Pilanesberg National Park was about a 3 hour drive north of my accommodation near the Johannesburg, South Africa airport. I had been in Jo-burg for 2 days and my hosts strongly recommended that I spend a day doing Pilanesberg National Park self drive safari. This was perfect for my first visit to Africa and I had great ambition for more safari adventures. Indeed, I had a few days to kill and a Pilanesberg self drive safari was a perfect warm up for my extended stay in South Africa.
I got an early start because the drive to the park was a bit complex plus I was still a bit shaky about being on the left side of the road. Nonetheless, after some morning jitters I managed to enjoy a full day self drive safari tour – it was fantastic.
Pilanesberg Self Drive Safari is a Great Warm Up
It was my first real safari and Pilanesberg was a great warm for for my safari ambitions in Africa. This was a perfect practice run to help prepare for more extensive trips such as Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, Etosha and Maputo Elephant Reserve (to name a few).
The park area is about 550 sq kilometers and it is very accessible from Johannesburg. I was visiting at the end of the summer months October-March which means it was the wet season (dry season is from April- September).
Mankwe Dam in Pilanesberg National Park
This is the largest body of water in Pilanesberg National Park. There is a bird hide here where you can spot the water birds that live in the park. These birds include the kingfishers, fish eagles and cormorants. The lake was full as I was visiting during the wet season.
Johannesburg is a very big, fast moving city and I especially enjoyed Pilanesberg National Park. I was looking forward to my drive over to Ramsgate in KwaZulu-Natal the next day. There are fantastic beaches over there and world class surfing opportunities. Plus, there was the safari at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park that I was really looking forward to.