush and pretend it's a rhino

Unfortunately, you'll never be able to ride a rhino like W'Kabi into battle, but you can ride a horse through the wild landscape of Golden Gate. You can feel like royalty riding through the highlands, through streams and over rocky terrain. There are one to two-hour trails from Gladstone Stables, although it is weather dependent. 

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Hike up the mountains where you may bump into M'Baku

The hills and mountains of Maluti are a lot less chilly than Jabari in Wakanda, which is great for hiking trails up over the buttress on the Brandwag and Mushroom Rock Trails. Ranging from low to medium difficulty, these trails will get you up-close with the natural beauty of the park's rock-faces.

SEE: Wild Coast: The ultimate 5-day hiking guide 

(Photo: iStock)

Watch vultures dine on carcasses

Feeling a bit peckish after your Wakandan adventures? The Vulture's Restaurant is a superb bird hide where avid birdwatchers can spy on these endangered animals feasting on non-poisoned carcasses. Vultures are often targeted for illegal use in traditional medicine, but fortunately, there are K9-units are out on patrol to protect them - just like T'Challa.

SEE: #ShockWildlifeTruths: New K9 Unit in KZN locates poisoned vulture carcasses within first month 

Travel back in time to an 18th century Basotho village

Showcasing the cultural heritage of the region, the Basotho Cultural Village gives visitors the opportunity to experience the daily lives of a South African village before colonisation in true Wakandan style. You can chat with a traditional healer or the local chief, stay over in Sotho architectural splendour and have a sip of sorghum beer.

SEE: Extreme exploring the eastern Free State of Adventure: 5 Things to do  

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