Located in the northern part of South Africa, Pilanesberg is roughly four hours from Botswana's capital, Gaborone. Pilanesberg is also about a three-hour drive from Johannesberg, making it an extremely accessible park to visit. Pilanesberg is the result of a donation of land by local indian tribes, and the name comes from a Tswana chief who went by the name “Pilane.” In what was named 'Operation Gensis', 6000 animals were reintroduced in this area and 110 kilometers (70 miles) of fence were constructed. It is now estimated to house between 7000 to 8000 animals and includes all of the big five. It is apparently one of the only places to see the brown hyena, too. In addition to the traditional game drive safaris, visitors have the option to do self-drive safaris here and can even partake in an elephant-riding safari.
Some of the most stunninng scenery within the entire park can be viewed in the Mankwe Dam region. The dam is the largest body of water in the game reserve and is an excellent spot for viewing wildlife. For bird lovers, there is a bird hide very close to the water’s edge. Some birds of note are the fish eagles, kingfishers and cormorants circling the dam. All of these places provide many a fantastic opportunity to photograph the plentiful array of fauna and flora.
Like most of the parks in Southern Africa, Pilanesberg has two seasons: a wet and a dry season. The dry season occurs during its winter--from April through September. The wet season coincides with South African summer, and runs from October through March.