What to expect on a Pilanesberg Safari Day tour
One of the most incredible things about South Africa has to be its wildlife!!! We have an absolute passion for the African bush and would just love to be a part of your Pilanesberg safari day tour experience.
We have been involved in day tours from Johannesburg to South Africa’s 3rd biggest game reserve for over 10 years. And yes there are many ways to see the abundance of wildlife from an air-conditioned bus to a beat up open air Landrover. At South Africa Adventures we like to make our tours a tad more unique and authentic. So guess what? We have done away with the air-conditioned bus. I mean, who wants to go on a safari in a bus? You are in Africa. In my opinion, game viewing must be done from an open air game vehicle with a qualified nature guide. Yes we understand that your creature comforts still need to be taken into account. So the 2 hour transfer to the game reserve will be done in an air-conditioned form of transport. But once we get to the Pilanesberg, we are going into safari mode!!
Here is a couple of FAQ’s that may give you an idea of what to expect on your one day safari to the Pilanesberg.
How long is the transfer from Johannesburg?
The drive only covers about 160km but usually takes up to 2 hours due to traffic and road conditions.
What is the duration of the tour?
Our pick uptime is 06H00 from your hotel. We aim to have you back in the evening by about 20h00. We use the words ‘about’ as the African bush is full of uncertainties. And most of the time these uncertainties are of the pleasant variety. There has been plenty times when we have been delayed from leaving the Pilanesberg due to elephant traffic jam. Not much we can do when there are 15 elephants just chilling in the road. The average elephant weighs about 6 tons. Our game vehicle weighs about 1 ton. And there are 15 of them. So guess what, we are going to comply with the rule that elephants have the right of way. And sometimes that delay turns out to be one of the most incredible wildlife encounters of the day
Who is leading the tour?
On all of our tours you will accompanied by one of our experienced nature guides who are qualified on various levels with with what is known as a FGASA certification ( Field Guide Association of South Africa). So you are going to be in good hands. And besides their intimate knowledge of the Pilanesberg, they also have a burning passion for nature and wildlife. They will not only try their best to find the animals but will impart with some incredible facts and stories about the various plant and animal species you encounter.
What are the chances of seeing animals?
Although the Pilanesberg is about 500 square kilometer of pure awesomeness, the chances of seeing the animals are based on a simple concept-We need to be at the right place at the right time basically. The animals are wild and are not contained or restricted to a certain area. They are not enticed in any way with food offerings or cute ranger calls to come to our game vehicles. The purpose of the tour is to try and find the animals. Yes, we can sort of isolate the chances of seeing certain animal species based on the terrain and plant species but it is not always guaranteed. An example of this would be the Kameel dooring tree. Giraffe love these trees. So the chances of spotting these gentle long necked giants are relatively increased when we find them. Animal distribution is even determined by the type of grass that is available. Grass species can be divided into ‘sour’ and ‘sweet’. Grazers like zebra and impala are generally going to found in what area? You guessed it!!! Areas where there is sweet grass. And how would you know the difference between the grasses? Well that’s where your awesome guide comes into the picture. And I know this sounds weird but here is a concept that seems to work not only in the wild but in life. Sometimes you must just not look. A bit like our rangers trying to find a girlfriend. The more they look the less they find. As soon as they stop looking…..a girlfriend appears. Maybe a strange concept but it also allows our clients to just take in the moment and feel the African Bush. If it’s meant to be, the elephants will saunter out from behind a bush just as you come up to it. Or not.
What are the most common types of animals seen on the tours?
The Pilanebserg is home to an abundance of animals. Although they are pretty much widely spread you are pretty much guaranteed of seeing the following animals:
What are the chances of seeing lion?
Aaaah yes lions. Here are a few facts about these felines. They are typical cats. They are lazy. In fact they sleep on average for 20 hours a day. They only hunt every 3 or 4 days. So once there tummies are full, they are going to be lazing around under a tree. The other aspect is that they are nocturnal. Their eyes are designed for hunting in the night. The chances of seeing a lion in the day based on our previous experience is probably 3 out of every 10 trips. The best option would be to book an overnight tour.
These would allow us to take you on a late afternoon/evening game drive as well as an early morning game drive-This would definitely increase your chances of seeing lions.
The best time to visit the Pilanesberg?
The answer is quite simple-Anytime. Although there are pretty much two distinct climatic conditions, the animals are not going anywhere.
What are these conditions?
- Hot in summer from about September to March with chances of rain.
- Cold and dry in winter from about April to August.
The rainy season is in the late summer months from about December. The only drawback to this would be the long grass which makes animal spotting a tad more challenging. And don’t worry about getting wet. We have rain ponchos and the game vehicle can be sort of sealed up to prevent you from getting drenched.
What other aspects will the guide cover?
As mentioned, our guides get qualified in a certain field and area. They are specialists in the Pilanebserg. And nature is pretty incredible. The guides will take you through geology for example and how the type of rock creates the type of soil which influences the type of grazers (like zebra) which influences the type of predators. They will take you through how abiotic factors (climate, PH levels, rainfall, and temperature) and biotic factors like plants and animals co-exist to create unique ecological miracles. They will take you through the food chain from producers (plants) to consumers ( grazers) to primary consumers ( lions) to secondary consumers ( hyenas) and how this delicate balance makes nature so incredible.