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South Africa has so many beautiful adventures to offer locals and foreigners alike that it’s hard to pinpoint just one experience. If you are after a safari adventure and the chance to see the Big 5 Cape Town then we have you covered.

With this useful guide, you can explore and experience our rugged wilderness and get a chance to view some of the most beautiful animals around. If you aren’t sure what the Big Five consists of then here is a refresher:

  • The African lion
  • The African elephant
  • The Cape Buffalo
  • The Africa leopard
  • The Rhino

The game reserves listed below are all in the Western Cape province, a malaria-free zone in South Africa.

Where to see the Big 5 in Cape Town

1. Aquila Game Reserve

Aquila Game Reserve is set in the beautiful Karoo highlands against the mountains. This game reserve is only two hours from Cape Town and has a variety of wild animals. One of the biggest attractions, however, is the Big Five.

Enjoy a three-hour safari where you will be introduced to these magnificent animals all under the care of an experienced, knowledgeable guide. Sip on a refreshing welcome drink and take in your surroundings before you hop on one of Aquila’s traditional bush vehicles. This game viewing experience will leave you breathless.

Did you know: The Aquila Rehabilitation and Conservation Centre (ARC) is an outdoor sanctuary sponsored by the reserve that is dedicated to facilitating once doomed ‘canned lions’. These lions live out the remainder of their lives in the comfort and safety of lush one-hectare fenced camps. The ARC is also home to rescued leopards and cheetahs that are cared for as part of a cheetah breeding program.

The Aquila Game Reserve safari is an attraction included in your Cape Town City Pass.

2. Fairy Glen

Fairy Glen is an hour’s drive from Cape Town and it is tucked away at the foot of the famous Brandwacht mountains. This beautiful Big Five Game Reserve is surrounded by proteas and fynbos vegetation.

Your experience at Fairy Glen will be intimate and special as you can get up close and personal with some of the world’s most beautiful animals. Make sure you bring your camera because the photo opportunities are endless. Although the reserve is home to the Big Five, the mountain leopards of the area roam freely in Fairy Glen. The leopards aren’t seen often as they are quite shy and hunt mostly at night.

The experienced game rangers and guides will make sure that you enjoy every second of your time at Fairy Glen and they are more than happy to answer any of your questions.

3. Inverdoorn Game Reserve

This game reserve is filled with a variety of animals and natural wildlife within the Klein Karoo just 2.5 hours away from Cape Town. Inverdoorn has made a significant contribution to sustaining the biodiversity of the region. This 10 000-hectare reserve is also home to the cheetah conservation centre.

This beautiful game reserve is not only home to the Big Five, but to a host of other beautiful animals like zebras, hippos, giraffes, wildebeest, springbok, and of course cheetahs. With exceptional wildlife encounters, breathtaking scenery and modern accommodation – you are in for a treat when you visit Inverdoorn Game Reserve. The experienced guides at Inverdoorn will make sure that your safari experience is one to remember.

4. Gondwana Game Reserve

Gondwana Game Reserve is situated less than four hours outside of Cape Town along the picturesque Garden Route. The 11 000-hectare Private Game Park is home to free-roaming Big Five, herds of eland, giraffe, hippos, cheetah, and zebra.

The setting of Gondwana is absolutely majestic and you will be spoilt with views of the Langeberg and Outeniqua Mountains in every direction. Aside from the beautiful animals that you will get a chance to see, the reserve is home to indigenous fynbos that covers the undulating valleys.

With magnificent views and the chance to see the Big Five, this authentic African experience is one that you simply can’t pass up.

5. Sanbona Wildlife Reserve

Sanbona Wildlife Reserve is just a 3-hour drive from Cape Town and is situated in the heart of the Little Karoo along Route 62. What you may not have known about Route 62 is that it is the longest wine route. This gives you an opportunity to stop off on your way there and stock up on the region’s mouthwatering wine.

Situated at the foot of the towering Warmwaterberg Mountains this game reserve is situated on 58 000-hectares of beautiful, wild Karoo plains. What you may not know is that there are rare examples of San rock art that date back more than 3500 years.

Sanbona is much more than a safari and home to the Big Five – the vast landscape and raw beauty will take your breath away and leave you with memories that will last a lifetime.

Whether you want to have a quiet, relaxing getaway or embark on every experience possible at one of these game reserves, you will be spoilt for options.