Just a short drive from Gauteng's two major cities; Johannesburg and Pretoria, travellers will be able to enjoy a Big Five safari experience at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Home to over 6 000 animals, including the Big Five of the African animal kingdom, Pilanesberg game reserve is the fourth largest park in southern Africa. It offers an easy and enjoyable safari experience in a safe, malaria-free environment.
The vegetation in the park is dominated by mountain bushveld with small patches of Zeerust thornveld in the southern and western regions and sandy bushveld in the extreme easterly regions. There are several species of bush willow in the park and in summer an abundance of African game can be found eating the greenish-yellow fruits off of the Marula trees.
Being located within a 'transition zone' between the dry Kalahari and the wetter Lowveld or 'Bushveld' region provides an even more diverse wildlife viewing experience with animals that are usually found in arid areas, such as Brown Hyaenas and Springbok, being found living alongside wildlife such as Impala who are usually found in moist or wetter regions.
Visitors can explore the 200 kilometres (124.274 miles) of well-maintained tarred roads either by self-drive or on guided game drives, while in-search of Kudu, Buffalo and other African wildlife. There are large populations of Elephants, Hippopotami, Buffalo, White and Black Rhinoceros and over 15 species of antelope, from the large breeds including Eland to the tiny breeds such as the skittish Steenbok.
Stop at one of the numerous hides within the park and spend some time watching Blue Wildebeest or Impala wandering down to the watering hole of a drink. There is also an abundance of Red Hartebeest, Kudu and plains Zebra found within the wildlife park. Many of the large predators have been reintroduced, including the obscure Wild Dog, Lion, Leopard and Cheetah.
The safari park also has populations of small predators and visitors may be lucky enough, while on a guided night drive to spot some of them, including, African Wild Cat, Serval and Caracal. While out on a guided game drive or even a guided game trail walk, visitors should not forget to look for birds as there at least 354 bird species found within the game reserve.
The Pilanesberg would not be complete without its numerous reptiles. Home to Nile Crocodiles, Water and Monitor Lizards, Chameleons and Geckos, the reserve also has a number of highly dangerous snakes including the southern African Python, Puff Adders and Boomslang(tree snake) - to name a few, and visitors should always remain vigilant and remember that they are in a wildlife area. Stepping out of one's vehicle is not recommended unless in designated areas.
Read the Pilanesberg Game Reserve Travel Guide for more info and accommodation options.