The South African city of Johannesburg is the gateway to South Africa’s northern region and within easy reach of the country’s most impressive national parks, making it an ideal starting point for an African safari experience. Here are your options for safari tours from Johannesburg.
Pilanesberg National Park
Located 114 miles (184 kilometers) northwest of Johannesburg, the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve is close enough to visit on a day tour. Pilanesberg offers a chance to spot all of Africa’s Big Five—elephants, lions, leopards, rhinos and Cape buffaloes in their natural environment—as well as giraffes, zebras, warthog, blue wildebeest, and other wildlife. Some day tours combine a half-day safari drive with a stop at the nearby Sun City Resort and Casino.
Kruger National Park
South Africa’s first national park is one of the biggest in Africa and highlights include the Panorama Route, Blyde River Canyon, and Bourke’s Luck Potholes. The drive from Johannesburg is less than five hours (about 250 miles or 400 kilometers), making it possible to visit on a long day trip, while a multi-day tour of Kruger National Park allows you to explore further and maximize your chances of checking off the Big Five.
Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
The closest game reserve to Johannesburg, the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve in neighboring Gauteng province is about an hour’s drive (about 55 miles or 34 kilometers). Open-top safari vehicles shuttle passengers around the reserve, allowing you to spot rare white lions, Cape wild dogs, South African cheetah, spotted hyena, and white and black rhinos.
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.