The Pilanesberg National Park
The Pilanesberg National Park was opened in 1979, and is known as the largest game resettlement project in the history of South Africa. In the early eighties, more than 6,000 animals from other parks were resettled here. The Park borders on the entertainment complex of Sun City, and is 55,000 hectares in extent. It is almost perfectly circular because it comprises the area of a 1,300 million year old volcanic relic of four concentric circles with a small lake in the centre. This very scenic terrain lies in the transition zone between Kalahari and Lowveld, and both types of vegetation are found here.
It lies amongst the only significant hills in the area which rise skywards out of the flat highveld plain. The Pilanesberg is the highest peak towering 600 metres above Mankwe Lake, which sits in the heart of the ancient volcano. Due to its shape it was recognised as being the perfect situation for a national park with its tall sides creating natural boundaries. In the Park today live virtually all the animal species of southern Africa, including all of the Big Five (lions, elephants, white and black rhinos, buffaloes, leopards) as well as zebras, hyenas, giraffes, hippos and crocodiles. Over 300 bird species have been counted, making the Pilanesberg a perfect area for bird watching.