Exploring South Africa's national parks and taking a wildlife safari are both easily accessible activities from Johannesburg. Whichever adventure you choose, be on the lookout for all of the Big Five animals (lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant, and Cape buffalo). Here are your options for wildlife tours from Johannesburg.
Pilanesberg National Park
Enjoy a thrilling African safari experience on a Pilanesberg Nature Reserve tour and get the chance to spot Africa's Big Five from an open-top safari vehicle. As well as elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos, and water buffaloes, the game reserve is home to giraffes, zebras, warthog, and blue wildebeest, so make sure you have your camera ready. Most Pilanesberg safaris also include a visit to the nearby Sun City Resort and Casino.
Kruger National Park
It’s possible to experience South Africa’s oldest national park on a morning game drive or a full-day safari, but to really explore the vast Kruger National Park, you’ll need a multi-day tour. Wildlife hot spots include Blyde River Canyon and the Panorama Route, where possible sightings include roan antelope, zebra, hippopotamus, impala, and of course, the Big Five.
Learn everything you ever wanted to know about elephants at the Elephant Sanctuary in Hartbeespoort Dam, home to a herd of domesticated African elephants. Visitors can participate in interactive workshops, help bathe the elephants, or take an elephant walk through the jungle, all under close supervision from experienced handlers. Book a tour for round-trip transportation.
Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre
You’re guaranteed a big cat sighting at the Ann Van Dyk Cheetah Centre in Hartbeespoort Dam. The conservation and breeding program is home to cheetahs and African wild dogs. See Africa's fastest mammal in action during a guided tour of the reserve or join one of the daily feeding round tours.
Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
Located in nearby Gauteng province, the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve makes a popular choice for a day trip. You’ll spot white lions, spotted hyena, and white rhino on an open vehicle safari, and pay a visit to the animal crèche, hippo pools, and vulture hide.
Chobe National Park, Botswana
Visitors who have more time can cross the border and spend a night at a safari lodge in Botswana's Chobe National Park, home to large numbers of Cape buffalo, elephants, and lions, as well as an incredible variety of birds. Alternatively, opt for an action-packed, 5-day tour from Johannesburg and combine it with a visit to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.