Top 4 Places for Wildlife Watching in Johannesburg

If you’re lucky enough to find yourself travelling through South Africa there are few things more unforgivable than failing to check out at least some of the area’s most remarkable residents. With rhinos, lions, elephants and hippos just some of the animals who call this part of the world their home, South Africa’s wildlife is up there with the big boys. So, if you’ve got a pending visit make sure at least one of these is on your hit list:

1. Mapungubwe National Park

This picturesque park is not only home to elephants, white rhinos, gemsbok and leopards but it’s also a UNESCO World Heritage Site housing a number of archaeological treasures. Located on the boarders of South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe, there are over 400 species of bird as well as smaller game species, pythons and black mambas to watch out for. There are numerous camps to stay in if you want to spend more than a day here with Johannesburg accommodation ranging from luxury lodges to tents.

2. Marakele National Park

Found on the Waterberg Mountain Range this is another park touched by the beauty brush. The mountains, valley and grassy hillsides are home to a number of elephants, rhinos and lions as well as a colony of endangered Cape Vultures. Many of the staff are local – so know their stuff – and you can join bush walks, game viewing, mountain drives and sunset excursions to get to grips with this South African treasure for yourself.

3. The Elephant Sanctuary

Situated near the Hartebeespoort Dam just half an hour from Sandton in Johannesburg the Elephant Sanctuary is a half-way house and haven for those young African elephants who need a little helping hand. Through special training the aim is to eventually release the elephants back into the wild. Visits here are based on education and interaction; you’ll even get to walk hand-in-trunk with one of these beautiful creatures – enabling you to get an understanding of just how precious their welfare really is.

4. Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

This privately owned game reserve is situated about 40 kilometres from Johannesburg and covers approximately 1,200 hectares where buffalo’s, cheetah’s and of course lions and rhinos can all be seen. Located in the ‘Cradle of Humankind’, a World Heritage Site, this reserve also offers up activities for visitors including a children’s play park, evening astronomical activities and an animal crèche where you can touch lion, cheetah and tiger cubs.


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