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So… you’re hanging out in Johannesburg or Pretoria, but you need a break from the busy urban vibe, and you wonder: ‘How far out of the city do I have to go to see some of this famous South African wildlife everyone’s been talking about?’
The answer is: not as far as you think you do. Try Dinokeng Game Reserve, Gauteng.
Dinokeng Game Reserve is not only the first free-roaming Big 5 game reserve next to a South African urban area; it’s probably the first in the world. You can hop off the plane in Johannesburg and not even an hour later, you’ll be on a South African safari.
The reserve officially opened on 22 September 2011, after 4 of the Big 5 were reintroduced to the area – lion, leopard, rhino and elephant. Buffalo were added to the mix in 2012 to complete the quintet.
Dinokeng is a private/public partnership, as it required several local landowners collaborating with the South African government to turn the project into one incredible game park. This is why some of the accommodation options can be described as ‘farm stay’.
For the first time in over 100 years, this area has free-roaming lions and elephants, which is a huge drawcard.
Here you can go on day and night game drives, or head off on sunset boat cruises, guided bush walks, bush lunches, picnics, fishing, or just some good old-fashioned relaxing in the South African wild. With Johannesburg and Pretoria a short drive away, your options are pretty much endless.
It’s best that you get your accommodation booked well in advance, because people are raving about how amazing this place is.
You can take the guided tour, which is really recommended for your first time on safari, or there are a few self-drive routes to choose from if you prefer doing it by yourself. If you’re keen on this option, then you will also have to book.
TTravel tips & Planning info
Who to contact
Dinokeng Game Reserve
How to get here
From O.R. Tambo International Airport, follow the R21 and N1 past Pretoria to Hammanskraal, where you turn onto the R734. Take exit 183 from the N1.
Around the area
Just south of Dinokeng are the cities of Pretoria and Johannesburg.
Tours to do
Boat cruises, self-drive tours, professional game drives, cultural tours, fishing, spa treatments, restaurants.
Length of stay
Give yourself a week to fully explore the park as well as extra time to explore other parts of Gauteng.
What to pack
Comfortable lightweight clothes, plus a warm jacket for winter evenings. Plenty of sunscreen and a hat, no matter the season.