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Pilanesberg 30th Nov - 2nd Dec 2007

Every time you think you have found the best place on earth, another venue comes into play. Pilanesberg is that place. I commonly use words in this web site like amazing, awesome, fantastic, brilliant and so on. I can not find better words to describe Pilanesberg.

As you will have read elsewhere, my two all-time favourite resorts are Swadini and Berg-en-Dal. Well, Pilanesberg now matches them if not beats them.The reserve is situated in a volcano that became extinct many many years ago (apparently the largest ever recorded). The scenery comprises bush land, open veld, mountains and the most beautiful valleys with rivers and dams.

As for animals? Very different then Kruger. Kruger predators basically run on Impala. They are everywhere. At Pilanesberg, there were not many, however, there were Zebras, Giraffe and Wildebeest everywhere. True planes animals.As for the resort.

We stayed at one of the Golden Leopard Resorts: - Bakgatla. The resort is not quite like Eden Park, Mbizi or Mabalingwe, however, very comfortable. I have read in a number of forums that the Caravan sites are spacious. This I can now confirm. There is more then enough space for a caravan as well as at least two fair sized tents for the kids. Then there is still room for the chairs and eating area. The pool area is the best attraction with grassed, nice, shady areas and the biggest most inviting pool I have seen in some time. Ablutions were plentiful and again with more then enough facilities per ablution to cater for an army. There was definitely more then enough hot water.Bakgatla is literally a 2,5 hour (On the dot) drive from Benoni. Although on the way there, I was doing the litres per km and so on thing, I forgot all about it and the computer re-set after the 2 hours had elapsed. Coming back though, I did remember to capture and here is the info: -

  • Km's travelled = 220km

  • Fuel consumption = 11,8km/l

  • Average speed = 85km/h

  • Max speed 110km/h

Anyway, to some photos...

Our camp site

We found a camp site (#90) at the far end of the Caravan section with trees in front and behind. Set the caravan up underneath the one tree for shade and had a lovely relaxing time.
This was the area to our right. As you can see, it was very spacious with not too many people on top of each other


The Camp (Bakgatla)

This is the swimming pool area of the resort. As you can see, very inviting

Photo on the far left is the Caravan park near the pools. Photo on the right shows some of the camping area.


The hides.

The dams and in particular, the hides at Pilanesberg are definitely one of the best features. There are over 6 different hides around the park and are not very crowded at that. Their positioning is also very will thought out. Below are some of the hides we stopped in at. Quite honestly, I could find one and stay there most of the day!

Mankwe dam hide. This is the biggest dam in the park. While we were there, Zebera, Impala and other planes animals walked infromt of us. Off in the distance on the right there were also Springbok, but a bit out of range for the camera.

Here is Ruighoek Hide. There is an article in the Pilanesberg Times about a Lioness that brought her cubs here for safe keeping. Some unsuspecting tourists had this Lioness going mad at them, but fortunately, they were on the other side of the fence. The rangers had to ban people going to this hide for a while until she moved them to another area.
Makorwane Hide. Very nice from the outside, but we did not have time to go in and see
Batlhako Hide. Spent some time here as you can see, a couple of Hippos were out the water on the far side grazing.
Malatse Hide


The Elephants

On the Letsha loop while heading back to camp on the last day, we came across this herd of Elephants. What apeared to be between 4 or 5 animals soon turned out to be between 15 to 20 Elephants.

The more we sat watching, the more they crept out of bushes and trees everywhere. It is amazing how they can hide in the bush.

We spent some time with them and here are the better photos.


Other general Photos

On the way back on Saturday evening, there were millions of flying ants flying around
While on our Saturday morning drive near the back of the reserve, we noticed these tracks on the road. Due to the rain that night, they stood out very nicely. We at first thought they were lion prints due to the size, which the photo simply does not do justice to. However, a parks official arrived and when we asked him, his opinion was that it was leopard. He mentioned that he thought this due to its size (A lion was even bigger!!!) and that the tracks appeared solitary.

Here some of the birds I managed to get photos of.

And then some of the mammals.
In Pilanesberg, there is a visitor information centre. There is food available as well as the viewing platform shown on the left. There is a great view out to the front and a relaxing time can be had eating and scanning. Do not forget the binoculars.

The Frogs.

While at the camp, in the evening, one frog after another started up with their croaking. The noise one hour later was defining. It sounded like there were thousands of these guys all over the place. I must say, it was lovely to listen to when in bed.

On the first night we had a serious rain storm. Then on Saturday, while cooking on the braai, there was frogs all over the place wandering around. Even in the toilets was like walking the gauntlet with frogs in every single nook or cranny.

I am led to believe that there is 13 species of frogs in the camp. We only managed to spot 3 of them and the photos of those guys are to the left!

Till next time keep well, travel safe and enjoy.