Review: Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Review: Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

On the third day of our trip in South Africa we decided to take a one-day safari out to Pilanesberg National Park!

My buddy Pat, who I traveled with, booked us this safari about a month or so before we left for the trip. He booked our one-day safari through Go Safari. The day we went was actually November 10th, both Pat’s birthday and the Marine Corps birthday – so there was much to celebrate!

The trip was about $150 per person, and it was a whole day affair! We were picked up around 9:00 a.m. and started the drive to Pilanesberg.

The trip included:

  • Hotel pickup/dropoff
  • 30 minute stop at the African Curio Market
  • Roundtrip drive between hotel and Pilanesberg
  • Lunch and welcome drink at the Bakubung Bush Lodge
  • 3 hour game drive in an open 25 seater game viewing vehicle

On the way we stopped at a local curio and craft market and looked around for about 30 minutes – it was a great experience to see some authentic African products.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Outside the market and cafe next door

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Getting close!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Some of the best pictures we got the entire day we’re actually before we even started our safari. Upon entering the gates of the National Park, we were immediately greeted by some elephants!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

He didn’t listen to me when I was calling for him.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

I told him to do tricks with his ears…he listened this time.

After our little elephant excursion, we arrived at the the Bakubung Bush Lodge around 1:30 p.m. in time for a pretty nice lunch buffet. We took our time with lunch, spoke with the others on our tour, and took in the beautiful scenery!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Welcome drinks!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Bakubung Bush Lodge

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Entrance to the lounge

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Just your everyday, classic “welcome to the lodge” hippo.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Seating area

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

View from our table! Not too shabby.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

The lunch buffet spread

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Welcome drink and a view!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

The outdoor patio we at at!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Map of the National Park

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Monkey friend checking out the map to find where da party at

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

After lunch we walked around the lodge and saw some of the local animals and even ventured over to their snake tanks (or I should say “I” ventured over…Pat isn’t a fan of snakes).

At 4:15 p.m. we got ready to board the vehicles and at 4:30 we were off for the 3+ hour safari!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

On the truck ready to roll!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Wildebeest? I’m 60% sure. Maybe 61%.

Although it may seem obvious, all the safari tour companies have a disclaimer saying “you might not see sh*t out here”…or something like that. We were pretty fortunate because of the “Big Five” that people look for, we saw 4 of them! We got to see elephants (probably 20 of them), a lion (although it was about 100 yards away at best), buffalo (maybe 2-3), and finally a couple Rhinos!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Looking across the little lake at a ton of elephants

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Hey bros, mind moving off the road? Trying to do a animal site-seeing tour here.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

What a courageous view!

About 2/3’s of the way into the safari we made a rest stop at a lake to get something to eat/drink (provided by the tour guides) and use the facilities.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Rest stop

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Posing with the birthday boy

There was a protected walkway that takes you out to a large dock overlooking the beautiful scenery!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Walkway out to the dock

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

The sun began to set as we left the rest stop and started our 1+ hour ride back to the lounge.

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

On our ride back to the lodge we were once again interrupted by some of the animals. I only got a picture of the rhino (below), but we also saw a group of zebras, and after that came head on with an elephant on the road and actually had to take a huge detour to go around him!

Safari at Pilanesberg National Park and Game Reserve

We got back to the lodge around 8:00 and left shortly after for the 2.5 hour drive back to the hotel.

Conclusion:

I would highly recommend this if you’re on a short stay in Johannesburg. Our tour guide from Go Safari told us most of the people he takes on the one-day tours are business men with an extra day who want to get a quick “exotic” trip in. If you have longer, I’d strongly suggest the three-day trip! Although I have nothing else to compare it to, we had a great experience with Go Safari and would recommend them to anyone else!

Have you been on a safari? Where’d you go?

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