Pilanesberg (South Africa)
English, Afrikaans, Xhosa
Pilanesberg National Park lies within one of the most ancient and beautiful geological sites in the world; with both guided and self-drive safaris available, spotting wildlife at Pilanesberg is exciting and rewarding. One of the largest volcanic complexes in the world, Pilanesberg’s rare rock formations create a highly unique setting for big game viewing and a memorable safari experience. The park has strong populations of the big 5 and sightings are abundant, making it a photographer’s dream location.
The reserve is located in the North West province of South Africa and contains all large game as well as a large and diverse population of bird species. Pilanesberg is malaria-free, making it a perfect option for those with children or unwilling to take prophylactics.
Attractions & Activities
A closer look at what your holiday could be.
There are numerous places for guests to have a wildlife experience outside of their car with the many picnic spots and hides located throughout the park. Although self-drives are highly recommended in Pilanesberg, there are also professional guided drives available at an extra charge.
The park has several different accommodation options available, ranging from camping to luxury lodges. No off road driving or night drives are permitted, so be aware of the fact that you will have to compete with other vehicles for the best view at sightings.
The diverse landscape of the park has aided the reintroduction of long since vanished species. Today the park is home to over 7 000 animals, including the Big 5. Pilanesberg is also home to the endangered black rhino and wild dog. The Mankwe dam is the largest body of water in the park and provides a great location to spot animals. This is particular evident during the dry winter months when seasonal water sources dry up, and the animals are forced towards the dam. Waterbuck, zebra, impala, wildebeest and buffalo are regular visitors to the dam. There is also a bird hide close to the edge of the water where fish eagles, kingfishers and other species can be seen. Pilanesberg is home to over 300 recorded species of birds.
Pilanesberg's ancient history is well evidenced; Stone and Iron Age sites can be found throughout the park, with evidence of early human presence. As a national park, Pilanesberg began to see a major reintroduction of wildlife with the instigation of Operation Genesis in 1979. The reserve was fenced and many locally extinct large animals were gradually reintroduced to the area, resulting in today’s 7000 individuals.
The park's location and ability to support endangered species (including black rhino and wild dog) makes it a conservation hub, and important tourist destination.
Pilanesberg National Park is placed in a transition zone between the Kalahari and Lowveld, so both dry and wet conditions are found here. The landscape’s sharp contrasts are a great joy to novice and expert photographers alike.
The park is one of the largest in South Africa with 55000 hectares of bushveld, grasslands and wooded areas. Wind and water erosion have decorated the park with rocky outcrops, wooden valleys, grasslands and thickets.
When to Visit
As with other game reserves in South Africa's northern regions, Pilanesberg's game shows off its best during the dry winters between May and September. Low rainfall, fewer tourists and pleasant daytime temperatures make these months ideal for visiting the park.
December to February sees soaring daytime temperatures and afternoon rains. Since malaria does not exist here, there are no risks in either season.
"If you are looking for a amazing safari in a malaria free game reserve then Pilanesberg is a great option. This is a great option for families. "
Owner & Founder - Adam Malmnas
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