Not all visitors to South Africa are fortunate enough to be here on an extended holiday.

For those who are lucky enough to find themselves in Cape Town, but less fortunately find themselves with just a day or so to spare for a safari, there are a few game reserves near Cape Town which allow visitors to sample the wonderful wildlife offerings of the continent.

Whilst not nearly the same experience as the iconic Kruger National Park area, nor nearly as uplifting as an entire week in the bush, a swift little safari from Cape Town will at very least provide you a ‘quick fix’ of bush sights and smells and sounds.


Just two and a half hours from Cape Town, a little way outside of Ceres, in the Little Karoo, Inverdoorn Game Reserve stretches over some 10 000 hectares, and provides sanctuary to a wealth of wildlife, including giraffe, hippo, and zebra, as well as the Big Five. The reserve is also home to a laudable cheetah care and rehabilitation centre.

Lying in the unique floral kingdom that is the Little Karoo, visitors partake of most enjoyable game drives amongst the fascinating succulents, whilst keeping eyes peeled for wild animals. Closer to the lodge, and at the lodge, guests may have the opportunity to interact intimately with the cheetah, and also, to possibly even track these striking spotted felines out in the bush. Interactions with these arresting cats is nothing short of magical.

The reserve offers a variety of higher-end luxury accommodation, with service, food, and guest facilities to match … including welcoming swimming pool where visitors can cool off in the heat of day, and dine under starlit African skies at night.

Inverdoorn Game Reserve is a little gem, a delightful choice for those wanting to get a little taste of an African safari in close proximity to Cape Town.

cheetahs at Inverdoorn game reserve
Encounters with cheetah are guaranteed at Inverdoorn Game Reserve, located two and a half hours from Cape Town
giraffes at inverdoorn game reserve
Inverdoorn is a sanctuary for a wealth of wildlife including this striking family of giraffes

Fairy Glen Game Reserve

Roughly an hour away from the hustle and bustle of Cape Town, surrounded by Cape Fynbos and waterfalls, Fairy Glen Game Reserve lies at the foothills of the Brandwacht mountains in the Worcester vicinity.

The reserve has the Big Five – elephant, lion, rhino, buffalo, and leopard, as well as a variety of antelope and zebra.

Fairy Glen is relatively small; visitors to the reserve experience an intimate encounter, which means you are more likely to actually see the wild animals than not.  Leopard are however extremely elusive, spotting one of these magnificent cats is a very rare treat. Experienced game rangers are on hand to take guests on game drives or on horseback safaris, both opportunities allowing ample time to observe the animals up close.

Accommodation at Fairy Glen Game Reserve is in ‘luxury’ or standard chalets, if overnighting, our recommendation would be to opt for a luxury chalet. Further guest facilities include a bar, a cosy restaurant, a swimming pool, and a lapa, the latter for summer barbeques around a roaring evening fire … best enjoyed with a good bottle of red wine.

For a small taste of Africa’s wildlife, just about on the city’s doorstep, Fairy Glen is a good option for a safari near Cape Town.

lion at fairy glen game reserve
For a first time, 1 night safari close to Cape Town that has the Big Five, Fairy Glen Game Reserve is a good option
Pool at fairy glen game reserve
Fairy Glen has a pool with incredible views across the Cape Fynbos and Brandwacht mountain ranges

Aquila Private Game Reserve

Two and a half hours from Cape Town, in a valley between the Langeberg and Outeniqua Mountains in the Little Karoo, lies Aquila Private Game Reserve.

The reserve is a sizeable 10 000 hectare conservancy which is home to the Big Five of the African wilderness – elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino – along with other wild life. It is a place of wide spaces, immense horizons, craggy mountain ranges, jutting hills, an ancient seabed, and a massive clear sky at night; the landscapes are beautiful, with carpets of wildflowers in season.

Aquila offers a wide variety of safari choices – safari day trips, horseback safaris, quad bike safaris, overnight and fly-in safaris. Other activities on offer include 4 x 4 trails and fishing. There are several accommodation choices at Aquila, if staying the night, we advocate the premier accommodation alternatives. The lodge boasts large dining areas, cosy cigar bars and lounges, two large swimming pools, each with a pool bar overlooking the reserve.

For a Cape Town safari tour, Aquila is a consideration.

rhino and baby at aquila game reserve
Enjoy oysters in Cape Town’s Waterfront one day and marvel at a mother rhino and her calf the next day at Aquila
aquila private game reserve
Aquila offers guests good quality accommodation and a wide variety of fun safari activities

Wet your appetite with a safari day trip from Cape Town … and next time arrange your schedule to include a lengthier holiday in the magnificent Southern Africa bush, our friendly consultants will be happy to help!