In the mood for a real African safari without
traveling to central Africa? No problem, less than 2 hours
from Cape Town you will find lions, elephant, rhino, leopard
and buffalo (all the members of the Big 5) and more.
Lion Park is 30 minutes from Cape Town, near Klapmuts,
Stellenbosch. It is a sanctuary for lions that have been saved
from distress. It provides life time care for these rescued
lions where they can live out their lives in dignity. By visiting
Drakenstein you will not only just see some real live lions,
but you will also contribute to the protection of other lions
locally as well as internationally through your support.
If you want to see the Big 5 (including some
other species as well), you can visit two reserves, Aquila
Safari or the Fairy Glen Nature Reserve (http://cybercapetown.com/Ukwamkela/fairyreserve.php).
They are located near the town of Worcester, less than 2 hours
from Cape Town and are well worth the visit. Make sure to
check out the prices of these venues, as they tend to become
quite pricy when you stay over for a weekend.
is another game reserve just 2 hours from Cape Town. It is
situated just outside Ceres on 10 000ha of bush land where
you can spot lion, rhino, buffalo, cheetah, giraffe, zebra
and many more. In addition it also has adventure activities
on offer including accommodation and safari options. But as
with most game parks, check out the rates before planning
Although the Garden Route is quite far outside
Cape Town, it is still a very popular tourist route all year
round. Some claim the route starts at Stillbay and runs up
to Jeffrey’s Bay (surfers paradise with its ‘reeling
right hander supertubes’). Others claim that the real
route only starts at Wilderness and stops at Storm’s
River, but ultimately, you who travel the route can decide
It has beautiful towns along the route like
George, Harold’s Bay, Knysna, Plettenberg Bay and Wildnerness
where you can stop over. Knysna is a lovely town and very
famous for its delicious oysters. The climate along the route
is very temperate and the scenery is very beautiful with awesome
beach views, lush vegetation and warm ocean waters. You can
complete the entire Garden Route in a week, so rent yourself
a decent car and hit the route. For info on places to go and
where to stay check out http://www.wheretostay.co.za/wc/gr/index.php
(Backpackers guide for South Africa) for on-line booking details.
If you prefer more quiet areas with not so
many tourists around you, try the West Coast and Namaqualand.
It has a totally opposite character to the Garden Route with
wide open planes, much less lush vegetation and a wide blue
sky above you. It’s well worth the visit if you appreciate
those roads less traveled. Check out http://www.noxrentals.co.za/content/capetownsurrounds.asp
for information on the towns and attractions of the West Coast
Naturally it has less attractions than the
Garden Route, but the people and landscape have a unique and
almost comic-like character. The Namaqualand is a region in
the West Coast which is world famous for its beautiful wild
flower boom just before Spring. Here the entire landscape
of the Namaqualand transforms from grey into all the colours
of the spectrum for a few weeks (August).
Basically you go to the West Coast to relax
and interact with locals. There are many small fishing villages
and towns all along the West Coast. For fresh west coast fish
(snoek) and crayfish this is the place to go. Unfortunately
the ocean waters are very cold up there so swimming is not
very comfortable. You either love this place, or you don’t
– the only way to find out is to go there and see for
If you want to try a real West Coast outdoor
seafood restaurant experience you must check out the Strandloper
near Langebaan (one hour from Cape Town). It is similar to
the Melkbosskerm in Melkbos but bigger and set directly on
the beach. It’s a buffet restaurant where you will be
served a ten course seafood extravaganza of different fish
and crayfish. They even bake their own bread.
It has a bar, but you can take your own drinks
with if you wish. Don’t be shocked when your cutlery
are merely mussel shells – its all part of the experience.
Check out the weather before driving through, because its
an outdoor restaurant and when the West Coast wind blows at
its best, you will have sand in your teeth.