The unique habitat of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is home to a wide variety of wildlife, birdlife and plants with the Big 5 probably on top of most visitors must see list.
According to the official park guide there are 50 species of large mammals over and above the big five, Lion, Elephant, Leopard, Buffalo and Rhino.
From a birders perspective there are 354 different bird species to be found here.
There are also 65 reptile species, 18 different kinds of amphibians and thousands of other small animals.
Mother and baby elephant
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
With 50 000 hectares to roam and many valleys between the hills that are inaccessible to visitors the chances are that one must be patient in trying find some of the more elusive species.
Even bigger animals are sometimes difficult to spot in the bushveld.
Elephants are sometimes a few meters from the road and you will drive right by without even realising they are there!
The animals are usually more active during early mornings and late afternoons.
Waterholes are always good places to look for wildlife.
Listed below are some of the more common animals that you are likely to find while on safari in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Brown Hyena - Although these shy animals are nocturnal they are sometimes spotted during early mornings or late afternoons.
Caracal - Mainly nocturnal but sometimes found early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Cheetah - Most active at sunrise and sunset. During the heat of the day they are often spotted resting in the shade of a tree. Quite often found on the open grassland next to the Mankwe Dam
Genet - These small cats only come out at night, starting to move around well after sunset. The best chance to spot them would be on a night game drive.
Black Backed Jackal
Jackal - The Black Backed Jackal is commonly found in Pilanesberg Game Reserve. They can be found anytime during the day or night.
Leopard - They are mainly active at night but are sometimes seen during the day, more usually early mornings and late afternoons.
Lion - Active at night but very often seen during the day as well.
Blue Wildebeest - They graze in herds and are seen throughout the day. During the heat of the day they like to rest in the shade of trees
Buffalo - They usually graze during the cooler times of the day. They form herds that can be as many as several hundred animals.
Bushbuck - These shy animals are found in thickets close to water. They normally keep their own company but ewes and young ones will sometimes form a small group. During the day they rest in thick bushes and only start moving around in the late afternoon to graze until late at night.
Duiker - The Grey Duiker is found in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. They usually graze in the early mornings, late afternoons and sometimes into the early evenings. They are normally loners. During the mating seasons they move about in pairs.
Eland - The biggest buck that is found in Southern Africa. Keep a lookout for them on the slopes of the many hills in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. They graze in small groups throughout the day and into the evenings.
Gemsbok - These beautiful animals are found throughout the semi desert regions of Southern Africa. Keep a lookout for them along the slopes of the hills in the Pilanesberg. They form small groups of up to 12 animals.
Giraffe - Usually found in herds grazing in woodland throughout the day, resting during the heat of the day. Big bulls will sometimes keep to themselves.
Hartebeest - The Red Hartebeest forms small herds and are found throughout the Pilanesberg Game Reserve on open veld.
Impala - Found throughout the day in woodland and thickets along rivers and streams. They are normally found in herds of around 20 animals.
Klipspringer - Only found in rocky surroundings on hills and mountains. They normally graze early in the mornings and late in the afternoons, resting in the shade during the heat of the day
Kudu - These majestic buck form family groups of up to 12 animals. Be on the lookout early in mornings and late afternoons in thickets along streams and on hills and mountains. They are usually at rest during the heat of the day.
Reedbuck - Both the Common and Mountain Reedbuck occur in The Pilanesberg Game Reserve. They are mostly seen early mornings and late afternoons when they are most active.
Sable Antelope - These magnificent animals form herds of up to 40 and can be seen throughout the day. They are usually more active early in the mornings and late afternoons while resting in the shade of trees during the heat of the day.
Springbuck - Herd animals. Mostly grazing early mornings and late afternoons while resting during the heat of the day.
Steenbuck - You will usually find them singly and in pairs. They are very territorial and mark their areas with dungheaps. They usually rest in shade during the heat of day while grazing when it is cooler. They will graze into the evenings as well
Tsessebe - They like grazing on medium to long grass in the veld close to trees and open bushveld close to water. They are sometimes found in the company of Wildebeest and zebras
Warthog - Keep a lookout for them along roads in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve but they will also be found in grassland as well as woodland where you will see them on their knees using their tusks to dig around in the earth after some succulent roots
Waterbuck - As their name implies you will find them in and around permanent water
Zebra - They are usually found in family herds up to 9 animals grazing on grassland and open bushveld in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. They are sometimes found in the company of Blue Wildebeest
Elephant - Can be found anywhere in the Pilanesberg National park but the best chances are in woodland where they feed off the trees
Hippopotamus - They can be found in all the dams in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. During the daytime they usually rest in the water or along the banks. At night they come out of the water to graze.
Rhinoceros - Both the White and Black Rhino is present in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. The White Rhino is usually found on open grassland while the Black Rhino prefers woodland
Baboon - Usually found in quite large herds in rocky areas along hillsides.
Vervet Monkey - Usually found in woodland throughout the day but keep an eye open for them in the Manyane and Bakgatla campsites where they will raid your tent or caravan if food is left unprotected outside
The Official Map and Park Guide of the Pilanesberg which can be bought at the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
The Mammal Guide of Southern Africa by Burger Cillie
This excellent book is just the guide to help you identify the animals that you will encounter on Safari in Southern Africa. It includes detailed descriptions, photographs, field signs suchs as droppings and spoor as well as information on the conservation status, size, food, life expectancy, enemies, habits, voice and breeding of more than 120 of the most common land mammals of southern Africa.