Pilanesberg National Park
When to go to Pilanesberg National Park...
When to go:
Like good restaurant service that knows when not to biother you, It's easier to answer when NOT to go:
The worst day to go is a Saturday on a school holiday. So 2nd will be a Sunday on a school holiday. Then of course a Saturday on a long weekend, followed by the 1st day & then the last day of.... this is worse than school holidays. Then School holidays, May is intense as the Easter weekend overlap, December is the 2nd worst, followed by July and then September.
Mo - Th is better than Fridays but Fridays are still great, it only gets busier after 2pm when the weekenders arrive. Weekenders are known to come test their 4x4's at max speed making lots of dust! On arrival some of them race through the Park to see what they have missed. They tend to endanger your life and bugger up your sightings, specifically iro their noisy diesel engines that they don't switch off. So you will be enjoying the sound of rhino's or ellies right next to you munching away, and they will come and park right next to you making an incdredible racket, totally oblivious.
Avoid the dates below if you can:
Public holidays for 2013:
June 16 & 17, Aug 9, Sep 24; Dec 16, 25, 26
School holidays for 2013: Inland! FS, GP, L, MP & NW
21 June - 14 July, 20 - 30 Sept, 4 Dec onwards
School holidays for 2013: Coast! EC, KZN, NC& WC
21 June - 14 July, 20 - 30 Sept, 4 Dec onwards
Source: Department of Basic Education [PDF]
2014 school calendar - All nine provinces now have the same school calendar for 2014.
Term Duration Number of weeks Number of days Number of public holidays Actual number of school days 1 (13) 15 Jan - 28 March 11 (55) 53 1 (54) 52 2 7 April - 27 June 11 60 5 + 3 52 3 21 July - 3 Oct 11 55 1 54 4 13 Oct - 10 (12) Dec 9 (45) 43 0 (45) 43 Total 42 (215) 211 7 + 3 (205) 201
- Dates and days in brackets ( ) are applicable to educators
Public and school holidays
1 January New Year's Day 21 March Human Rights Day 18 April Good Friday 21 April Family Day 27 April Freedom Day 28 April Public Holiday 29 April School Holiday 30 April School Holiday 1 May Workers' Day 2 May School Holiday 16 June Youth Day 9 August Women's Day 24 September Heritage Day 16 December Day of Reconciliation 25 December Christmas Day 26 December Day of Goodwill
Source: National Education Policy Act: 2014 school calendar for public schools
So when to go???
My best times yearly was 2004 Aug - Dec; 2005 Sept - Dec; 2006 July - Oct; 2007 March till Dec, 2008 June - Dec, 2009 Aug - Nov, 2010 right through, and the whole 2011 & 2012, and then 2013 has been awesome so far. Certain times of the year is definately better. I prefer late winter/spring/early summer to late summer/autumn. There is less water and less bush around so in general you see animals easier, and also near water holes. Nutrition in the grass & bush is also less so animals have to feed longer in winter. As survival is more important they pay less attention to traffic. Last year during the drought conditions we stopped 1 m from 2 zebra - they didn't move as they needed to conserve energy. This can never happen in normal times. The downside is that during winter parts of the park gets burned and it looks quite unappealing. This is unfortunately necessary - veld management and all. In winter it is also easier to spot lions. So in general in mid July to mid Oct is an excellent time. BUT one of the rules is never to generalize. I 've seen absolute amazing sightings in the middle of summer as well. The 2 baby elephants born I saw 30 Nov 04 (3,5 hours old) and 30 Dec 04 (40 min old). I also saw elephant swimming and having a ball numerous times in the heat of the season, actually from Oct to Jan. Then lots of youngsters around in Nov and Dec. And the rutting season from late Feb is also special. It does however get difficult from Jan to see into the dense bush. If you have a choice go mid July to end Dec. Your attitude should however be to make the best of whatever the situation at the time of your going is; realizing that some animals may not be seen. Also assuming that you'll see the big 5 is stupid. They don't live in the wild to accommodate you! And there are so many smaller and exciting viewings....
Now if you want to go yourself, do exactly the opposite. Go on weekends and school holidays when there are 400 cars in the park at a time. It will still be less crowded than Kruger. Someone is bound to see something and you'll just have to look where the cars gather.
A last comment. If it was me on holiday and I have 3 weeks or so and I want to see the absolute most this country can offer, I will come in October. Pretoria has Jacarandas blooming, the whales are active in Hermanus, even Kruger is stunning. It's not too hot yet and there are very few tourists so finding accommodation is easy!
Hope this has been of help.
Pilanesberg as never seen before. After a serious drought Pilanesberg recorded 94 mm in 24 hours.This pic was taken 22 Jan 04.
Pilanesberg Dawn to Dusk Safaris from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pilanesberg and Sun City
Picture Gallery 2011 & after
Picture Gallery 2010
Picture Gallery 2009
Picture Gallery 2008
Picture Gallery 2007
Picture Gallery 2006
Picture Gallery 2005
Picture Gallery 2004
It's alphabetical - so save us both time.... and if not on here I will put it up!
Accommodation in the Park only: Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.
Accommodation in and around Sun City. Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.
Accommodation Specials at Pilanesberg
Accommodation Specials at Sun City
Airport at Pilanesberg
Animal studies in Pilanesberg
Bakubung Bush Lodge
Balloon Safaris: In Pilanesberg National Park - R3 750pp - 1 hour, minimum 8 pax!
Black Rhino Game Lodge
Buffalo in the Park
Camping - book direct at 014 555 1000, don't be surprised if you hold 15 minutes and then get cut off.
Cancellation Terms and Conditions
Commission offered to booking agents
Condition of the Veld
Dangers in Pilanesberg
Disclosures: About vehicles used for Pilanesberg and other
Directions - see map
Elephant Back safaris in Pilanesberg.
Entrance fee - see gate times
Etiquette in Game Parks like Pilanesberg for self drives
Friends of Pilanesberg Society - Volunteers helping to maintain the Park.
Gate Times for Pilanesberg National Park
Geology of Pilanesberg National Park
Highlights seen in Pilanesberg the last 2 years:
Don't expect something like this or the animals to stand next to the road waiting. It's not a Zoo!
History of Pilanesberg National Park
Idiot Gallery - Stunts pulled in Pilanesberg National Park by the mentally challenged. Other tour operators are welcome to contribute - I will give you recognition except if you don't want it!
Ivory Tree Game Lodge
Kids on Safari. In Pilanesberg or other parks
Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge
Map and directions to Pilanesberg
Other Parks near Pilanesberg
Other Tour Operators doing Pilanesberg
Packages to Lodges
Picture Gallery - taken by us over the last 8 years in Pilanesberg.
Pilanesberg National Park vs Kruger National Park.
Reading - other re Pilanesberg.
Safety in Pilanesberg
Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge
Testimonials from clients we have taken to Pilanesberg
Things to do in and around Pilanesberg
Transfers only to Pilanesberg and Sun City - one way: charged per vehicle:
Tshukudu Bush Lodge
Veld Condition in the Park
Weather and Climate for Pilanesberg area
What can you hope to see in Pilanesberg?
When to go to Pilanesberg: best time etc
806 Unit 2, Mogwase, Pilanesberg, Office 078 618 8675
PO Box 250 Sun City, 0316 - Updated May 2013
All Pilanesberg queries - firstname.lastname@example.org