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Happy to forego luxury for wildlife sightings!

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The Colony, TX
posts: 12
reviews: 6
Happy to forego luxury for wildlife sightings!

I'm participating in an Earthwatch Expedition in Pilanesberg National Park and Mankwe Wildlife Reserve in June 2013. I'll have plenty of time in the bush but only 1 day "off", so I'd like to extend my stay to add another day or two for some time to be a tourist on safari. I don't require hot tubs or luxury accommodations - I just want the closest place to stay and recommendations on the best game drives in Pilanesberg. I actually prefer tent camps as I have a good, warm sleeping bag for this trip already. I definitely want a small group or possibly a private driver, and I want someone that is willing to stay a few extra minutes if something amazing is seen.

Finally, is it possible to rent a car from the Mankwe area and return it to Joburg airport? I don't want to pay for a car for the entire expedition if I can avoid it. I might need to just arrange transportation from my Earthwatch camp to the lodge, then from the lodge to the airport.

Thank you in advance for your help. I cannot wait for this trip!

3 replies to this topic
posts: 362
reviews: 4
1. Re: Happy to forego luxury for wildlife sightings!

hi Donna, I see you posted like 6 weeks ago! Apologies, but I don't actually troll this site daily :)

You are staying with Lynn right? It's only a couple of k's from the Park, like 5, so I'm pretty sure they will drop you off at Manyane. As for a car, yes, you can rent one, 3 car rental companies in the area, but there is a shuttle from Sun City 3x/day straight to the airport - travelinafrica.co.za/pilanesberg/suncityshut…

have a look, there is some area info as well

Jaco Rautenbach, Owner / Operator,

Adventure Travel Africa

The Colony, TX
posts: 12
reviews: 6
2. Re: Happy to forego luxury for wildlife sightings!


Thank you for the answer! After thinking about it for a long time I decided to book 3 nights after my Earthwatch Expedition at Ivory Tree Game Lodge in Pilanesberg. (And yes, I'm with Lynne over at Mankwe for the expedition work!) The staff is probably going to drop me at the lodge in lieu of a ride back to the airport, then I'll get my normal transfers from Ivory Tree to JNB at the end.

Someone suggested I visit a different reserve since I'll have seen so much of Pilanesberg and Mankwe, but I want time to do some serious birding and Pilanesberg seems to be a great place.

Thanks again! Can't wait for my trip.

The Colony, TX
posts: 12
reviews: 6
3. Re: Happy to forego luxury for wildlife sightings!

I should have reported earlier... I am so happy I chose Ivory Tree Game Lodge for my time in Pilanesberg! I gave it a proper review on the lodging site but just in case anyone is reading this I wanted to let you know how pleased I was with the entire experience.

The lodge was beautiful and my room was fantastic especially following the more rustic accommodations with my volunteer work. (Loved the Earthwatch Expedition too, by the way - if anyone wants to contact me about that I'm happy to give you the details!) The food was delicious and the portions are huge even by my Texas standards! Best of all though were the game drives. My guide, Dillon, was simply outstanding and the rest of the staff I met out on the road or in the lodge were super as well. Dillon has a love and understanding of wildlife and it's so refreshing to be in a vehicle with someone that carefully balances guest experiences with the best interests of the animals.

I'm returning to SA this year and bringing my husband. We'll either return to Ivory Tree or go to the sister property, Shepherd's Tree, depending upon our connections onward to a safari near Kimberley.

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