Anyone visiting South Africa is almost certain to have the Big 5 at the top of their bucket list of travel experiences to discover.
A collective name for Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Buffalo and Rhino, the Big 5 is most often sought out in the Kruger National Park, of the largest game reserves in Africa covering 19,485 km2 over both the Limpopo and Mpumalanga Provinces in the northeastern side of the country.
However, just like there is an alternative offering of Little 5 of species made up of the Ant Lion, Leopard Tortoise, Elephant Shrew, Buffalo Weaver and Rhino Beetle, so too does the Western Province’s vast Karoo region offer visitors a chance to see some of Africa’s unique wildlife offerings.
Read up on our selection of national and private game reserves below which offer day visitors a wildlife game drive experience en route between Cape Town and the Karoo.
Please feel free to ask our advice on the best options available to suit your itinerary when staying at De Bergkant Lodge and enjoying our ‘true Karoo hospitality’.
Just a few kilometres northwest of Beaufort West, the park is a sanctuary for herds of springbok, gemsbok (also known as Oryx), Cape mountain zebra, Cape buffalo, red hartebeest, black rhinoceros, eland, kudu, klipspringer, bat-eared foxes, black-backed jackal, caracal, ostriches, and more recently, lions.
Some of the best game viewing is available on the 13 km Lammertjiesleegte route on the plains. Best sure to pop into the Visitor’s Centre to learn more about the origins of the park and some of the recent conservation initiatives they have been involved with.
Situated close to Cradock, this park was proclaimed in 1937 to protect one of the last remaining herds of the rare mountain zebra species. From small beginnings, the park has grown considerably to become one of the country’s great conservation success stories.
Located in the eastern part of the Great Karoo covering 28 000 hectares of rolling grasslands and high plateau the park plays home to zebra, black wildebeest, gemsbok, red hartebeest, eland, blesbok, buffalo and cheetah and is one of the few parks where you can experience many wildlife sightings over a relatively short period of time.
The perfect day visit experience when travelling either to or from your accommodation at De Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert, the Addo Elephant Park ranks third in size across the country's 19 national parks after the Kruger National Park and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park.
Home to the Big Five there are also 13 species of antelope and 22 species of carnivore; including cheetah, hyena and African wild dog. Pay a day entry fee and your self drive route can meander along from two hours to a full day. Other activities in the park include horse riding, birding, hiking and 4x4 trails.
Accommodating day visitors, the private Inverdoorn Game Reserve is known for their cheetah rescue and rehabilitation program. This 10 000-hectare Klein Karoo park also boasts the Big 5 and offers both game drives and a unique guided walk with giraffes.
Conveniently situated midway between George and Mossel Bay along the Garden Route, day visitors can spend a memorable day (or stay overnight in a range of safari accommodation) at Botlierskop Game Reserve. Set within a picturesque landscape, it offers a range of activities from safari game drives, horseback safaris, pampering spa therapies, restaurant options, children’s activities and spacious decks and swimming pools in which to relax; or take a picnic basket to be enjoyed in their newly-built shady picnic areas on wooden decks about the dam.
Situated along South Africa’s magnificent Garden Route, this private reserve offers day visitors a chance to enjoy a thrilling game drive in an open Landrover with experienced game rangers who bring sightings of lion, elephant, white rhino, buffalo and cheetah, giraffe, zebra and numerous antelope species such as bontebok, red hartebeest, kudu, eland, impala, springbuck and many more.
Game drives take between 2 and 3 hours dependent on the sightings of the day at 11am and 2pm from Monday to Sunday.
Did you know?
The Wild Card is the most affordable way to explore protected wildlife and conservation areas in South Africa and Swaziland. Members get a year’s free access to more than 80 national parks and wildlife reserves across South Africa, including five World Heritage Sites. Learn more at www.wildcard.co.za.
To book your spa or outdoor adventure with De Bergkant Lodge in Prince Albert visit www.debergkant.com.