Big 5 Game Reserve in Gauteng

It was mom’s birthday recently, which presented the perfect excuse to travel with my heroin. People close to me know that I have a deep and special relationship with my mom. She is the epitome of grace, humility, and the most selfless person I know. Gifting mom with much needed time away was the least I could do to show my gratitude.

Another fun fact about my mom is that she loves animals. She spends most of her time watching the National Geographic and Animal Planet channels, so to celebrate her birthday, we headed out on the road to Dinokeng Game Reserve. The only big five animal reserve in Gauteng. 

There are plenty of lodges and accommodation options available to choose from at Dinokeng Game Reserve, including self-catering and full board. One is spoilt for choice in this regard. We stayed at iKhaya lamaDube lodge, and this was our second time staying there. The warm hospitality and service from staff on arrival and throughout our stay was superb. They go out of their way to make you feel welcome and ease you into your holiday after the bumpy drive leading to the lodge.

The chalets are beautifully styled in a modern African rustic theme with thatch roofs and wooden beams accentuating the rooms. Our room had a private splash pool and was adequately fitted for self-catering purposes. We visited the reserve in May, the height of our autumn season in South Africa, where days are longer and nights are shorter. The change of season also brings with it colder nights, but we could keep the winter chill at bay with our warm bushfire. 

Guided game and self-drives are available. One can also opt for a guided game walk with a skilled ranger. I tried my hand at clay pigeon shooting at the nearby Ngiri Safari lodge located close by, but I didn’t manage to hit any of the clays that launched from my vantage point. Mom opted not to participate in this activity. I think the thought of handling a loaded rifle unsettled her, but it’s something I’m keen to try again. Another charming spot is the Veldjierondom Picnic site. Moerkoffi and pancakes were my preferred breakfast. They have an onsite curio shop that sells various handmade crafts and edible goodies, including jams, sauces, olives, clothing, jewellery and cutlery pieces. Mom insisted that we buy the marmalade jam, still an acquired taste for me.

Overall, we enjoyed our time at Dinokeng. If you’re looking for the big 5 experience close to Gauteng then look no further. This location is definitely one for the bucket list.

Before you go

Ensure that you take the correct offramp, preferably one closest to your lodge. We took the wrong offramp on a previous visit, which resulted in us driving on gravel for a more extended period, resulting in our delayed arrival.  

Prepare to travel on some bumpy gravel. It wouldn’t be a bush getaway without the gravel.

Game drives can be arranged ahead of time through the lodge where you’ll be staying.

There is a toll fee payable at the N1 Phumulani toll and Hammanskraal toll plaza just as you offramp from the N1

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