Trip Report: Pilanesberg National Park (July 2014)

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This past weekend I traveled to Pilanesberg National Park for a three day private guided photo safari/workshop with the wonderful Heller family. I collected Margaruitte, Erich and young Arron early on Friday morning and made our way to the North-West province in search of adventure and great images!

Although it was a short trip, we managed to cover a large section of the park where we found a wide variety of game and birdlife for us to photograph. Many seasoned wildlife photographers tend to laugh off Pilanesberg as a small and tame part of Africa, but for those who have been traveling there for many years (me being one of them) know otherwise.

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One of the highlights are the intimate game viewing hides scattered all around the park, Mankwe hide in particular proved to be an instant family favorite and gifted everyone with some amazing bird photography opportunities. Regular sightings of lion, elephant and some of the more common species kept us more than occupied whilst in the car.

Being in our own vehicle allowed the family the freedom to decide when and where to travel and stop for a break, as well as the space to move around and access extra batteries and snacks.

I personally enjoyed the driving whilst guiding setup and can’t wait to do it again!

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Staying at the spectacular Ivory Tree Game Lodge was an absolute pleasure and added volumes to our trip.

The friendly staff, tasty food and immaculate facilities made life very comfortable throughout the day.

Below are a few images I managed to snap of the lodge.

Beautiful winter light allowed for some happy morning and afternoon shooting and the sunrises over Mankwe Dam really were spectacular too boot.

Below are each of our top five images from the trip, enjoy!

Margaruitte

Erich

Arron

Chad

I can’t wait to head back to Pilanesberg soon, there’s just something about that place that is truly special and I have no doubt I have convinced the Heller family of the same.

Happy shooting!

Chad Wright

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