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Game Viewing Within Driving Distance From Johannesburg

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As South Africans, one of our favourite pastimes is heading to the bush to reconnect with nature and spot as many of the Big Five as possible. Living in Joburg, we’re lucky to have several games reserves within driving distance, so they’re ideal for a weekend getaway. Here’s a list of these for you to check out. 

Qwabi Private Game Reserve

Looking for a well-deserved winter getaway for you and your family? then be sure to plan an escape to Qwabi Private Game Reserve at their private and secluded LETAMO. Offering 58 well-appointed rooms and suites are dotted across an expansive lawn which leads down to the main lodge area and pool deck, this is the ideal destination for relaxation and tranquility in the heart of nature.

Don’t miss their family-fun safari package starts from R8 985* per night for 2 adults and 2 children under the age of 16 sharing. This offer includes accommodation, two game drives daily and access to the Junior Conservationist Kids’ Club. This offer is valid for travel until 31 August 2024.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

From day and night game drives to touring the Wondercave, you’ll have the opportunity to reconnect with nature at the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve in the Cradle of Humankind. Game drives are roughly two-and-a-half hours long, taking place six days a week and giving you the chance to see nature up close. Three of the Big Five are resident here — the lion, white rhino and buffalo.

Travel time: 55 minutes from Johannesburg.

Details: https://www.rhinolion.co.za/  | 011 957 0349 | 520 Kromdraai Road, Kromdraai.

Lion & Safari Park

Our country boasts the most incredible wildlife, so why not experience it for yourself at the Lion & Safari Park in Harties. You can enjoy a guided mini-tour (one-and-a-half hours), where you’ll spot powerful predators, such as hyenas, wild dogs, lions and, if you’re lucky, a leopard lazing in a tree. Or go on a self-drive with your own vehicle between 08:30 and 17:00, allowing you to take your time and admire nature at your own pace.

Travel time: 58 minutes from Johannesburg.

Details: info@lionpark.com | 087 150 0100 | R512 Pelindaba Road, Lanseria, Broederstroom, Kalkheuvel.

Dinokeng Game Reserve

Whether you’re spending a night, a weekend or simply visiting for the day, don’t miss your chance to see the famous Big Five at the Dinokeng Game Reserve, situated just outside Pretoria. This reserve is the first free-roaming Big Five game reserve in Gauteng that’s next to an urbanised area. The Dinokeng Game Reserve Self-Drive Route was launched in 2014 and offers various routes for you to enjoy with family and friends. Book the self-drive or guided drive by contacting the reserve.

Travel time: From 1 hour and 15 minutes to 1 hour and 30 minutes.

Details: http://www.dinokengreserve.co.za/ | 012 711 4391 | Dinokeng Game Reserve, R734, Pretoria.

Mongena Game Lodge

Need to escape the crazy city? Then why not head to a bush lodge that guarantees a safari experience like no other? Mongena Game Lodge is a malaria-free retreat where you can experience the best of from nature. It’s a great location if you’re into bird watching while the game you can expect to see includes lion, elephant, rhino, cheetah, zebra, warthog, hyena, and buffalo.

Travel time: From 1 hour and 30 minutes to 1 hour and 45 minutes.

Details: www.mongena.co.za | 012 711 8920 | Rust de Winter Road, Dinokeng Game Reserve, Hammanskraal.

African Hill Safari Lodge

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of the African bush at the African Hills Safari Lodge & Spa. Located within the 6800-hectare Plumari Private Reserve in the Magaliesburg, just an hour’s drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, this four-star lodge offers a memorable big game experience in a malaria-free environment. The lodge offers a range of experiences, from game drives and hiking to elephant experiences and historical tours.

Travel time: From 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Details: https://www.africanhillslodge.co.za/ |  082 416 1340 | R560, Doornspruit Road, Magaliesburg.

Mabula Game Lodge

There is no way you could drive out this far only for the afternoon! But if you happen to be in Limpopo looking for a game adventure and a breather, book a stay at the Mabula Game Lodge. Not only will you experience diverse landscapes ranging from grassland plains to rocky stretches, but you’ll also find free-roaming wildlife, including the Big Five, who call this reserve home. Safari drives take place twice a day and are a magical experience that you don’t want to miss!

Travel time: Just under 3 hours.

Details: www.mabula.com | 014 734 7000 | Mabula Private Game Reserve, Rhenosterhoek Spruit Road, Bela-Bela.

Pilanesberg National Park

The Pilanesberg is one of the country’s most popular wildlife destinations, so if you feel like experiencing everything the beautiful bushveld has to offer, visit Pilanesberg National Park. Take in the spectacular landscape, go on game viewing drives  (self-drive or guided) or do some bird watching during a game walk. There’s almost 200km of game drive routes to choose from with plenty of hideouts and scenic picnic spots. As for accommodation, you’re spoilt for choice with many lodges in the area.

Travel time: 2 hours and 35 minutes.

Details: pilanesbergnationalpark.org | 014 555 1600 | Pilanesberg National Park, Pilanesberg.

Welgevonden Game Reserve

Welgevonden Game Reserve, spanning 36,000ha in South Africa’s Limpopo Province, is situated within the UNESCO Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. This location is dedicated to preserving biodiversity sustainably. Positioned near Gauteng, it’s easily reachable, being a a 45-minute flight from Johannesburg to its airstrips. Welgevonden stands out as a prominent malaria-free big five wilderness reserve, renowned for its accessibility and premier status.

Travel time: 2 hours and 30 minutes.

Details: info@welgevonden.org | 014 161 0800 | Welgevonden Game reserve, Main Gate, Vaalwater.

Loved out list of game viewing opportunities close to Joburg? Here are some great spots to have a weekend away close to the city (that feels like you’re completely out of the city).

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