Stay at one of the lavish game lodges or tented camps in Pilanesberg to experience the height of luxury and have a South African safari to remember. The fourth-largest national park in southern Africa is Pilanesberg, which has a total area of about 55,000 hectares. One of only three such craters in the entire globe, this malaria-free park is situated atop the eroded remains of one.
Among South Africa’s national parks, the Pilanesberg Park has a particularly interesting past. For thousands of years, Pilanesberg National Park has been a favoured location for human habitation due to its unique qualities, including its mountainous environment, well-watered valleys, and appealing housing locations. The Pilanesberg National Park Complex was deteriorated and deprived of native wildlife populations prior to its declaration as a reserve in 1979 because of rather heavy settlement by commercial farmers.
During the first 15 years, the land was refilled with game, the remnants of human settlement were eradicated, and tourism infrastructure was built at great expenditure (1979 and 1993). At the time, this operation was the largest and most expensive land rehabilitation and wildlife stocking initiative ever carried out in an African game reserve.
Over some very difficult terrain, a 110-kilometer periphery Big Game fence was built, 188-kilometer tourist routes were constructed, and during the Operation Genesis game translocation programme, more than 6,000 head of game were introduced. Therefore, Pilanesberg National Park is one of the rare places where this trend has been drastically reversed, despite the fact that wildlife resources are quickly depleting in the majority of developing countries in Africa.
The North West Province (formerly Bop Parks) and its citizens have won praise and recognition on a global scale for this visionary move. The task at hand is to continue to build and administer Pilanesberg National Park in such a way that the environmental, cultural, recreational, and economic advantages of this foresightful decision can be fully tapped for the benefit of both the present and the coming generations.
Between the arid Kalahari and the lusher Lowveld vegetation, often known as “Bushveld,” is where Pilanesberg is located. Because of this transition zone, distinct overlaps of mammals, birdlife, and vegetation happen unlike in any other big park.
Impala, the black-eyed bulbul, and Cape chestnut trees are seen coexisting alongside springbok, brown hyaena, the red-eyed bulbul, and camel thorn trees, which are typically found in arid regions. Due to gate opening and closing timings, Mankwe Dam drives and visits are possible before sunrise and after dusk.
Since late 1979, visitors have been able to observe nature’s alphabet, from aardvark to zebra, due to Operation Genesis, the largest wildlife translocation project ever performed at the time. The park is home to thriving populations of Africa’s “Big Five” animals: lion, leopard, black and white rhino, elephant, and buffalo.
A wide variety of rare and common species exist with endemic species like the nocturnal brown hyaena, the fleet-footed cheetah, the majestic sable, as well as giraffe, zebra, hippo and crocodile, to mention but a few.
Geologically, the area is world famous. Its structure, termed the “Pilanesberg National Park Alkaline Ring Complex” was formed by volcanic eruptions some 1 200 million years ago. Apart from its unique size, shape and rock types, the volcanic origin and resultant weathering of the extinct crater has resulted in a wide variety of landscapes. This provides some of the most spectacular scenery in Southern Africa. It also provides a wide range of habitats for game animals.
Because of this, Pilanesberg has the potential to support more game species than any other game reserve in Southern Africa of a comparable size. It has a particularly high potential for sustaining rare and endangered species like foot-and-mouth-free buffalo, wild dogs, tsessebe, roan, sable, and black rhinos. In addition to the “Big Five,” the Pilanesberg National Park is home to nocturnal brown hyenas, cheetahs, hippopotamuses, crocodiles, and even sable.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve, North West Province, South Africa
When To Visit
March and April from 6h00 to 18h30.
May to September from 6h30 to 18h00.
September and October from 6h00 to 18h30.
November to February from 5h30 to 19h00.
Tel: +27 82 082 6715