Overflowing magma, wind, water, and time has shaped Pilanesberg National Park into a dramatic landscape of rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys and thickets. Set in an ancient volcanic crater, the park is teeming with wildlife (including the iconic Big 5) that regularly congregates around Mankwe Dam.
Hop into a game-viewing vehicle and go in search of African wild dogs, brown hyenas and sable antelope. Trek through the bushveld to gain another perspective of the bush or pile into a hot air balloon and watch herds of zebra crossing the plains. Birders can look out for pin-tailed whydah, black-shouldered kite, and lilac-breasted roller as they flit across the grassland, while the sabota lark and rufous-naped lark favour hills and slopes. Soaring above them all are African hawk-eagles and Verreaux’s eagle.
Pilanesberg used to be farmland until alien plants were removed; man-made structures dismantled and eroded land restored to introduce 6,000 animals into the reserve. Aeons before, the volcano spat up rare minerals and formed rock formations. Pale nepheline syenite, kimberlite, and fluorite will interest geology buffs. Evidence of early man inhabiting the area can be seen in the Stone and Iron Age sites that are scattered throughout the malaria-free park.
- This reserve is a true Big Five area featuring elephant, lion, leopard, rhino and buffalo as well as other animals such as African wild dogs, brown hyenas, and sable antelope
- Birders can look out for pin-tailed whydah, black-shouldered kite, and Verreaux’s eagle, to name but a few of the 350 bird species
- Animals can be tracked on foot, by car, or viewed from a hot air balloon
- Evidence of early man can be seen in the Stone and Iron Age sites scattered throughout the malaria-free park