Well, if you're a bit unsure about taking your car into the Pilansberg, or you want a better chance of seeing wildlife, book a Game drive at the Welcome center - They go from the early morning, regularly throughout the day. The drive lasts about 3 - 4 hours, the guides are incredibly knowledgeable, and they know where the game are hiding.
On our Game drive we managed to see a herd of Elephant, several Rhino, loads of Giraffe, Eland (very rare sighting), Blue Wildebeest, Impala, Waterbuck, Hippo, and some of the smaller mammals. We also came across a lone lioness, late in the afternoon.
At the Sun City Welcome Centre you can find out any information about activities taking place in around Sun City. You can book for your Safari to the Pilanesberg here and even Rent a Car "don`t think you`ll need it but anyway" and so forth.
The Welcome Centre is Situated at the entrance to the Sun City Entertainment Area.
For a fun few hours out of Sun City, head 10 minutes down the road to Predator World - especially if you have an affinity for cats :) They have Cheetah, Lion, Leopard, (they used to have tigers too), as well as Hyena, Wild Dogs, and several species of snakes. All the animals are kept in wired enclosures, and are quite easy to spot.
The guides are very well informed, and full of interesting information too.
Below the Sun City hotel, and the Cabanas is the Sun City dam, a great entertainment facility... Here you can go Jet-Skiing, Paragliding, tubing, hire a boat, your kids can ride ponies, or you can just sit and have lunch and a beer, and watch everyone else get wet :-)
For those interested in going on a Game Safari, whether it be self drive or with a tour company this map of the National Park should be of assistance.
On our guided safari we had no direction problems, however I did not notice very many "street signs".
We entered through the Bakubung Gate, but cannot recall what gate we left the park as it was in complete darkness after 6pm on a late May day and the gates had been locked for the night. Our guide managed to make radio contact and arrange for a gate key to be left for his collection.
When we took our late afternoon safari we passed this local market as we entered the Pilanesberg National Park, Bakubung Gate. The market was neatly laid out but we did not stop to browse as that would cut into our time looking for wild animals.
Towards the end of our safari we came onto a very large male elephant standing on the road. Our tour leader immediately stopped 100 metres short of the elephant and said he would not drive any closer as this elephant known as "Mombossa" had charged his bus several months earlier. For the next 40 minutes we edged along the road as Monbossa moved 20 metres along, then stopped and looked back to see where we were.
Darkness was approaching and it was starting to get very cold in the open air truck, in fact some passengers were wrapping themselves in the blankets provided. Mombassa's personal hygiene was very unpleasant as the prevailing breeze approached us but still he would not leave the road to let us pass. Eventually our guide came across a side dirt track which he quickly turned in and accelerated away. We could hear the elephant trumperting and roaring with rage as we sped away.
A further problem arose as the park gates are locked at 6pm and we could not reach the exit in time. The guide made radio contact and arranged for a gate key to be left, we arrived 50 minutes later in darkness freezing cold ( morning temperature was zero late May) and exited the park, however a 40 minute drive back to the resort in near freezing temperature as the wind cut through us.
This sort of adventure make memories. Bookings For the Safari can be made at The Sun City Resort - Welcome Centre.
Our safari commenced at 3pm when we were picked up by a 25 seater bus, typical open sided truck with bench seats and canvas roof. We were seated a fair height above the road which gave us a feeling of safety from wild animals we may come across, this proved to be a false sense. There were 9 people on the safari and most were first time to Africa.
Our driver/guide was a young man with plenty of confidence backed up by the loaded rifle which he carried as he boarded the bus. During the safari the rifle always went with him and we thought this was part of the show. Within 10 minutes drive we were entering the game park through the Bakubung Gate and were lucky enough to see a local market set out inside the entrance. We stopped long enough for photos and then set down one of the many game tracks and within minutes came upon 3 hippopotamus resting in the grass.
As we moved on away from the water the terrain changed with plenty of grey brown scrub , some trees and brown grass. We were all looking for animals, however only a few sightings and most could not be verified by fellow tourists.
The problem was the animals blended into the terrain and were hard to see. Once our eyes had adjusted and we quickly learnt where to look we all started sighting a huge variety of wild animals including white and black rhinoceros, giraffe, zebra, hyaena, elephant, warthog, wilderbeest, impala etc etc.
The safari gave us more than we expected, wild animals everywhere and our guide's experience allowed us to get very close to the animals.
Whether you can enter the palace or not, take a walk along some of the paths leading off the grand staircase, between the Observation Pool and the Palace itself. Wobbly Suspension bridges, waterfalls, and interesting discoveries (and photo opportunities) await you.
The hiking tours give guests an opportunity to experience the Pilanesberg National Park on foot. The tour departs early and you are accompanied by an experienced guide who shares his experience and knowledge about the fauna and flora of the park. The duration of the tour takes approx 3hours . No children under the age of 12 years are allowed and the maximum people allowed on each tour is eight.
There are many game tours available through Gametrackers which is located at the Welcome Centre in Sun City Resort.
You can choose between doing a game drive and including a bush breakfast or dinner within the Pilanesberg National Park.
Private tours are also available and can be done when ever the party requires but this can be expensive.
A lion Park Tour operates taking guests to watch and view lions up close. This tour goes for about one hour.
The elephant safaris are operated through the Letsatsing Reserve and you have the opportunity to ride on the back of an elephant exploring the park and game trails.
Sunrise and sunset safari's run daily and you also have the experience of learning more about these beautiful gentle giants.
Guests are collected at the Welcome Centre and taken to the "Elephant Wallow" where the tour starts. You can also include lunch or dinner watching the elephants play in their swimming hole.
This tour is heaps of fun which includes the use of a quad bike to explore the Letsatsing Game Park under a supervised guide. This activity is fun for the whole family, children over the age of 8 may also participate.
The hot air balloon tours are operated by the Gametrackers which are located at the Welcome Centre. The tour includes an early morning pick-up from any other the hotels within Sun City by a safari truck.
The balloon is launched in the middle of the park and you have the chance to cruise high above the spectacular Pilanesberg Park for a one hour's ride.
A return journey home is also included with a glass of champs for celebrating your landing.
The landscape in the park is awesome, made up over 55,000 hectares of rolling plains and situated within an extinct volcanic cater and surrounded by hills creating a natural boundary. The long wheat grasses edge themselves beside the dirt road, low wooded trees scattered amongst the hazy heated terrain melt into the hill ,which surround the grassy level plains. The sunshine filters light on the mellow yellow grasses and camouflages the animals in the heat of the African sunshine.
All tours to the Pilanesberg National Park can be organized through any of the hotels in Sun City or at the information center (welcome center) which is located just near the entertainment centre.
For self driving you can pick-up a map from the welcome centre.
Other tours available can be done through www.gametrac.co.za which has a desk located in the welcome centre.