Pilanesberg National Park is a Good Jo-burg Day Trip

Pilanesberg National Park Self Drive Safari

Pilanesberg National Park is about a 3 hour drive north of Jo-burg. My Pilanesberg National Park accommodation was near the airport in Jo-berg. I was staying there because I was preparing to drive over to KwaZulu-Natal to spend a couple months. So I had a few days to kill and a Pilanesberg self drive safari was a perfect warm up for my first trip to Africa!

The drive to the park from Jo-berg was a bit complex and I was still a bit shaky about being on the left side of the road. However, I set out early the next morning and had a full day safari tour of the park. It was fantastic.

Pilanesberg National Park Is A Great Warm Up

It was my first real safari and Pilanesberg was a great warm for for my safari ambitions in Africa. It was a perfect practice run for to help prepare for more extensive trips such as Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Etosha and Maputo Elephant Reserve (to name a few).

The park area is about 550 sq kilometers and it is very accessible from Johannesburg. I was visiting at the end of the summer months October-March. The summer months are the wet season and the dry season is from April- September.

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Large white rhino grazes in Pilanesberg National Park South Africa

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Large male elephant that I encountered at the end of the day.

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Small family of common wart hogs.

Mankwe Dam in Pilanesberg National Park

This is the largest body of water in Pilanesberg National Park. There is a bird hide here where you can spot the water birds that live in the park. These birds include the kingfishers, fish eagles and cormorants. The lake was full as I was visiting during the wet season.

bird hide Mankwe dam pilansberg national park

Photo of the bird hide at Mankwe Dam.

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Pair of kingfishers scan the water for fish at Mankwe Dam.

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Pair of turtles near the bird hide at Mankwe Dam.

Conclusion

Johannesburg is a very big, fast moving city. This was a very good introduction to South Africa, I especially enjoyed Pilanesberg National Park. I was looking forward to my drive over to Ramsgate in KwaZulu-Natal the next day. There are fantastic beaches over there and world class surfing opportunities. Plus, there was the safari at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park that I was really looking forward to. 

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The sun sets over Pilanesberg National Park as I drive back to Johannesburg.