Big 5 game lodges, bush camps and game reserves for safaris close to Johannesburg and Gauteng

Looking for a weekend away in the bush? Then try out one of these malaria-free safari destinations within a few hours’ drive of Johannesburg:

Dinokeng Game Reserve


Situated near Cullinan within an hour’s drive of Johannesburg lies the recently formed Big 5 reserve with fantastic self-catering and catered accommodation options offering great affordable safaris for the budget conscious.

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Welgevonden Private Game Reserve 


Only 2 and a half hours drive from Johannesburg lies this superb Big 5 private game reserve with a number of small, intimate and exclusive 10 bed (5 room) bush camps to choose from.

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Pilanesberg National Park


The spectacular Pilanesberg National Park is situated on the doorstep of the world –famous Sun City resort within 2 hour’s drive of Johannesburg and Pretoria. The reserve offers self-catering, camping and luxury lodge accommodation. Visitors can also explore the park in their own vehicles on a self-drive safari. Healthy Big 5 game viewing as well as great general game numbers make this a very rewarding safari destination.

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Marakele National Park


Set within the mountains of the Waterberg, only two hours away from Gauteng, is this lovely gem of a national park. Great camping facilities at Tlopi and the lovely self-catering tented camp, Bontle, on the edge of a dam provide great value and reasonably priced accommodation. The super-luxurious Marataba Tented Camp is situated on its own game rich private concession within the park and is one of the Safari Index’s favourite safari destinations.

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Madikwe Game Reserve


Renowned for its African Wild Dog and Big 5 game viewing is this highly productive reserve hosting a variety of luxury lodges. Only guided game drive safaris are allowed on the reserve to guests staying at the lodges. Madikwe is a 4 hour drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria and under an hour away from Botswana’s capital Gaborone.

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