Good to Know

FIVE Questions, Answered

1. WHEN IS THE BEST TIME TO GO ON SAFARI?

The Wet Season . . .

Summer months – October to February,
Autumn months – March and April

The ‘green season’ can be stunning, with wild flowers and grasses carpeting the flatlands and green and lush foliage. Many animals are in a mating condition and migratory birds are in full breeding plumage – it’s a great time for butterflies, flowers and colourful insects. Youngsters of many species abound, providing memorable scenes of family group life.

Afternoon rainfall in summer brings cooler temperatures but in general days are sunny and hot. Later on, autumn is usually drier.

. . . The Dry Season

Winter months – April to August,
Spring months – September and October

Daytime temperatures are pleasant and so you can comfortably stay in the sun for longer; game discovery drives can also last longer. Less sun-shading is needed on safari vehicles and this could be important for photographers and birders. However early morning and evening temperatures can be distinctly cold.

In the dry winter months of May/June onwards, animals need to come to dams, lakes, ponds and watercourses to drink and graze lower-lying, greener terrain. This means that the wildlife is predictably seen at certain places and so the chances of finding them there – together with their associated predators – increase significantly as the dry season progresses.

As winter peaks and turns into spring, grassland and shrub foliage dies down even more and so it’s easier to spot game animals that also need to graze for longer to obtain the necessary nutrition. Temperatures rise and conditions can be brown and dusty. Having mated in the preceding late summer/autumn, many animals start to produce their young in spring.

2. WHAT CAN I EXPECT TO SEE?

All the animals and birds at Pilanesberg are completely free to roam at large in their natural habitats. Unlike some parks, none are fitted with GPS devices so that they can be tracked; this would inevitably cause concentrations of vehicles and visitors and ruin the adventure experience. Nothing quite beats the excitement of not knowing what might appear around the corner or from behind the next tree and discovering that for yourself.

“It was magnificent – the most surprising and exciting vacation we’ve ever had. Sighting the two leopards at 5am and watching them saunter by our truck at dawn was the highlight, followed closely by the herd of elephant grazing around us and their babies holding tails. Our ranger was indispensable and made the trip.
I will definitely do this again, thank you so much Savannah!” Mrs R and party, 2018

One Week . . .

It’s impossible to predict or guarantee what will be seen and when, but recently, over the course of one week’s safari vacation at Savannah’s lodge, with safari drives on 5 days (including a magical balloon flight over the central lake one morning) guests sighted –

  • 4 out of the ‘Big Five’, including both Black and White Rhinos (although not Cape Buffalo)
  • 20 other major animal species, plus assorted reptiles
  • 7 large birds of prey, including Eagles and Vultures (plus smaller hawks)
  • More than 30 other bird species

3. WHAT CLOTHING TO BRING?

Our strong advice is, bring layers!

It is quite likely that day-times will be sunny and hot, possibly rainy although you will be sitting comfortably under the safari vehicle’s canopy roof.

Mornings and evenings will be cooler – quite chilly when setting off early – and this is enhanced by the breeze factor travelling in an open vehicle, even if not going that fast. We provide fleece-lined waterproof ponchos for all, which are very effective.

So as to remain as inconspicuous as possible, darker neutral colours are preferable.

4. ELECTRICITY AND WIFI?

Savannah’s lodge has multiple electrical power outlets. They use the South African socket type, which is unusual – three large round pins. Many of these outlets have been fitted with European 2-pin and earth adaptors and one or two US and UK adaptors may be available. It is highly recommended to bring your own adaptors.

Our lodge does not currently have WiFi available – this is in progress of being installed. Please check with us for the current situation.

Your smartphone could be used to connect to a local S.A network and create a ‘hotspot’.

5. WHAT ABOUT OTHER THINGS?

Two very obvious things are: a camera and binoculars (although our vehicle does have one pair available).

All guests get a copy of the Pilanesberg official guide that includes a useful map and ‘tick list’ pages of animal and bird identification photographs. A simple but very potent vacation souvenir.

Insect repellent and after-bite may be useful at certain times of the year – the wetter summer months of October to February. At other times even at waterholes insects are not a particular nuisance. A sun hat or peaked cap, suntan lotion and skin cream are recommended – you’ll probably be in the open air for a number of hours each day, even if in the vehicle’s shade.

Most of these items can be purchased at the airport, at Sun City or at one the reserve’s hotel gift shops.

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