amazing African safaris • great Big 5 viewing experiences • Pilanesberg guided safaris

Pilanesberg Game Reserve landscape

On Safari in Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Male lion viewed during a guided safari Elephant on a Big 5 game drive Leopard in a tree A rhino drinking Baby lion Monkey with baby Stunning landscape in Pilanesberg - perfect backdrop for an African safari

An African Safari in Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg Game Reserve (also known as Pilanesberg National Park) has become the mainstay of many guests, both local and international, as it offers one of the most affordable Big Five safaris in Africa.

Guided Safaris in Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg is best experienced with a safari guide who is trained and well versed in the animals that occur in the park. Guests who partake in a guided safari will have the added benefit that the rangers communicate via radio, calling in interesting sightings for all guests to enjoy.

How guided Pilanesberg Safaris work

If you stay at one of the beautiful luxury safari lodges within the park, you will have a safari package included. Some include one safari per night stayed but the majority of lodges provide two safaris per night stayed.

Each lodge has two guided safaris each day, one in the early morning which lasts around three hours and then another in the afternoon to evening which also last around three hours.

For guests camping or staying outside of the park, guided safaris can be arranged with a company called Mankwe Game Trackers.

Before embarking on your safari, the guide will give you a safety briefing. Listen carefully as this is important information to ensure your safety.

Each safari is done in open-style vehicles, which have no windows and is open to the fresh African air.

Close encounters with animals are rare, however they do occur. Ensure to follow the ranger’s instructions carefully in such circumstances.

Each ranger in Pilanesberg Game Reserve is well trained and can provide you with amazing information on the various animals in the park. Don’t be scared to ask questions as most of them love to share their knowledge and it will only enrich your experience.

Usually, during a guided safari, there will be a sundowner or tea and coffee break at one of the park’s many picnic sites. There are also lavatories at these sites.

Ensure that you take along enough water for yourself on the game-drive as the one stop is the only stop during the game drive.

Self-drive in Pilanesberg

As the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is a public game reserve, self-drive is also another popular option. Guests pay an entrance fee and can then experience the park to their heart’s content. Gate hours tend to be from sunup to sundown.

The park is outfitted with several picnic spots where self-drive guests can prepare food and enjoy the scenery. There is also a restaurant and curio shop close to the dam in the middle of the park.

The park also sports a large network of bird hides where guests can get out of their vehicles and go inside to view some amazing sites.

Lavatories can be found at all picnic sites and hides.

What you can expect to see

Pilanesberg is one of the most beautiful natural game reserves in South Africa. Situated among the Pilanesberg Mountains which was formed by an extinct volcano, the area is home to many natural plants and animals which have occurred in the area for centuries. Constant work is being done to ensure that plants that aren’t indigenous to the area are removed.

Animals in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve are plentiful. Big 5 viewing opportunities are great - with several prides of lions, large herd of buffalo, many elephants, several of both black and white rhino and the always elusive leopard, guests always have something to be on the lookout for.

Other than the Big Five, the park is also home to many other species of animals. Aardvark, cheetahs, wildebeest, kudu, impala, hippos, crocodiles, various species of smaller cats and many more, the park is teeming with wildlife in a truly stunning location, making it a favourite amongst guests all over the world.

Pilanesberg is also home to over 300 species of birds, some seasonal and others who stay whole year round. From the largest eagles to the smallest weavers, the park is a favourite amongst local and international birders alike.

Best times to visit Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg Game Reserve is enjoyed by guests all year round.

In the spring and summer months (September – April), the warm African sun is enjoyed by all guests as they traverse the park. During November – December, many animals give birth ensuring a plethora of young in the park which are endearing to watch. During the summer months, thunderstorms are quite common. Ensure to pack some warm and water resistant clothing.

During the autumn and winter months (May – August), the bush becomes drier and animals are easier to see. Guests also enjoy discounted rates at the lodges during these months. Due to the colder days, animals are also more active whereas during the summer months they seek shade a lot earlier in the day. Mornings and evenings can become quite cold during this time, so we suggest that you pack accordingly.

Good conduct during an African safari

Please remember that Pilanesberg Game Reserve is the home of the many animals in the park. There are very few such natural habitats left in the world where animals are preserved.

To ensure that you and other guests to the park have an amazing time, please take time to look at the following guidelines on what is considered good conduct.

  • Do not litter in the park. Various human products are dangerous to animals. Also it spoils the natural beauty of the park.
  • Do not call out to the animals. Some are very inactive during the day and you may disturb their natural behaviour.
  • Do not make excessive noise in sightings. The animals are used to humans by now, however it is still better to let the animals go about their business in peace.
  • Drive carefully and slowly if you are doing a self-drive in the park. Running over an animal is considered a crime which come with either a hefty fine or a prison sentence.
  • Do not lean out of vehicles. The animals may be used to humans, however they do not like their space invaded and this can lead to serious injuries and death.
  • Try to be considerate towards other visitors to the park and the animals.

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