Anyone who has visited Gauteng can attest that the wildlife reserves that are dotted between the urban areas are ideal escapes from to immerse yourself in nature.
Pilanesberg Game Reserve
The natural splendour of Pilanesberg is diverse and pristine, proving this part of the country retains a charm all its own. From rocky outcrops and woodlands to thickets and grasslands, it’s a photographer’s dream. The Mankwe Dam is another wonderful spot to enjoy the flora and fauna Pilanesberg provides. The reserve is known for being home to numerous mammals and birds, including the famed Big Five. You can explore by either self-drive or guided game drives or hike around the 200km available for visitors. Organised hot air balloon rides give you the option of seeing this amazing reserve from the sky. If you find you’re craving a little modernity, Sun City can be found right next door. If you’re in need of accommodation, choose from seven luxury lodges found around the reserve.
Distance: 2 hours from Johannesburg and Pretoria
Dinokeng Game Reserve
Dinokeng is known for being the first free-roaming game reserve in the Tshwane Metro area in over 100 years. Reclaimed farmland was turned into Dinokeng in 2011, making it the youngest of South Africa’s game and nature reserves. The name means the “place of two rivers,” which here refers to the Elands and Pienaars, where you can enjoy day and night game drives through this unique place. The game watching opportunities don’t disappoint. You can spot lion, elephant, white rhino, giraffe and leopard if you’re lucky! Along with game drives, you can embark on bush lunch picnics, bass fishing, hot air balloon rides and sunset boat cruises –the perfect way to end your day. There are only guided game drives permitted, so book in advance to prevent missing out. There are several accommodation options available including game lodges, bush camps and chalets.
Distance: 30 minutes from Pretoria, an hour from OR Tambo International Airport
Modderfontein Nature Reserve
Modderfontein is 275 hectares of unspoilt nature, testament to the reserve’s involvement in various ecological and awareness driven projects. The main focus of Modderfontein is the protection of nature and wildlife, which you will see from its green slopes, dams and savannahs that are home to local species including the Cape clawless otter, duiker and black-backed jackal. Modderfontein is the ideal place for birders, with more than 250 recorded species living in the reserve; so pack that pair of binoculars. On this list you will find herons, the African spoonbill, blue crane and many species of eagle. For those seeking activity, the many trails are perfect for cycling and hiking –with the added bonus of fantastic Gauteng country scenery.
Distance: 20 minutes from the OR Tambo International Airport and Sandton City Centre.
If you’re visiting from outside Gauteng, arrangements can be made to transport you from the airport by minibus or vehicle. Contact Pace Car Rental today.
Lions at Pilanesberg via www.cedarberg-travel.com