A 100%  improvised trip to the bush... A super positive discovery... The Pilanesberg National Park is situated around 2 hours from Johannesburg. It is very close to Sun City. The Park was created in the 60's after years of abandonnement. The park is about 55 hectares and it has several lodges around it as tourists of all over the world visit it in the hope to spot the big 5. The big 5 are the 5 biggest African animals: Elephants, lions, leopards, Rhinos and Buffalos.... Most of the people that think of a Safari think of the Kruger Park... understandably... it is one of the most important parks in the world and it is AMAZING but it has some inconveniences, especially if you have kids... Pilanesberg National Park does not have much of the constraints... the major advantage is that it is total Malaria Free... As I mentioned there are several lodges around the park, for all budgets... I wend to the Kwa Maritane lodge and I LOVED it... I loved it for many reasons...
  1. SAFE - it is all fenced... apart from Baboons that come to you and obviously jump any fence.. all wild animals come close enough but beyond danger...
  2. Kids Friendly... actually super kids friendly... Contrarily to many safari lodges which kids are not accepted... Kwa Maritane is designed to receive kids. Some of the accommodation are apartments which allow families to self-cater, if they wish. Also,  there are kids club, kids area, kids swimming pool with slide and kids meals at the restaurant.... As you know I am a big kid, so one of the days, my lunch was hot dogs, nuggets and ice cream!
  3. Half board - the lodge has an amazing service of food... Breakfast for all tastes and backgrounds, such as European continental, English Breakfast and obviously local... not to mention, some french pastries and Asian delicacies too... Lunch can be a buffet or a la carte... and Dinner is normally a large and varied buffet... with several options of salads, pasta, meats and side dishes...
  4. Confortable - My room was excellent. It had two twin beds, with shower and a bath.
  5. 2 game drives - As you may know, animals sleep during the day... it is too hot... so the best chances to see the animals in the wild, it is either very early in the morning... I mean at 5 am or late in the evening.. around sun down. So, there are two drives, one at 5 am for about 4 hours and another one at 4 pm for about 4 hours too.
  6. A barbeque in the bush - As I mentioned dinner is included in the accommodation and it is an option to eat in the bush under the starts (of course in a fenced environment) an amazing barbeque with local musique and local side dishes... It is a great experience!
Special remarks:
  1. The hide - Until this trip I didn't really know what that was. it is basically a loooong tunnel under the wild park that takes you away from the lodge to an underground area where you can sit and wait for the animals to come around. It is perfectly safe and it can be visited any time of the day.
  2. Location of the restaurant - The restaurant is divided into two floors overlooking the park. The amazing part is that there is a pond just in front of the restaurant veranda. So animals come around (remember, it is fenced, so it is safe) but they are 5 meters away drinking and playing around whereas we humans admire them mesmerized with their beauty. At some point in the afternoon, I sat for a drink and there were 2 white rhinos, 2 elephants, various zebras, various giraffes, inumerous baboons... I pinched myself!
  3. The SPA - OMG - What a SPA. Overlooking the same area where the animals come to visit.. the SPA is a oasis of beauty and tranquility... I had a 2 hour treaty... 2 hours of hot stone massage.... honestly I wanted that life forever.
  As you can see it was a lot worth going to this lodge... Any game drive is quite unpredictable as in the wild humans do not control the animals... I was lucky to have seem 3 out of the 5 big Animals... but I was super lucky to have seen a whole family of lions which just crossed the road and decided to ride in front of our jeep... Quite a special moment to be caught in lion's traffic!