PILANESBERG GAME RESERVE
An Angry Elephant
By - Leon Wagenaar
A Busy Weaver
Up the Hill
See the Pilanesberg Game Reserve area with Google Maps
Easy to navigate just read the instructions on the left.
Some Interesting History
During the late 1970s, President Lucas Mangope of Bophuthatswana decided to re-introduce wildlife and turn the Pilansberg into a game reserve. With Bophuthatswana having been an independent homeland, the Park was proclaimed by the then local black government. The 52 cattle farmer in the area were bought out and moved to new homes elsewhere. The town of Pilanesberg was flattened and all that remains is the old Magistrates Court which is now called the Pilanesberg Centre. There is a little restaurant there with a stunning view. After this work began on Operation Genesis, which involved the game-fencing of the entire reserve and the re-introduction of long vanished species.
The area is fringed by three concentric ridges or rings of hills, of which the formation rises from the surrounding plains, this is the parks primary geological feature named the Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex. This vast circular geological feature is ancient even by geological standards as it is the crater of a long extinct volcano and the result of eruptions some 1,200 million years ago.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve is in the Bojanala Region of the North West Province, adjacent to Sun City. Set in the crater of a long extinct volcano, the Park ranks among the largest of the parks in South Africa (it is in fact the fourth largest park) and covers an area of 55 000 hectare.
The beauty of Pilanesberg is reflected in a large central lake, the Mankwe Dam. Over time, wind and water have carved a spectacular landscape with rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys and thickets. Pilanesberg National Park accommodates virtually every mammal of southern Africa. Also home to the Big Five.
Some Animals found in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve
The park has a rich array of southern African wildlife including the Big Five, the five most dangerous game animals in Africa. In the Pilanesberg Game Reserve today live most of the animal species of southern Africa these include lions, elephants, black & white rhinoceros, African buffaloes, leopards, zebras, hyenas, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles.
Some Birds found in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve
By - ZA Houxin
By - C Duhtie
By - SA Tourism
By - Z Houxin
By - T Tocs
By - Mirzas
By - Poenie
By - SA Tourism
By - Z Houxin
By - Tony Elston
By - Thomas Brauch
The only other remains is the small graveyard not visible except for a very short time about 1 in 3 years after controlled burning. The Park was seen as the National Park of Bophutatswana & of course called Pilanesberg National Park. With the forceful reoccupation by the old government and the ANC, President Lucas Mangope was deposed by a coup and Bop reincorporated with South Africa. Pilanesberg is one of the few names in South Africa that won't change as it is named after Chief Pilane, a very powerful chief that owns vast land outside the park. Chief Pilane's grandfather fought with the British against the Boers and had the reputation of being invisible. It seems that more land was given for services rendered.
6000 animals were resettled into the park over the course of the early 1980s with Operation Genesis which was the largest game resettlement programme in the history of the country. The 6000 animals were released into the quarantine area of 10 kmē in groups and after a few weeks the fences were dropped. As the purpose of the park was a feeder for other parks no lion or cheetah were brought in. However leopard was naturally present as was brown hyena and mountain reedbuck. Currently this is The Park in the world that has the highest concentration of hyena. Also brought in was a family of elephant. As no mature bulls was brought in as they were too large, the young bulls caused a bit of havoc and killed 17 rhinoceroses. The reason for this was there was no parental care and the young bulls came into adolescence at too young an age. However by this time the transport techniques had improved so 6 older bulls were brought in from the Kruger. This suppressed the adolescence problem. The young culprits were all shot.
The creation of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. The Operation Genesis, which involved the game-fencing of the reserve and the reintroduction of long-vanished species, began during the late 1970s. Operation Genesis is still the largest game translocation undertaken in the world, and as a result the park now has in excess of 10,000 animals.
It is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its type in the world, the rare rock types and formations make it a unique geological feature.
A number of rare minerals occur in the park. Pilanesberg Game Reserve rates high amongst the world's outstanding geological phenomena.
Scattered throughout the park are various sites that originate from the Iron age and Stone age and show the presence of man from those periods in these areas.
The Painted Hunting Dog, Lycaon pictus had been extirpated from the park, but reintroduction efforts have been carried out recently, with uncertain outcome. Over 360 bird species were counted. The Pilanesberg is not in a location which the Big Five animals would naturally inhabit, however they have been brought into the 550 square kilometres of African bushland.
Other cats can be found, such as Caracal and Leopard. The only indigenous southern African mammals that are not there are - bontebok, blesbuck, spotted hyena, nyala and Roan Antelope.
The Bird life diversity is excellent with over 360 species having been recorded. Though some are migrants, most others are permanent inhabitants. Their food sources vary with some eating carrion or live prey, others eat seeds, fruit or tiny water organisms.
There is a self-guided trail in the Walking Area at the Manyane Complex in the east, which offers environmental education whilst game viewing and bird watching on foot. Also at Manyane there is a walk-in aviary with over 80 species of indigenous birds.
By - Jean Yves
By - Balexter
By - Dora Karlik
By - Santiago Rios
Eish SA would like to thank the above mentioned organisations for their information supplied to create the "Amazing Places" pages.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve