Game Reserves, Johannesburg
Pilanesberg Park is only two hours from Johannesburg, and I had my guide drive me around the huge reserve for about fours hours (starting at noontime). But all I saw were deers, birds and a few wild pigs...I guess the big animals were still asleep...
However, despite my experience, the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world with over 10,000 animals. The Operation Genesis, which involved the game-fencing of the reserve and reintroduction of long-vanished species, began during the late 1970s and is still the largest game translocation undertaken in the world. But the animals were hiding from me that day! But other VTers have great pictures of the wildlife...
Whilst in Johannesburg you must take the time to visit The Pilanesberg National Park - either with a tour or by hiring a car and taking a self-drive trip to the Park.
Pilanesberg is next to the well known resort Sun City.
There are numerous hides and picnic sites where tourists can alight from their car to experience the sights, sounds and smells of the bushveld around.
There are many different species of animals and birds. The park is home to the "Big Five" animals, lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and Rhino. A wide variety of rare and common species also exist, like noctunal hyena, cheetah and the sable antelope.
The Park is situated in the crater of an extinct volcano. Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Its rare rock types and stucture make it a unique geological feature.
This is one of the most naturally majestic provinces in South Africa.
With so many natural wonders, lush and green vegetation and a real touch of Africa. From waterfalls to canyons, wild bush landscape to mountains and caves.
I have visited here often through the years and never cease to wonder at its magnificence. There is so much to do here.
It is of course well known for its abundance of game and wildlife too, the most famout one being Kruger National Park of course.
If you are coming (driving) here from Johannesburg, make sure to stop at Millie’s, where you can sip a beer whilst watching trout in the lake there. There is also a lovely fishing shop and a craft shop, which has some delectable traditional munchies like guava rolls, biltong, droe wors, homemade jams and chutneys etc.
The art and crafts that come out of this area are incredible too... all kinds of wooden (most often made from jackleberry wood), wire and tin craft, basket craft etc.
My Mpumalanga page has more information
This world famous National Park in South Africa was founded in 1898 and is just under 2 million hectares in size in total.
It is, to me, so much more than a piece of the planet where flora, fauna and animal are preserved and protected, it speaks of a childhood spent in avid attention of the detail and attention to life that this park offers.
I have been here many a time and have never been disappointed.
The Park is massive and boasts large herds of animals in varying shape and form, an example being when a herd of over 500 buffalo were seen crossing in front of us when we were on our way out of the park at sunset in 2002! Click on the buffalo pic to see what I mean by 'being watched' :)
The South end is the more popular end... where there seem to be more animals... in the north there are more elephants... (in the south there are plenty of elephants too!).
My Kruger National Park page has more information
I was fortunate enough to spend a glorious weekend in this very lovely lodge, just minutes from Sun City, which is about 2 hours drive from Johannesburg.
Its a very short drive from the Pilansberg National Park which plays host to a variety of amazing animals including the infamous Big Five.
Our guide, Peter, was very enthusiastic and drove us all over the park showing us all the beautiful animals, until it was very dark, and then we had to head back, another great experience.
Bakubung is a nice place to escape to for a weekend, its got 76 airconditioned, thatched roof rooms that provide fantastic accommodation to all visitors. Our weekend included Breakfast and Dinner. The food was excellent, and there was a great variety!! (Makes me hungry just thinking about it)
If you want to visit Sun City there is a Shuttle bus that will take you there at a nominal charge. Or if you require transfers to and from the Airport, they will be happy to provide you.
I would recommend Bakubung as we had a very delightful 2 days stay at the lodge.
From Sterkfontein we drove to Rhino & Lion Nature reserve. At the entrance we paid to get into the Rhino and Lion reserve and to get a tour of a place called Wondercave.
After the visit to the cave we drove around in our car in the nature reserve. The dirt roads were bumpy and most cars were in for a challenge. But we did manage to get pretty close to lions, wild dogs, a cheetah, a couple of rhinos etc. It is pretty amazing to get this close to the animals in your own car. I wonder if there are any "accidents" in parks like this. After all there are a few daring tourists out there and there were no supervision :-) There is also one area in the park where you can find tigers, lions, crocodiles and hippos in more confined areas. They also have a place where you can take a closer look at vultures.
Tangala Game Lodge. A gorgeous, rustic experience. My first game drive! Eugene and Nadia (pictured) are your able and friendly hosts -- Eugene's family has owned the land for years, and Nadia grew up out in the lowveld. They know what they're doing, and you will NOT be sorry!!!
Check out: http://www.tangala.co.za/Tangala/Tangala%20Frame.htm
Drive to Kruger National Park.
In any case you SHOULD get there (even by plane), but if it's possible to drive, you will NOT be sorry. The land is absolutely numbingly beautiful...you really do get the feeling of being in the Cradle of Humankind...the land just FEELS old...
Watch out for cattle and children when you're rounding the bends!