This lovely private retreat is uniquely situated at the foot of the majestic Pilanesberg Mountains, which is in the Black Rhino Reserve and forms part of the Pilanesberg National Park. Access to the lodge is though the Black Rhino Reserve Gate on the north- western side of the park and is for private guests only.
The Black Rhino area is made up of Tamboti trees and many Shepherd’s trees so is very different to the rest of the park.
Pilanesberg Private Lodge is a great place to relax and is ideal for photographers as it has a floodlit waterhole right in front of the lodge, which is south facing making it perfect to photograph all day and night.
The wonderful mountains around the lodge are a great place for that elusive leopard, keep your eyes peeled for this cat as it may slip in for a drink unnoticed if you are not paying attention.
The day we arrived at the lodge a lioness came down to drink and as she got closer a leopard bolted from the waterhole, no one knew it was there until it ran off!
It is safe to walk around both day and night to photograph the many insects, flowers and birds that come to the garden, because the lodge is fenced. With the fence being low, photographing animals over the fence is not a problem.
Pilanesberg Private Lodge has five luxury chalets, each chalet has a comfortable king size bed, small seating area with large leather couch or chairs, air-conditioner, ceiling fan, mini fridge, safe, tea and coffee station, rock bath, an indoor shower and a lovely outdoor shower for those warm summer nights.
The private covered patio is a great place to relax with your sun-downers or early morning cup of coffee. Each chalet has been named; Rhino, Elephant, which has three beds, Leopard, the family chalet that sleeps four, Tamboti and Shepherd’s Tree. The Chalets are connected to the communal area via paved pathways and a few small bridges.
A large communal area has a cosy lounge with TV and DSTV and just off the lounge is a small bar area leading to the pool deck with swimming pool and Jacuzzi. The pool deck has a great view of the waterhole, while the covered patio looks across the lawn to the waterhole.
A viewing deck just above the patio has a good view of the waterhole too and is a great place for sun-downers or your morning cup of coffee. The boma area is just behind the swimming pool deck, but does not have a view of the waterhole.
What to expect at the lodge: If you are going out for a game drive then you meet in the dining room before sunrise where coffee and rusks will be served before departing for the game drive with your qualified ranger.
You will travel in an open safari vehicle to the wilderness area and each safari game drive is about 3 hours long, but that all depends on what you spot on the drive. Breakfast awaits you on your return to the lodge, fresh fruit, muesli, yoghurt, freshly baked muffins as well as a choice of a full English breakfast…there is just so much to eat and the food is 5-star.
After breakfast you can enjoy some leisure time round the lodge, relax on the pool deck or on the viewing deck with a good book and a pair of binoculars and wait for the animals to come to the waterhole. A scrumptious light lunch is either served on the pool deck or covered patio.
If you plan to go on an afternoon drive then, your ranger will get your drinks order for your sun-downer stop, which is either at a hide or one of the viewpoints. We stopped at Leeu Pan Hide, which was great fun as we watched two lionesses with their three cubs. You leave late afternoon returning early evening, which gives you a feel of the nightlife in the bush.
Once back at the lodge, dinner will either be served in the boma (weather permitting), or on the patio overlooking the waterhole. We loved eating on the patio because it was nice and cosy with lanterns and candles, giving it a warm atmosphere. Dinner at the lodge is a great treat with true South African dishes served over three courses...
After dinner, you can retire to the lounge or relax on the viewing deck - we preferred outside because we did not want to miss anything that came down to drink! We set up tripods and camera gear then sat up watching, listening and photographing as animals came to the waterhole.
Pilanesberg Private Lodge offers safari walks, Safari game drives to a number of wonderful dams and a lovely hide for game viewing. You can book through the Lodge or contact Nare Walking Safaris. We enjoyed our walk, which took about three hours in the wilderness area.
We got to see a White Rhino and her calf in the bush and it was quite an experience to see and hear how close the animals were to us. Attention to detail makes this an unforgettable experience as they pointed out, tracks, spoor and other signs of the bush that we normally would never see.
Rhino, Elephant, Buffalo and the many plains game are regular sightings on the walks.
"It's 764 pages of the most amazing information. It consists of, well, everything really. Photography info...area info...hidden roads..special places....what they have seen almost road by road. Where to stay just outside the Park...camp information. It takes quite a lot to impress me but I really feel that this book, which was 7 years in the making, is exceptional." - Janey Coetzee, South Africa
"Having a passion for the region itself and having to know about all dynamics, water holes and ideal roads for a period of 6 years - I wish I had this guide on my first trip already!" - Morkel Erasmus, Secunda, South Africa
"Mario and Jenny take you to places that are not always visited, and their descriptions of the more remote camps will allow you to make an informed decision without wasting time and money" - Bob & Sherry Shepardson, DeBary, Florida, USA
"Your time and money are valuable and the information in this book will help you save both." - Don Stilton, Florida, USA
"I highly recommend the book to anyone visiting Etosha National Park to photograph the animals - or anyone considering an African photography safari in the future." - Anne Darling, Cognac, France
"As a photographer and someone who has visited and taken photographs in the Pilanesberg National Park, I can safely say that with the knowledge gained from this eBook, your experiences and photographs will be much more memorable." - Alastair Stewart, BC, Canada
"This work is so much more than an eBook, because it is also a guide, a tutorial, an inspiration and a must-have for anyone interested in wildlife photography" - Findtripinfo.com, USA