Joubert and I spent last weekend (23 and 24 November) in the Pilanesberg National Park with my brother Niel.
Our weekend started early, leaving Pretoria at 03:00 in the morning in order to be at Kwa Maritane Gate before it opened. Shortly after entering we encountered a bunch of adorable, but shy, jackal puppies holed up in a culvert underneath the road. Not a kilometre further, we had an exciting sighting of a young male lion attempting to hunt, unsuccessfully, a group oz zebras and a lone wildebeest. An excellent start to the day, and our good luck continued as we slowly traveled through the reserve, notching up another lion sighting, herds of elephants, white rhinos and giraffes, a good variety of antelope, and several bird species before arriving at Bakgatla Resort, where we’d be camping for the night.
After setting up camp, we stretched our legs walking through the camping area, inspecting the facilities (none of which we could fault) and intent on buying an ice cream for Joubert, but unfortunately the tiny shop’s supply had already been sold out.
Leaving camp earlier than planned for our afternoon drive, we first headed to the Pilanesberg Centre, a historical building that served as the Magistrate’s Court before the Park’s proclamation but today is a popular little restaurant and shop well frequented by visitors, in the hopes of finding Joubert that ice cream he was craving so. Meeting with success on that quest, we set off again looking for Pilanesberg’s wild inhabitants, and again were not disappointed.
At the Fish Eagle Picnic Site we got a close-up glimpse into dung beetle life before spending some time at the photographic hide at Lake Mankwe, enjoying the cool shade and great photo opportunities.
Sunday morning we had a couple of hours to explore some more before having to head home. We explored the western sections of the Park and were struck by how exceptionally dry it still is. With summer being the rainy season, we hope the Park will soon see some good rainfall in order to replenish the dams and streams.
All-in-all a very enjoyable boys camping weekend at Pilanesberg, which we hope to enjoy again as soon as possible.