Pilanesberg

 

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Pilanesberg was born about 1300 million years ago when  a large volcano erupted. Once the volcano stopped erupting time slowly transformed the landscape and created the varied habitats that we see there now. Today Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes in the world and the rock types and structure of the complex make it a unique geological feature.

Pilanesberg has survived aeons of erosion and stands high above the bushveld plains. It has a ring-dyke structure with central rocky outcrops and flatter regions of volcanic rocks in the north-east.Millions of years after the volcanic eruption a crack in the earth's crust formed across the Pilanesberg more or less cutting it in half. Erosion set in and eventaully formed a broad valley across Pilanesberg.

The Pilanesberg Park opened on 8 December 1979 after ten years of research and legislation. The preparation for the establishment of this park included the removal of all evidence of mechanised farming and mining and alien vegetation as well as the reclaiming of eroded land. After that the area was fenced  and the translocation of 5 957 animals of 19 different species, known as Operation Genesis,  began.

Pilanesberg is named after the Bakgatla chief Pilane who ruled between 1825  and 1850.

( Reference: "Pilanesberg - discover the magic" by Jacana)

Geological aerial map of Pilanesberg showing the ring-dyke structure and the aerth crack fault that created the central plain.

Bakubung

Bakubung means "People of the hippo". We were fortunate to make use of the luxury accommodation of Bakubung and occupied two of the lovely chalets under shady trees with a hippo pool nearby. All of us, but especially Jo, enjoyed  the swimming pool. A family of warthogs came right up to the fence near the pool on the first evening of our visit.

Donna an d Jo receiving the welcoming salute at Bakubung

Left: Every time we entered or left Bakubung we received the friendly salute of the guards at the gate.

Right: Patsi and Jo relaxing in the chalet lounge.

Patsi and Jo relaxing at Bakubung

The Francolins - I still want them to be quails LOL!

Natal Francolins (Hehe I told everyone that they were quails)  visited right at the door of our chalet and the Southern yellow-billed hornbill  perched on one a patio chair..

Hornbill

Hot air balloon over Pilanesberg

The first morning we were out on our own game drive at sunrise where a hot air balloon accentuated the beginning of  a beautiful sunny day .

Pilanesberg sunrise

Waterbuck

The first animal we spotted was a waterbuck right next to the road (left) and a herd of zebra and blue wildebeest.

 

Zebra and Blue Wildebeest

Our breakfast picnic

We saw lots of other animals including a pride of lions that were too far away for photographs. To add to our frustration a game drive vehicle blocked our way and prevented us to get a closer view of these predators.

Left: We stopped at a lovely picnic spot to enjoy our breakfast sandwiches.

At 16:00 that afternoon  we departed on our first night game drive. We had some trouble getting Rose onto the high (right) vehicle but finally perfected the manoeuvre with a push from behind :)  Due to some misunderstanding we were also taken from one game drive vehicle to the other before we finally worked out which one we were suppose to be on. The trouble getting Rose onto the high vehicle presented itself over and over.

 

Rose taking pictures of the giraffs

Left: Rose making sure that she gets a good photograph of the giraffs.

Right: Finally settled and ready for the drive...

Wia, Rose and Jo in the game drive vehicle

That daring elephant!

Left: great excitement when a HUGE bull elephant came right up to the vehicle to say "hello" before he finally wandered off (Right)

Elephant departing at last!

Rose at the boma dinner

After the game drive we tucked into a delicious boma diner where traditional foods were served.. Rose's smile confirms that it was enjoyed by all!!

All of us at the boma dinner

The food was excellent and amongst a great variety, included "mieliepap en braaivleis" (cornmeal porridge and barbequed meat) vetkoek, crocodile stew, ostrich sausage, stewed field  vegetables and mushrooms with bread pudding and koeksisters for dessert.,

Traditional food served in enamel plates at the boma dinner

After a most enjoyable evening and afternoon we were ready to hit the sack and fortunately did not have to do any  dishes that evening...

Doing the dishes!

 

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