Wildlife adventures in Cape Town

Cape Town and the Western Cape offers a wide range of wildlife activities and adventures for the nature lover from magical butterfly experiences to hair raising encounters with Great White sharks and everything in between.

Big 5 Adventures

• Aquila Private Game Reserve

The Four Star Aquila Private Game Reserve is located in the Little Karoo where you can experience the famous Big Five which includes the lion, elephant, buffalo, elephant and leopard. The reserve is a 10 000 hectare conservancy and offers a wide range of safaris including horseback, quad bikes, days trips and overnight safaris. As part of a wildlife conservation effort, cheetahs are also captive bred and you can experience an educational introduction to the fastest land mammal.

• Fairy Glen

Only an hour’s drive from Cape Town, you can experience the magical Big 5 at Fairy Glen Big 5 Safaris. Tucked away at the foot of the majestic Brandwacht Mountains, this award winning private game reserve also hosts a variety of other mammal, bird and reptile species giving you an over all African wildlife experience. Set amid indigenous fynbos vegetation, Fairy Glen offers both game drives and horse back safaris and onsite accommodation.

Wildlife Adventures

• Drakenstein Lion Park

A short drive from Cape Town, you can experience a once in a lifetime opportunity to sleep amongst lions. Overnight in a well appointed tented camp surrounded by the roars of the King of the Jungle. A traditional South African braai is served in the rustic Lapa where you can also enjoy sundowners overlooking the Drakenstein Mountain Range. The Lion Park is a wildlife sanctuary dedicated to preserving these majestic animals and provides lifetime care to captive born lions and assists in re-homing lions in distress.

• Table Mountain National Park

The Table Mountain National Park protects the fragile eco-system surrounding the City of Cape Town. The park is home to many indigenous species and is part of a fascinating fynbos ecosystem that is unique to this area of South Africa and is the only kind in the world. The park extends all the way from Table Mountain to the far South including Cape Point and Boulder’s Beach so whether you are in for a hike, a casual stroll, a picnic or a drive through the park, there is something for everyone.

• Monkeyland

Monkeyland is the worlds first free roaming multi-species private sanctuary and homes 18 different species of primates. 11 of these species are free roaming in a 12 hectare forest, making this once in a lifetime experience both intimate and a photographers dream. Species include Vervet Monkeys, 2 Lemur species, 2 Langur species, Black Howler Monkeys, Spider Monkeys and the White Handed Gibbon.

• Giraffe House Wildlife Awareness Centre

Only 39 km from Cape Town, you can explore 39 hectares of magnificent wildlife and bird habitat at Giraffe House. Meet the resident giraffe Gerry who, at almost 6 meters tall, was hand-reared and part of the wildlife education program. Giraffe House not only boasts the tallest land animal but also the biggest and smallest antelopes and the biggest bird. Make a day of it, bring a picnic basket and explore the home of over 50 African animal species.

Sea Life Adventures

• Great White Shark cage diving

If you are in for a thrill or have ever dreamed of getting up close and personal with a Great White Shark in its natural habitat, cage diving is a must for your itinerary. Cape Town is a hotspot for these fearsome, yet magnificent creatures. There are a wide variety of tour operators in the area and if coming face to face with these apex predators is the subject of your worst nightmare, you can also view them from the comfort of the boat.

• Hermanus Whale Festival

From June to November, Southern Right Whales visit the Cape waters to breed and calve. Cape Town is one of the world’s most spectacular vantage points for whale watching. These majestic animals can easily be observed close to shore or you can join one of the many whale watching boat cruises that operate in and around Cape Town. Every year these whales migrate from their icy feeding grounds off Antarctica to the Cape Coastal waters giving whale watchers amazing displays of spectacular water acrobatics. Although these giant mammals can be spotted all along the Cape Coast, Hermanus is known as the whale capital of the world and thousands of enthusiastic visitors head to the annual whale festival which takes place around October each year.

Birding Adventures

• Boulders Beach Penguin Colony

Boulders Beach in Simon’s Town is home to the endangered African Penguin. The breeding pairs of this vulnerable species suffered a loss of 80% in just over 50 years and the Boulders Penguin Colony was established in 1983 to try and preserve this tuxedoed little bird. This beach, with its wind sheltered bays and safe sandy shores, offers an interesting opportunity to observe these birds.

• World of Birds

World of Birds is the largest bird park in Africa with over 3 000 birds in more than 100 spacious walk through aviaries. Located in Hout Bay, this tropical garden is a must see for all nature lovers and photographers who want an intimate closeness with nature. The reserve includes birds of Southern Africa as well as exotic birds, including cormorants, pelicans, parrots, penguins, eagles and owls. World of Birds also serves as a sanctuary, orphanage and breeding centre, caring for injured birds and breeding threatened species.

Reptiles and Insect Adventures

• Imhoff Snake Park

If you are interested in observing and learning about some fascinating reptile species, Imhoff Snake Park is a must on your itinerary. You will find some of the worlds most interesting snakes and reptiles at this reptile sanctuary and rehabilitation centre. Some residents worth observing include the blue-tongued skink, a 3.5 meter long yellow anaconda, a Mozambique spitting cobra and the African rock python. Combine the visit with a lunch at one of the restaurants and a visit to the Higgeldy Piggeldy Farm Yard.

• Butterfly World

Butterfly World is a unique attraction and consists of a tropical garden in a 1000 square meter green house. You can experience these magical creatures in this spectacular environment where exotic butteries can fly around freely. Not only can you experience the vibrant colours of these beautiful, wonderful creatures but these stunning gardens also host a large aviary, a meerkat enclosure, free range farm animals and a spider room.

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