The Dinokeng Game Reserve story centres around conservation, as a project started through strategic initiatives of Gauteng Provincial Government and the efforts of enthusiastic more than 170 landowners. Together they developed the concept that eco-tourism could become the source for the upliftment of rural communities through sustainable employment.
Situated within the boundaries of a large metropolis the Dinokeng Game Reserve has the potential to become a model for future conservation where people and wild animals live in harmony. And it is on the way to prove itself as an example of successful transformation with so far more than 800 permanent jobs created for people living in the adjoining communities.
The name of the Dinokeng Game Reserve is derived from the languages of the baTswana and baPedi people who traditionally inhabited the area. Meaning “a place of rivers”, Dinokeng lies in the catchment area of two rivers that flow into the Olifants and Limpopo rivers and on to the Indian Ocean.
The Dinokeng Game Reserve is situated on the northeastern quadrant of the Gauteng Province of South Africa between latitudes 25°40’00”S and 25°10’00”S and longitudes 28°15’00”E and 28°40’00”E comprising currently 18 500 ha.
The DGR area experiences summer rainfall patterns in the form of thunderstorms which can be variable and erratic. Rainfall varies from 350mm to 750mm per season. Temperatures vary between 0° and 40° with a long term daily average of 21°.
The Dinokeng Game Reserve is Malaria-free.
Degraded land returning to former glory – rehabilitation & conservation.
The future of conservation requires a two-pronged strategy the fight for open ecosystems and pristine wilderness areas and the development of new buffer models where people and nature grow together in harmony. The Dinokeng Game Reserve – as the only residential Big5 game reserve worldwide within the boundaries of a metro – has the unique opportunity to develop itself into such a model for future conservation.
Conservation in such an environment comes with a number of challenges, which can be turned into successful projects. These range from the eradication of alien plants, management of veld and game – yes, although we adhere to the concept of free roaming and self fending management interventions are necessary amongst other to avoid inbreeding, especially in smaller reserves -, to the protection of endangered species.
Developing a new model means being in uncharted waters. While we are enthusiastic with our vision, we are realistic too. We are well aware that there might be setbacks and that we are not immune to wrong decisions. But we believe in open discussion what allows for lessons to be learnt.
Dinokeng Game Reserve History
Our reserve is situated in the Greater Dinokeng Area, a region in northern Gauteng that was earmarked for development through eco-tourism.
As part of the Gauteng Governments Blue IQ project, formal planning and controlled development of Dinokeng Game Reserve together with negotiations with landowners began in the early 2000s.
Construction of a 200km perimeter game fence for the Reserve commenced in 2008 and landowners began to dismantle fences around individual properties allowing the game to move freely between properties. Big 5 Animals such as White Rhino followed by Lions and Elephants were progressively introduced by 2011.
The Reserve was officially opened on 22 September 2011 after the introduction of four of the Big 5 had been accomplished. Buffalo was introduced in late 2012.
In 2018 a herd of Black Rhino were released into the reserve making it a genuine Big 5 Reserve.
Contact Details for Dinokeng Game Reserve
Dinokeng Game Reserve Activities
What To Do At The Dinokeng Game Reserve?
Picnic Sites & Bird Hides
Users of the Self Drive Route have a choice of three different Picnic Sites situated along the route. These picnic sites are built and maintained by private landowners who levy no charge for their use but expect visitors to leave the sites in the condition that they would wish to find them. Pack your picnic baskets, food, drinks, firewood, firelighters, braai tools and chairs. Braai stands, drinking water and clean toilets are provided. As with most picnic sites in game reserves they are not fenced so as to provide a closer bush encounter. Visitors use these facilities at their own risk.
Bayethe Picnic Site
Bayethe is an interesting traditional name. It essentially means “Salute the King” but was also the opening song of the movie Shaka Zulu. This more remote picnic resonates with its name as it is set on a hill and has a panoramic view across the valley. Bayethe is located close to Elephant Water Hole and Ouklip Game Lodge. Here you will find a thatched shelter, facilities to braai with two tables and bunks can accommodate about 16 people. There are flushing toilets for the convenience of visitors. The water is not suitable for drinking.
Dula Nokeng means “sitting by the water”. This picnic site is modern and is set close to the Fischer dam and in the shade of the local bush. It is conveniently close to the main tarred access road of the Reserve known as the Rust De Winter Rd. Dula Nokeng offers excellent facilities that include fresh water, clean toilets and convenient braai stands that cater for small and larger groups. Guests need to bring their own tables and chairs for this site.
A key attraction is the Fischer Dam that is a short drive down from the picnic site and is the habitat of a wide variety of bird life that is. Great sunsets over this dam set the scene for a relaxing sundowner and awesome pictures.
As the name suggests this tranquil spacious picnic site is set in the open veld and is located in the South East (close to Arlington Craft Brewery) of the Game Reserve. The site has a rustic appeal and offers fresh drinking water, clean restrooms and washing up facilities and sheltered tables and stools at the five individual braai places. There are welcome play facilities for children to get some exercise after being cooped up in a car for hours. Braai grids are provided.
MarSu Lombert Bird Hide
This bird hide derives its name from letters of the names of the two landowner families that were involved in developing the hide. It is hidden away in the Eastern part of the Game Reserve but easy to get to being not far from the Arlington Brewery where refreshments and ablutions are available.
Located adjacent to a wetland in open veld the dam at this beautifully constructed hide attracts an interesting variety of birds and mammals. It is a serene place where peace and quiet can be enjoyed whilst you observe nature’s scene unfold. There are no toilet facilities here.
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Guided game drives & bush walks
Enhance your nature experience with guided game drives and bush walks. A game drive in an open safari vehicle not only gets you closer – you can smell nature and your sight is increased by the elevated seating position – but it gets enriched by the wealth of knowledge and experience the qualified field guides are sharing. During your morning coffee with home baked rusks or sundowners in a secluded area in the middle of the bush or on the riverbank, your guide will share legendary tales of mating ostrich and laughing hyena. Guided game drives come with age restrictions for children. Please check details with your chosen operator. You can’t get more exposure than with a guided bush walk. In very small groups guided by two specially trained guides, it is all about tracking animals and observing them in their natural habitat without them even sensing that you are there. And being on foot gets you so much closer especially to the small things that otherwise you may just ignore. You learn about tracks what they tell and even if you don’t find the big encounter you may get hooked into e.g. dung beetle activity and how fascinating the small things are. And time flies by. If you consider a walk be prepared with appropriate footwear and clothing and enough water. A certain level of fitness is required and your medical condition must allow exposure to the sun and temperatures for 3 – 4 hours. Bush Walks are not suited for children as their size and behaviour may fall into prey patterns of the predators.
Self Drive Route
What To Do At The Dinokeng Game Reserve?
Visitors come to Dinokeng Game Reserve (it’s barely 40 minutes drive from downtown Pretoria) for time out from the stresses of normal daily routine to relax and enjoy the adventure, the tourist facilities and great nature experiences that our beautiful Game Reserve has to offer.
What better way than to drive along more than 140kms of winding tracks (most of which is suitable to sedan vehicles) stopping from time to time to be in contact with an environment where wild animals, creatures plants and humans live side by side? Permits to use the route can be purchased at the gates of the Reserve or at selected Lodges. The handy detailed map that comes with the permit has numbered reference points and places to stop for comfort breaks, meals or picnics, will guide visitors along the route. Popular with families is the Dinokeng Visitor’s Guide, a booklet designed to inform visitors of what can be seen and that helps to keep children interested as the identify animals, birds and plants along the route. Various restaurants along the route are also a must to visit.
This is a truly different Game Reserve experience where visitors feel closer to the bush and enjoy greater freedom to explore whilst contributing financially to the future of conservation in Tshwane.
Dinokeng Game Reserve
The Dinokeng Game Reserve
The destruction of our environment, rampant pollution and the loss of natural resources have to be the biggest threat to humankind. Human encroachment into wilderness areas has lead to habitat loss and the accelerated extinction of species. Conservationists around the globe are fighting a battle for open ecosystems. These endeavours need universal support. While the human race continues to grow in numbers the struggle for the survival of our environment has to be supplemented with new models of conservation where people and nature exist in harmony.
The Dinokeng Game Reserve presents a rare opportunity to develop a model for future conservation. The DGR is unique in the sense that we are the only residential Big5 game reserve worldwide located within the boundaries of a metro city and just half an hour from the city centre. We are pioneering a model where the Big5 roam freely and live in harmony with resident landowners.
Conservation is no longer a sphere of ecologists, academics and unworldly wood gnomes. People around the world are increasingly becoming conservation conscious and seek to be eco-friendly. These are the people that we seek to attract to our new conservation model. And since they share the same vision and belief, they will come back again and again to follow our achievements, to learn about our challenges and to find ways to adapt and use our example in their own particular environments. Likewise, we will create increasing interest amongst researchers and scientist.
We believe we can create an ecotourism destination without the negative side effects of mass tourism. Because conservation conscious tourists are the type of people that not only respect nature, but are also curious about the culture and customs. This is a core prerequisite to prevent the clash between conservation and tourism in hotspots around the globe.
A key spin-off of our conservation model is that it creates opportunities for the adjacent communities, their restaurants and shebeens, their crafters and cultural initiatives.
All this has the potential to improve quality of life and to bring together our communities inside and outside the perimeter fence of the reserve. Tourism is by its nature, the most people intensive of all industry sectors. Nurturing of responsible tourism is surely the best means of creating sustainable jobs.