When you think South Africa, you immediately think game reserves and wildlife. However, the most popular game reserves are in the north of the country such as the Kruger National Park (which is the biggest one BTW). Does this mean that you have to travel all the way up north to see wildlife in their natural habitat? Definitely not! There are some 5-Star game reserves within the Western Cape and most importantly in striking distance from Cape Town.
Wanna know where? Check these out!
Why go there? One of the most luxurious places for a Cape Town safari which is a 10,000-hectare reserve in the Karoo. The reserve’s Kuganha tented camp offers a unique experience to rest your head if a day trip from Cape Town seems too rushed.
You can see the Big Five here, as well as giraffes, hippos and cheetahs. Aside from the wildlife you will spot on a game drive, Inverdoorn is also home to a cheetah educational centre.
How far from Cape Town? Only 2 and a half hours drive
What accommodation facilities do they have? Luxury safari tents, lodges, chalets and suites
What activities do they offer? Day Visit and Overnight Safaris plus the cheetah educational centre!
Why go there? Sanbona is another of the best game reserves for safaris near Cape Town. More adventurous travellers can strike out on a walking safari at the Explorer Camp; alternatively, there are three lodges at which to stay. This huge reserve is 58,000 hectares. It’s possible to spot the Big Five and (if you’re lucky) other rare animals, such as aardvarks and caracals.
At Sanbona, you can also see rare white lions and riverine rabbits, the latter of which is only known to inhabit the central Karoo. And it’s not just flora and fauna: the San and Khoi-Khoi rock art found here dates back over 3,500 years.
How far from Cape Town? Only 3 and a half hours drive
What accommodation facilities do they have? 3 lodges and a campsite, including the eco-friendly Dwyka Tented Lodge and the family-friendly Gondwana Lodge.
What activities do they offer? Game drives, walking safaris, boat safaris, rock-art tours, hiking and birding
Why go there? Aquila is a great choice for a Cape Town safari day trip as it’s only a couple of hours outside the city. Safaris run three times a day, allowing plenty of options for those on a brief visit. If you’re very short on time, but not on cash, opt for the fly-in helicopter safari.
Aside from the Big Five, there are 170 bird species on Aquila’s 10,000-hectare reserve and big mammals like giraffes and hippos. Aquila also have an animal rescue centre and Cape leopard research facilities on site.
How far from Cape Town? Only 2 hours drive
What accommodation facilities do they offer? 4-star lodge and luxury cottages, both with standard, premier and family rooms.
What activities do they offer? game drives, horseback safaris, quad biking and helicopter fly-in safaris
Why go there? Situated in the heart of the West Coast, an hour away from Cape Town, you’ll find Buffelsfontein Game & Nature Reserve. This 1600 ha family owned reserve is home to some of Africa’s greats such as Lion, Buffalo, White Rhino and Giraffe. Visitors can either enjoy an unforgettable guided game drive, a delicious meal or a good night’s rest.
How far from Cape Town? Only 1 hours drive
What accommodation facilities do they offer? Chalets, 4-sleeper cottages (self-catering or full board), guest houses for bigger groups.
What activities do they offer? Game drives (by guided tours or on bicycles!), restaurant and bar.
Why go there? The 11,000-hectare reserve is a little over four hours outside Cape Town, but well worth the journey for the beautiful fynbos scenery alone, which you can learn about on a guided walk. Its flora, as well as the fauna, is what makes it one of the best game reserves for safaris near Cape Town.
The reserve introduced the first black rhino of recent times to the Western Cape; the rhinos were found in the region up until the late 18th century. All the Big Five are counted at Gondwana, alongside birds that are only found in South Africa.
How far from Cape Town? Only 4 hours drive
What accommodation facilities do they offer? 4 options including spacious villas for families or groups, and a tented eco-camp.
What activities do they offer? Game drives, fynbos walks, picnics, hikes, mountain biking and fishing.