Pilansberg National Park
Travel to Pilanesberg N. Park – Volcanic Gamelands
Pilanesberg National Park lies next to the entertainment mecca of Sun City. Administered by the National Parks Board of Bophuthaswana, the creation of the Pilanesberg National Park was one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind undertaken anywhere in the world. The park covers 500 sq. km and is encircled by four rings of hills produced by volcanic action some 1,200 million years ago. Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birds and vegetation occur due to its ideal location in a ‘transition zone’ between the dry Kalahari and the wetter lowveld vegetation.
In the last century, Pilanesberg served as a sanctuary of a different kind – Mzilikazi’s rebel Zulu warriors passed through the area as they fled the wrath of Chaka. Not long after this, during the Anglo-Boer war, General Christiaan de Wet’s hid from the British amongst these same hills. During the late 1970’s, President Lucas Mangope of Bophuthaswana decided to re-introduce wildlife and turn Pilanesburg into a game reserve. In 1979 Operation Genesis began and involved the largest translocation of game ever undertaken at the time.
As a result of the wide range of habitats and vegetation in the park, there is a wide diversity of animal species, from the ‘Big Five’ to 50 other species of large mammals, 354 bird species, 65 reptile species, 18 amphibian species and thousands of other interesting smaller animals.
Explore the numerous game drive circuits within the park, There are several points along the routes and circuits where you can leave your vehicle and game view from one of the well positioned hides or protected viewing areas.
Visit the Pilanesberg Centre. Originally built as a magistrates court in 1936, it has now been converted into a restaurant (with shop) serving breakfast, lunch and tea from a terrace with excellent views over the park. Keep a look out for distant herds of passing elephants.
A 2-3 hour drive (265 km) from Johannesburg will take you to the park entrance. The large and purpose built resort of Sun City is only a few minutes drive away offering a unique twin-centre experience. Unlike most other parks where 4WD is a necessity, it is possible to take a standard 2WD car into Pilanesberg.
- Experience the satisfaction of seeing the ‘Big Five’ on your own private game drive
- Take time out to watch for wildlife from one of the many well positioned hides
- Relax in nearby Sun City with its water park, casinos and wide variety of sports attractions