Bufflesfontein Game and Nature Reserve is perhaps the closest collection of safari animals to Cape Town. Fifty miles and an hour from the city, this former cattle ranch sports four of the coveted “Big Five” safari checklist creatures: lion, cape buffalo, white rhino and leopard. It’s also home to giraffe and ostrich, which roam freely throughout the property – including around the overnight accommodation areas – and others like cheetah, zebra, wildebeest, hartebeest, kudu and other antelope.
The nearly 4,000-acre family-owned space offers twice-daily game drives and day-trip safaris. Large, elevated open air vehicles navigate the park stopping for photo ops and scenic views, one of the few places to spot wildlife fronting a dramatic backdrop of the distant South Atlantic Ocean. Still, don’t expect a fully-wild safari experience – the carnivorous big cats are kept in separate enclosures and elephants are notably absent. But even this game-viewing format has its perks… visitors are all but guaranteed to see cats devouring hunks of meat on
afternoon game drives (their feeding times coincide with tours six days a week), they’ll get to know more about the lives of the popular resident rhino pair Max and Lily, and there is even an
opportunity to snuggle a meerkat.
Overnight accommodations range from basic camping facilities to small and large luxury chalets with kitchens. Like the larger lodges, game drives are available.
The reserve is located off Route 27 just north of the intersection with Route 315 at the southern end of West Coast National Park. Advance reservations are required for daily game drives, which depart at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. and can take up to three hours; they cost R 500 per adult, R 250 per child (4-12), or R5000 a full vehicle private drive. Several tour operators run day trips to the reserve from Cape Town and offer shorter private game drives, bike or horseback safaris. The reserve has an onsite bar and restaurant, open daily til 5 p.m.