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adventure travel africa

Pilanesberg National Park
History of Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg National Park is not actually a National Park. You won't for example find them on the National Parks website, a fact that has confused many a tour operator, without any of them coming up with an answer. It is really simple if you look at SA history. Pilanesberg was actually owned by 3 local tribes, and now by the North West Parks Board.  Note that some of  the info provided here is not available anywhere else. Believe me, I 've researched every way possible!

With Bophuthatswana (Bop) having been an independent homeland, the Park was proclaimed by the then local black government. 52 farmers were bought out and moved.  The town of Pilanesberg was flattened and all that remains is the old Magistrates Court - now called the Pilanesberg Centre. There is a little restaurant there with a stunning view, unfortunately with bad service,  even worse food and a very expensive souvenir shop. If you ever get the urge to change your dollars for 15% - 20% less than face value this is the place to do it. The only other remains is the small graveyard not visible except for a very short time about 1 in 3 years after controlled burning. The Park was seen as the National Park of Bophutatswana & of course called Pilanesberg National Park. With the forceful reoccupation by the old government and the ANC, President Lucas Mangope was deposed by a coup and Bop reincorporated with SA. Pilanesberg is one of the few names in SA  that won't change as it is named after Chief Pilane, a very powerful chief that owns vast land outside the park. Chief Pilane's grandfather fought with the British against the Boers and had the reputation of being invisible. It seems that more land was given for services rendered.

6000 animals were relocated with Operation Genesis in 1979. They were released into the quarantine area of 1000 ha and after a few weeks the fences were dropped. This is the area now used for elephant back safaris. As the purpose of the park was a feeder for other parks no lion or cheetah were brought in. However leopard was naturally present as was brown hyena and mountain reedbuck. Currently this is The Park in the world that you have the best chance of seeing brown hyena, our record on one day was 8! Also brought in was a family of elephant. As no mature bulls was brought in ( they were too large), the young bulls caused a bit of havoc and killed 17 rhino before the problem was identified. The reason for this was there was no parental care and the young bulls came into Musth at too you an age. But by then transport techniques have improved so 6 older bulls were brought in from Kruger. This suppressed the Musth problem. The young culprits were all shot but by that time 40 rhino has been killed..

In 1991 Nelson Mandela was released and all of a sudden tourism took off. So in 1993 the focus changed & predators were brought in. Camps and lodges were built on the perimeter and it became a destination. Currently (Aug 2004) there are 42 lion plus 32 months old cubs, 13 cheetah, 167 elephant, 21 wild dog, 90 black rhino, 300 white rhino, 14 sable, 80 buffalo, and scores of other species totaling about 8 000 head. It is easier to list what is not there - bontebok, blesbuck, nyala and roan. The animals are currently TB free as opposed to the Kruger animals - they are losing about 30 % of some species yearly just to TB and I don't think the public realize it is not going to stop.

The current size has just been increased from 55 250 ha to 57 250 ha in May 2004. There is a workable 10 year plan to establish a corridor between Pilanesberg and Madikwe Game Reserve. The 2000 ha that was added on the north western was the first bit from the Pilanesberg side. On the Madikwe side there has already been several additions towards the south east. There are also several private owners dropping fences from the middle moving towards Pilanesberg and Madikwe. Property that was 2 years going for R300/ha is now selling for R5000/ha. In the immediate pipeline is a huge piece of land to be added to Pilanesberg in the next 2 years.


Pilanesberg Dawn to Dusk Safaris from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pilanesberg and Sun City

Picture Gallery 2011 & after
Picture Gallery 2010
Picture Gallery 2009
Picture Gallery 2008
Picture Gallery 2007
Picture Gallery 2006
Picture Gallery 2005
Picture Gallery 2004


It's alphabetical - so save us both time.... and if not on here I will put it up!

Accommodation in the Park only: Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation in and around Sun City. Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation Specials at Pilanesberg

Accommodation at Sun City Vacation Club

Airport at Pilanesberg

Animal studies in Pilanesberg

Bakgatla Resort

Bakubung Bush Lodge

Balloon Safaris: In Pilanesberg National Park -  R4 250pp - 1 hour, minimum 4 pax!

Binoculars needed

Bird list

Black Rhino Game Lodge

Buffalo in the Park

Camping - book direct at 014 555 1000, don't be surprised if you hold 15 minutes and then get cut off.

Cancellation Terms and Conditions

Commission offered to booking agents

Condition of the Veld

Dangers in Pilanesberg

Disclosures: About vehicles used for Pilanesberg and other

Directions - see map

Elephant Back safaris in Pilanesberg.

Entrance fee - see gate times

Etiquette in Game Parks like Pilanesberg for self drives

Friends of Pilanesberg Society - Volunteers helping to maintain the Park.

Gate Times for Pilanesberg National Park

Geology of Pilanesberg National Park

Highlights seen in Pilanesberg the last 2 years:
Don't expect something like this or the animals to stand next to the road waiting.  It's not a Zoo!

History of Pilanesberg National Park

Idiot Gallery - Stunts pulled in Pilanesberg National Park by the mentally challenged.  Other tour operators are welcome to contribute - I will give you recognition except if you don't want it!

Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Kids on Safari. In Pilanesberg or other parks

Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge

Manyane Resort

Map and directions to Pilanesberg

Other Parks near Pilanesberg

Other Tour Operators doing Pilanesberg

Packages to Lodges

Picture Gallery -  taken by us over the last 8 years in Pilanesberg.

Pilanesberg National Park vs Kruger National Park.

Reading - other re Pilanesberg.

Safety in Pilanesberg

Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge

Testimonials from clients we have taken to Pilanesberg

Things to do in and around Pilanesberg

Transfers only to Pilanesberg and Sun City - one way: charged per vehicle:

Tshukudu Bush Lodge

Veld Condition in the Park

Weather and Climate for Pilanesberg area

What can you hope to see in Pilanesberg?

When to go to Pilanesberg: best time etc


adventure travel africa
806 Unit 2, Mogwase, Pilanesberg, Office - Please mail only
PO Box 250 Sun City, 0316
- Updated Feb 2012
All Pilanesberg queries -  travelinafrica@gmail.com