A Day on the wild side in a unique, big-5 Reserve situated in the crater of an extinct volcano with a private tour guide.
The early sunbathes a landscape of rocky hills and tilted strata, shaped by violent volcanic activity and aeons of wind and water, in hues of orange and gold.
We travel through the park on the winding roads and watch as great grey ghosts emerge suddenly from the untamed bush, towering above all around them and solid, tank-like rhino graze. Beautiful song is followed by a flash of colour as one of the many birds dart away. Slender, elegant impala graze then leap away on spindly legs, seeming to fly. A giraffe's long neck, swaying above the trees, towers above zebra grazing nearby, mixed with the odd shapes of wildebeest.
We sit in a hide next to a dam and the tranquil quiet is broken by the abrupt, loud snorting of a hippo as it erupts from the water, then submerges leaving only ripples. A crocodile glides by as the setting sun tints the landscape gold at the end of the day.
We experience the sights, sounds and smells of the African landscape and picnic under the trees to round off the experience.
We leave Johannesburg/Pretoria and drive to Pilanesberg Game Reserve. There is a short stop at the gate for tea/coffee and rusks/muffins before starting the drive.
This is a large game reserve, only half of which has access to roads. Where we go and what we see depends on conditions, known sightings and how we feel on the day. The animals are wild and live naturally to the extent that a fenced reserve will allow. This is their environment, and we are the interlopers. Therefore, care must be taken not to impose on the wildlife, especially the larger animals that can be dangerous. If necessary, other routes will be taken to avoid conflictual situations.
When ready, brunch is eaten under the trees at a picnic site. The stop is very pleasant and can be as long as desired. Stops at other picnic sites and hides will allow for bathroom breaks and any other refreshment wanted during the day. Depending on the weather and the guest requirements, we can stay until the reserve closes. We then drive back.
Meeting Point + Tour Duration
Meeting Point Options: Rail or Bus Station, Airport, Hotel, Address or Intersection, Monument/Building
Duration: 14 hours
Duration depends on time of year - shorter in winter due to fewer hours of daylight. Rainy weather can inhibit game viewing, but cancelling the tour should not be necessary.
I use an 8-seater Volkswagen Microbus. This vehicle is high off the ground offering good game viewing. It is air-conditioned. My preferred maximum group size is 5, but I can take 7.
Estimated Local Cash Needed
200 South African Rand - The tour is fully inclusive, the only cash you may need is for purchases of a personal nature.
A Recent Review of this tour
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Best single day game drive of the four we took in South Africa for the animals viewed and the guide. Ms. Opperman's depth of the knowledge and attention is unsurpassed. On the drive from Johannesburg she gave us detailed social, geological and historical facts. Once in Pilanesberg she kept us informed about birds, flowers, big game, small game, reptiles - everything. The picnic she provided was gourmet, home cooked, locally sourced and delicious. Her van was comfortable and easy to take pictures from.