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South Africa Blog / 2018 / November

Monthly Archives: November 2018

Animal Sanctuaries In Johannesburg

Animal Sanctuaries In Johannesburg

South Africa is known for its wildlife, and families that are visiting Gauteng won’t be disappointed. Zoos, parks and animal sanctuaries in Johannesburg, Pretoria and the surrounding areas are a must for anyone that wants to experience some of Africa’s wildest animals up close.

Animal Sanctuaries in Johannesburg and its Surrounds

Bird Gardens at MonteCasino

These enchanted gardens are nestled in the heart of glitzy Sandton and are home to more than 60 species of beautiful birds, reptiles, and little mammals. They wander around freely and are fantastic for a quick family trip between shopping sprees.

Johannesburg Zoo

The Johannesburg Zoo in Parkview is home to wild dog, hyena, hippo, zebra, bear (brown, polar, and spectacled), lion, cheetah, puma, gorilla, panda, and even Siberian tiger; along with loads more incredible species. The walk-through aviary means that visitors can get up close to colourful feathered friends, while the medicinal and herb gardens are exquisite to explore. Little ones love the farmyard, where they can pet sheep, ponies and horses or play on the jungle gyms. There are a number of tours on offer at the Jo’Burg Zoo.

Pretoria Zoo (also known as The National Zoological Gardens of South Africa)

With more than 9 500 animals, this is one of the world’s top zoos. See rhino, lion, cheetah, hippo, elephant, and gorilla in gorgeous habitats. Explore it in a golf cart, on the Zoo Choo-Choo Train, or from the cableway that takes you soaring above the zoo. It’s also home to South Africa’s biggest inland marine aquarium. Ragged-tooth sharks and endangered Komodo dragons are just some of the aquarium’s most popular residents.

Hartbeespoort Dam Snake and Animal Park

Against the gorgeous setting of the Magaliesberg Mountains and the Hartbeespoort Dam, live reptile shows and tours of the park are irresistible for families visiting Gauteng. More than slithering snakes, the park is also home to chimpanzees, tigers, vultures, and other wild cats. Some of the animals enjoy human interaction, and guests are invited to touch and feed them. There is also a tea garden here.

Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary

Visit the primates in their natural forest habitat in the Magaliesberg. The animals; which include spider monkeys, squirrel monkeys, and capuchins; have been rescued from the pet trade or previously raised as domestic pets. Their rehabilitation into the wild has the main aim of allowing them to live happily wild lives again, within the protection of the sanctuary.

Elephant Sanctuary

Also on the Hartbeespoort Dam, this sanctuary offers visitors the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to walk with, touch and feed the mighty African elephant. This is one of the very special animal sanctuaries in Johannesburg.

Croc City Crocodile and Reptile Park

This is in Lanseria, less than an hour from Johannesburg, and promises a real thrill for the family. The braver visitors can even hold baby crocodiles, a tarantula, and a few of the resident snakes. Round off a formal tour of the park with a hot cuppa at the tea garden. There’s a shaded play area, where the little ones love to burn some energy.

Hunyani Snake City

See anacondas, rattlesnakes, mambas, pythons, cobras, and crocodiles in this Edenvale attraction. There are live snake shows too, for those that want to learn more about these animals and get even closer to them.

The Lory Park Animal and Owl Sanctuary

In the Midrand, between Johannesburg and Pretoria, is this gorgeous natural retreat, where families can spot some beautiful animals. Dubbed a boutique zoo, this sanctuary is home to many different species; including cheetahs, lions and a variety of snakes.

Visiting Johannesburg

Also known as the City of Gold, Johannesburg is a hotspot for world-class shopping and entertainment. There is plenty of accommodation here, and the convenience of the OR Tambo International Airport.

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

The Eastern Cape Versus the Western Cape – What’s the Difference?

First-time visitors to South Africa can’t be blamed for not knowing their eastern from their western when it comes to the capes. They’re relatively near to one another, and have many similarities. So, what’s the difference between the laid-back Eastern Cape and the slightly-busier-but-still-very-chilled Western Cape?

The Lowdown on the Eastern Cape


The Eastern Cape is a massive, but quieter province. It stretches from Storms River to the area previously known as the Transkei (which borders KwaZulu-Natal), and inland to include gorgeous mountains. The Eastern Cape is characterised by some large cities, like Port Elizabeth and East London, but mainly by its rural Xhosa villages, which freckle the landscape. Cattle roam the grassy plains and there is an undeniable sense of space and solitude.


The Eastern Cape is also home to some magnificent game reserves and national parks, thanks to all of the space available for the wildlife to roam. A few of the best known of these are Addo Elephant National Park, Shamwari Private Game Reserve, Kwandwe Private Game Reserve, and the Baviaanskloof Mega Reserve. For this reason, the Eastern Cape is fantastic for safaris, bird watching, and game viewing. Look out for the Big 5 – elephant, rhino, buffalo, lion and leopard.


This province has an extensive coastline, and the waters are fairly warm and safe for swimming. There are also loads of rivers that lead to the sea, particularly between Port Elizabeth and East London. These create pretty holiday retreats along the coast. It is an awesome destination for anyone that loves watersports and, because of the consistent winds, it has become a world-class kiting destination.

The Lowdown on the Western Cape


A little more cosmopolitan than its eastern counterpart, the Western Cape tends be more about shopping, winelands, and entertainment. Of course, there are many spectacular natural areas here too; with its impressive mountain ranges, verdant valleys, exquisite white-sand beaches, and endless stretches of vineyards.


In fact, the Western Cape is known the world over for its wines. So, it is not surprising that, around the main city centre of Cape Town, there are many wine farms. Here, visitors can taste some excellent wines (or pair them with delicious meals).


More than just the metropolis, the Western Cape is home to unique little towns and villages that give it its character. These include Franschhoek, Swellendam, Robertson, Paternoster and Hermanus. A little further away from Cape Town, there is the Garden Route. This is home to Knysna, Mossel Bay and Plettenberg Bay, amongst other gems.


Cape Town itself is home to some of the world’s best-known attractions. These include Table Mountain, Robben Island, the V & A Waterfront, Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens, and the Two Oceans Aquarium.


Adventure sports like shark cage diving, bungy jumping, abseiling, kloofing and mountain climbing are a must here, because the landscape lends itself to exploring. The ocean waters are significantly cooler in the Western Cape than the Eastern Cape.

EC vs WC

Well, it’s almost impossible to choose between the two. They both have incredible natural areas, plenty of history and lashings of culture. The Western Cape offers great shopping, plenty of history, world-class wines, and first-class entertainment. The Eastern Cape is hard to beat in terms of its game reserves, stunning warm sea water, pristine beaches, friendly folk, and tranquillity. They both have loads of charming historical towns and lashings of culture. In addition, they both have plenty of accommodation – ranging from guesthouses and B&B’s to game lodges, resorts, hotels, and apartments. Find a full range of establishments on SA-Venues.com.