Pilanesberg’s Ancient Dawn
Created 1,200 Million Years Ago
ONCE a Gigantic Volcano
Pilanesberg can most easily be imagined as what’s left of a volcano after 1,200 million years have passed.
A long-extinct, giant isolated volcano that towered 7,000 metres (23,000 feet) above the landscape, 2,000 metres (6,500 feet) above the current height of Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa.
Like the aerial view of a volcano, it is remarkably defined by its 24km diameter circular boundary, with Lake Mankwe at the collapsed centre of its crater. Outward from the centre there are three concentric rings of hills, appearing like the man-made dyke ridges of some Neolithic hill-fort. Pilanesberg is one of only three geological ‘ring dykes’ in the world and it is the best preserved.
Pilanesberg volcano never erupted into the air. Rather, its underground eruptions over the course of millions of years caused concentric fractures into which magma flowed, cooled and hardened. The rings and alkaline ‘ring dyke’ rock formations as they now are, are hence of differing ages.
Over the millennia the remainder of this huge volcano has completely eroded, resulting in a spectacular landscape of mountainous hills, rocky outcrops, wooded valleys, thickets and open grassland. It stands completely apart from the flatlands that surround it.