Pilanesberg National Park is a Big 5 reserve about 2 hours north of Johannesburg. This is a great park to visit if you are in the Joburg area and maybe don’t have enough time to get over to Kruger. In the past year, we have made a couple day trips as well as a weekend camping trip to Pilanesberg. Sightings haven’t been all that great for us (the cats have eluded us completely on all trips) but of course it is always the luck of the draw when it comes to wildlife. We are always happy to just be out on safari and to see whatever we have the chance to spot so our time in the park has always been enjoyed.
In my previous post I wrote about the first part of our trip to Swaziland and our stay at Hlane. Our last 2 nights were spent at a different park, Mlilwane Wildlife Sanctuary located a little more than an hour from Hlane. In part 1 I mentioned that the original plan was to spend all 3 nights at Mlilwane however when we called to finalize our booking, we were told that the camp was booked out for the first night for a private function. When we arrived at Mlilwane we discovered that this private function was in fact a celebration of 50 years of conservation in Swaziland with the King of Swaziland in attendance to unveil a commemorative statue. I wonder how many people can say they got bumped because of a King and on their birthday no less, haha.
It is somewhat of a tradition for my birthday (July 11th if anyone is taking notes) that instead of lavish gifts, we try and celebrate by taking a trip somewhere, long or short, whatever we can manage that year. When we lived in Europe, as my birthday was smack in the middle of summer, this usually meant some time spent on a beach. Greece, the Amalfi Coast, Croatia… just some of the fabulous places I have spent my birthday. This being the very first year I would be spending my birthday in Africa (and in winter now to boot!) I absolutely wanted to keep with our tradition and sneak in a little birthday excursion.
Before moving to Jozi, we spent a lot of time talking about what kind of cars we wanted to buy once we got here. I had already decided we needed a 4×4 to help us get the most out of our planned African bush experiences but Yannick was not yet convinced. Eventually we would need 2 cars once we were both working as it was unlikely it would be convenient to carpool. We ended up renting a car for the first 3 months here while we were deciding what to buy and also to get our other car sold back in France.
About a month into our stay here, following on a couple weeks of heavy rain, Yannick announced that he thought we should indeed buy a 4×4 as soon as possible for our first car to help us navigate through the pothole ridden, flooded streets. Now, of course there are plenty of non 4×4’s successfully maneuvering through Joburg but that is his story and he is sticking to it. And who I am to argue ?
My dream car i.e. what we didn’t buy as it was 3x over our budget