Last weekend I went to South Africa to attend a course. It was taking place during this week but I’d decided to go a couple of days earlier to see old friends and do some shopping. The friends I stayed with had already made a plan to go to Pilanesberg on Sunday, and since they had space in their car, I was able to join them. I was superhappy as it’s my favourite park in South Africa 🙂
I got to Pretoria at midnight on Saturday and the plan was to set off at 4.30am on Sunday. Not much sleep then! But it was worth it as we spent nearly 12 hours in the park and got to see quite a lot. Pilanesberg is a relatively small park and it’s very picturesque. It’s located on the site of a volcane which was formed 2 billion years ago. Over the millenia eruptions, erosion and geological movements caused the craters to collapse and magma squeeze into numerous fractures in the ground. Now there are many hills and valleys in the park, as well as lakes created by dams built on rivers. Even if you don’t get to see too much game (although there are so many antelopes that you’re never far away from a wildebeest or an impala grazing on the plains), you can simply admire the beautiful landscape. I like Pilanesberg also because it’s not as crowded as the Kruger National Park, it’s full of all sorts of animals, and it’s much cheaper (entry fee is £3.50 for everyone, irrespective of nationality, whereas in Kruger SA nationals and residents pay a similar amount but it’s £15 for foreign tourists).
In the photos below you will see how dry it is in the park. It’s because the rains haven’t arrived yet. On the one hand it makes it easier to spot animals as grass is low and sparse and more wildlife congregates around waterholes. However, those sunburnt plains and hills clearly need water quite urgently. Hopefully it won’t be long before it rains again! Meanwhile, here are a few photos from last Sunday’s safari 🙂