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4-Day Pilanesberg Safari Tours

There is so much to love about Pilanesberg Game Reserve, and two of its biggest selling points go to the heart of a successful safari. For a start, the wildlife here is incredible. Not only is the park home to the Big Five (although seeing the big cats can be hit or miss), most of the major sightings take place right alongside the main tracks. Secondly, the formerly volcanic scenery here is stunning, making this one of South Africa’s most scenic wildlife destinations. It can get crowded and coming here is not really a wilderness experience. But with 4 days you can really leave the crowds behind and there’s a really good chance that you’ll see all of the wildlife you came so far to see.

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1-7 of 7 Pilanesberg Game Reserve 4-day trips, itineraries, holidays, packages & vacations

5 Questions About 4-Day Pilanesberg Safaris


5 Questions About 4-Day Pilanesberg Safaris

Answered by Anthony Ham

What kind of accommodation can I expect on a Pilanesberg safari?

“Pilanesberg Game Reserve has some excellent accommodation. There’s a very small number of exclusive lodges and tented camps hidden away in an isolated corner of the park. These are very much top-end luxury places. Most of the rest of what’s on offer is located just outside the park boundaries, especially clustered around the Manyana and Bakubung gates. Most of the accommodation is in lodges, with a few tented camps scattered around, and nearly all fall within the midrange or top-end price brackets. Many accommodation choices are as popular with local South African visitors as they are with international safari-goers. There is also accommodation available at neighboring Sun City, and much of it is excellent across a range of budgets. But even though they’re geographically close, it can take longer than it should to get inside the park by the time you pass through Sun City’s access gate and Pilanesberg’s gate.”


What are the lodges like in Pilanesberg GR?

“The lodges inside and surrounding Pilanesberg are of a generally high standard. Although there is a range of accommodation to choose from, most lodges tend to have spacious rooms with en suite bathrooms. If the lodge has a view, you’ll usually pay more for a room that overlooks the mountains or a waterhole. Some also offer family rooms, suites and even honeymoon rooms. There is very little on offer at the budget end of the price range, although there are more choices for budget travelers if you’re willing to stay a little further away from the reserve. Facilities vary from one lodge to the next. In most cases, you can expect those alongside or inside the reserve to have a swimming pool, restaurant, bar and lounge. You might also find an activities center on the property, where they can organize game drives into the park (in case they’re not already included in your tour) and excursions further afield.”


Which activities are available in Pilanesberg GR?

“The main activity in Pilanesberg, as in most southern African wildlife parks and reserves, is the game drive. Your guided game drive will involve a driver and guide taking you to look for animals in the game reserve. If you’re on a private or group safari, this will be in a 4WD safari vehicle with tiered rows of seats. If you’re joining a game drive organized by a local lodge or the park authorities, the vehicle is more likely to be a larger, open-topped vehicle with the park guide talking through a microphone and speaker. If you’re traveling on a self-drive safari, then you will have your own 4WD vehicle (although a 2WD is technically all you’d need for Pilanesberg’s good roads and tracks), and you’ll be your own guide and driver. Pick up a map at the park entrance, and you’ll have no trouble finding your way around.”


Is self-drive a good option for a 4-day Pilanesberg safari?

“A self-drive 4-day Pilanesberg safari is an excellent way to explore the reserve. This is one reserve that can get really crowded, so having your own vehicle means you always have the option of leaving the crowds behind and taking one of the more isolated trails through the reserve. Pilanesberg is easy to navigate, thanks in part to its good maps and relatively compact size. If you have 4 days, one option which I did the first time I visited Pilanesberg is to join one of the hotel’s or reserve’s guided game drives so that you can get an overview of the main attractions, and maybe learn something from the guide along the way. Then you can spend the rest of your time here branching out on your own. As with all self-drive safaris, one of the best things about doing it all yourself is the freedom it offers you. You’re the one who decides where to go, which trail to take, whether you want to look for lions or for birds, and how long you stay at each animal encounter. It’s actually my favorite way to experience Pilanesberg.”


How much does a 4-day Pilanesberg safari cost?

“A 4-day Pilanesberg safari can be expensive, but it all depends on what kind of tour you take. Prices at the lower end of things start at US$200 to US$250 per person per day; this is a little less than it is for shorter safaris because the cost of transfers at the beginning and end of your tour is divided into more days. At the luxury end of the market, expect to pay twice or even three times that cost. Variables that will affect the cost of your safari include accommodation (budget or luxury?), the type of safari (private, group or self-drive?), the months in which you travel (high or low season?) and group size (small groups cost more). Make sure you understand from your safari tour operator what’s included in any prices they quote you. Most quotes should include accommodation, transfers, vehicle, guide and driver (except on a self-drive safari), meals, water and some drinks, and game drives. Always ask before you hand over any money.”


Pilanesberg Reviews

3.9/5 91 Reviews
Lizzie Williams  –  
South Africa ZA

Lizzie is a reputed guidebook writer and author of the Footprint guides to South Africa, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda and Zimbabwe.

A Big Five destination just a few hours’ drive from Johannesburg

Pilanesberg is instantly likeable, and with its savannah grasslands surrounded by an attractive ring of hills broken by wooded valleys, it’s hard to imagine that it started life as manmade reserve (it opened in the 1970s as an...

Full Review

Alan Murphy  –  
Australia AU

Alan is a travel writer and author of over 20 Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the guides to Southern Africa and Zambia & Malawi.

Wild dogs

Wild dogs are extremely rare in Africa. These fascinating matriarchal hunting dogs can be seen in few places, and Pilanesberg, in the north of South Africa, is one of them. Extinct volcanic craters and rocky outcroppings make up the...

Full Review

Alan  –  
South Africa ZA
Reviewed: Jul 14, 2021
Game feast in a beautiful mountain ringed crator with expansive views extending kilometres.

I have travelled Kruger and Pilanesberg extensively. The rhino have disappeared from Kruger. Although the vistas have limits in Pilanesberg you can access 5 hides with many more opportunities of alighting from your vehicle. All hides have...

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Patrick Winkel  –  
Netherlands NL
Reviewed: Oct 27, 2019
a beautiful day, and seen many animals

A day to never forget. Given everything we wanted to see. But also learned a lot about the animals. In short, a recommendation for anyone who wants to do a safari in a day.
Thanks to Susan, Glen and the driver Wiggie

Full Review

Sérgio Baumgratz  –  
Brazil BR
Reviewed: Nov 16, 2018
It was very cool.

I had luck seeing some of the 5 Big very close. The scenery and weather is very similar with some regions in Brazil, i.e, savanna (cerrado) covers a large area of the Brazilian territory and our climate is subtropical in the south. The...

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Lynn Chatman  –  
United States US
Reviewed: May 1, 2018

We spent three days in the area near Pilanesberg, and took three game rides in the Park. The Park guides made our rides memorable experiences with their knowledge and anecdotes about the animals in the Park. We had remarkable photo...

Full Review