One of the largest circular volcanic complexes of its type in the world was formed over 1300 million years ago when South Africa’s North West Province, was alive with volcanic eruptions and overflowing magma. The result is an exceptionally rare alkaline volcanic crater, filled with unusual geological features, and rock types attracting geologists and photographers from across the world.
Man has lived here beneath Thabayadiotso, ‘the Proud Mountain’ since the Stone Age and has left his mark in a number of sites. In 1977, Lucas Mangope, President of the apartheid created ‘bantustan’ Bophuthatswana, decided to convert the area, known as the Pilanesberg into a game reserve. The terrain lies in the transition zone between the Kalahari and the Lowveld with overlaps in mammals, birds, and vegetation. Mangope’s plan was to remove all non-native plant life from the region and re-introduce long-vanished wildlife. Operation Genesis began. This mammoth achievement was the largest game resettlement in the world.
Today, your chances of encountering some of the over 10 000 animals, in this vast, ecologically rich and malaria-free area is dramatically increased thanks to Mangope’s far-sighted vision. Among the creature who now live here are the Big 5, wild dog, Roan, Tsessebe, Sable antelope, cheetah, giraffe, hippo, zebra, and crocodile. All of them, including the world’s largest number of hyenas and more than 360 species of bird, call the Pilanesberg Game Reserve home. Immerse yourself in the natural world with an exciting game drive, or in the well-built, concealed photographic hides which provide a comfortable place to wait for that perfect shot. The Mankwe Dam is the perfect to spot animals pausing for a drink.
Only 3 hours’ drive from Johannesburg, close to Pretoria and Rustenburg, Pilansberg National Park, the 4th largest, the most accessible and the popular game reserve in the country.