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The North West Province is easily accessible from Johannesburg and offers visitors the opportunity for great wildlife viewing as well as the hubbub of the gambling mecca of Sun City.
Less than three hours drive from Johannesburg, the Pilanesberg National Park, is situated in a giant volcanic crater which was a result of volcanic eruptions estimated to have occurred some 1200 million years ago.
Operation Genesis which began in the late 1970’s involved the fencing of the reserve and the re-introduction of species that had vanished from the area. The operation was a success and today more than 7000 animals are found within the park alongside more than 300 bird species. The park is home to the big 5 as well as the African Wild Dog, all big cat species, white and black rhinos, hippo and a variety of antelopes.
Operation Phoenix began in the early 1990’s and was one of the largest translocation projects ever to be undertaken. It resulted in more than 8000 animals being released into the Madiwke Game Reserve. Today the 75,000 hectare reserve hosts around 66 species of mammals, including the big 5, the endangered African wild dog and in the region of 300 resident and migratory bird species. The reserve is not open to day visitors and it’s not possible to self drive within the park, but all of the accommodation options that are available offer guided day and night safaris and bush walks.
© ecoTravel Africa 2011