Best Safari Near Johannesburg 2024 (Game Lodges, Nature Reserves) – Tickets n Tour

(5 customer reviews)


Last updated on July 13, 2024 10:56 pm
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Going on safari is one of the highlights when visiting South Africa, and Johannesburg safari tours are arguably some of the best in the country. There are several game reserves near Johannesburg that boast incredible wildlife – including the famous Big Five – for travelers to enjoy.

Here we explore some of the best Joburg safari options including a full and half-day safari in Kruger National Park, a safari in Pilanesberg Game Reserve, a lion park and even a magical hot air balloon safari! Take your pick from the following amazing options, depending on your preferences.

Make sure that you pack your sunblock, your water bottle and a sun-savvy hat as things are about to get wild!

Know before you book:

  • Pack sun-protective gear such as sunglasses, a hat and sunblock
  • Depending on the number of participants in your group, you may join another group to fill the tour
  • These tours are not wheel-chair friendly


  • Discover the magnificence of the Big Five in the African wilderness
  • Explore a birder’s paradise with over 370 species of birds to spot
  • All transport fees are included in the cost

elephant on safari

Get up close and personal with incredible African wildlife on safari. Boasting some of the most diverse and authentic wildlife encounters are the large number of game reserves in Gauteng. Safari in the famous Kruger National Park has a history that extends back as far as the 1920s!

Today, there are a variety of game lodges in Gauteng to suit a wide range of budgets and preferences. From luxury lodges that offer all-inclusive packages, to smaller reserves that offer half-day or full-day experiences. Two popular nature reserves in Gauteng are the Pilanesberg and the Kruger National Park, both which offer unparalleled safari experiences.

If you want a truly spectacular experience, you can also choose to go on a hot air balloon ride. This is an awesome way to scout for wildlife from high up in the air as the early morning sun rises.

If you find yourself in another part of South Africa, but still want to experience the wonder of an African safari – we have just the plan. Check out our deals on safaris near Cape Town.

Johannesburg Safari Prices 2021

If you want to discover what a safari from Johannesburg includes, you can choose from a variety of options depending on your budget. One option is a Kruger National Park full-day tour from as little as $64 USD (R940). Alternatively, you can book a more inclusive, full-day tour in Pilanesberg for $210 USD (R3,080).

Experience lions other carnivores like cheetahs, hyenas and wild dogs, up close and personal on your Lion Park Safari. You might see the rare white lion on your safari and enjoy a stop at Cub World to see adorable lion cubs.
From Johannesburg: Lion & Safari Park Half-Day Tour
Avoid the early afternoon heat, and enjoy a safari at a beautiful time of day—sunset. This tour helps you combine two experiences in one—viewing a beautiful sunset, and spotting wildlife at Kruger Park. Travel safely around the park in an open safari vehicle with a professional bush guide to...
Kruger National Park Afternoon Sunset Safari Tour
Ride through Pilanesberg Game Reserve searching for the park's most iconic animals, including The Big 5 (elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and the elusive leopard). This full-day safari and wildlife adventure is a perfect getaway from Johannesburg.
Full-Day Pilanesberg Game Reserve Safari With Closed Vehicle
Take in aerial views of the Magaliesbergs and the Cradle of Humankind on this hot air balloon safari. Get the best possible perspective on this striking landscape without paying for the high price of an airplane or helicopter tour. Spend the hour-long flight sipping champagne and enjoying the...
Early Morning Balloon Safari with Breakfast from Magaliesburg
Get the most out of a visit to Kruger National Park on this full-day game drive. Book your experience ahead of time to ensure that you have the best possible chance of seeing Africa's Big 5, which is much more likely with the expertise of your experienced tracker/guide. Stop midday at one of the...
Kruger National Park Full Day Game Drive


The great thing about safari is that you can choose between an option of sessions. Typically, you will have the choice of a morning, afternoon or full-day safari tour. These specifics will be confirmed by the tour provider.

Monday – Sunday: 6:30 am – 6 pm

Best time to go

The best time to go on safari is either early morning or late evening when the air is cool and the animals are not avoiding the heat of the day. It is also more comfortable for guests to go on a safari drive during these times, as midday can get uncomfortably hot.

Safari Game Reserves Near Johannesburg

Everyone’s itinerary and budget is different, which can make it tricky recommending only one of the many tours for a safari in Johannesburg. Here we’ll give the pros and cons of a full-day tour to Pilanesberg Game Reserve (our recommended option). As well as a highlight summary of the lion and safari park half-day tour, Kruger National Park full-day and afternoon safari and a surreal hot air balloon safari.

Full-Day Pilansberg Game Reserve Safari

A full day safari in Pilanesberg Game Reserve promises an incredible and memorable day out in the African wilderness. Enjoy a game drive through an extinct mega volcano and keep your eyes peeled for the iconic Big Five!

If you enjoy bird watching, you are in for an extra-large treat. The Pilansberg Game Reserves boasts over 370 species of birds, so you better clean the lenses of your binoculars and cameras.

Pilanesberg is a short 2,5 hours from the bustling city of Johannesburg, making a safari here a great escape. This tour is focused on providing a hassle-free safari experience and includes all transport logistics and fees in the cost.

Lunch and park fees are also included in the price which means that all there is left for you to do is to kick back, relax, and spot as many animals as possible!

What we liked: This safari tour is the ultimate hassle-free safari from Johannesburg.
  • All transport
  • Park fees
  • Included activities
  • Lunch
  • Bottled water

  • Drinks and snacks

This full day tour through the Pilanesberg Game Reserve promises to be an unforgettable experience for the whole family. Make sure that you charge your cameras the night before, as there will be plenty to see!

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Pilansberg safari

Full-Day Kruger National Park

The full-day Kruger National Park safari tour is a great option for travelers wanting to discover the Big Five on a budget. The experienced guide and tracker are incredible at pointing out hidden animals and sharing golden nuggets of information.

  • Full-day open-top vehicle safari tour
  • Qualified guide
  • Bottle of water
  • Pick up and drop off

  • Park entrance and conservation fee
  • Travel insurance
  • Drinks
  • Gratuities

What we liked: This is an awesome option for travelers who want to experience a full-day game drive on a budget.
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full day kruger safari

Kruger Afternoon Sunset Safari

One of the best times to go on a safari game drive is in the late afternoon when the temperatures drop and the wildlife venture out from their shady hideouts. The afternoon sunset safari tour in Kruger National Park shares two of Africa’s marvels with guests – a magnificent sunset and a plethora of biodiversity and wildlife!

  • Half-day safari (4-5 hours)
  • Qualified guide
  • Blankets and rain ponchos
  • Bottle of water
  • Safari-sighting journal
  • Snacks
  • Coffee and/or tea

  • Park entrance and conservation fee

What we liked: Enjoy a magnificent African sunset while scouting the game reserve for wildlife.
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kruger afternoon sunset safari

Lion & Safari Park Half-Day Tour

If you are sitting in the bustling city of Johannesburg thinking, “which are the closest lodges near me for safari?” then look no further than the Lion and Safari Park! Located a short 60 kilometers away from Johannesburg, the Lion and Safari Park offers a fun and entertaining safari experience for the whole family – without the long drive.

  • Pick-up and drop-off from Johannesburg/Pretoria accommodation
  • Entrance fee
  • Guided safari

  • Food and drink

What we liked: A great safari option for the whole family, especially those on a tight timeline.
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lion safari park

Balloon Safari in Magaliesburg

The early morning balloon safari is an unreal, magical experience that is highly recommended for couples. Enjoy sweeping views of the African landscape from way up high, while floating in a beautiful balloon. Indulge in a delectable champagne breakfast when your feet touch the ground once again (although your heart will still be in the clouds).

  • Pick-up and drop-off
  • Champagne breakfast
  • Hot air balloon safari

  • Food and drink – other than specified
  • Transportation if you do not choose the option

What we liked: A romantic safari option for those wanting a slightly different experience.
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Balloon safari magaliesberg

8.7Expert Score
There are so many different Johannesburg safari options to choose from, depending on your preferences. The best options will be those that start early in the morning, or late in the afternoon, however, always be prepared for the sun.
  • A variety of options to choose from
  • Pick either a morning, afternoon or full-day tour
  • Transport is typically included
  • Not wheelchair friendly
  • Travel is required

Specification: Best Safari Near Johannesburg 2024 (Game Lodges, Nature Reserves) – Tickets n Tour


Not wheelchair accessible




Bottle of Water, Experienced guide, Hotel pick-up and drop-off


Alcoholic drinks, Gratuities

Meals & Drinks

Meal provided


Hotel pick-up (on select tours)

Suitable For

Couples, Families

5 reviews for Best Safari Near Johannesburg 2024 (Game Lodges, Nature Reserves) – Tickets n Tour

4.8 out of 5
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    Absolutely amazing! Certainly ticked off my bucket list. The team are so friendly and helpful and the views from the balloon are breathtaking. Cannot recommend this highly enough.

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