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adventure travel africa

Pilanesberg National Park
Other Tour Operators doing Pilanesberg

Now for vs the Rest!!:
This is not a let's knock the competition, this is a "Here's your alternatives". I fully disclose my prices on my site and that is what I will quote you if you want to come with me. I don't negotiate on rates, only on schedule. You won't hurt my feelings if you prefer to go with someone else - it's your money and your choice! I'll go to the Park whether you come with or not, as I just love it. As it is I actually prefer just going by myself!! However, if you are going to dig your hand into your pocket rather than go yourself, you should make sure you get a decent guide.

The closest company that does what I do operates from Sun City.
They will give you a private vehicle (small open) and guide for R6050 for 3hours ; equivalent to R2000/hour.
In this case the guide is yours for that time. A full day for 1 - 10 people open vehicle then works out to R24 200, a bit more in summer due to longer hours possible. Or they do a 5 hour open vehicle drive for max 7 pax for R9000. You can also book all this through me..... Same price, but I know which guides to request, and you don't just get pot luck.... Some are just better than others! :) My current rate is around R5000 for 1 up to R8000 for 7 persons for the full day from the area, closed vehicle.

Alternative - With a more affordable operator: From Pretoria and Johannesburg:
There are now about 800 operators offering day and 2 day tours to Pilanesberg, you'll find most of them on Google and the Web. Other rocks you can find them under could be your taxi from the airport to your hotel. And then of course from the hotel itself. Please note that these taxi drivers don't have a clue. As for hotels if they do it themselves, they use a driver, and if they use a tour operator they take 20% commission. Prices vary from around R1950pp from Pretoria and Johannesburg, and up. Time spend in the Park is normally between 4 hours and 8 hours. The earliest you will get there is 8h00, so forget about seeing lion. If you want to go this way make sure you actually get a guide as numerous companies only use drivers, calling them guides... and you normally get what you pay for. I believe most will be able to tell the diffs between a tree and a bush though.. If you just want to see the basics, these are the guys you should go with, but it probably is cheaper going to the Lion Park... the Zoo is great too! Some of the rates I've seen is cheaper than I can get/do a return transfer for, and this is what you should be careful of... there are basic costs like passenger liability insurance and AA wear & tear rates. Anything departing and returning Jo"burg under R2200pp (2 min) I would avoid - it doesn't even cover costs! Don't even think of asking me to recommend one of them...... And keep in mind, it's not what you see, it's what you don't see! And you wouldn't know when it doesn't get pointed out would you?!

You can cut costs yourself by getting to the area yourself, overnight and go with a drive from Pilanesberg area itself. Once you know the basics & what to look out for, then you can go back in the Park and do a self drive.


If you pick an Operator make sure that:
1. The operator can actually spell Pilanesberg correctly - not Pilansberg, Pilanesburg, Pilansburg, Pilanesburgh, Pliansberg, Pilannesberg, Pilannesburg, Pillanesberg, Pillansberg, Pllanesberg etc.
2. He knows how far it is from i.e. Pretoria; like 147km's not 180km's.
3. He doesn't state Pilanesberg is the "fourth largest game reserve or National Park in Southern Africa" 
4. He doesn't state Pilanesberg has 360 species of birds or similar.....
5. He doesn't "visit a sceniec vulcanic crater, stoping at waterholes for abunded bird life, paridise for birding enthuciasisst, or stoping at Bakabung"....(I laughed my ass off here :))
6. Another pre requisite should be stating time of departure and return, as well as time spend in the Park. Early for some people is 10h00! There are companies that leave earlier ( like 6h30) from Jo'burg, but it doesn't help much if they come back after lunch does it? Though they do state their departure time, most their clients are totally unaware of their early ask! This is Vital.
7. And willingness to disclose a price.
8. Make sure you are going with a guide, someone who at least have done Fgasa 2, as opposed to the Theta qualification. You need a Field Guide, not a driver. I can also send  you with a driver for probably the same lower rate... but no thanks, I 'll pass.
9. Go with someone that goes at least 1/week ave.
10. He doesn't state that PB is 1,5 hours from Jo'burg - Michael Schumaker is your driver/guide right?

You might think I 'm warning you not to use anyone else - this is not the case. But I am warning you against 1 specific operator - points 1 - 6 and 8 applies in his case. There is nothing that ticks me off as much as someone who tries to copycat me, undercuts me, then phoning me at 3h30 in the morning to take the trip at his price, and still wanting a commission.... And when I laugh at his stupidity, he doesn't honor his quote, but drops his 2 clients cold. And as they were flying out the morning after they missed the Park.

You will have a decent time with many of the operators, even sometimes with drivers as Pilanesberg is an excellent Park. Like I said; you normally get what you pay for. Most important, you might not realize that you are actually putting your life in your guides' hands. Your guide needs to know when a bull elephant shows signs of musth, and keep his distance. An angry elephant can charge 10 m in 0,9 seconds flat from a standing start..... Sorry, but drivers just don't do it for me.

Alternative - With your own or a rental car:
car rental pilanesberg

You can of course go yourself with a rental car. It's your cheapest option but you might wonder why Pilanesberg is rated so highly by South Africans. It must be the landscape or maybe the plants - 'cause you couldn't see the buffalo on the left over the grass! 4 Cars actually passed without seeing them or even asking us what we were looking at. There are other disadvantages as well. If you go this way make sure you read the park rules on the back of your receipt. And don't get out the vehicle! Follow this link....... But the advantages are that you can do the Park really cheaply, so to do a game drive at the start of your trip is really affordable. Stay near the main roads though, and turn around if the road looks bad. One of my clients just damaged his rental as he ended up in a ditch (June 2014) For some roads you currently need a high clearance.

Whatever you do, don't be an idiot and go into the Park with a trailer. Not even Top Gears Stig will be able to keep it straight when trying to out reverse an elephant...


Alternative - Do you have a tick list?: From Pilanesberg & Sun City:
In this case you should go with the Sun City or Various Camps' guides. They are in radio contact and they will try their best to show you as much as possible in their 3 hours, stopping on ave about 4 - 6 minutes/sighting. See below. Book through us, or book once you are at the Park.

Maintenance tips for other operators

Other Operators - Rates are valid from 1st December 2018 - 30 November 2019 but subject to change without notice. - We can book it for you - you pay the same!
Departures Sun City Entertainment Centre: Be there 15 min prior to sign indemnity.

2019 Rate: R660p.p - adults / R330p.p - U16/ Total drive now 3 hours iso 2,5. Take note though that you have to take 30 minutes minimum off for the 2 transits between Sun City and PB, the talk on arrival, and then the toilet your 3 hour drive is actually 2,5 h viewing.
These are the correct times no matter what you see elsewhere - May 2019. Possible extra scheduled morning drive mid Dec - mid Jan yearly
For all other times you will get the private rate, either R6500 or R9600 depending what you choose.
Nov - Feb yearly at 05:30 and 17:00 all for 3 hours.
March & April yearly 06:30 and 16:00 all for 3 hours
May - Aug yearly 07:00 and 15:00 all for 3 hours
Sep & Oct yearly 06:00 and 16:00 all for 3 hours
All other times deemed and prices as Exclusive or Private Game Drives

Groups or individuals can request a private vehicle, which can depart whenever the party requires. Snacks, picnic baskets and beverages can be requested at an additional cost and will be arranged by your hotel.
Duration: now 3hrs
DURATION: 3 hours
COST: Option 1 (1 - 10 people per vehicle): R6 500
Option 2 (11 - 25 people per vehicle): R11 800

These safaris depart daily, either in the early morning or afternoon. This includes beverages,snacks and a hat & shirt souvenir. The emphasis of this tour is to locate as many of the natural inhabitants of the park as possible.
Duration: 5hrs
Minimum 4 pax - Maximum 7 pax
2019 Rate COST: R9 600 per vehicle (max 7 people per vehicle) Beverages only, no more hats etc :)

Join us for a safari adventure including a bush breakfast or dinner at a venue within the Pilanesberg National Park. The return journey after the dinner experience is aided with spot lights allowing guests the opportunity to view some nocturnal wildlife.
Duration: 5 hrs, any day
MINIMUM: 15 people
2019 Rate: R1000 per person

Group game drives are available daily in our 25 seater open game drive vehicles to explore the Pilanesberg National Park. The group can decide on a departure time to suit their needs.
Duration: 3 hrs
Minimum 20 pax - Maximum 450 pax
2019 Rate: Rate: R590p.p

Night Drives have fallen away from 1 Nov 2013, so take a late afternoon drive as above. Anyone in the Park after gates close that is not a concession holder will be deemed a rhino poacher. Also note that night drives are still widely advertised by other sites. Depending on which month you go, you might have 20 min to 1 hour after in the Park after the gates close for the public. In December it will still be light when you exit at 19h15/19h20...this is NOT a night drive!

Our hiking trails focus on locating and observing the inhabitants of the Pilanesberg National Park from a different angle - on foot. Guests are accompanied by a qualified guide who will share his/her extensive knowledge and experience on both fauna and flora. Excursions depart in the early morning, departs normally before the gate opens.
Duration: 4hrs, no under 16yo - driving to the walking area & back takes about 1 h, walk around 3 h
Minimum 4 pax - Maximum 8 pax
2019 Rate: R700p.p

THE WALLOW 2019 - The Wallow is a lunch and dinner venue for groups and is situated at the picturesque and serene Letsatsing Game Reserve. It is the old venue for our now discontinued Elephant Back Safaris & Interactions and has been revamped and converted to a catered venue. A mere 20 minutes transfer from Sun City hotels. Visitors are likely to see giraffe, zebra, impala and other animals from the vantage point of the deck overlooking the watering hole. DURATION: 4 hours OPTION 1: R450 per person Lite Lunch Menu OPTION 2: R490 per person Hot & Cold Menu OPTION 3: R550 per person Braai Menu OPTION 4: R290 per person Pre-dinner Cocktail Menu INCLUDES: Welcome drink, menu and return transfer from Sun City Resort, Kwa-Maritane & Bakubung Lodge MINIMUM: 15 people MAXIMUM: 72 people seated
A Game Drive (± 3 hours in duration) can be added to the above mentioned meal options, a special rate will apply for the following 2 packages:
Game Drive & Wallow LUNCH R910-per person (lite lunch menu)
Game Drive & Wallow DINNER R1000-per person
DURATION: ± 6 hours MINIMUM: 15 people MAXIMUM: 72 people seated

Activities in the area

Pilanesberg Dawn to Dusk Safaris from Johannesburg, Pretoria, Pilanesberg and Sun City

Working with new pics are just too time consuming, so I only do it when I have free time! May 2019
Picture Gallery up to 2019
Picture Gallery 2010
Picture Gallery 2009
Picture Gallery 2008
Picture Gallery 2007
Picture Gallery 2006
Picture Gallery 2005
Picture Gallery 2004

It's alphabetical - so save us both time.... and if not on here I will put it up!

Accommodation in the Park only: Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation in and around Sun City. Staying Friday or Saturday you have to pay for 2 nights min.

Accommodation Specials at Pilanesberg

Accommodation at Sun City Vacation Club

Airport at Pilanesberg

Animal studies in Pilanesberg

Bakgatla Resort

Bakubung Bush Lodge

Balloon Safaris: In Pilanesberg National Park -  R5 000pp - 1 hour, minimum 4 pax!

Binoculars needed

Bird list

Black Rhino Game Lodge

Buffalo in the Park

Camping - book direct at 014 555 1000, don't be surprised if you hold 15 minutes and then get cut off.

Cancellation Terms and Conditions

Commission offered to booking agents

Condition of the Veld

Dangers in Pilanesberg

Disclosures: About vehicles used for Pilanesberg and other

Directions - see map

Elephant Back safaris in Pilanesberg.

Entrance fee - see gate times

Etiquette in Game Parks like Pilanesberg for self drives

Friends of Pilanesberg Society - Volunteers helping to maintain the Park.

Gate Times for Pilanesberg National Park

Geology of Pilanesberg National Park

Highlights seen in Pilanesberg the last 2 years:
Don't expect something like this or the animals to stand next to the road waiting.  It's not a Zoo!

History of Pilanesberg National Park

Idiot Gallery - Stunts pulled in Pilanesberg National Park by the mentally challenged.  Other tour operators are welcome to contribute - I will give you recognition except if you don't want it!

Ivory Tree Game Lodge

Kids on Safari. In Pilanesberg or other parks

Kwa Maritane Bush Lodge

Manyane Resort

Map and directions to Pilanesberg

Other Parks near Pilanesberg

Other Tour Operators doing Pilanesberg

Packages to Lodges

Picture Gallery -  taken by us over the last 8 years in Pilanesberg.

Pilanesberg National Park vs Kruger National Park.

Reading - other re Pilanesberg.

Safety in Pilanesberg

Shepherd's Tree Game Lodge

Testimonials from clients we have taken to Pilanesberg

Things to do in and around Pilanesberg

Transfers only to Pilanesberg and Sun City - one way: charged per vehicle:

Tshukudu Bush Lodge

Veld Condition in the Park

Weather and Climate for Pilanesberg area

What can you hope to see in Pilanesberg?

When to go to Pilanesberg: best time etc

adventure travel africa
806 Unit 2, Mogwase, Pilanesberg, Office - Please mail only
PO Box 250 Sun City, 0316
- Updated May 2019
All Pilanesberg queries -