The crater of a long extinct volcano is the setting of Pilanesberg National Park - a fascinating alkaline complex produced by volcanic eruptions some 1300 million years ago.
The park 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, birds and vegetation occur because of this transition zone.
Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Its rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature.
The area is fringed by three concentric ridges or rings of hills - the formation rises from the surrounding plains like a bubble. Ancient, even by geological time scales, this extinct volcano is the most perfect example of an alkaline ring complex. A number of rare (but not necessarily economically important) minerals occur in the park. Pilanesberg National Park rates high amongst the world's outstanding geological phenomena.
Springbok, brown hyena, the red eyed bulbul, and camel thorn trees usually found in arid areas, are found cohabitation with moist-area-limited impala, black eyed bulbul and Cape chestnut trees.
The colourful hues, varied habitats and panoramas will delight and entertain photographers and visitors.
The very topography makes the area a feast for the eye. Here are syenite koppies, thickly forested ravines, typical bushveld and also rolling grasslands and lightly wooded areas. The Park ranks among the largest of the game reserves in South Africaand covers an area of 55000 hectare.
The creation of the Pilanesberg National Park is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. The Operation Genesis, which involved the game-fencing of the reserve and the reintroduction of long-vanished species, began during the late 70's.