How To Spend A Real Safari At The Wonderful Pilanesberg National Park In South Africa
Today I would like to write about a very special experience we had last year on our trip to South Africa. After spending a few days in Scarborough (cape peninsular), which was our base for the next 4 weeks, we got on the plane again and flew to Johannesburg.
As this is our fourth time in Cape Town, we wanted to discover more places then only around Cape Town, so we made a small inland trip to Johannesburg to explore some different places. In one of the last year’s film productions we got the recommendation to visit the Pilanesberg National Park which is only about 2-3 hours away from Johannesburg.
The Pilanesberg National Park is much smaller as the Krüger National Park, but that is exactly where its attraction lies. Instead of driving for hours on long sandy roads without any animal views, the lush grasslands, rocky outcrops, hills, dense vegetation and densely wooded gorges of Pilanesberg are home of the Big Five and 30 other mammal species.
The 570 km2 National Park, bordering Sun City, is located on the other side of Botswana's Madikwe Game Reserve, in the hollow of an extinct volcanic crater. What makes it attractive apart from the possibility to discover animals, is its beauty and its ideal location for day trips.
We have booked an accommodation in Boshoek which is just 15 minutes located from the Pilanesberg National Park. We thought If we gonna go on a real safari then we also need to stay in a real tent lodge. So we booked 2 nights in the African Elegance Tented Lodge.
As you can see on the pics the location of the lodge is amazing. It seems to be in the middle of the African bush. Pure relaxation and on the terrace with pool, where we spend the first hours after our arrival, you can observe birds and antelopes in a few meters distance, if they come to the waterhole. The owner and the staff are very friendly. As we arrived in the late evening we decided to stay at the lodge, enjoying the sunset at the pool and having dinner at night. The dinner was really special with campfire, steaks on the grill, starter, dessert, salat and drinks. Just a perfect and special culinary experience.
After the dinner we went to our tent and we fell asleep immediately. Maybe because we were so tired or because the sounds of the wilderness just made us fall asleep right away.
Anyway, we wanted to get up really early the next day. The plan was to leave the lodge without breakfast to be at the Entrance of the National Park at 5:30 a.m. The national park opens so early because this is the best time to discover as many animals as possible. Since the temperatures are not so high yet and thus the animals are still active.
That’s why we drove so early into the park and spend the next few hours descending the small gravel roads. At the entrance of the national park we bought a map of the area, but also in our GPS every small track is listed.
The landscape of the national park is so beautiful and absolutely "Africa-Like", a super atmosphere to start the route and very soon we meet the first animals and we switched internally into the "Safari mode".
Suddenly there is a huge giraffe right next to the path. Awesome. The first time you see such an animal in the wild you are really overwhelmed. Big but so graceful, these pretty animals pick the leaves from the treetops and seem so relaxed as hardly any other animal. Not to mention the elephant herds with young offspring, a lot of zebras or rhinos, as well as hippos. Just unforgettable...!!!
It's so interesting and a lot of fun to search this amazing area for animals on the left and right side of the slopes and take pictures of them, that we totally forgot the time. after 4 hours we realized the first time that we should go bak to the lodge having breakfast, take a siesta because it gets so hot at lunchtime, that you can't stay outside. Later when the temperatures went down again, we returned and started the second round until the national Park close.
As we continue to explore the park we discovered again gnus, zebras, giraffes, many antelopes and even one of the now so rare rhinos. In the middle of the savannah we had such a great motifs.
This is the first time we have seen all these animals in freedom, which was for us such an amazing unforgetabale time.
Therefore I wouldn’t like to withhold from you this experience, which we were allowed to have at this wonderful place.