Snapped is a companion piece to the hugely successful, "I turned away and she was gone"
Cape Town safari adventures and game drive experiences
You don’t need to travel far to meet the big five and other animals
In Cape Town we’re lucky enough to have breathtaking and luxurious game reserves relatively close by, perfect for a day trip out or a weekend getaway. Grab the family and explore the amazing wildlife on game drives, walking tours, 4x4 rides or even plane rides. Here’s where you can find eight superb reserves for incredible wildlife experiences.
WINE AND DINE AMONG THE GOLDEN WILDEBEEST
Ever seen a golden wildebeest? They're pretty rare and truly unique to Vredenheim Animal Farm. In a short game drive, you'll get to see sables, blue wildebeest, golden wildebeest, zebra, springbok and fallow deer. Bird-lovers will appreciate spotting the white pelican, blue crane and the spur-winged geese. If you’re lucky, you may even catch a glimpse of the elusive yellow billed kite.
Let the little ones get up close and personal with Vredenheim Animal Farm's goats, chickens, bunnies, cows and even turkeys. The farm is open every day of the week with a host of activities your kids will love. Let them race around the bike track, dig holes in the sandpit, visit the big cats and explore the farm on a tractor ride at Vredenheim Animal Park.
Wine and dine: Onsite the Hudson’s Restaurant and Restaurant Barrique are open and ready for visitors. Plus, taste the full range of Vredenheim’s wines at the Tasting Room.
Overnight stay: You can also enjoy a getaway weekend at Vredenheim’s two luxury guest houses, Luxury Lady and M’Lord.
Distance: It’s a short 40 minute drive from Cape Town
R310 Baden Powell Drive Stellenbosch | +27 (0)21 881 3878 | vredenheim.co.za
SPOT THE BIG 5 IN STYLE
Home to one of Cape Town's most upmarket wildlife experiences, the Sanbona Wildlife Reserve in the Klein Karoo is just three hours from the city centre. Spot the big five, as well as giraffes, the endangered riverine rabbit and the rare white lion all in one interactive game drive. Kids under the age of four will be kept entertained while you go game-viewing: they can discover the garden of Gondwana and track down indigenous flora and fauna with the rangers.
Wine and dine: Each lodge is kitted out with its own restaurant facilities and a special boma evening.
Overnight stay: Stay a night, or two, at one of the reserve’s extravagant game lodges, including one to tempt adventurous explorers and another that caters specifically to families. Gondwana Family Lodge and the seasonal Explorer Camp are open to visitors from 1 October.
Distance: Just under three hours from Cape Town's city centre.
R62 Between Montagu & Barrydale | +27 (0)21 010 0028 | sanbona.com
DINE IN STYLE ALONG HERDS OF WILD GAME
Situated along the spectacular Garden Route, the 4200-hectare Botlierskop Private Game Reserve offers visitors luxury game drives. Botlierskop i shome to the big five, and also has a choice of activities for the whole family to enjoy, including horseback safaris and guided bush trails.
Wine and dine: Dine in style at the Bellevue Restaurant. The beef and venison burger are an easy crowd-favourite but if you’re looking for something adventurous try Bellevue’s steaks. Bookings are essential, and you can book online via botlierskop.co.za.
Overnight stay: Stay in the elegantly decorated tented accommodation or manor house suites, or opt for the child-friendly Village Lodge.
Distance: The game reserve is just over 4 and a half hours away from Cape Town.
Gonnakraal Road Little Brak River | +27 (0)44 696 6055 | botlierskop.co.za
YOU CAN STILL MAKE IT HOME BY NIGHTFALL
Aquila Private Game Reserve is not too far away from the Mother City, making it a perfect afternoon getaway. Bring the family and enjoy an intimate wildlife tour. Get up close and personal with the king of the jungle, the lion, as well as majestic full-grown elephants, rhinos, springbucks and more. You can pick your vehicle of choice. Would you try a rugged tour on horseback or prefer relaxing inside a game vehicle? You could also bounce through the terrain on a quad bike or see it all from above in a plane trip to Aquila Private Game Reserve.
Wine and dine: The Aquila Restaurant has gone through a considerable revamp and is open for bookings via aquilasafari.com.
Overnight stays: Right now only half-day and full-day game tours falling on Fridays and Saturdays are available.
Distance: Aquila Game Reserve is a comfortable two hours drive out of Cape Town.
R46, Touws River | +27 (0)21 430 7260 | aquilasafari.com
GAZE AT STARS AND EXPLORE ANCIENT ROCK PAINTINGS
The scenic beauty and dramatic rock formations of the southern Cederberg mountains give this four-star private game reserve a memorably majestic feel. Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve has the prime spot to take in astounding geology, abundant plant life, breathtaking starry skies and 6000-year-old San art.
Wine and dine: There is a full service bar and restaurant on site to serve you breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Overnight stay: Lounge right inside a unique man-made cave or a kitted out thatched-hut with the reserve’s Cave and Hut’ Suits. There’s enough space in the Hut Suites to comfortably fit a family of five. Both the Cave and Hut Suites are available and ready for guests.
Distance: Kagga Kamma Private Game Reserve is just under three and a half hours away from Cape Town.
R303, Koue Bokkeveld | Cederberg | +21 (0)21 872 4343 | kaggakamma.co.za
WATCH A CHEETAH RUN AT FULL SPEED
Home to one of the most celebrated cheetah rescue and rehabilitation sanctuaries in the world, as well as over 1,200 wild animals including the big five, the Inverdoorn Game Reserve boasts unbeatable wildlife adventures. As a day trip guests can enjoy a refreshing, welcoming drink on arrival, a three-hour game drive with a guide until 1pm, and a delicious buffet lunch under the trees until the end of the day.
The Cheetah Conservation Center is open and ready for overnight visitors. Bring the kids or find out for yourself about the Cheetahs of the reserve. Plus, you may get the chance to see a cheetah run at full speed, 120km/h.
Wine and dine: Day guests can enjoy a buffet lunch of five starters, two main courses and two desserts. For overnight guests you’ll also get an added breakfast at 9am.
Overnight stay: From 1 October guests can stay overnight in the reserves Lodge Room, Ambassador Suite, Ambassador Chalet or the Tankwa Chalet. You can book online via inverdoorn.com.
Distance: It’s a short two and half drive from Cape Town to the Inverdoorn lodge.
R356, Sutherland Road Ceres | +27 (0)21 422 0013 | inverdoorn.com
SPOT ANIMALS RIGHT OUTSIDE YOUR WINDOW
For a wildlife experience that won't break the bank, look no further than Buffelsfontein. What was once a cattle farm is now the ideal place to see three of the big five – namely lion, rhino and buffalo – up close. Also catch a glimpse of cheetah, giraffe, zebra, and blue wildebeest.
Wine and dine: The game or venison pie is drool-worthy but their “call the doctor” burger is definitely a crowd-favorite at the restaurant and bar onsite. Bookings are essential. You can book online via buffelsfontein.co.za.
Overnight stay: The Bush Camp, self-catering chalets, guest house and cottages are all open and ready for visitors. To get up close and personal with the animals, the cottages sit right next to the watering holes where the animals come to quench their thirst. Between now and the end of October 2020 Buffelsfontein is offering a three-night special on overnight stays. It's valid for all accommodation options and full guided game drive are at half-price.
Distance: Buffelsfontein is an hour’s drive outside of Cape Town.
R27, West Coast | +27 (0)22 451 2824 | buffelsfontein.co.za
THE SAFARI OF THE SEA
Check out the marine big five – Cape fur seals, great white sharks, southern right whales, endangered African penguins and bottlenose dolphins – at the award-winning five-star Grootbos Nature Reserve. Located near Hermanus, it is one of the only nature reserves in the world where such extensive seasonal marine biodiversity can be viewed. Plus, their guided adventures, from whale watching and shark cage diving to horse riding and 4x4 flower safaris, makes a stay at this uber-luxurious lodge truly unique.
Wine and dine: If you are an overnight guest the both the Garden and Forest Lodge restaurants serve up exquisite fine-dining experiences.
Overnight stay: Bring a group of your closest friends and family and book a night at the reserves Forest Lodge. Booking can be made online via grootbos.com.
Distance: It’s a comfortable two hour drive to spot the marine life at Grootbos Nature Reserve.
The Mother City is bursting with the best wildlife tours.
Explore even more of the Western Cape’s beauty with 6 stunning day trips.
Spend a night out in the safari on Saturday and get back in time for an elegant wine tasting by Sunday this weekend.
Looking for more Cape Town adventures? Check out our list of the best day tours the Mother City has to offer.
For a plethora of activities and Big 5 game drives, visit Aquila Private Game Reserve.
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