Cape Town & Safari

Explore the fantastic game reserves within the Eastern Cape, either a short drive or flight away from Cape Town

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Cape Town presents incredible game-watching chances right near the city's heart. Numerous wildlife and nature reserves in the vicinity offer exceptional excursions, and the most noteworthy aspect is that they are all malaria-free. Oh, and did we mention that you'll have the chance to spot the Big Five? Here are our top picks.

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These remarkable destinations offer a chance to immerse yourself in the breathtaking beauty of South Africa's wildlife and landscapes, providing unforgettable memories of your safari adventure.

Ben Nelson
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From Cape Town

Whether you be in Cape Town, The Winelands or Hermanus, these game reserves are not far away. You can drive to them in no time at all.

Gondwana Private Game Reserve

Approximately 4.5 hours by car from Cape Town

Gondwana Private Game Reserve is a mere 4.5-hour scenic drive from Cape Town, making the journey itself a part of the adventure. Upon arrival, guests can select from a range of accommodation options, including Kwena Lodge, Tented Eco Camp, or the Walking Camp. The reserve offers thrilling game drives for encountering the Big Five, but there's more to enjoy, such as mountain biking and hiking. Please note that shared game drives are not suitable for children under the age of 6 - though private drives are available for families with younger than 6.

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Approximately 3 hours by car from Cape Town

Situated just a 3-hour drive from Cape Town, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve stands as one of the few places globally where you can witness free-roaming white lions in their natural habitat, alongside cheetahs, elephants, and zebras. Nestled in the arid Little Karoo at the foot of the Warmwaterberg Mountains, this expansive 143,000-acre reserve offers four lodging options. We recommend Dwyka Tented Lodge, a chic tented camp set in a captivating rock amphitheater. With its vast open spaces and limited lodges, Sanbona provides an ideal environment for disconnecting from the world.

See the Big 5

The Eastern Cape is blessed with fantastic game reserves and many are home to The Big 5. However, not all of them are so if seeing them is a priority, please make it known.

From Port Elizabeth

Just a short 1-hour flight from Cape Town, you can reach Port Elizabeth and be within striking distance of some fabulous game reserves—or no flight is required if you're driving the Garden Route (Port Elizabeth is the end of the Garden Route).

Shamwari Game Reserve

1.5 hour road transfer from Port Elizabeth

Shamwari Game Reserve is widely acclaimed as one of the premier private game reserves in the Eastern Cape and ranks among the largest in the country. This vast expanse of land encompasses diverse landscapes and habitats, ensuring an enriching game-drive experience. In addition to the Big Five, Shamwari is also home to cheetahs. They have a number of camps to choose from: Long Lee Manor, Riverdene, Explorer Camp, Bayethe, Eagles Crag, Sindile or Sarili.

Kwandwe Game Reserve

2 hour road transfer from Port Elizabeth

Kwandwe Game Reserve sprawls over 22,000 hectares of unspoiled wilderness on both sides of the meandering Great Fish River. Known for its top-quality guides, authentic experiences, and a profusion of wildlife species, Kwandwe offers a range of guided and walking activities, providing ample opportunities to encounter the Big Five. Guests can choose between Great Fish River Lodge, Ecca Lodge, or one of their Private Villas.

What about Kruger

Kruger remains an option. You just have to fly to Johannesburg and take a scenic flight into camp, which tends to cost more and entails longer travel times. It is also worth noting that Kurger tends to be out of season (wet) when Cape Town is in season - though many would argue Kruger is a year round destination.

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