A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 4

Mankwe Dam, a large man-made impoundment that holds water throughout the year and that’s a veritable magnet for wildlife, is located in the heart of the Pilanesberg National Park. On its banks you’ll find the Mankwe Hide, very popular with photographers and recently rebuilt after being destroyed in a veld fire. That is where we are headed next.

Back in the hide’s parking area this southern masked weaver is enjoying a bath in a small puddle- as if he is too scared to go swimming in the big pool on the other side!

Almost immediately after driving out of the parking area at the hide, we come across a pair of lions – our second lion sighting of the day and less than 200 steps from where we were standing outside our vehicle just a few seconds ago! Luckily, being a mating pair, their attentions are focused on satisfying other base instincts than finding food. Our day just keeps getting better!

Leaving the lions to their honeymoon, we head north along Kgabo Drive and take a left into Tlou. Along the way we add further to our list of birds seen, including this rufous-naped lark singing its lungs out from a prominent perch.

Rufous-naped Lark

Just as we get to the junction of Tlou and Thuthlwa drives we find another brown hyena, walking quite purposefully away from an old elephant carcass with a large chunk of bone in its jaws. We follow alongside until it disappears into a thicket, its destination remaining a mystery to us but we like to think that it is headed to a den with hungry youngsters waiting.

If you’d like to follow along as we explore the Pilanesberg, a map may come in handy (for a large format version click here)

Mankwe Hide to Tlou Drive

If you need to catch up on our drive through the Pilanesberg National Park, you can read all the previous posts here.

To be continued tomorrow.

31 thoughts on “A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 4

  1. SoyBend

    Seeing the lion pair in the act is probably not something you see every day! Were there any guided tours nearby? I love the bright yellow of the weavers. Just had a first time partial yellow visitor in my backyard – a male evening grosbeak.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks, Siobhan – yellow seems to suit birds much better than it does humans! Did you get photos of the grosbeak; I’d love to see it!
      No, seeing lions mating isn’t something we see regularly but it is a sight, and sound, to remember!
      There’s several companies and privateers offering guided tours of the Pilanesberg. During our visit though they were few and far between, as our borders only re-opened on the 1st of October to a select few countries, and most South Africans prefer to self-drive around our game reserves (like we do).

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      1. SoyBend

        No photos of the grosbeak.By the time I got the camera, it was gone. Yes, we prefer to do the driving ourselves too but I’ve had some good guides a few times. Glad your borders are open again!

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        1. de Wets Wild Post author

          We’re very glad we can host visitors from overseas again too, the lockdown has been a terrible time for our hospitality and tourism sector and many, many people have lost their jobs and businesses.

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  2. H.J. for avian101

    I this is your best day so far. Great photos all, the one on the top is simply beautiful. I would frame that one. It’s obvious that the weather improved a bit, one reason that it contributed to better lighting (Less harsh, less shadows, perfect for details). Great post as always, D. πŸ™‚

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