The Pilanesberg Game Reserve is 2.3 hours from Johannesburg in the North West Province of South Africa. The Nature reserve includes the Sun City Resort. The is Malaria free making it suitable for children of all ages.
The Pilanesberg Game Reserve features a large variety of lodges to meet everyone's requirements including families, honeymoon couples as well as conference delegates. The reserve is an excellent destination for travellers with children as it is only a one and a half hours drive away from Johannesburg in a malaria free region of South Africa. The extinct volcano, is home to a high concentration of game, making game viewing an unforgettable experience.
Frequently asked questions:
- How large is the park? 577 km square.
- How old is the park? The park was established in 1971.
- Who owns the park? This park is a National Park which means that the South African Government manages it.
- Is it malaria free? Yes, the park is malaria free all year round.
- Why does the park look circular on the map? The reserve follows the lines of an old volcano crater which erupted 1255 million years ago.
- Is the park recommendable for children safaris? Yes, children of all ages have the opportunity to go game viewing in an enclosed vehicle.
- Can children go in open air vehicles on game drives? Children of all ages can go on game drives.
- What is the park so famous? Operation Genesis in early 1981 where 6050 animals were released into the park.
- What Animals can I see in the park?
As of December 20013, one counted more than 6566 animals including Big Five and other notable: Lion, Cheetah, Elephants, Black Rhino, White Rhino, Sable, African buffaloes, Caracal & Leopard
Plains game: Giraffe, zebra, hippos, impala & in fact the only missing animals would be: bontebok, blesbuck, spotted hyena, nyala, and Roan Antelope.
The reserve is great for the following reasons:
- Anyone with the limited amount of time.
- The family is travelling with small children.
- Game viewing is of high standard
- Proximity to Johannesburg
- The park offers excellent viewing of all the Big five especially Elephant, Rhino and Lion.
The park comprises of a large circular geological shape that is the crater of a long extinct volcano which today results in rare rock types, minerals and rock formations in the area. The reserve lies in a transition zone between the Kalahari and Lowveld, both these types of vegetation can be found in reserve resulting in a vast array of mammals and bird life.
Visitors can self-drive in reserve on both tar and dirt roads. Many of the game lodges include guided game drives in their accommodation rates. The reserve is home to all the Big Five as well as a variety of other big game species such as zebras, hyenas, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles as well as over 365 bird species.
The malaria-free reserve in the North West Province of South Africa is administered by the North West Parks and Tourism Board and is with its 56 000 hectares the fourth largest national park in the country.
The crater of a long extinct volcano dominates the Pilanesberg National Park. The crater is a fascinating alkaline complex produced by volcanic eruptions some 1300 million years ago. The reserve is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. It's rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature. Over time, wind and water have carved a spectacular landscape with rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys and thickets.
Fauna & Flora
Besides the 'Big Five' visitors also have the opportunity to encounter the nocturnal brown hyena, cheetah, hippo and crocodile. The Pilanesberg mountains offer guests sightings of a wide diversity of animal and plant life including 360 species of birds, the Big Five and almost every type of animal found in Southern Africa.
The reserve exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as "Bushveld". Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birds and vegetation occur because of this transition zone.
Springbok, brown hyena, the red eyed bulbul, and camel thorn trees usually home in arid areas are found cohabiting with moist-area-limited impala, black eyed bulbul and Cape chestnut trees. Wildlife includes lions, elephants, white and black rhinos, buffaloes, leopards, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles.
The bird life diversity in the park is outstanding. While some birds are migrants, many are permanent inhabitants. Their food sources vary with some eating carrion or live prey, while others eat seeds, fruit or tiny water organisms.