Pilanesberg National Park. Useful information for travelers.

3 months road trip in Southern Africa,
(Botswana, Namibia, South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland). 
October - December 2014.

  From Pretoria to Pilanesberg National Park    (around 150 km)

We followed the N4 (toll, 8 R) and R556.All the roads are good and tarred, except some inside the park.
Pilanesberg is northwest of Johannesburg&Pretoria, only a short distance (150 km away, 3 hours).

View point in Pilanesberg National Park

  Pilanesberg: General Information  

Pilanesberg NP, is a lovely park if it´s your first game safari drive, you are a beginner with wildlife.
Beautifull and diverse landscape, the park is not too big so it´s not so hard to see the animals. The “big five” are in the park (we only saw elephants, rhinos and one lion)… and also hippos, giraffes, crocodiles, many birds, antilopes, etc.We loved it, just arrived one day before from Europe and so easy to see wildlife for our first time! And above all, the park is really cheap!

Open from 6:00 to 18:30 (October).
Malaria free area.
Website: www.pilanesbergnationalpark.org
Complete information. 

Only the main road is tarred, many gravel roads. Fine with a sedan car. Maximum speed is 40km/h. Driving in the park around the different loops can be around 100-120 km/day... and can take all day long, stopping to watch the animals...

You can drive inside the park with you own sedan car. Or join a game drive (many avalaible in your resort, around 400-450 R for 2h30 drive, depending of the size of the group and vehicle). Or even fly on a balloon.

There are picnic areas with toilets, hides and an information center in the middle of the park. Well-maintened and signed park.

Public transport: Rustenburg is the biggest town in the surrounds (50 km south, mining area), connected with Johannesburg-Pretoria by vans, but maybe not too easy to find them... And then try to get another van to Mogwase. Probably not easy too. Good luck!

TIP: If you want to see lions… take a chance near the dam, around the hide. Usually they are around. We were lucky !!!!


Pilanesberg is under as special management, not under SAN parks, so not included with the Wild Card.

Our first lion !!! So close and alone with him!
The Entrance fee is quite cheap: per day
65 R/pp+car 20 R (10 € in total!)
Maps are avalaible at the gate for 20 R.Good to get orientated.

Usually it´s a day visitor fee … but we were lucky, maybe because staying at the campsite, but they allow us to visit for  more than 2 days (paying only once the fees!). 

We went to the gate late in the first evening to buy the tickets and said than we didn´t know how many days we were going to stay around, so the lady gave us the permit for 2 days paying only 1 and also she let us go inside for a quick drive before the night closing. Thanks!

  Where to sleep in Pilanesberg?  

Many options, depending on your budget, mostly just outside the park or in its limits.

The cheap options are the 2 campsites situated just outside near the 2 main entrance gates: 
- Manyane Resort, south gate (access from R556, around 25 km west of Sun City)
- Bakgatla Resort, east gate (access from Mogwase, closer to R510). 

Camp site in Manyane - Pilanesberg national park
Same price: 180 R/5 people for camping 
(great price for families).

They have also rooms, but this option is more expensive.

Bakgatla has a big swimming pool and a big shopping mall in Mogwase (few km away).
Manyane has just a small playing pool and a shopping area with supermarkets in the township a few km away.

Toilets were fine. BBQ. Shade. Clean.

We stayed in Manyane. Maybe Bakgatla looks better, bigger, specially if you want to swim and refresh.
Very popular during school holiday. But we visited beginning of October during holiday time and it was fine, not too crowded. Possible to book on line…We just arrived directly at the reception.

In Manyane, you can see animals inside the campsite: antelopes, monkeys...

We didn´t visit the Sun City, a big resort town, with different hotels, golf course, etc. Day visitor pays 60 R.

  Where to buy food and drinks  

There are towns not far away from the gates and campsites, where you will find everything needed.
Bakgatla resort is only 4 km west of Moruleng where you can find a new and big shopping mall, gas station, etc.

Manyane Resort has a shopping area with supermarket (Shoprite) and franchise shops in Mogwase, a township, just 4 km from the campsite (southwest).100% township atmosphere, not many white people around. Safe and OK!

All these places are in Google Maps! Easy to check!


  1. Pilanesberg is among the best reserves to visit to view South African animals! Being Malaria free makes it excellent for a quick getaway. Not to be missed!


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