The malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park is situated two hours north of Johannesburg and Pretoria, bordering Sun City. One of the largest parks in South Africa at 55 000 hectares, Pilanesberg is situated within the eroded remnants of an alkaline-volcanic crater. The park is home to healthy numbers of the Big Five, as well as various endemic animals, including brown hyena, cheetah, giraffe, zebra, hippo and crocodile. The rocky outcrops, open grasslands, wooded valleys and thickets create a lovely setting. Visitors can drive around in their own vehicles or can join a guided tour. The park boasts a healthy bird list of over 300 species, and there are some excellent hides within the park for photographers and patient observers. The roads are well-maintained and there is no need for a 4x4. In addition, there are a number of picnic sites and view sites where day visitors can alight from their vehicles.

Why we like it

Big 5; Near to Johannesburg; Malaria-free; Perfect for a weekend safari

Facts & Figures

Park / Reserve Size: 55 000 Ha
Reserve Type: Concession
Big 5: Yes
Specialist Specie: Rhino
Malaria Area: No
Nearest Town: Sun City

Accommodation in Pilanesberg National Park

Bakubung Bush Lodge, Pilanesberg

Bakubung Bush Lodge is concealed within the rich expanses of the malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park and offers you everything you need to get in touch with the bush. The Pilanesberg is an area where the Big 5 roam, a mere 2-hour drive from the hectic lifestyle of Johannesburg. Bakubung, or “People of the Hippo”, offers you everything you need with…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board
Budget: $300 - $500 p.p.p.d.

Black Rhino Game Lodge, Pilanesberg

For a luxury bush breakaway near Johannesburg and Pretoria, you cannot beat Black Rhino Game Lodge. The lodge is set amongst the trees of an old Tamboti forest in an ancient volcanic crater on the western border of the malaria-free Pilanesberg National Park. The Pilanesberg is a wildlife wonderland and is one of South Africa’s premier Big 5 safari destinations.…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board
Budget: $150 - $300 p.p.p.d.

Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Ivory Tree Game Lodge is a 60-roomed camp situated in the eastern corner of the renowned Pilanesberg National Park near Sun City. The camp can host large groups of up to 120 people and has modern conference facilities hosting up to 60 delegates in the largest hall and up to 20 in a smaller conference venue. There is an extensive…

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Accomodation Type: Full Board
Budget: $300 - $500 p.p.p.d.

Tours and Activities in Pilanesberg National Park

Pilanesberg Game Drives

A traditional game drive is a classic way to experience a safari in Africa. The Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa spans over 55 000 hectares; its open grassland plains and rolling wooded valleys are home to a wide variety of wildlife species. This includes all 5 iconic members of the African Big 5: lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo.…

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Duration: 3 hours
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Pilanesberg Game Walks

South Africa’s Pilanesberg National Park is one of the country’s largest protected areas. Situated just two hours north of Johannesburg, the park is the ideal weekend safari destination. It is malaria-free and is home to a wide variety of animal and bird species, including the famous African Big 5: lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo and elephant. These walking safaris are the…

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Duration: 4 hours
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.

Pilanesberg Hot-Air Balloon Tour

South Africa’s Pilanesberg National park is somewhat of a hidden safari gem. The park, which is actually one of the biggest in the country, is malaria-free and home to a wonderful variety of wildlife species, including Africa’s iconic Big 5. It is also situated just two hours north of Johannesburg, making it the ideal weekend getaway destination. For those looking…

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Duration: +/- 5 hours in total
Budget: Less than $150 p.p.p.d.
Species list

Lookout for

Black Rhino
White Rhino
Brown Hyena
Red Hartebeest

Key Species


African Fish Eagle
African Hawk Eagle
Giant Kingfisher
Crimson Breasted Shrike

Nile Crocodile
Water Monitor
Black Mamba

Red Ivory Tree
African Weeping Wattle
Buffalo Thorn

Open Plains
Thornveld Thickets
Rocky Outcrops

Wildlife Ratings

Big 5: 7.5
Mammals: 8
Birds: 7.5
Reptiles: 7.5
Trees: 6
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