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South Africa, Cape Town

Trying to find the best nature reserves/safaris.

My wife and I are both vets and are spending our 3rd anniversary exploring South Africa. Not surprisingly, we want to visit some nature reserves and do a safari tour or two while we're there. Can someone tell us what the best ones are?

We're touching down in Cape Town then want to travel around the country.  We'll be there three weeks total, but haven't decided how much time to spend in each place or exactly where yet and we were hoping anyone who's ever been can help us decide.  Thanks in advance. 

4 Answers

top answer by
David from San Francisco

Echo what other folks are saying about Kruger National Park.  You'll want to fly into Johannesburg and take a shuttle or drive.  We stayed at a smaller bush camp called Notten's Bush Camp, which was amazing.  They share traversing rights with some of the larger private reserves nearby, so you get a more intimate setting with lots of good land to explore. (1 - 1.5 weeks)

Also mentioned here is the The Garden Route.  Worthwhile drive from Cape Town to Knysna and back (and through the winelands, maybe).  Beautiful drive. (1 - 1.5 weeks).

...then spend the balance in Cape Town.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kruger National Park (amusement park)
  2. Johannesburg (city)
  3. Notten's Bush Camp (hotel)
  4. The Garden Route (attraction)
  5. Cape Town (city)
  6. Knysna (city)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered first by

South Africa is an incredible country. If going on safari , I've heard that Kruger National Park is a must. Unfortunately, I didn't have a chance to get up there when I lived in Cape Town. I did go to a wonderful yet smaller game reserve several hours from Cape Town - Aquila Safari

Depending on how much time you have, I also recommend taking the The Garden Route, visiting the Cape Peninsula Boulders Beach, and going wine tasting around Cape Town. If you are adventurous there is Shark cage diving with Great Whites in Gansbaai

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kruger National Park (amusement park)
  2. Aquila Safari (attraction)
  3. The Garden Route (attraction)
  4. Boulders Beach (attraction)
  5. Gansbaai (city)
5 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Gordon from Ojai

From Cape Town it would take too long to drive, if you can, change your flight to Johannesburg and you will be able to easily drive to the beach at Durban and then onward up to Kruger. On your way you can stop in Graskop where they have a pretty awesome bungee/swing over a large gorge.

I stayed at Sabie Park which is a small reserve with a mix of small game being seen on any given day, it borders Kruger National Park and is only a short drive from one of the main entrances.

Kruger is a large reserve with many places to stay in and around the park. Staying inside the park has its pros and cons. The main negative being that there is a curfew that you are required to abide by, however, this is definitely outweighed by the fact that you can get an early start to the day deep inside of the park. This is important because there are some areas that take a long time to get to, areas that will increase your chances of seeing the Big 5.

You will hear people talk a lot about the "Big 5" this includes: lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo. Some people have gone years without seeing them all, usually the one that is the hardest to come by is the leopard, so don't feel bad if you don't spot the whole set your first trip. Really one of the most fun animals to see are packs of wild dogs; small little guys, that are very hard to come by.

Don't be afraid of the animals that approach your car usually elephants will mock charge, toss their head and stamp their feet a bit but the occurrence shown below is rare. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Cape Town (city)
  2. Johannesburg (city)
  3. Durban (attraction)
  4. Graskop (city)
  5. Sabie Park (metro area)
  6. Kruger National Park (amusement park)
4 thankscomments (1)

answered by
Lizette from Cape Town

Hi, the Kruger National Park has the best to offer or you can google places near there. My parents just went there last month and saw the big 5.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Kruger National Park (amusement park)
3 thankscomments (1)

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