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Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many guidebooks to African destinations, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip lives in South Africa and has authored many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip is the author of many Africa guidebooks, including the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
Philip is author of the Rough Guide to Game Parks of South Africa.
The Pilanesberg has a lovely setting and plenty of wildlife. Set in the eroded remnants of an ancient volcano, the Pilanesberg is a very scenic Big Five destination. The fully fenced park is well stocked but might lack wilderness appeal to purists. Only a three-hour drive from Johannesburg, it makes a very attractive weekend option.
Pilanesberg GR is home to the Big Five and offers quite good wildlife viewing. Elephant is abundant, and white rhino is common. All big cats are present, but you will need some luck to spot any. Aside from the Big Five, you can expect to see giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and many antelope species.
The Pilanesberg’s concentric hills, interspersed with grassy valleys, give it a picturesque natural beauty. This “onion-like” structure was formed by volcanic activity over 1300 million years ago. Mankwe dam is a great place to see animals coming to drink at sunset. A glimpse into the history of the Batswana people can also be found in one of the interesting iron-age archaeological sites in the reserve.
Weather & Climate
Pilanesberg has a typically hot summer (October to April). But as this is the region’s Wet season, the heat tends to get softened by afternoon rains. Everything is reversed in the Dry season or winter (May to September) when the rain vanishes along with the heat. In fact, it can get pretty cold when the sun disappears from the sky. The humidity stays low year-round.
The park is at its greenest during the Wet season (October to April), but the drier months (May to September), with their consistently sunny weather, are best for wildlife viewing as the animals are easier to spot amidst the depleted vegetation.
Philip is an acclaimed travel writer and author of many guidebooks, including the Bradt guides to Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and South Africa.
The closest Big Five destination to Johannesburg
The main selling point of this malaria-free reserve, set within a collapsed volcanic crater two hours drive northwest of Johannesburg, is its proximity to South Africa’s largest city and most important international transport hub. I have...