The almost perfectly circular Pilanesberg national park, due to its lying literally in the void of a 1200 million year old volcano crater, lies 150 kilometres north west of Gauteng, virtually on the border of Sun City – one of the biggest draw cards to the area – and, by comparison, receives little of the acclaim it deserves …
The 55 000 hectare Pilanesberg park opened in 1979 in one of the largest game resettlement projects in the history of South Africa, and possibly the most expensive as commercial farmers gave over land to be restocked with wildlife.
Operation Genesis saw virtually 6 000 animals from other parks moved to this beautiful terrain, which serves as a transition between Kalahari and Lowveld, or Bushveld, and includes both types of vegetation, making it an ideal game reserve.
There is a wide variety of landscapes that easily support a diversity of game and rare and endangered species such as wild dog, black rhino, roan, sable, buffalo and tsessebe. There are also healthy populations of lion – originally from the Etosha National Park in Namibia – leopard, hippo, giraffe, zebra, hyena and elephant.
Bird watching, although it takes a back seat for most visitors who come to see the larger mammals, is a joy with over 300 recorded species in the park.
Some 200 kilometres of dirt road kept in good condition serve the park well. There are cleverly appointed picnic areas, numerous game hides, walk-in aviaries, safari drives, safe hiking trails, and the Pilanesberg International Airport, just outside Sun City, makes getting here easy.
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Contact the Park Office on Telephone: + 27 (0)14 555-1600