South Africa

5 of the best Safaris near Cape Town

by Paul Joseph  |  Updated December 11, 2022

While the city itself has enough to entertain visitors for weeks if not months, Cape Town is also a great base from which to embark on a magical safari.

(Photo: ILIOS Travel / Courtesy Viator)

Cape Town’s temperate climate doesn’t lend itself to the traditional African bush experience, but nevertheless the Big Five animals – namely, lion, leopard, rhino, elephant and buffalo – are within a mere couple of hours’ drive away. To help inspire your next safari adventure, we’ve looked into all of the safaris that are easily reachable from Cape Town and picked out five of the best.

Cape Town Day Safari (1 day)

If you’re short on time, this day trip safari could fit the bill. After collection at your Cape Town hotel, you’ll be transported to Aquila Private Game Reserve, which is a 2.5-hour drive away. Upon arrival, you’ll enjoy a buffet breakfast in the on-site restaurant. Packed full of sustenance, you’ll depart for an open vehicle game drive through the reserve, which is home to a natural wetland protected by majestic mountains and valleys which makes for varied game viewing.  On your drive, you may see lion, elephant, buffalo, as well as giraffe, hippo and zebra. Later, you’ll sit down to a hearty lunch before visiting the Eco-Synergy centre to round off your tour before your return journey.

Book at Viator

Cape Town Safari Including Lunch (1 day)

(Photo: African Eagle Daytours PTY / Courtesy Viator)

Another one-day trip, this tour takes you to the Inverdoom Nature Reserve, 2.5-hours by road from Cape Town, to explore the majestic landscapes in an open-air 4×4. After collection from your hotel, a professional guide will be on hand for the whole time to help spot wild animals and share interesting facts and information about the country’s most spectacular creatures, including the Big Five, as well as antelope, lion, elephant, wildebeast, rhino, hippo, springbok, and zebra. Next, you’ll head to a lodge for lunch before checking out the cheetah rescue and rehabilitation centre as your final activity of the day, as you board your transport back to Cape Town.

Book at Viator

Garden Route Big 5 Safari Overnight Shared Tour (3 days)

For an extended experience, this 3-day tour invites you to get up close and personal with the Big Five, as well as an abundance of birds and other wildlife, at the upscale Garden Route Game Lodge  private game reserve. The adventure begins in Cape Town, where you’ll stay for your first night with time to explore the city. Early next morning, you’ll go whale watching from the shores of Hermanus, before stopping off at Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa, to watch the meeting of two oceans: Indian and Atlantic. Next, it’s onto the reserve to embark on a game drive before enjoying overnight accommodation here. The next day, it’s time for your second game drive before a hearty breakfast to prepare you for your return journey to Cape Town, stopping off in the historic town of Swellendam along the way.

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Yoga, Surf and Big 5 Safari 

(Photo: Bookallsafaris)

Combining wellness and wildlife in equal measure, this 8-day tour lets you re-centre yourself through yoga practices before heading out for memorable safari adventures and other thrilling outdoor escapades. After being picked up from Cape Town airport, you’ll recharge with a guided yoga session at a local yoga studio. Then, over the ensuing days, you’ll enjoy more yoga sessions, as well as the chance to try out activities such as surf classes, horseback rides, and quad biking. Also included are several exciting game drives in acclaimed national parks where you’ll get to see some of the region’s most captivating wildlife and landscapes. All accommodation and daily breakfasts are included in the tour price.

Book at Bookallsafaris

South Africa Self-drive Adventure

If autonomy is your priority, this 11-day self-driving tour could be for you. After collecting keys for your 4×4 vehicle upon arrival in Cape Town, the region is your oyster. This  tour itinerary includes a look around Cape Town and its enchanting surroundings, before moving on to the seaside town of Hermanus, a popular whale-watching destination. Further afield, you traverse the stunning Garden Route from Hermanus to Plettenberg Bay and explore the bay area before moving on to Kwandwe Game Reserve, home to a diverse assortment of wildlife. On your  last day, you can drive for an hour to Port Elizabeth to catch a domestic flight back to Cape Town. The tour price is inclusive of accommodation, your hire car with sat-nav, meals, and game reserve fees.

Book at Bookmundi