Although Sam not yet recovered from jet lag, on June 21 we drove off to Pilanesberg National Park, north of Rustenberg, for another period of wildlife viewing. (It is close enough to Rustenberg that some fans were using it as accommodations while attending games there: some Uruguayan fans had this vehicle decked out:.
Maybe it would have made sense to have stayed there to avoid the dreadful traffic between Rustenberg and Pretoria). I had written to reserve a four-person self-catering chalet at the Manyane Resort just outside the park back in November, but never heard back from them. Then, last spring, after FIFA began releasing rooms as it scaled back its expectations for fan attendance, the owner of Manyane suddenly wrote to confirm our booking. Having failed to confirm any other wildlife opportunity for this period, I accepted their offer.
Our experience in Pilanesberg was very different from our walking safari in Pafuri. The chalet was barely heated, but it was nice to have bathrooms in our accommodations. Although the restaurant had a menu, the menu was usually not available; instead, usually only the buffet was running, and generally the food on the buffet was not very good (it was terrific in Pafuri).
A building near our lodge had the rather powerful no-smoking sign
Although game drives on 15 or 25 seater jeeps are available, most of the game viewing is by self-drive with no guides. And, in fact, although we tried a night drive, which produced a couple of memorable sights, we found the self-drives to be most effective. We finally saw giraffes close up
and several new kinds of antelope as well as many impala.
sadly, all my photos were too blurry.
The next day we encountered a more disturbing sight involving rhino - game officials had taken one down with a tranquilizing dart, but seemed to have no difficulty allowing a busload of tourists to walk up and pose with and manipulate the drowsy beast
On one of our drives, we passed a herd of roughly a dozen elephants; later, as we stopped in a nearby hide, we were able to watch as they came up to the waterside to drink
While at the hide, we heard some lions roaring in the distance; and as we drove on, one of the lions sauntered across the road in front of us
then looked back at us from the grassland
We noticed a jackal crossing the road
enjoyed the rare sight of hippos feeding the land (albeit near a lake)
and more kinds of birds
and this doesn’t include the many birds viewed in an aviary in the park!
By the time we were through, we reviewed our game listings and concluded that, between Pafuri and Pilanesberg, we had seen almost all of the different kinds of antelope, not to speak of all of the "big five" apart from the leopard. So, we were ready to see other aspects of South Africa.