Safaris are great! If you have the time and the budget, you should definitely go on a “traditional” Safari. If you can’t, the next best thing you can do is visit one of the Lion parks in Johannesburg.
These lion parks are amazing. Depending on where you go, you can get guided game drives or you can drive yourself.
Do call ahead before you make plans. Due to covid, many facilities have limited animal interaction. (This is the case with the Bird and Wildlife Garden and Montecasino too.)
The Lion & Safari Park is almost an hour from the Johannesburg airport. It is quite a drive but it will be well worth your time!
It depends on which Lion and Safari parks you go to, but for the most part, you have lots of options to choose from:
These are led by qualified and experienced guides who will introduce you to some of South Africans most famous predators. You will be driven in a modern Safari truck to see the cheetah, wild dog, hyenas, leopard, and lion enclosures. There are also many herbivore species you may see, like giraffe, springbok, impala, zebra, and more.
There are usually different tours you can choose from. For example, you can choose 1,2, or 3-hour tours or private tours.
Sunset drives are particularly popular because this may be when you see the lions feed. The safari vehicles are filled with the night sounds and the roar of the lions.
Self Drive Tours
With these tours, no guide is provided. With a self-drive safari, you will drive your own vehicle and you will be able to get up close to the predators and the wildlife. BE SURE TO KEEP YOUR WINDOWS CLOSED at all times when you drive into the carnivore enclosures.
You will be able to drive at your own pace to see the different wildlife. This can be a little unnerving for some of us. If you feel uncomfortable or you are dubious about driving yourself, take a guided tour.
Pet Lion Cubs
This is great fun for kids but it is not available at all the lion parks in Johannesburg.
You will be petting the lion cubs in a highly controlled environment. Depending on where you go, they will let 3-5 people in at a time. The time you are invited in will also depend on the little cubs. From our experience, they let you in when the cubs are fed but tired and subdued.
This is so much fun for kids and adults. You will be interacting with the giraffes and feed them. Sometimes, the feeding platform is also visited by ostriches, zebras, and other herbivores.
Want to see more in this area? The Cradle of Humankind (the birthplace of humans) is approximately 32 minutes away (by car).