Just under 30 miles northwest of bustling downtown Johannesburg, this enclave of animals makes it easy to see many – giraffe, white rhino, Kruger lion, cape buffalo, hippos, flamingos, ostrich – not far from the city’s creature comforts. Six hundred individual beasts comprising more than 30 species call the 3,000-acre privately-owned slice of savanna home. The option to self-drive the reserve’s bumpy gravel roads or take an organized day or night drive in the park’s open-top vehicles makes this a popular stop with Joberg visitors without a lot of time.
Still, don’t expect a Kruger-like experience where all the animals run wild and fate and chance take their toll on the circle of life. Predators are separated by fences and easily spotted during scheduled public feeding times. A reptile house contains captive versions of creatures many would just as soon not spot in the wild, and species from around the continent and beyond also have a home here: Bengal and white tigers, three varieties of leopard and two types of jaguar. There’s even a chance for photo ops with some of the results of the reserve’s onsite breeding center – baby white lions, tigers, cheetah and more –– at the Animal Créche.
The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, situated within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, makes it easy to hit multiple tourist stops such as the renowned Sterkfontein Caves and the Cradle of Humankind visitor center. The nearby Wonder Cave (operated separately), discovered by miners in 1898, has
cavernous ceilings reaching 50 feet is host to exploratory and abseiling tours. Overnight accommodations and entertainment facilities for young children are also available in the park.
The park is located at 520 Kromdraai Rd in Krugersdorp and is open from 8 a.m. til 4 p.m. weekdays and til 4:30 p.m. on weekends and public holidays. General day admission is R 160 for adults and R 120 for children; its possible to buy combined tickets to both the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and the Wondercave. Reserve-run game drives are weather permitting and usually run
six days a week lasting for 2.5 hours a piece. Several tour operators make the day-trip to the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve and the Wonder Cave from Johannesburg.