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Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve

Home > Johannesburg > Travel | Picnic Spots | Game Reserves | Animals and Wildlife | Accommodation
by Elaine (subscribe)
Impromptu adventuring, exploring our backyard and then putting pen to paper, hoping to entice you to try one, if not all, of our escapades, is my true reward!
Published January 31st 2017
The Nearest Faraway Place
Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Welcome to Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve - Image: Elaine de Wete


If, like us, you're on a tight time-schedule and don't have time to go to the Kruger National Park, then the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve, just outside Johannesburg, is the perfect place to spend a day.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
This photo was taken with great speed so as not to linger - Image: Elaine de Wet


The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve 'The Nearest Faraway Place' is a privately owned game reserve covering approximately 1200 hectares. After humble beginnings - two White Rhino and a few assorted small buck - visitors can now view a wide variety of game (more than six hundred and fifty at present) including rare and endangered species.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site - Image: Elaine de Wet


The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve falls within the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site, a spectacular world-class exhibition that focuses on the development of humans and our ancestors over the past few million years. An intriguing historical site where one gets the opportunity to learn how humans were born and view stone tools that are nearly one million years old. We visited the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site with 2500m2 of exhibitions on a previous occasion and because of our time-constraints had to miss out this time.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Entrance to the Animal Creche - Images: Elaine de Wet


My main reason for wanting to visit The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve is the Animal Creche (or Kindy) as we know it in Australia. The Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve have specifically built a nursery/creche for all young, endangered and orphaned animals giving visitors the opportunity to have photos taken with the cubs or pups. Unfortunately, on the day that we visited it was raining, and this is the only time one cannot interact with the 'babies' in the Creche, but we were permitted to roam around the enclosures to enjoy what was on offer.

The variety of baby animals all happily playing, was absolutely amazing:-

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Just look at that cute face - baby White Tiger - Image: Elaine de Wet


Black Leopard; Spotted Leopard; Eurasian Lynx; White Tigers and White Lion cubs (a true rarity for us to see).

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Don't you agree the Maribou Storks look like undertakers - Image: Elaine de Wet


Whilst roaming between the enclosures, one has the opportunity to admire Marabou Storks (they look like funeral undertakers) plus an assortment of birds that roam freely between visitors. One stork seemed to take a fancy to me and 'stalked' (excuse the pun) me until he could take a peck at me from behind - I almost jumped out of my skin.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
My 'storker' - Image: Elaine de Wet


There are numerous activities included in the entry price of R130 (approximately $13) per person:-

Lion, cheetah and wild dog feeding;

Live snake display;

Cheetah talk;

Animal Creche;

Hippo pools;

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Hippo Pools - Image: Elaine de Wet

🦏 Waterfowl park;

Reptile park;

🦏 Free 4 x 4 route;

🦏 Vulture hide;

Predator camp;

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Entrance to Predator Camp - Image: Elaine de Wet

🦏 Self-drive game viewing;

🦏 African garden;

🦏 Swimming pool;

🦏 Childrens' playpark; and

🦏 Braai (barbecue) and picnic spots

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Picnic areas - Image: Elaine de Wet


We were exploring on our own and our next stop, self-driving, was the Predator Camp, which included the adult White Lions, Wild Dogs and Cheetah. Being a cool, overcast day with intermittent rain, the animals were out and about and not hiding out to escape the harsh African sun.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Wild dog sleeping - Image: Elaine de Wet


We were fortunate to see the White Lions and get up really close and personal with a very large male - one has to keep in mind that these animals are totally wild and dangerous, so windows have to be kept closed at all times and visitors are warned not to linger within twenty-five metres of the lions. Before entering the predator area, visitors are also warned to remove spare wheel covers on the rear of 4 x 4 vehicles, as these are likely to be destroyed, should a lion decide they might want to 'play'.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
The lioness just before ensuring we made a speedy retreat - Image: Elaine de Wet


I say 'fortunate' with much trepidation as the day we visited, one particular lioness must have thought we were a food source and decided to give chase, to ensure he got the best 'feed' of the day. Well, this was an experience I wouldn't like to repeat - the roads are all rough 4 x 4 trails, interspersed with dongas (an eroded ravine or a dry watercourse) every here and there and to make our escape we were forced to reverse at great speed to avoid becoming lion fodder for the day! All I can say isI was shaking like a leaf when we emerged victorious....unscathed!

We have subsequently learnt that all these wild animals are fed off the back of 4 x 4 vehicles and it is quite common for them to perceive 'any' vehicle as a possible food source. How scary is that??

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Blesbok, an antelope endemic to South Africa - Image: Elaine de Wet


The Wild Dogs were quite complacent - perhaps they had already been fed? The Cheetah decided that today was not our day to see them and ensured they stayed in hiding for the duration of our drive.

Accommodation is available at the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, with three private, fully equipped chalets in the rest camp. Each chalet sleeps four people with the option of having an additional two people. These chalets are equipped with gas appliances, no electricity or telephones. Visitors need to supply their own food and refreshments. The rest camp has its own private swimming pool, lapa* area and a jungle gym for children.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Log Cabins overlooking the lion camp - Image: Elaine de Wet


In addition to the chalets, there are five, private, fully-equipped log cabins overlooking the Lion Camp. Each log cabin sleeps four people with en-suite bedrooms and a sleeper couch in the lounge area. The facilities at the log cabins include:-

✅ Open Plan Kitchen;
✅ Lounge/Dining room area;
✅ Two Bedrooms;
✅ Two Bathrooms;
✅ Sleeper Couch in living area;
✅ Electricity;
✅ DSTV;
✅ Six seater jacuzzi (spa) on the veranda/patio;
✅ Built-in braai (barbecue);
✅ Self-catering

Imagine waking up in the morning to the roar of lions! An experience one would remember for the rest of your life!

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Wildebeest, genus of antelopes, mother and baby - Image: Elaine de Wet


The whole Reserve is set in scenic surrounds and one has to look out for the wildebeest, zebras, springbok and bles-bok that are roaming in the hills.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Neck & Deck Cafe - Image: Elaine de Wet


The next stop on our outing was the Neck & Deck - a cafe providing light refreshments and food - but the main reason for our visit was to participate in hand-feeding the giraffe - imagine that!

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
Gentle giants - Image: Elaine de Wet


For R30 ($3) per person, visitors can enjoy the unique thrill of feeding these gentle giants of the wild. With their long necks and envious eyelashes to match, this was truly an exhilarating one-off memory-making adventure for me.

If you're visiting South Africa, have limited time and don't want to take malaria medication (in the Kruger National Park this is a pre-requisite) then why not do a day trip to the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve.

Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, Kromdraai, Johannesburg, Animal Creche, young, endangered, orphaned animals, black leopard, spotted leopard, Eurasian Lynx, white tigers, white lions, hippo pools, vulture hide, predator camp, 4 by 4 route, self-drive game viewing, african garden, swimming pool, barbecue and picnic spots, chalet and log cabin accommodation, no malaria precautions needed, suit day trips
A totally unique experience - Image: Elaine de Wet


PS We didn't actually see any Rhino - we were told that they keep moving them to new secret locations for the Rhinos' protection to prevent further Rhino poaching.

*Lapa - A lapa is a thatched-roofed variant of the widely known gazebo
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Why? To experience the thrill of the wild on a tight time-schedule
When: See website for opening hours
Phone: 0011 (27) 11 957 0106/09
Where: 520 Kromdraai Road, Kromdraai, Krugersdorp, 1739, South Africa
Cost: R130 (approximately $13)
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