After landing in Johannesburg and spending the morning shopping Joan and I headed towards Pilanesberg Game Reserve and camped at Roodeplaat Dam for the first night.
As we drove through Pilanesberg Game Reserve on our way to camp we saw almost all the animals except for predators.
This unique reserve is located in the crater of a long extinct volcano from some 1300 million years ago which produced a rare alkaline rock type. The diverse landscape includes rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys, thickets and a large central lake called the Mankwe Dam.
We set up camp next to the fence in hopes of seeing wildlife but the large hole in the fence meant animals in camp. A baboon opened a neighbors cooler as easy as you and I helped itself to a nice bag of fruit before being chased off. In fact after returning to camp from the next day’s morning drive the bath towel I’d left to dry on the tent was gone but turned out it was in the tent. How could that be? Our neighbors came over to say they’d seen a baboon in my tent and scared it away then put the towel in it and rezipped it. Those bloody baboons are smart.
That evening we watched the impala browse under a big light at the edge of camp and a Scrub Hare hung out near the BBQ grill.
Next morning’s game drive began at sunrise with the first light bringing a glow on the bouldery cliffs.
Plus lots of wildlife with youngsters which are always delightful to see.
Yet the absolute highlight of the day was seeing five lions by one of the dams just lazing around. They must not have been very hungry as a lot of other animals were in the visual vicinity including a small heard of elephants.
You must stay in your vehicle except for the hides which are great places to quietly sit and enjoy a variety of birds.
The reserve has more to show than just animals with many colored flowers scattered about.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve is two hours west from Johannesburg or Pretoria. The park exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as “Bushveld”. The Manyane Camp where we stayed is a little run down and definitely needs fence repairs. The Bakgatla camp looks a bit cleaner with a new Visitor Center. Sun City is located adjacent to the reserve with an entertainment center, golf course, water world and casino which we did not see. My major complaint was the water tasted like mud.
giraffe, kudu, klipspringer, rhino, zebra, hippo, waterbuck, red hartebeest, tsessebe, springbok, warthog, elephant, impala, lion, baboon, vervet monkey, ostrich, whitebreasted cormorant, grey heron, cattle egret, whitefaced whistling duck, egyptian goose, yellowbilled duck, secretary bird, black-shouldered kite, fish eagle, natal francolin, helmeted guineafowl, crowned plover, blacksmith plover, cape turtle dove, grey go away bird, Burchell’s coucal, lilacbreasted roller, forktailed drongo, paradise flycatcher, crimsonbreasted shrike, cape glossy starling, redbilled oxpecker, southern masked weaver, red bishop, longtailed widow, and paradise wydah.
Geogypsy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com