Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City resort in the Northwest Province of South Africa, is conveniently only about an hour's drive from Johannesburg.
Centred on an ancient - totally dormant - volcanic crater, Pilanesberg is blessed with attractively undulating relief. Home to the big five, offering wonderful sightings of antelope
and small predators and malaria-free, this is a very popular destination.
Accommodation includes camping and self-catering chalets, large, hotel-style lodges and one small, stylish lodge deep in the reserve. Of course, many visitors to the park stay in the nearby Sun City
. As well as exploring in their own vehicle, you could join an organised game drive, an escorted walk or - for something a little different - do a hot air balloon ride over the park.
The Pilanesberg National Park, which covers some 55 000 hectares, is the fourth largest in southern Africa. This malaria-free park is perched on the eroded vestiges of an alkaline volcanic crater
- one of only three such craters in the world.
Pilanesberg exists within the transition zone
between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as 'Bushveld'. Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birds and vegetation occur because of this transition zone. Springbok, Brown Hyena, the Red-eyed Bulbul, and Camelthorn trees usually found in arid areas are found cohabitating with moist-area-limited Impala
, Black-eyed Bulbul and Cape Chestnut trees.
The colourful hues, varied habitats and panoramas
will delight and entertain photographers and all but the most unobservant visitor. Pre-sunrise and post-sunset drives are possible owing to gate opening/closure times.
Geologically, the Pilanesberg area is world famous. Its structure, termed the 'Pilanesberg National Park Alkaline Ring Complex' was formed by volcanic eruptions
some 1 200 million years ago. Apart from its unique size, shape and rock types, the volcanic origin and resultant weathering of the extinct crater has resulted in a variety of landscapes.
This provides some of the most spectacular scenery
in Southern Africa. It also provides a wide range of habitats for game animals. Because of this, Pilanesberg National Park has the potential to carry a wider variety of game species than any other similar sized game reserve in Southern Africa.
Read more about Safari Lodges near Sun City
in Pilanesberg National Park.