Best Game Reserves – Western Cape | Safaris Near Cape Town

May 27, 2022

The Western Cape is home to many of South Africa’s best and most recognizable tourist destinations. Similarly, the capital city of the province, Cape Town, offers many incredible experiences.

If looking for the ultimate game and wildlife adventures, you could be forgiven for being under the impression that Cape Town offers little. The truth, however, is that some of the country’s best and most noteworthy game parks and reserves are to be found near Cape Town.

These parks and reserves offer an extensive range of packages, some of which include incredible day trips from Cape Town.

What lies in the Western Cape, and specifically around the city of Cape Town, is a treasure of wildlife exploration and indulgence. The best of these are located near Cape Town, featuring everything that makes a great game reserve.

The Best Game Parks and Nature Reserves – Western Cape

Before we delve into our picks for the best game parks near Cape Town, for any visitor planning a truly African wildlife experience, it is important to know how a game park and game reserve are more alike than most would think.


In the Western Cape, much like the rest of South Africa, the best game parks are located within a more significant, inclusive game reserve. And nowhere are these reserves more loved and appreciated than in the southernmost points of South Africa.

For our list, we will be looking at the best and most extensive parks, some of which are to be found in vast reserves containing thousands of different animal, plant, and bird species (including the Big 5).

But what exactly makes a game park great? There are four essential components that, when blended well enough, become the difference between good and great:

  • The number of different animals there are to be viewed and appreciated within the park/reserve.
  • The quality and availability of accommodation within the park/reserve.
  • Other activities and attractions offered by the park/reserve and how they include the natural area and wildlife.
  • Where the park/reserve is located.


We curated our list to include the best and most unforgettable game parks near Cape Town using these four elements. Each offers unique and memorable experiences and adventures.

1.    Buffelsfontein Game and Nature Reserve

One of the closest game parks to Cape Town, Buffelsfontein is a privately owned and operated all-inclusive game and nature reserve. At a sensible 1600 hectares of pure African pleasure, visitors are guaranteed an experience unlike any other.

The reserve is host to animals such as lions, the cape buffalo, white rhinos, and giraffes, to name a few. Perfectly preserved and kept, the reserve prides itself on bringing visitors closer than ever to these fantastic beasts.

Offering several different options, guests can choose either a fully guided or half-guided game drive. Buffelsfontein also offers both bike and saddle game drives which are highly recommended.


Available accommodation includes:

  • Complete board cottages – 4 guests per cottage
  • Self-catering cottages and chalets – 2/4 guests, respectively
  • Bush camps (all of which have running water and gas geysers)
  • A fully self-catering guesthouse – 20 guests

Fun Fact: The reserve also has a fully licensed restaurant serving up delicious proudly-South African cuisine and a welcoming and social bar.

Location: One hour from Cape Town – On the R27

2.    Aquila Private Game Reserve and Spa

Nestled between the Langeberg and Outeniqua mountains in the Western Cape, the four-star family-orientated Aquila game reserve and spa offers guests a unique and distinct safari experience.


Covering an incredible 10,000 hectares of privately owned land, the reserve proudly presents the entire Big 5 in their natural and undisturbed habitat. Guests can choose from traditional guided safari, bike, and saddle trips if they want to get up close and personal with these legends.

Available to guests aiming for a truly memorable safari experience, Aquila offers a fly-in safari by helicopter.

Available accommodation includes:

  • Private cottages – 2/4 guests per cottage
  • Lodge suites – 2/4/6/8 guests per suite (including 4-star private lodge suites)

Other activities and attractions include a large kids play area (mini-golf and giant chess), the renowned Tranquila Spa, a world-class restaurant (with amazing reserve views), and much more.

Fun Fact: Aquila also offers children and teenagers the opportunity to join their unique Junior Range Programme which aims to educate and entertain.

Location: Two hours from Cape Town – On route to Ceres (R46)

3.    Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve

Inverdoorn Private Game Reserve is next on the list. Located in the heart of the Karoo, this gem of wildlife conservancy aims to provide guests with rustic luxury. Any visitor to Inverdoorn can expect encounters with the Big 5 and several majestic roaming herds of eland, gemsbok, and zebras.


Spanning 10 000 hectares, the park offers guests the ultimate safari experiences, from guided overnight trips to day trips with a buffet lunch served under the shade of Karoo trees.

Inverdoorn is known throughout the country, not just for its free-roaming Big 5 freedom but also for its integral cheetah rescue and rehabilitation program. Guests can become involved in all these experiences for an extraordinary adventure.

Available accommodation includes:

  • Lodge rooms – including family suites
  • Chalets – Tankwa & Ambassador suites
  • Luxury Kuganha tented safari camp

Fun Fact: The perfect in-room luxury is also available to guests with the exclusive Inverdoorn Spa service.

Location: Two and a half hours from Cape Town – Outside of Worcester (R43)

4.    Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve

With an unparalleled and unique safari experience, Kagga Kamma Nature Reserve features on our list as one of the most eclectic resort experiences. With accommodation being constructed to imitate natural rock and cliff formations, both in close proximity and remote campsites, guests can opt to spend their nights under the African stars.


Being far enough removed from big city lights, the reserve features picturesque accommodation, allowing visitors to immerse themselves in the ultimate natural adventure.

The reserve has an extensive range of packages that guarantee a tailor-made experience to all visitors featuring three different tiers (cultural, couples, and adventure).

Available accommodation includes:

  • Lodge accommodation – Open-air, Cave, and Hut suites
  • Four distinct campsites – Swartrug, Klipspringer, Bobbejaanskrans, and Tierkloof

Fun Fact: Kagga Kamma also offers timeshare accommodation.

Location: Three and a half hours from Cape Town – On the R303

5.    Gondwana Private Game Reserve

The name Gondwana has become synonymous with premium wildlife adventures. With guests being treated to the pristine Cape Fynbos and some of southern Africa’s best and most rare animals, including the Big 5.


Gondwana is home to over 15 antelope species, 17 carnivore species, and 1000 hectares specifically dedicated to endangered and protected animal species. This area contains some of Africa’s rarest bird and plant species.

What makes for an extraordinary adventure is the inclusion of the southernmost herd of wild elephants on the continent in over 200 years.

Available accommodation includes:

  • Kwena Lodge
  • Luxury Fynbos Villas
  • Family Bush Villas
  • Tented Camps – Providing guests with a fully interactive experience.
  • Ulubisi House – Private African Villa, which includes a private field guide, chef, and butler.

Fun Fact: Gondwana allows visitors to tailor-make their itineraries with several different activities, including golfing safaris, mountain biking tours, and safari yoga.

Location: Four hours from Cape Town – On the N2/R327 towards Mossel Bay.


Final Thoughts on the Best Game Parks Near Cape Town

Boasting not only some of the best cultural and historical attractions in the country, the Western Cape indeed steps up to fight for the prize of best game reserves as well. The reserves in our list tick off every essential box any visitor can have when indulging in a safari or wildlife adventure.

Not only do the game reserves near Cape Town meet expectations, but they also go above and beyond to give every visitor an unforgettable and proudly South African experience. They boast enticing activities unique to each reserve and accommodation that goes from modern hotel-style lodges to astoundingly distinct designed chalets.

However, the animals are what make the parks and reserves found near Cape Town so special. The love, care, and protection provided to countless wildlife species in the region allow the majesty of these animals to take the spotlight.

For more fantastic safari experiences, have a look at our list of the best day trips from Johannesburg and all-inclusive African safaris.

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