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Safaris From Johannesburg - Compare 531 Tours

So many incredible safari experiences begin in Johannesburg. That’s partly because it is Africa’s busiest international air gateway, with numerous flights arriving from around the globe every day. But it’s not just about the number of international flights. Johannesburg is a short drive (and an even shorter flight) from so many of South Africa’s best wildlife parks and reserves. Everyone knows about Kruger National Park and the reserves that surround it: you could easily just visit these and enjoy the most fantastic safari. But other options abound, and many of these have wildlife to satisfy both beginner and experienced safari-goers alike.

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1-20 of 531 South Africa tours starting from Johannesburg

5 Questions About Safaris From Johannesburg


5 Questions About Safaris From Johannesburg

Answered by Anthony Ham

What are the best places to go on safari from Johannesburg?

“You can visit Kruger National Park from Johannesburg, and it’s a fantastic safari destination. It’s easy to get to and around, it’s a massive park with so much wildlife to see seemingly at every turn, and there’s accommodation to suit every budget. If it all gets too crowded, then you could easily spend time in one of the private reserves (such as Sabi Sand Game Reserve, but there are many more) along Kruger’s western boundary. These reserves share the same wildlife with the national park. Other fabulous safari parks within reach of Johannesburg include Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and Marakele and Mapungubwe National Parks, while Madikwe Game Reserve is one of my favorite safari destinations anywhere in southern Africa. If you fly from Johannesburg, then you could easily reach just about anyplace in South Africa.”


What are the pros and cons of a self-drive trip from Johannesburg?

“The best thing about a self-drive safari from Johannesburg is the freedom that you’ll enjoy. In fact, a self-drive safari is the best way to make sure that your safari experience is exactly as you want it to be. You decide where to go and when. If you find a lion on a kill or an elephant herd up close, then you’re the one who decides how long to stick around. And you don’t have to worry about what other travelers want to do. In short, you’re the boss of your trip. The downside of a self-drive safari is that if something goes wrong, you’re the one on the scene who has to deal with it (although a phone call to your safari operator will probably get someone there quickly to help). Most likely nothing will go wrong: it never has for me on my many self-drive safaris. Another possible negative is that you won’t have a guide to show you around or other safari travelers to share the experience with.”


Should I go for a group or private safari from Johannesburg?

“There are lots of different versions of the Johannesburg safari, but the most popular are group or private safaris. A group safari means that you will share your trip with other travelers: you will share a guide, a vehicle for game drives and other activities. Whether this is a pro or a con will depend on your perspective: you might make lifelong friends, or you might prefer to be alone. And if you’re looking for a cheap or affordable budget safari, then a group safari will almost certainly be your only option. A private safari means that you will have your own guide and vehicle, and you’ll be the only one(s) out on the game drive. Obviously, you’ll be paying for it all yourself, which can be expensive. But it does allow for a more intimate safari experience and you’ll often end up forging really strong bonds with your guide and driver.”


Can I see the Big Five animals on a trip from Johannesburg?

“You are spoiled for choice when it comes to seeing the Big Five (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on a safari near Johannesburg. The most obvious place where this is possible is Kruger National Park and the surrounding reserves. I once saw the Big Five on a single afternoon game drive in Timbavati Private Nature Reserve. Closer to Johannesburg and very accessible, Pilanesberg Game Reserve can be crowded, but it’s an easy place to see elephant and rhino. Buffalo, lion and leopard can be harder to see, but they are possible to find with some luck. Another excellent destination for seeing the Big Five on a safari from Johannesburg is Madikwe Game Reserve. This is a fantastic place, with so much wildlife, first-rate expert guides and far fewer visitors than you’ll share the safari trails with in Kruger or Pilanesberg. It’s also a good place to possibly sight African wild dogs.”


How much will this safari cost?

“As with any safari destination where there are many different packages and tours, the cost of a safari from Johannesburg varies greatly. If you’re on a multiday, cheap budget camping safari, you might be able to organize a safari that starts at around US$100 to US$150 per person per day. This should include guide, driver, vehicle, camping equipment, park entry fees, food, some drinks and game drives. But for this price, you may be expected to help out around camp with cooking and washing up, as well as setting up and taking down tents. For a more luxurious experience, prices start at around US$400 per person per day, but could go significantly higher for the best tented camps in high season (October to March) and if you’re on a private safari. If your safari involves any flights, this will also push up the price considerably. However much you pay, make sure you get a full list from your safari operator of what your safari price includes, so you don’t get any nasty surprises when it’s time for you to pay.”


South Africa Safari Reviews

4.6/5 940 Reviews
Emma Gregg  –  
United Kingdom UK

Emma is an award-winning travel writer for Rough Guides, National Geographic Traveller, Travel Africa magazine and The Independent.

Where Big Five safaris are big business, there’s a wealth of choice

Glorious images of elephants, rhinos, lions, leopards and buffalo parading through pristine bush are central to South Africa’s popular image. So it comes as a surprise to some first-time visitors that, in reality, the proportion of this...

Full Review

Mike Unwin  –  
United Kingdom UK

Mike is an award-winning wildlife writer, former editor of Travel Zambia magazine and author of the Bradt Guide to Southern African Wildlife.

A world in one country

South Africa’s astounding array of landscapes – from semi-desert to savanna and snow-capped mountain to coral reef – means it offers a greater variety of wildlife experience than any other African country. There are surely few other...

Full Review

Rosemere Maia  –  
Brazil BR
Reviewed: Dec 4, 2023
Culture, adventure, beautiful landscapes, welcoming people: that's South Africa!

South Africa is wonderful. Exceeded my expectations. It is a country full of natural beauty, with a very rich culture and extremely welcoming people. I didn't feel unsafe at any point. I loved visiting its parks and reserves, its...

Full Review

Elyse  –  
United States US
Reviewed: Nov 29, 2023
Better than I could have imagined

My husband and I booked flights to SA but didn't have a full plan, and about a week before we left decided to book a Safari in or near Kruger. I reached out to Safari Bookings who sent out questions to a few safari tour companies and...

Full Review

Jessica  –  
Australia AU
Reviewed: Nov 28, 2023
Highly recommend

My friend and I booked the 4-Day Tremisana Kruger Park Safari with Viva Safaris. I couldn't rate it any higher. The whole experience was amazing, we saw so many animals, all the staff were amazing and the services including the food was...

Full Review

Peter  –  
Czech Republic CZ
Reviewed: Nov 27, 2023
fantastic wildlife experience at Sanbona Resort

We had a fantastic stay at Sanbona Wildlife Resort about 3 hours from CapeTown very well organized by Gems of Africa. After this safari we enjoyed a few days in CapeTown, one of our favorite cities in the world. Finally we went to...

Full Review