About Pilanesberg

Rising spectacularly from the great plains of Africa, Pilanesberg National Park is a shining example of how conservation can turn landscapes into thriving habitats for wild animals.

Just a short drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria, and reachable by flights from Cape Town, Pilanesberg is a top spot for adventure seekers and wildlife enthusiasts in South Africa.

This area, covering more than 550 km², was once a huge volcano, over a billion years old. Though it's not as tall as it used to be, with a width of about 24 km now, Pilanesberg's ancient volcanic roots make it a special place on the map. Known as an Alkali Ring Complex because of its unique minerals, it's a rare find.

With roads stretching over 200km, Pilanesberg National Park Tours invites everyone to explore its unique beauty and the wonders of the wild it protects.

Pilanesberg Tours & Safaris

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Best time to visit

The Best Time to Visit Pilanesberg is during the cooler and dry winter months between May and September. During this time, animals are more likely to be seen as they gather at water spots, thanks to less dense vegetation. Though the park is quieter, prepare for chillier mornings and evenings. For those who prefer gentle weather, April to May and September to October offer comfortable conditions, though the park gets busier. Summer months, October to April, attract crowds and can bring hot days with occasional afternoon rain showers.


Pilanesberg National Park is a wildlife enthusiast's dream, offering a glimpse of Africa's famous Big Five along with cheetahs and the elusive brown hyenas. This park flourishes with diverse animal life, thanks to successful conservation efforts. Bird lovers can revel in observing over 300 species, from migratory to permanent residents. The Manyane Complex features a walking trail for up-close encounters with nature and birdwatching, enriched by an aviary that houses over 80 species of native birds, making every Pilanesberg Safari an enriching journey into the wild.

What To Experience

Travel Guide For Pilanesberg

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Pilanesberg Map

Before you start exploring the national park premises, grabbing a Pilanesberg Map is a smart move.

This handy guide not only points out where to find cosy lodges and resorts within the park but also helps you plot a smooth journey through its vast landscapes.

With this map, you can trace routes along the park's main tarred roads and explore the more rugged gravel ones.

It's perfect for planning a day packed with visits to serene waterholes, breathtaking lookout points, and inviting picnic spots, ensuring you navigate through the park's treasures and make it back to the gates or your comfy accommodation by evening.

Pilanesberg Weather and Climate

In Pilanesberg National Park, the weather plays a big part in what you'll see and experience. This park goes through two main seasons, each bringing its unique flavour to your Pilanesberg Safari adventure.

Dry Season (May to September)

During the dry winter months from May to September, the park cools down, and skies clear up, making it easier to spot wildlife as they flock to the few remaining water sources.

The mornings can be quite chilly, especially from June through August, so packing a warm jacket for those early game drives is a good idea.

Wet Season (October to April)

Then, as October rolls around, the scene in Pilanesberg shifts dramatically. The summer rains begin, transforming the landscape into a lush, vibrant haven for animals and plants alike.

These months, up until April, are warmer, with temperatures hovering around 30°C. The rains mostly come as short, refreshing afternoon storms, which means your mornings are still perfect for exploring.

Despite the warmth, the air remains pleasantly dry, thanks to the low humidity, a contrast to the muggy coast.

Key Points:

  • May starts the cooler winter period, perfect for game viewing.
  • June to August requires warm clothing for chilly mornings.
  • September's weather is pleasant, making it great for spotting animals.
  • The summer months from October to April bring heat and rain, creating lush scenery but making wildlife harder to see.

To sum it up all, each season in Pilanesberg offers something special. Winter provides unmatched clarity for wildlife viewing, while summer brings the park to life with its rich, green beauty.

Whichever time you choose to visit, the ever-changing climate ensures your Pilanesberg Safari is nothing short of magical.

How to Get to Pilanesberg National Park

Getting to Pilanesberg National Park is a smooth and exciting part of your South Africa Safari Tours. Here’s how you can get to Pilanesberg easily:

  • Driving

If you're starting from Johannesburg, prepare for a scenic drive of around two to three hours covering about 170 km. The roads are well-kept, making your Trip to Pilanesberg comfortable and straightforward.

  • Flying

For a quicker route, you can opt for a charter flight from Johannesburg straight to Pilanesberg International Airport. Don't forget to arrange a pickup with us to ensure a seamless transition from your flight to the park.

Although direct scheduled flights to Pilanesberg aren't available, the journey, whether by road or air, is part of the unique experience that awaits in your South African Safari Vacation.

This way, your travel becomes an integral aspect of your adventure, filled with anticipation and the joy of exploring South Africa's natural wonders.

Pilanesberg Wildlife

Pilanesberg Wildlife is a treat to nature lovers and brings new excitement highlights to the wilderness. From the iconic Pilanesberg’s Big Five to bird species and specials, the park is a sanctuary for any nature enthusiast

  • The Big Five

The wildlife reserve hosts thriving populations of the lion, leopard, and rhino, and herds of elephant, and buffalo. Pilanesberg’s Big Five are freely wild and provide wondering moments to tourists on a safari trip.

  • Other Wildlife

Other wild animals that live and roam at Pilanesberg include the giraffe, zebra, hippopotamus and cheetah. Some of the rare species appearing at the floodlight night hydras include the nocturnal brown hyena and tsessebe.

  • Birding

Pilanesberg is a paradise to bird watchers with a recorded number of 300 bird species sighted in the park.

Bird enthusiasts may enjoy diverse bird species, migrants, and permanent dwellers at the dry moist refuge sanctuary.

Manyane camp bird walk offers an excellent bush experience trail to spot savanna birds and game.

Lastly, Pilanesberg National Park does not only awe its visitors with its wild residents but also educates and inspires them. With continued visitations to this magnificent South Africa Safari Destination, every visitor contributes to the conservation and protection of these magnificent species.

Things to Do in Pilanesberg National Park

Going to Pilanesberg National Park is an excursion that may be full of adventure. Irrespective of whether you’re a wildlife lover or seeker of thrills, many unusual things are awaiting you to experience in Pilanesberg.

Below are some of the top Things to Do in Pilanesberg National Park for an enjoyable South Africa Safari Tour.

  • Pilanesberg walking safari

Get to learn about the park’s diverse Pilanesberg fauna in a unique way with an expert guide. Stretch your legs, understand the animals, and learn how the whole system works. For a more incredible experience, join the Family Bush Walk at Letsatsing Game Park, suitable for all ages of adventurers.

  • Hot air balloon rides:

Take a hot air balloon trip at sunrise over Pilanesberg National Park for breathtaking experiences. With a duration of 30-60 minutes, the flight ends with breakfast and champagne upon landing.

  • Game Drive

Join the qualified rangers to view the Big Five and hear about the local wildlife. The excursion, which takes between 3 to 6 hours, is packed with anecdotes and insights.

  • Quad Biking

Navigate through the reserve on a quad bike, spotting wildlife along the way. It's fun for adults and kids (5 and up), with all necessary safety gear provided.

  • Archery

Try your hand at archery, a sport that's both ancient and thrilling. You'll be taught how to aim and shoot, making it an accessible activity for all.

  • Mountain biking

Join a 9.7-kilometer course that provides views of impala, giraffe, zebra, and other wildlife at the Letsatsing Game Reserve.

  • Black Rhino Game Reserve

The Black Rhino Game Reserve offers immersive safaris to see endangered black rhinos and other wildlife. These safari drives are guided by passionate rangers dedicated to conservation and education.

Participating in all these activities enables you to become fully integrated into the natural environment on a Pilanesberg Safari.

Pilanesberg National Park Entrance Fees

Stepping into the enchanting world of Pilanesberg National Park is your gateway to a South Africa Safari experience you won’t forget. Here’s a quick guide to the Pilanesberg National Park Entrance Fee:

  • Adults: From R80, increasing to R90 after October 1st.
  • Foreign Nationals (Adults): R110, set to rise to R140.
  • Children (6-12 yrs): Current fee R30, will be R40.
  • Pensioners (SA only): Presently R40, adjusting to R50.
  • Vehicles: A fee of R40 for standard vehicles, escalating to R50.

For your information, South African citizens are required to show an ID to prove their citizenship. And, these fees for entry into the park are used entirely to provide for wildlife conservation efforts.

Facts You should know before travelling to Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg is a great choice for those travellers present near Johannesburg.  It offers a quick safari trip without the long drive to Kruger. Here are some facts you should know before your Pilanesberg Travel:

  • Pilanesberg National Park is open all year, with times changing by season.
  • Visitors can enjoy game drives in open safari vehicles, which run in all weather.
  • You can drive through the park yourself, perfect for spotting Pilanesberg Wildlife.
  • For quieter experiences, smaller roads are recommended over main tar roads.
  • Guides are available for hire for those wanting more insight into the park.
  • The Black Rhino Game Reserve inside Pilanesberg doesn't allow day visitors.
  • Hiking in the park requires caution due to snakes.
  • Vaccinations for diseases like Hepatitis A and Yellow Fever are advised.
  • The park is in a malaria-free zone, adding peace of mind.
  • Note that Wild Cards for park entry are not accepted.
  • The nearest ATM is located in Sun City.
  • Pets are not allowed in the park.
  • Some Pilanesberg Accommodation options provide babysitting services for an extra fee.

Pilanesberg National Park awaits with its majestic wildlife and serene landscapes. Don't miss the chance to experience one of the best safari adventures near Johannesburg. Book your South Africa Safari Trip and dive into the African wilderness!

Best Month to Visit Pilanesberg

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Pilanesberg in January

January at Pilanesberg National Park means warm days with a lot of rain, averaging 25.6°C and getting 11.4 cm of rainfall. This turns the park into a lush green haven, though spotting animals might take a bit more patience due to the thick bush.

Pilanesberg in February

February keeps things warm and wet in Pilanesberg, with temperatures around 25°C and rainfall just slightly less than January. The park's dense greenery continues, but it's also a special time for wildlife, as many animals start their mating season.

Pilanesberg in March

By March, Pilanesberg starts to cool down a bit to 23.9°C, with rain easing off to 8.9 cm. The change makes it gradually easier to see animals as the bush thins out, marking the end of summer and a good time for visitors.

Pilanesberg in April

April brings autumn to Pilanesberg, with clearer weather, cooler temperatures at 22.2°C, and just a sprinkle of rain. The thinning vegetation improves chances for animal sightings, making safaris even more enjoyable with the pleasant climate.

Pilanesberg in May

Winter begins in May at Pilanesberg, dropping to cooler morning temperatures. The dry season kicks off, reducing the bush and drawing animals out to water spots. This makes wildlife much easier to spot in the crisp weather.

Pilanesberg in June

June in Pilanesberg calls for warm clothes with chilly mornings but sunny days warming up to 20°C. The dry scenery continues to offer superb wildlife viewing as animals gather around the few water sources available.

Pilanesberg in July

July keeps mornings cool in Pilanesberg, perfect for spotting lions that are less disturbed by tourists. With the winter climate, clear skies, and warm days, it's an ideal time for safari-goers to explore.

Pilanesberg in August

Pilanesberg in August remains dry with mild days around 20°C. Animals frequent waterholes more often, making for great wildlife-watching opportunities in the serene setting of the park.

Pilanesberg in September

Spring arrives in Pilanesberg with September, warming up to 26°C. The end of the dry season still offers excellent conditions for seeing animals as they continue to visit water sources in the warming weather.

Pilanesberg in October

October signals the start of summer rains in Pilanesberg, with temperatures at a comfortable 25°C. The rains begin to transform the park back to its green state, making wildlife sightings a bit more challenging but still rewarding.

Pilanesberg in November

In November, Pilanesberg gets warmer and wetter, with the lush landscape hosting newborn animals. Temperatures stay around 25°C with significant rainfall, offering a fresh, vibrant look to the park.

Pilanesberg in December

December sees Pilanesberg at its summer peak, with the most rainfall and temperatures holding at 25.6°C. The park is full of life, with dense greenery making it a beautiful time for visits despite the challenge of spotting wildlife.

Frequently Asked Questions

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Pilanesberg National Park is located in the North West Province of South Africa. It's uniquely set within the crater of an ancient volcano, making it a geologically fascinating area and a stunning South African destination just a few hours' drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria.

The number of lions in Pilanesberg National Park can vary due to natural factors, but the park is home to a healthy population of these majestic cats. They are part of the park's thriving Pilanesberg Wildlife, coexisting with other animals in their natural habitat.

Yes, you can see the Big 5 in Pilanesberg National Park. It is one of the many South Africa Safari destinations where you have the opportunity to see lions, leopards, elephants, buffalos, and rhinos in their natural environment.

Absolutely, Pilanesberg National Park is worth visiting. It offers a unique safari experience, being malaria-free and home to the Big 5. Its beautiful landscape and variety of Pilanesberg Accommodation options make it a perfect getaway for nature lovers and wildlife enthusiasts.

Pilanesberg National Park is known for its unique geological structure, its rich biodiversity including the Big 5, and being a malaria-free zone. It offers visitors the chance to experience close encounters with wildlife in a spectacular setting, making it a top choice for a Best South African Safari.

In Pilanesberg National Park, visitors can enjoy game drives, guided walks, hot air balloon safaris, and bird watching. These activities allow you to explore the park's scenic beauty and diverse wildlife, making every Pilanesberg Safari an unforgettable adventure.

The Pilanesberg National Park Entrance Fee varies depending on your age and nationality, with different rates for South African residents and international visitors. These fees contribute to the conservation and maintenance of the park, ensuring it remains a premier South Africa Safari Trip destination.

Yes, you can stay overnight in Pilanesberg National Park. The park offers a range of accommodation options, from luxurious lodges to comfortable campsites, catering to various tastes and budgets. Staying overnight allows you to experience the park's nocturnal wildlife and serene evenings under the African sky.

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