Friday, December 12, 2014

Aruna's Real Africa: Pilanesberg National Park

It has been 4 months since I have seen an elephant in the wild (the ones on the Kilimanjaro Safari don’t count ;-) and spring has been cold and rainy in Johannesburg this year... enough reason for me to want to get out of the (concrete) jungle and into the bush*. Luckily this is very easily done. Basically if you have transport all you have to do is choose where you want to go and book your accommodation, or in my case campsite.

The nearest ‘Big Five’ game reserve to Johannesburg (about 3 hours drive) is Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City, so that’s where I’m escaping to for a couple of days.

Driving in Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg is a fairly new reserve, dating from the late 70’s and quite unusual in that it was not an area full of wildlife that was then made into a reserve, rather the reserve was set up and fenced and then 6000 animals were transported to the reserve, making it the largest operation of its kind in history.

Because Pilanesberg has both wet and dry savanna habitats it is home to almost all of the mammals found in South Africa (70 species) unlike most other parks that have animals only specific to that region and habitat.

Blue Wildebeest at one of the man-made lakes in Pilanesberg

This will be my second trip to Pilanesberg,  I'm looking forward to being back in the bush and hopefully seeing animals that are not found in Kruger and with a bit of luck some of the less common animals that are on my wish list.

My trip last year had to be cut short as the car had some problems and one thing you do not want when driving in a game reserve is a car that can’t be trusted, especially as the elephants in Pilanesberg are known for misbehaving (if you want to see what can happen do a image search for 'elephant Pilanesberg car').

by Aruna Mohan (@arunarealafrica)

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