People typically think we’re not fortunate in Gauteng due to the fact that we don’t live close to an ocean or some flat top mountain range. Think again, we basically have the big 5 on our doorstep.
We were recently reminded of this on a day trip to Pilanesberg National Park with MoAfrika tours. In under 200km from Pretoria you can spot the big 5 and be back home by dinner time. At 50 000 hectares Pilanesberg Is the 4th largest park in SA. This is perfect as it’s big enough to not feel like a zoo, but not as vast as the Kruger. Chances of spotting the lesser seen animals are pretty good. Now we didn’t know this but similar to the amazing Yellowstone national park in America, the Pilansberg is situated in a volcanic crater. Not to fear as it was formed an odd 1200 million years ago.
Our day started with a 7am pickup at City Lodge Lynnwood – there are different pickup points in Johannesburg and Pretoria and thus pickup time will also differ. Inside the minivan there is free wifi even though it was a little slow at best. After the halfway stop the roads showcase a little bit of the African adventure and it’s a pretty bumpy ride. Be warned if you usually suffer from motion sickness, take a pill, a plastic bag and a good attitude.
Once at the park and on the open game drive vehicle, we met our guide for the day – Anton who was very knowledgeable. He shared our philosophy of not sharing facts that google can reveal, he had a good sense of humour and showed us some finer things we would have missed if not on a guided tour.
Morning Game Drive
It’s a very chilly start, especially in winter, but luckily there are some blankets in the gaem viewer. We couldn’t ask for a better start of the day – on our morning game drive we saw rhinos, elephants, hippos, black stripe jackal and best of all 2 leopards crossing the road. The fierce Maximus, famous in Pilanesberg, and a younger female. It was an incredible experience. Just as the adrenaline wore off another leopard sighting was on the cards for us, this time a younger male on it’s own.
Famished from our time in the veld, lunch was served at around 12:30 in the restaurant by the watering hole.
Afternoon Game Drive
Our afternoon game drive wasn’t as exciting as the morning, given it is a pretty tough act to follow though. We did see some giraffe and two big herds of elephant – probably around 100 in total, we also got some attitude from a young male elephant, but luckily Anton was strict and shouted “Nee”, apparently the elephants here are Afrikaans.
The drive back home was into the sunset with everybody reflecting on our day in Africa and how we should make more time for experiences in nature. We arrived in Pretoria around 5:30pm and said goodbye to our newly acquired friends – most who had to sit through until Johannesburg, sorry guys.
All in all it was a fantastic day out with lots of excitement, socialising, interesting facts and of course (most) of the Big 5.
You cannot go wrong booking this tour for you, a bunch of friends or perhaps foreign colleagues. Have a look at MoAfrika for the tour and costs.
This trip was courtesy of MoAfrika Tours. As with all our posts editorial control and opinions remain our own.