Pilanesberg is a Game Reserve that is situated in an extinct volcanic crater, northwest of Johannesburg in South Africa. With wooded valleys , beautiful grasslands it is home to the Big Five and many antelopes and abundant birdlife.
Mankwe dam, is a man-made lake, and is one of the main attractions in this park. There is a large hide at Mankwe dam that have enough space for several photographers. The hides at the different dams makes the visit to Pilanesberg more interesting. There are 2 main resorts at Pilanesberg namely Bakgatla and Manyane. We stayed at Manyane rest camp in the Safari Tents. It is very comfortable and well equipped.
On our first day in the park, we were lucky to see a lot of antelope like Zebra, Springbuck and Blue Wilde Beast.
A small baby Zebra, entertained us for quite some time, and we had several good laughs for its funny moves. Young Zebras are nursed by their mothers for up to 1 year. Also known as the “striped Donkey”, the Burchell’s Zebra stripes and markings can act in the same way as human fingerprints. They are very closely related to the horse family.
This Blacked Backed Jackal were rolling into manure that was on the wet road, enjoying himself tremendously. The cooler, rainy weather seems to make the animals to be in a very jeerfull and playful mood. They were much more visible and active than on the warmer days, when it is difficult to spot them at noon.
On the Sunday afternoon, we were lucky to stumble upon a mother Rhino with two calves . The two calves were head banging and playing for about half an hour, before disappearing in the thick bush.
On our second day we were surprises with excellent photographic opportunities when a White Rhino appeared next to the road. It was peacefully grazing,without being disturbed by our presence.We had the White Rhino all to ourselves for 30 minutes before it disappeared into the shrubs and dense Acacia trees.
We also saw a lot of other animals in the park park and were really surprised about all the species found in the park. Here we photographed an Elephant, as he was walking down the road. He did not like it that we were seemingly blocking its path. We reversed, turned around and he settled down.
This mother and baby Warthog were walking in the camp, grazing on the green grass of the campsites. She is very tame and even took an apple from Annette, and lay down in front of our Safari tent, feeding the baby. What an awesome experience to see them at such close range, and interact with them in such a special way. Unfortunately we did not see any of the big cats, i.e. lion, leopard or cheetah’s, but it was still worthwhile visiting this park.
The real big attraction to this National park, is the bird life. There are several hides at the water for the bird lovers, and thereare plenty birds to photograph.