2 Pictures Photos Of Animals Found In The Transfrontier Park Pilanesberg Game Reserve – Ten Things You Need to Know Before Visiting

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Pilanesberg Game Reserve – Ten Things You Need to Know Before Visiting

If you’re planning to visit Pilanesberg Game Reserve, there are a few things you should know about it before you arrive.

The game reserve is relatively new but offers many opportunities for game viewing, recreation, learning and nature photography.

1. Unique – The game reserve is located in the remains of an extinct alkaline volcanic crater that was active several thousand years ago. The rare rock types and structures make it a unique geological feature. It is known as “The volcano that gave birth to a game reserve”. It differs from Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater in that the walls of the Pilanesberg volcano have collapsed inwards creating many small hills within the park compared to Ngorongoro Crater which still has its wall intact. Furthermore, Pilanesberg is about twice the size of the Ngorongoro Crater.

2. Location and History – The game reserve is located in the North West Province of South Africa (Sun City is located on the outer edge of Pilanesberg). The reserve was established in 1979 after Operation Genesis had surrounded the reserve and reintroduced thousands of animals. The park exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari vegetation and the wetter Lowveld (Kruger) vegetation, commonly referred to as the “Bushveld”. This allows animals from both areas to be present together. Springbok, brown hyena, red-eyed bulbul and camel thorn that are usually found in dry areas (such as Kgalagadi and Etosha) are found living together with wet zone animals such as impala, spotted hyena, blue-eyed bulbul black and chestnut Cape trees, which are usually found in the Kruger park.

3. Size – 580 square kilometers (can fit into Kruger park about 35 times!) The North-West Parks Board, however, has launched an 8-year plan to connect Pilanesberg National Park with the 800 square kilometer Madikwe Game Reserve. This will create a 100 km wildlife corridor between the two parks creating a large park in the region of 1,500 square kilometers. Pilanesberg receives nearly 400,000 visitors a year and can be crowded, especially during holiday periods, so this expansion plan is very welcome!

4. Known for – Lake Mankwe, which tends to be the focal point and bird hides that allow wildlife photographers to get close to birds and mammals.

5. Roads – There are around 200 kilometers of roads in the park, both tarmac and dirt roads, making Pilanesberg the ideal self-drive safari destination. Pilanesberg is about 150 kilometers from Johannesburg and the roads leading to the park are all paved in good condition.

6. Weather – Summers are hot with rainfall starting in October and ending around April. Winters are best for game viewing with mild days, but nights can get chilly.

7. Accommodation – There are eight lodges in Pilanesberg, two budget (Manyane and Bakgatla), two mid-range (Kwa Maritane and Bakubung) and four above-average (Shepherd’s Tree, Ivory Tree, Tshukudu and Buffalo Thorn lodges). Manyane and Bakgatla offer camps as well as lodges. All lodges have braai (barbeque) facilities and/or restaurants as well as TV with DSTV reception.

8. Activities and facilities – All lodges have conference facilities and swimming pools. There are seven birdhouses in the park and five picnic areas. All bird hides and picnic sites are securely fenced and all have toilets, but only the picnic sites have braai facilities. These canopies, picnic areas and viewpoints are great as they allow visitors to enjoy “outside the car” experiences. Pilanesberg Center is located in the middle of the reserve and has a restaurant and shops. You have the choice of driving safaris, guided safaris and/or night drives.

9. Safety Tips – Please stay in your vehicles when in the park and do not speed for your safety and the safety of the animals.

10. Things to look for in Pilanesberg:

– Big five of lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros (black and white) and buffalo

– Super-seven – The Big Five plus Wild Dog and Cheetah

– Brown hyena

– Badgers Honey

– Sable, Eland, Tsessebe and Red Hartebeest

– Visit the bird hide especially in winter. Mankwe and Rathlogo are our favourites.

– Hot air balloon safari

– Birding at Manyane Camp and Sun City

– Have breakfast or lunch at one of the picnic spots in the hills – the views are amazing

– The rare black rhinoceros – sightings can be regular in Pilanesberg

The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is undoubtedly one of the most incredible places in South Africa. The density of rare species within the park, its impressive beauty and proximity to Sun City and Johannesburg plus the absence of malaria, make it a most attractive safari destination.

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