Wild Planet Safaris

Pilanesberg National Park

9 reviews

Safari suitability: 9/10

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All o f the big five here and amazing bird life awaits! Small size, crowds and fences keep it from scoring top marks.

Found in: South Africa
Companies: 11
Tour packages: 18
Total area: 572 km² (220 mi²)
Year established: 1979
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

Quality of wildlife:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited month:
* Crowded parks have a lower rating


  • All of the big five are found here

  • Two hours from Jo-berg, it's easily accessible

  • It's possible to traverse the park in a standard vehicle

  • Walking safaris are possible in parts, especially for bird enthusiasts

  • Elephant-riding safaris

  • Is, purportedly, malaria-free

About Pilanesberg National Park

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.

When is the best time to visit Pilanesberg?

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.

Pilanesberg map
Articles on South Africa

Most safaris postponed to 2021

When: Aug. 31, 2020


COVID-19 and safaris

When: April 22, 2020

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