27 August 2013

{Pilanesberg Private Lodge}

Last weekend, Jurg and I decided to head out of the city and spend some time exploring Pilanesberg Game Reserve.  Although we've visited the nearby Sun City before, somehow we'd never actually set aside a morning to enter the reserve itself and both agreed that it was about time we changed that.  Just two hours outside of Jo'burg, it makes for the perfect weekend getaway.  This trip was also in celebration of our engagement anniversary {can you believe it's already been a year!?} and Jurg surprised me by suggesting that we treat ourselves to a stay at Pilanesberg Private Lodge.  

Of course, I thought that sounded like the best idea ever.


Pilanesberg Private Lodge is actually located within the Black Rhino Reserve, which borders the northern side of the park.  Both reserves are known for being home to the Big 5 {lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and cape buffalo} and I was eager to see how many we would be able to tick off our list during our stay.  Almost as a good omen, a mere five minutes after entering the reserve we came across a herd of elephants.  The safari Gods were looking after us.  My excitement grew tenfold.

As soon as we arrived at the lodge, we were shown to our room {complete with an outdoor shower!} and then spent the next hour or so exploring the property and marvelling at the view of the waterhole from our porch.  Jurg definitely made a good choice.  That night over dinner, as we sat next to the fire and reminisced about all that had happened over the past year, I couldn't help feeling so grateful that we live in such a beautiful country.  Just two hours away from bustling Johannesburg, yet here we were enjoying an evening in the bush underneath a crystal clear, pollution-free sky.  That night we were spoiled with a three-course meal {a tomato soup starter, chicken a la king main, and a candied pear dessert} as well as a nice bottle of wine.  

Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
Room at Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
Bathroom at Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
Pool area at Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
Beautiful breakfast at Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
Room at Pilanesberg Private Lodge, South Africa
That afternoon, Jacomé had already treated us to a private game drive.  Having previously seen such a large herd of elephants, for us, anything more would have been a bonus.  The cherry on top of an already wonderful experience.  After packing our drinks for a mid-drive sundowner, Jacomé decided to head out in search of the elephant herd again.  On our way we passed dozens of antelope and even a few warthogs.  

Quickly catching up with the herd, we spent at least thirty minutes soaking in their presence and snapping photos of them.  We were so close that we could hear them trumpeting and grunting amongst themselves, cracking twigs and branches with every step they took.  There were several babies in the group and Jacomé took his time estimating how old they were, placing the youngest at about six months.  It's such a pity that these incredibly majestic animals are currently well on their way to extinction, for the simple reason that there's a thriving market for their tusks.

As the herd started to disperse, we took off in the opposite direction in search of the remaining four of the Big 5.  It wasn't long before we happened across a pride of lions, four adolescent males who had decided to take a sunset stroll.  Jurgen and I were absolutely wide-eyed; lion sightings are far from guaranteed when on safari.  Especially within the proximity that we were.  Often times you will be able to vaguely make out a tail or tuft of hair in the distance, but this time they were in plain sight, right in the middle of the road.  We spent another thirty minutes or so trailing behind them in the vehicle and laughing at one lion in particular, who kept lying down for a rest and then lagging behind the others.


I always say that one of the things I love most about living in Jo'burg is its centrality in terms the surrounding area.  Jo'burg offers the perfect composition of the prototypical city life, but when one feels the need for some wide open spaces, there are lakes and game reserves within an hour or two's drive.  In a sense, we really do have the best of both worlds.

By the numbers:

Rates: R2,000 {$195} per person per night
Breakfast: Included in the above rate
Dinner: Included in the above rate
Game drives: Included in the above rate

For more information, you can visit the Pilanesberg Private Lodge website here.

{Linking up with Travel Tuesdays}

37 comments:

  1. Jenna this looks fantastic. I feel like if I lived in Johannesburg I'd have a personal goal of visiting all gorgeous safari lodges in the area.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's definitely a personal goal of mine :) But, there are SO many! Earlier this year I started bookmarking all of the 'must-visit' lodges in the surrounding area and I now have well over 50 sitting in my folder. If only time and money grew on trees. But, we're ticking one more off our list this weekend... slow and steady progress!

      Delete
  2. Such a beautiful place to spend time away! And at a really good price too... my mind was blown when we were researching places for our honeymoon!
    And you were so fortunate to see all those animals - Warthogs are always my favourite! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, some of the places are extremely pricey! Certain lodges in Sabi Sabi seem to go for about R8,000 a person a night... crazy!

      Warthogs are one of my very favourites too :)

      Delete
  3. Wow, what a dream! And such great photos you took - I especially love the one of Pumba :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Warthogs are one of my very favorites too! I don't know if you've ever seen it, but when they run there's a nerve in their back that makes their tails stand straight up in the air... it's so cute :)

      Delete
  4. Great photos! I envy you for having that opportunity, it's definitely on my bucket list.

    ReplyDelete
  5. What an absolutely amazing experience! The lodge looks gorgeous and the game drive seems totally surreal. I love how many animals you saw. I would be going out of my mind with excitement :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is definitely a surreal experience! Especially getting to see lions and elephants so up close and personal in their natural habitat :)

      Delete
  6. Oh how I would love to go back to Africa! Your pictures reminded me of my drives in Zambia. Still one of the most amazing experiences of my life! Looks like you guys had an amazing time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Africa is certainly an incredible place to visit... something about it just changes you. I hope you'll be able to visit {and maybe even drag Brian along} again soon!

      Delete
  7. This is amazing. I am putting this on our bucket list. Thanks for sharing your experience! Love it!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. What a great trip and such lovely sightings!! And the rates are not bad either!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, they are very reasonable considering all that's included. At this stage the price is still a stretch for us, but compared to other reserves out there I don't think you can find much better... and the food was delish!

      Delete
  9. What an amazing looking place! That is so great that everything is included in the price! I am dying to go to Africa and do a safari, I love big animals and would love to see them in their natural habitat!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I also love that the price is all inclusive! It seems expensive when you first look at it, but once you actually start to break down everything that's included it actually isn't so bad.

      Delete
  10. Jenna. JENNA! This is the most amazing thing! First of all, Jurgen did an excellent job in picking out a place to stay. That looks incredible! Second, all those animals ... wow! Your pictures are beautiful. What an incredible experience!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so so nice! He's definitely a keeper ;)

      Thanks so much for the text message... it seriously made my day!

      Delete
  11. We're hoping to get to Africa one day and I'd love to go on a safari! What a treat to see so many animals in their natural habitat!

    ReplyDelete
  12. I want to be there!! oh my gosh that lodge and everything about it!

    ReplyDelete
  13. this might be my most favorite trip of yours yet! LOVE these pics...especially the lions!

    ReplyDelete
  14. BEYOND GORGEOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! My heart skipped a beat when I saw the eles!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hello, this place is amazing!

    ReplyDelete
  16. ummm can i just say wow. wow wow wow. i am SO looking forward to exploring one of the reserves! and of course keeping you in the loop ; )

    ReplyDelete
  17. WOW I love the bush!!!
    I miss it! :(
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

    ReplyDelete
  18. well, crap. my chin is on the floor. this looks amazing. i was hooked on that awesome room, but the elephants!! glad you had fun!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Ahhhh, those elephant photos are amazing!!!!!! I want to go on a safari so badly.

    ReplyDelete
  20. How amazing! Your pictures are incredible, it feels like I'm there!

    ReplyDelete
  21. I LOVE an outdoor shower... Mainly because it means you're somewhere warm and exotic! Looks fabulous - especially the elephants xx

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looks fantastic - I want to go here!! Love the elephants!

    ReplyDelete
  23. oh my God, how amazing! so this is a silly question, but do animals - like those elephants above - follow the roads? I mean, do they understand that roads are an easy path? Or do they not distinguish between kinds of ground when they want to get somewhere?

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm lost for words - AS IF you live there!! Un. Real.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Wow!! We went for a week long safari in Kruger Park that was incredible, I can't even imagine living so close to such majestic nature!

    ReplyDelete
  26. this is absolutely beautiful. i've been contemplating going on a safari for my honeymoon versus a tropical destination like i'd normally choose- i think your photos may have won me over! you're so fortunate to live so close to such beauty. i'm completely envious!

    xx britt @ gyspythatiam.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  27. My husband and I moved to Jo'burg earlier this week, and I've just booked a daytrip to Pilanesburg for his birthday in a fortnight so this has got me really excited. What a lovely way to spend your engagement anniversary!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Oh I love all the details in the room...and how awesome to see those animals in the wild. Looks like an amazing trip. Thank you for linking up with me for Travel Tuesdays!

    Bonnie Rose | A Compass Rose an expat lifestyle blog

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)