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21 July, 2010

Pilanesberg Nature Reserve - 5 Things to Seek

The Pilanesberg Nature Reserve resides in a volcanic crater with a diameter of 27 kilometers and is surrounded by six mountains. It  is the 3rd  biggest reserve in South Africa and was established in 1979. Today, tourists flock to the reserve as it is known to be the one reserve where Africa's Big 5 animals can be found with the least amount of trouble.

But what should the visitor look out for, except the animals and beautiful scenery? Here is five things every visitor should do or see when visiting the Pilanesberg Park:

1.    Visit the Manyane Complex at Pilanesberg

The Manyane complex is the head quarters of the North West Parks & Tourism Board. There you will find a walk-in aviary with over 80 species of birds. Besides being informative, children love seeing the birds up close and observing their behavior. Allocate enough time to browse through the aviary as you will probably see birds you never get the opportunity to observe in the wild.

An à la carte restaurant, shop and bar provides delicious meals and a great selection of memorabilia to purchase. Children are entertained at the swimming pool, jungle gym and mini-golf while parents can take a relaxing stroll along the self-guided hiking trails in the Manyane area.

2.    Malatse Fenced Hide

Here the man-made dam and weir prevent erosion from damaging the ecology and shows off the management of the park's commitment towards conserving the environment and enticing wildlife back to this dry area in the park. Tourists spending some time at the hide might be rewarded with sable, eland and sometimes even rhino.

3.    Ratlhogo Fenced Hide

The Ratlhogo hide is situated in a wetter part of the Pilanesberg Park as indicated by the Karee trees surrounding the area. Game is abundant around the hide and tourists can expect to see kudu, bush buck, water buck and several bird species while spending some time in the hide.

4.    Mankwe Lake View Platform

This platform is about in the center of the Pilanesberg Park and offers tourists the opportunity to view an array of water birds. Crocodiles and Hippo reside inside the lake and tourists rising with the birds will have a spectacular view of the sunrise from the platform. The platform is fenced and visitors should attempt to spend some time viewing the domed hills surrounding the park from here.

5.    Fish Eagle Picnic Site

The picnic site is fenced and was once an Iron Age Kraal site which was easily defendable and close to water. The picnic site is surrounded by Acacia trees, Bushwillows, Tamboti and Marula trees. With views of the interface of three habitats (rocky outcrop, hillside and water) this is an excellent spot to enjoy a light brunch or picnic while driving through the reserve.

  When all is said and done, Pilanesberg Nature Reserve may have congested roads during weekends and peak season and may have some of the worst behaved elephants, but it remains a popular place for tourists to observe the true African bush.