Pilanesberg National Park
Pilanesberg National Park to the east of Pretoria in the Bojanda region of the North West Province is the fourth largest national park in South Africa; but is one of the only parks in Africa where nearly every African mammal can be found. The Pilanesberg National Park's location on the Kalahari-Bushveld transition zone and the remains of the alkaline volcanic crater in the park is part of its unique panoply of animal species.
|The rest stops are nestled in the wilderness
The transition region is one of the reasons the Pilanesberg National Park has such a wide diversity of plants and animals within its 570 km2 expanse. The other reason is the ancient alkaline volcanic crater that dominates the park. Though long since weathered to little more than rocky ridges, the remains of the volcano has left three concentric rings of rocky ridges that creates a unique environment and habitat for the animals that call Pilanesberg National Park home.
Proclaimed in 1979, it took park authorities 15 years to repair the years of damage that commercial farming in the area had done and to restock the animals that once called the area home. Today the park is trying to combine conservation with economic freedom to ensure the future of the Pilanesberg National Park and the livelihood of the local people.
The animals that visitors are likely to spot in the Pilanesberg National Park depend a lot on where they go. As a transition area the park can be considered to be divided into two distinct areas: the dry Kalahari area and the wetter Bushveld area. In the drier areas, visitors are likely to see springbok and hyena, while the wetter area will present with impala and buffalo. For the most part, however, the animals migrate.
The Pilanesberg National Park offers a wide range of habitats allowing many different animals to be found in a single area. There is a healthy population of the Big 5 in the park along with many endangered and rare African species like cheetahs, roan, sable, tsessebe and wild dogs.
Visitors to the park usually self drive along the more than 300 kilometres of dirt road in the park. These roads, while not tarred, are kept in a good condition making Pilanesberg National Park widely accessible to many people. Rest stops are in the park offering refreshment or picnic areas, but rest camps are all located outside of the park. Early opening and late closing hours, however, make it possible to do some night game viewing.
Pilanesberg National Park is a unique location. There are only three other volcanic craters like the Pilanesberg crater in the world. This one of a kind mixture of habitats serve as a home to countless animals that have reclaimed this piece of Africa once more for their own.
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