Dinokeng Game Reserve. Image supplied

Local travel: View the big five less than an hour from Pretoria

Avoid the long queues and hordes of vehicles jostling for space at waterholes in the Kruger and head to the Dinokeng Game Reserve, where you can see the big five without the big crowds.


Dinokeng Game Reserve. Image supplied

Located just 45 minutes from North Pretoria and an hour-and-a-half from Johannesburg in the northeastern quadrant of the Gauteng Province, the Dinokeng Game Reserve (DGR) is a malaria-free nature reserve that is home to the big five – rhino, elephant, lion, leopard and African buffalo.

The 18,500-hectare reserve was founded as an eco-tourism initiative by the government and local landowners to conserve local wildlife and provide sustainable employment for the adjoining rural communities.

Private landowners and former farmers in the area benefit by developing tourism facilities on their land within the reserve, providing Dinokeng visitors with a wide choice of fantastic places to stay and to experience the beauty and wildlife in the reserve.

The reserve is home to an array of wildlife, including the big five of African buffalo, elephant, white and black rhino, lion, and leopard, as well as giraffe, zebra, cheetah, hyena, and several species of antelope. A myriad of bird species can also be seen in the park, including a breeding pair of martial eagles and the endangered blue crane.

Where to stay in Dinokeng

Dinokeng offers a wide variety of accommodation options for every budget — from private game lodges and luxury bush camps, family-friendly self-catering chalets and farm stays to full-service campgrounds for caravan and tent camping.

Top places to stay in the Dinokeng Game Reserve include:

Golden Impalas Bush Resort – Bed and breakfast villas

Hayward’s Safari House – Self-catering villas

Hartbeesfontein Guest Farm – Guest farm

Explorers Little Mongena Tented Camp – Luxury tented safari camp

IKhaya LamaDube Game Lodge – Chalets, cottages, game lodges, and holiday homes

Things to do

There is a wealth of activities in the reserve to enjoy, from self-driving routes with plenty of picnic spots to guided game drives and bush walks with knowledgeable qualified field guides.

Day and night game drives are conducted in open-topped safari vehicles and guides will share legendary African tales with you over home-baked rusks in the heart of the bush or sundowners on a riverbank.

Other activities in the park include incredible hot air ballooning trips over the reserve at dawn; sunset boat cruises; bass fishing expeditions, and romantic bush lunch picnics. Outside Dinokeng, the pioneering mining settlement and now quaint, historic village of Cullinan is well worth a visit.

Also read: Kruger National Park welcomes guests once again