Lions and Cheetahs. Leopards and Elephants. Rhinos, Hippos, Buffalos, Zebras, Giraffes and more. You’ve seen it on Nat Geo or Discovery and you’ve most likely said “someday, I want to do that.” But, safaris are pricey adventures, right? Google “Safari Africa” or “Safari South Africa” and seeing packages for a week costing over $10,000 USD, you’d soon be led to believe that you’d have to seriously break the bank in order to witness these gorgeous creatures completely in their element. Not so. Leave it up to us to find a less expensive way of getting it done. Here’s the nitty gritty on where best to find the Big 5 (Lion, Leopard, Black Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo) in Southern Africa and doing it on the cheap.
Cape Town is pretty incredible. First off, it’s stunning. Nestled between the Atlantic Ocean, several bays, and the backdrop of Table Mountain, it’s pretty hard to beat for picturesque beauty. Considering the city’s proximity to Wine Country, beaches and National Parks, not to mention near-perfect year-round weather, a great food scene, awesome music, and more culture than you can handle (this is Africa after all), it’s no wonder that it has topped the list two years running for Best City for Tourists.
So, what to do, what to do. Schneids and I like the outdoors so we were quick to climb Table Mountain and were woefully underprepared, lacking ample food and water. (We actually were taking timed swigs every 10 minutes to conserve.) It’s great at the top, no doubt, but if time is tight in town, save your hiking legs for nearby Lion’s Head. It’s far less strenuous, more fun, and the 360-degree panam views are absolutely ridiculous. City to beach, Table Mountain to the Twelve Apostles coastal range, you can see it all. Time your summit with sunset, pack some wine and a flashlight and you’re in for a treat.