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Best game reserve close to Cape Town?

Within 4 hours drive of Cape Town there are a few game reserve but not many that are worth mentioning.  If you have the time I would recommend trying to get up to the Kruger Park, Madikwe or one of the Eastern Cape game reserves. If you don’t have a lot of time and would prefer to keep it local then these are the only three reserves I would recommend. Most of these reserves advertise that they are have the big five animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant & buffalo) but it would be very rare (if not impossible) to see leopard. If this is your focus then Kruger is your best bet.

  1. Gondwana Game Reserve is about 4 hours from Cape Town. I was extremely impressed with this reserve. The scenery and landscape is beautiful and it is very unique seeing lions in amongst the fynbos bush. The rooms are thatched huts with all the luxuries – fireplace, minibar, nice linen, views and the main areas are wonderful with a big swimming pool and a spa treatment room. Overall this is a great safari option close to Cape Town.  This reserve definitely has the best  game viewing close to Cape Town.
  2. Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is located about 3.5 hours from Cape Town and has three lodges on the reserve (Dwyka, Gondwana and Tilney Manor).  The very unique aspect of Sanbona are the white lions that roam the reserve however, due to the size of the reserve, animals are often very spread out which can make spotting them more difficult.
  3. Bushmanskloof is definitely not a big five game reserve however it is one of the most luxurious properties in South Africa and offers a different kind of wilderness experience. Here you can go out on game drives and see the Cape Mountain Zebra, bontebok, hartebeest, grey rhebok, African wildcat and caracal (African lynx). This will give you a little taste of being on a game drive and there are plenty of other activities.  Enjoy walks to the bushman paintings, spoiling spa treatments and perhaps try your hand at fly fishing.

For the convenience of not having to travel far these are your best options. If you are hoping for a complete big five safari experience you would have to head further north to the Kruger National Park or Madikwe Private Game Reserve.