National Zoological Gardens of South Africa

Visit South Africa’s largest zoo by day to see lions, tigers and a huge aquarium. Arrive by night to find lively nocturnal animals or stay on the park’s campsite.

Explore the 210 acres (85 hectares) of the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa, the country’s largest zoo. With more than 9,000 animals from around 700 different species, the zoo is often considered to be one of the best in the world. Bring the kids, ride the cableway and camp overnight near a den of lions.

One of the park’s best features is its diverse range of large mammals. See lions and tigers and admire one of the largest collections of antelope in the world. Go to the African cheetah enclosure to see one of the many incredible species native to this continent.

As you tour through the park, make sure to visit the reptile area, the aviary and South Africa’s largest inland marine aquarium. The zoo features an extensive collection of exotic trees.

Ride the cableway from the entrance to the top of the hill on the park’s north side for a fee. Here, you can look out over the vast grounds of the zoo. Gaze east to see the Pretoria skyline rise above the horizon.

Two tours offer the chance to see the zoo by night. Hear lions roaring in the dark on the camping tour, which lets you sleep overnight in the zoo’s campsite. For another way to see the park’s nocturnal animals come alive, take the 2-hour night tour. Both are available for a fee.

Check the zoo’s website for park events. Join a monthly fun run through the park to see the animals while getting some exercise or check to see if the zoo is running a park-wide scavenger hunt.

Reach the park by bus from Pretoria’s main station. Bring walking shoes, since there are around 3.7 miles (6 kilometers) of trails in the zoo. Golf carts are available to rent for those with limited mobility. 

There is a fee to enter the park, although on several days throughout the year seniors can enter for free. Check the website for details. The zoo is open daily.

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