January 2012, Pilanesberg National Park, South Africa

In January 2012 I was working on Lanseria airport in South Africa. After the project was finished I took a few days to visit Pilanesberg National Park. It is a beautifull park with an amazing scenery. The "big five" are present, but Buffalo and Leopard are difficult to spot and I did not see them.

The hotels inside the park are very expensive, the Valley View Guest House is just outside the park, about 10 minutes drive and it is much cheaper than the hotels in the park.

I rented a car at Johannesburg International Airport through Nova Car Hire, they had the cheapest deal with Sixt car rental company. In Pilanesberg National Park you do not need a four wheel drive car, I used a smal Chevrolet, the cheapest I good find.

Early in the afternoon I arrived at the Valley View Guest House. I checked in and a few minutes later I was on may way to Pilanesberg National Park. I arrived there shortly after. Because it was early in the afternoon and the sun was shining I did not want to enter the park immediatly but I arranged a game drive for the afternoon.

I did photograph this dung beetle at the entrance. 

 

In the afternoon it was time for the game drive. The driver/guide picked me up from the Valley View Guest House and we went to the Suncity entrance of the park. She had to pick up more guests at Suncity. With the truck half full of guests we drove to the entrance. In the park we soon spotted these White Rhino's.

 

I did take a few more pictures during the game drive, but there are not the best. The game drive was nice for an introduction but for photography it is not that good.

The following days I drove with my rental car starting early in the morning to make sure I was at the gate at 6:00 pm. 

 

                Black Backed Jackal

 

 

Black Backed Jackal 

 

 

 Springbok

 

 

Kudu 

 

 

Giraffe 

 

On some days the weather was not that great for sunbathers. For me it was not a problem, I could photgraph the hole day!

 

 

Helmeted Guineafowl

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 

 European Bee Eater

 

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 

White Rhino

 

 

African Elephant

 

 

 Giraffe

 

 

White Rhino 

 

 

Impala and Hartebeest 

 

 

Hippo 

 

 

African Wild Dog

 

 

Elephant

 

 

Springbok

 

 

Springbok

 

 

In Pilanesberg National Park are a few bird hides each of them are located at a waterhole or lake. The following photos were taken from one of the hides

 

 

Southern Brown-throated Weaver 

 

 

 

After 4 AM there are night drives available when there is enough interest. I joined a night drive two times. You can see a lot of animals when the guide use a beam light.

 On one of the night drives we saw this Spotted Eagle Owl

 

 

 White Rhino

 

 

Lion 

 

 

 Impala

 

 

 

 

During the day Lions are normally sleeping. With a lot of patience I was able to take this photo.  A male lion stood up and walked a few meters to lie down again.

 

 

Lion

 

 

Wildebeest 

 

 

Impala

 

 

 Impala

 

 

Zebra 

 

 

White Rhino 

 

 

Blue Wildebeest 

 

 

Natal Francolin

 

 

African Spoonbill

 

 

Yellow Billed Stork 

 

 

Warthog 

 

 

White Faced Whistling Duck 

 

 

White Faced Whistling Duck 

 

 

 Wire tailed Swallow

 

 

Pied Kingfisher 

 

 

 

 

Hippo 

 

 

Pied Kingfisher 

 

 

Pied Kingfisher 

 

 

Pied Kingfisher 

 

 

Wire Tailed Swallow

 

 Wire Tailed Swallow

 

 

Wire Tailed Swallow 

 

 

 

 

Three Ringed Plover

 

 

Impala 

 

 

Impala 

 

 

Impala 

 

 

Giraffe

 

 

Natal Francolin

 

 

Blue Wildebbest

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Spotted Thick-Knee

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Zebra

 

 Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Giraffe

 

 

African Elephant

 

 

The Springbok from South Africa looks very similar to the Thomson Gazelle from countries in East Africa. I don't know the differance excactly, I thought that the horns were differant. The Sprinbok is the only one that jumps like this.

 

 

 

Springbok and Wildebeest

 

 

European Bee Eater 

 

 

Impala 

 

 

African Elephant

 

 

Warthog 

 

 

Blue Wildebeest 

 

 

Zebra 

 

 

Air trackers is a ballooning company. They are the only operater wich have apermit to fly in Pilanesberg National Park. I did sign up for a tour, but on the first days the balloon ride was cancelled due to bad weather or lack of passengers. But after three attemps it was my turn to go ballooning. This was the first time I went airborne with a balloon! I was very excited! At four o'clock in the morning I was picked up by the driver to go to the balloon site in Pilanesberg National Park.On the way to the site we did do some wildlife watching but we did not see anything special. After an hour or so we arrived at the launch pad. THe burners were already running to heat up the air in the balloon. Just before sunrise we lift of from the launch pad. It is a very nice experience after a few moments of flight you are used to it and you can enjoy the wonderful views.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Little Grebe

 

 

Little Grebe

 

 

Giraffe

 

 

Blue Wildebeest

 

 

Blue Wildebeest 

 

 

Grey Heron

 

 

Commorant 

 

 

 Goliath Heron

 

 

Pied Kingfisher 

 

 

African Jacana 

 

 

Brown Throated Weaver

 

 

Springbok 

 

 African Grey Hornbill

 

 

Black Faced Vervet Monkey