Visiting Pilanesberg National Park

Game Drive Pilanesberg
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Despite having visited South Africa handful of times in the past year, my most recent visit to the country would be the first time I would be visiting Pilanesberg National Park.

Because Pilanesberg is just a three hour drive away from Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city and international hub, it is without a doubt one of the most popular choices for international visitors looking to go on a game drive and possible view the Big 5.



City Distance Time
Pretoria 150 km 1.5 hrs
Johannesburg 170 km 2 hrs
Cape Town 1 500 km 18 hrs
Durban 700 km 8 hrs

As Johanessburg is South Africa’s main international hub, you are likely to arrive into Joburg and from here, you can easily access Pilanesberg on a 2-3 hour drive. Do be sure to allow the extra 30-60 minutes, as traffic police should be avoided (obviously).

There are now flights from Cape Town to Sun City (Pilanesberg) twice per week with South African Airways.


You have two distinct options for where to stay when visiting Pilanesberg: inside the park at a lodge or just outside the park at Sun City. Inside Sun City there are a number of hotel/resort options, with the most renowned of these being The Palace of The Lost City. If you want to combine safari game drives and wild life viewing with a wide range of resort activities inside Sun City, this is the perfect chance to do so.

Sun City is situated right next to Pilanesberg and is thus a very popular accommodation choice for those wanting to visit the park. There are a range of resorts to suit your preferences and budget, however I can highly recommend splurging on a stay at The Palace of the Lost City!


Once you’re inside Pilanesberg National Park, there is plenty to see and do – particularly spotting the big 5. Pilanesberg offers a great chance to spot the Big 5 and you can even take an early morning hot air balloon flight over the area to see the wildlife from above.

Next door inside Sun City you can enjoy a range of activities including: the world’s fastest zipline, quad-biking, walking with rhinos, archery, clay shooting, watersports, a maze, and so much more. There’s also a casino on site for the adults, plus a wide range of eating choices. It’s kinda like South Africa’s mini Las Vegas, if you will. 

Palace hotel quad bikes


Once you’ve enjoyed the fantastic offerings of Pilanesberg in the North of South Africa, there are a great range of options for where to go and what to do next. A popular choice for travellers is to venture by land further North to very nearby Botswana. It’s just a couple hours drive away and the route/crossing at the border is safe and easy to navigate. Should you wish to see more of South Africa you can return to Johannesburg in a few hours’ drive and catch one of the many connections to other popular cities to visit: especially Cape Town and the Cape Winelands or Durban on the central coast. There are also a range of affordable flights to nearby countries such as Botswana, Namibia, or you could even travel by land to experience Swazi culture in Swaziland!

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    Bart I Hasta la Proxima
    May 11, 2015 at 7:08 am

    I went to Pilanesberg a year ago. I was there for day trip. For my work had to be in Johannesburg. Did not spot all of the big 5. Nevertheless love to share with all this IPhone-movie I made while I was there. Please hear how enthusiastic the tour guide is talking :)!!

    Jake Ryan
    May 6, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    Looks awesome, I’ve wanted to visit South Africa for a safari for some time now 😀


    May 6, 2015 at 1:49 pm

    Looks amazzing, Brooke! Thanks for the share!