Monday, September 28, 2009

The Pilanesberg National Park,South Africa

Our next excursion???? A drive through the beautiful Pilanesberg National Park in the North West Province of South Africa.

Our proudly South African game ranger has loads of information to share with us......
He says that the Pilanesberg National Park, which covers some 55 000 hectare, is the fourth largest in southern Africa.

This malaria-free park is perched on the eroded vestiges of an alkaline volcanic crater - one of only three such craters in the world.

Its special features of rugged landscape, well-watered valleys and attractive dwelling sites have made it a preferred site for human settlement for thousands of years.

Prior to its proclamation as a reserve in 1979, the Pilanesberg National Park Complex was degraded and depleted of indigenous wildlife populations due to fairly intense settlement by commercial farmers.
At considerable expense, the land has been restocked with game, the scars of human settlement were removed and tourism infrastructure was developed during the first 15 years. This constituted the largest and most expensive game stocking and land rehabilitation project ever undertaken in any African game reserve at the time.

A 110 kilometre peripheral Big Game fence was erected over some very rugged terrain, 188 kilometre of visitor roads have been developed and more than 6 000
head of game were introduced during the Operation Genesis game translocation programme.
Thus, while wildlife resources are rapidly declining in most developing countries in Africa, Pilanesberg National Park is one of the few areas where this trend has been dramatically reversed. Yipppeeee!!
The park boasts healthy populations of Africa's "Big Five".....look there is the "Little Five"!

The ranger also told us that the challenge that lies ahead is to further develop and manage Pilanesberg National Park in such a way that the conservation, cultural, recreational and economic benefits of this far-sighted action can be optimally utilised to the benefit of current and future generations.

Pilanesberg exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as "Bushveld".
Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birdlife and vegetation occur because of this transition zone.
Springbok, brown hyaena, the redeyed bulbul, and camel thorn trees usually found in arid areas are found co-habitating with moist-area-limited impala, blackeyed bulbul and Cape chestnut trees!!
He boasted that Nature's alphabet - from Aardvark to Zebra can be found here!
Marti is looking out for a Giraffe.......

We are at a watering hole....and Sita is too pleased because she has sighted a huge herd of Elephant amongst other animals..........

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