Last updated June 2023
Going on safari experience is a must-do when visiting Africa. While Cape Town’s Mediterranean climate doesn’t lend itself to the traditional African bush experience, the Big Five – lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – are but a couple of hours’ drive from the city centre. Here’s a look at five places where you can see the big five.
Aquila Private Game Reserve
One of the most popular game reserves near Cape Town, Aquila boasts a big five safari experience. Situated in the Klein Karoo, just two hours outside of the city centre, they offer a variety of experiences. Go on a traditional game drive or explore the reserve on horseback, quad bikes, or even from the air. Aquila caters to both day visitors and those who wish to stay overnight in one of their luxury chalets.
Inverdoorn Game Reserve
A short two hour drive from Cape Town, Inverdoorn Game Reserve is well known worldwide for their cheetah rescue and rehabilitation program. This 10 000-hectare Klein Karoo park also boasts the big five, and offers both game drives, as well as unique guided walks with giraffes. Inverdoorn accommodates both day visitors and those who’d like an overnight stay in their Ibiza Safari Lodge. Transfers to and from Cape Town are also available.
Sanbona Wildlife Reserve
Another Klein Karoo favourite and also home to the big five, Sanbona is as well known for its luxury as it is for great safari experiences, which includes the rare white lion. Ranging from five star lodges to luxury tented accommodation, Sanbona has something for everyone and they offer an array of activities for kids to make it an entertaining visit for the whole family.
Garden Route Game Lodge
A bit farther afield, the popular Garden Route Game Lodge is situated along South Africa’s magnificent Garden Route, a four-hour drive from the Mother City. The reserve features the big five, a cheetah conservation centre, as well as a reptile centre. The Garden Route Game Lodge’s 3 star accommodation includes a range of options like chalets, lodge rooms, suites and family rooms and is great for families and those on a budget. Transfers to and from Cape Town can be arranged.