Safari with Latest Sightings in Pilanesberg National Park

Feb 26 2016
Recently the Latest Sightings team spent a Friday in the Pilanesberg National Park, and I was awed at how this community has grown. We entered the park at Manyane Gate, thrilled to be spending the day in the African bush, only a couple of hours from home (Johannesburg). Our idea was to enjoy each sighting, big and small and to connect with other wildlife lovers. The unfolding events of the day illustrated the true meaning of the Latest Sightings app (a crowdsourcing app providing real time wildlife sightings which can be downloaded at the following links  
(iPhone & iPad / Android ), connecting passionate wildlife lovers, in conjunction with wildlife sightings. 
It was hot! We had just enjoyed a refreshment at the Pilanesberg Centre and we were heading out in search of wild dogs. However, shortly after setting out we came across a silver 4x4 packed with community members. They mentioned that at a nearby hide, a black mamba had been sighted. The wild dogs would have to wait! We were now headed to Mankwe Dam. We parked, and traversed the walkway to the hide. Along the way we were greeted by the grunting sounds of half submerged hippos, while a dazzle of zebra & many wildebeest grazed their food.
The hide at the dam was decked out with bird watchers, and their high-tech equipment, patiently watching over the water. However they took some time out to chat to us. They had seen the black mamba earlier, and were trying to locate it again for us. Although I felt a heightened sense of fear, together we did locate this magnificent creature
 PB nadav and guide
With this consistency in team work the Latest Sightings community has shared remarkable sightings this year. We take a look at some of the highlights, and what you can expect should you visit Pilanesberg:
Hussain and Rameez while visiting in the Park and travelling along Sefara Drive (the name of a former resident of Welgeval), tinged a whole herd of buffalo. Typically more difficult to spot in the Pilanesberg, they are grazers, which play a significant role in cropping tall grasslands. Another interesting sighting was of 2 crocodiles eating a wildebeest kill at Makorwane Dam on Tshukudu eNtsho. This was tinged by Dani.
Another of the big 5 species, elephants which are frequently spotted throughout the park were seen and tinged by Jill and Mark at Ruighoek. They mentioned they were playing in water, and one in particular was stuck, and later helped out by a large female elephant. It seems the elephants are enjoying the mud because another cute elephant sighting was submitted by Liaan Lategan of a baby elephant having a great time at one of the waterholes. Liaan says, “The water levels were pretty low because of an on-going drought, but it seemed that this little one had no worries about any of that.'
 Screen Shot 2016 02 24 at 5 28 34 PM
With only one pack of wild dog, they were spotted for the first time in 20 years through the Latest Sightings app, but since it has become a regular occurrence with various sightings nearly daily. Earlier this week, wild dogs, leopard and brown hyena were tinged by Sam at Ivory Tree. An unusual sighting of wild dogs was tinged by Chris Byrne of the dogs swimming (Not something that one will often see). And it is quite rare to spot a brown hyena who is restricted to Southern Africa, solitary and a nocturnal scavenger. Other sightings of wild dogs, were near Mankwe (Place of leopards) Drive and Kubu (Hippo) Drive Junction, where they were having a lazy time in the road following eating their kill. This was tinged by Heinrich and Jason, and once again the brown hyena made a presence. Not surprising as they are typical scanvengers.  
 PB wild dogs chris Byrne
A rare but interesting sighting, tinged by Kristina was of 2 black-backed jackals and cubs on Ntshwe Drive, just off from Kubu Drive. Also a common scavenger and small predator of the Pilanesberg. They feed on rodents, carrion, insects, reptiles and believe it or not, even fruit. Although as per the Pilanesberg guide book, a black-backed jackal was once observed killing an adult mountain reedbuck on Moloto Route.
I am a little biased, (as cheetahs are my favourite wildlife to spot), but there have been some phenomenal sightings of them  The feature/cover pic of this article, submitted by Leanne Marchand Nel is a perfect example. She says, “We were so blessed to be able to capture this after waiting 4 hours for them to come down from the shade of a tree near Lengau dam last week.” Angel & Jaco also tinged a great sighting of Rain and her cubs just metres from the road at Mankwe Way, approximately 1km from Tshepe (Springbok) Drive. It doesn’t stop there, Jenny tinged the same 4 cheetahs just past Batlhako Dam on Moloto Drive. And it gets better with one of Rain’s boys chasing a thief - a black-backed jackal.
 PB rain fox
Lions have also continued to hold their presence with sightings in the Park. Stuart tinged a 5/5 sighting of 6 lionesses at Kukama (Gemsbok), 2km’s north of Ntshwe Junction. Another sighting also by Stuart was of 4 lionesses on a kill, 1km east of Makorwane (Warthog) Dam. And Jill & Mark tinged a pride of 7 lions stationery at Sable Dam, the corner of Tlou & Sefara, along with the below image.
PB lions Stuart
As one can see, Latest Sightings is about connecting, interacting and wildlife. Download the Latest Sightings app and enjoy a It is a great day or weekend getaway close to Johannesburg!



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