Many visitors to South Africa want to tick a safari off their bucket lists. Visiting one of the big national parks up north is first prize for a real African safari, but if you’re not staying for a long time you might be looking for safari accommodation right near Cape Town. Good news! There are a number of places under three hours from the City Centre where you can view some of Africa’s most impressive wildlife. They’re close by, malaria-free, and small enough to ensure you see a lot of wildlife.

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Ashia is a sanctuary for cheetahs and other beautiful cats, located just outside of Paarl. They’re also pioneering conservation efforts by releasing captive-born cheetahs back into the protected wild. Jasmin, a four-year-old female cheetah, is one of the first in their Cheetah Release Programme to be released at Kuzuko Lodge, a 15 000ha reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. This is not a traditional safari experience, but it’s a wonderful way to meet the ambassador cheetahs and even have the opportunity to watch a cheetah run. At Ashia, there are several luxurious suites. Each is a spacious en-suite unit with a fully equipped kitchenette. It’s right in the heart of the Cape Winelands too, so you could head out for some wine tasting or a delicious estate lunch while you’re in the area. If you prefer a more hands-on experience, you can also volunteer with them.

Travel time from Cape Town: 1 hour
Game: Cheetah, Serval, Leopard

Cheetah Experience Ashia safari accommodation


Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve

Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve is located just an hour from the Cape Town City Centre, on the West Coast. Their safari accommodation ranges from tents in the bush camp to luxury cottages. There’s also a guesthouse which is suitable for large groups of up to 20 people. Game drives depart twice a day, at 9am and 2pm, and last 3 hours. Guests will have the chance to spot lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, kudu, eland, oryx, blue wildebeest, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest and much more. Join the afternoon drives from Monday to Saturday to witness the feeding of the carnivores.

Travel time from Cape Town: 1 hour
Game: lion, buffalo, rhino, leopard, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, several antelope species

Aquila Private Game Reserve

At Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa you will have the opportunity to meet lions, rhino, buffalo, elephants, and leopard on traditional, quad bike, or horseback safari. There are standard or premium lodge rooms and family suites on offer, or luxury cottages for those who want a truly special stay. Aquila is fully kitted out with all the amenities you could need, including a spa, two restaurants, a saltwater pool, poolside bar, cigar lounge, conference centre, children’s entertainment area, library, and curio shop.

Travel time from Cape Town: 2 hours
Game: Lions, rhino, buffalo, elephants, and leopard

Aquila Private Game Reserve

Fairy Glen Private Game Reserve

Fairy Glen is the closest reserve to Cape Town that is home to the big 5 – lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, and rhino. The reserve is also home to giraffe, eland, zebra,  steenbok, blue wildebeest, and lynx. You can also view the Khoisan rock art which can be found at a 6,000 year-old heritage site. There are standard and luxury chalets, so this safari accommodation suits most budgets. You can enjoy horseback safaris and game drives with experienced guides.

Travel time from Cape Town: 2 hours
Game: lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino, giraffe, eland, zebra,  steenbok, blue wildebeest, and lynx

Inverdoon Game Reserve

Just over two hours from Cape Town, Inverdoorn Game Reserve is home to 29 different species of free-roaming wildlife, including cheetah, rhino, the rare Cape Barbary Lion, buffalo, giraffe, hippo, letchwe, and oryx. There is accommodation to suit most budgets, ranging from affordable lodge rooms to chalets or luxury safari tents.

Travel time from Cape Town: 2.5 hours


Planning a trip to Cape Town? Book flights, browse accommodation, and rent a car now to get the best rates. The Cape Town City Pass gives you access to over 70 of the top Cape Town attractions, tours, and things to see and do, including the popular hop on hop off City Sightseeing bus.

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