South Africa – Pilanesberg Game Reserve and National Park
I wake up to a horrendous thunderstorm and with that came dreadful flooding throughout Johannesburg. I’ve booked a safari to Pilanesberg Game Reserve and National Park. It’s an early start as the Park is a two hour drive North West of the City. Not far from Sun City.
My guide, Prosper, battled through the floods arriving thirty minutes late, so this had the knock on effect of me missing the Open Bus Guided Drive. This turned out to my advantage as Prosper drove me around the Park. He proved to be the font of all knowledge, being able to locate animals that really were very difficult to see through my untrained eye. There’s approximately 200 kilometres of road and track in the 55000 hectare park.
The Warthogs are fascinating. A lot of them had piglets. Prosper stopped at a specific spot known for the salt in the soil. The Warthogs were having a field day, scratching at the soil enabling them to take in the minerals. The piglets decided that this was the perfect opportunity to have a little feed themselves.
Zebra and Wildebeest were readily on view as were the Giraffe. We stopped by a watering hole and saw Hippopotamus; sadly they were reluctant to show themselves much above the waterline.
The Kudu with their young were quite incredible to see up close with the distinctive lines on their hide and the Mohican like spikes on their mane. Then of course there are the Springbok with that amazing dark brown flash on their hide and the Impala, the male identified by their lyre-shaped horns.
Further on we see an Elephant with her calf, they were so close to the track you couldn’t miss them. They were not alone; another female was chomping on another tree just feet away. Just around the corner we notice a stationary car; a racing certainty that there’s something to see. We were not disappointed. A bull Elephant was just across the watering hole from where we parked up. This guy is well known in the park and has quite a reputation for being aggressive. One of the tell tale signs is half of one of his tusks is missing. I’m told this is from a fight with another Elephant. Sadly he’s been ousted from the herd.
After we’d had lunch it was time to wend our way back towards the exit gate. En route Prosper suddenly stopped and pointed out in the distance a pair of Rhinoceros. They were a bit too far away to get any good photos, but I felt so privileged to have actually seen them.
I will definitely head back here again, perhaps in the winter time. I’m told that due to the winters being dry in South Africa you are more likely to see the animals around the numerous watering holes. A truly wonderful day