Two days in Johannesburg allows you enough time to thoroughly explore the city’s historic landmarks—from Constitution Hill to the township of Soweto—and get a closer look at some of the its most culturally rich neighborhoods.
Pilanesberg National Park
Set on the biodiverse transition zone between the Kalahari Desert and the wetter Lowveld, Pilanesberg National Park is a convenient and rewarding day trip from Johannesburg. Join a guided tour to the best wildlife viewing areas in the park where you can photograph big game from an open safari vehicle, including the so-called “Big Five”: lions, leopards, rhinoceroses, elephants, and Cape buffaloes.
To see wildlife at its most active and increase your chances of spotting nocturnal cats, stay for a two-day overnight safari. Many guided tours include pickup and drop-off in Johannesburg.
We were treated to excellent guides for whom it was no trouble trying to take time to see the wildlife you wanted. The open top safari was a great thrill. Saw wide range, lions, hyena, rhino, warthogs as well as numerous elephants, zebra, buffalo, giraffes and antelopes.
Peter S, Aug 2019
Things to Know Before You Go
Pilanesberg National Park attracts geology and archeology enthusiasts alongside safari-goers.
The park is malaria-free and located close to the international airport.
The park maintains more than 116 miles (186 kilometers) of unpaved road for guided tours and self-driving safaris.
The park’s “hides” create secure spots to get out of your vehicle and photograph wildlife.
How to Get There
Pilanesberg National Park is a 2-hour drive from Johannesburg and the O.R. Tambo International Airport. You also can fly to the Pilanesberg airport (just outside the gates in Sun City) from Johannesburg or Cape Town.
When to Get There
The park is open year-round, and the gates are generally open from sunrise to sunset. Check for specific hours before you go; hours vary based on the season. The diversity of park wildlife means that you’ll be likely to spot animals any time you visit, but expect increased wildlife activity on evening and morning game drives.
Staying in Pilanesberg National Park
Spending the night in Pilanesberg National Park opens up a range of wildlife viewing opportunities that are only available to those who stay in the park after the gates close. Spot nocturnal wildlife that begin to come out on sunset game drives. Watch the sunrise over the park’s unique geological formations. And, in between, catch some rest in a canvas tent, bed and breakfast, or luxury lodge.
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- Sun City
- Hartbeespoort Dam
- Cradle of Humankind
- Aha Lesedi Cultural Village
- Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
- Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden
- Montecasino Bird Gardens
- Johannesburg Botanical Gardens and Emmarentia Dam
- Mandela House
- Johannesburg Zoo
- Origins Centre
- Constitution Hill
- Nelson Mandela Bridge