Pilanesberg, located in North West Province in South Africa west of Pretoria, is named after a Tswana chief, Pilane. The Pilanesberg Game Reserve borders with the entertainment complex Sun City Resort.
The northern region of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve was traditionally owned by the Bakgatla-ba-Kgafela (commonly known as the Bakgatla) tribe. A mission station was established in this section of the park.
The southern section of the Pilanesberg game reserve was originally a set of farms which were sold to and registered in the names of a number of Boer farmers by the Transvaal government in the 1860s. These farmers were responsible for building the Mankwe dam - which is the Pilanesberg's largest standing water reservoir.
Under Apartheid policies the Boer farms were bought by the Government during the 1960's and the Bakubung tribe from nearby Ventersdorp settled on the land. The land was then subsequently delivered to Bophuthatswana, a large bantustan or "homeland" established under the Apartheid Government.
Bophuthatswana decided to re-introduce wildlife and convert the Pilanesberg into a game reserve. The Bakgatla tribe, under Chief Tsidimane Pilane, agreed to the inclusion of the mountainous region of their property within the Pilanesberg reserve. The 60 families were re-settled under an agreement with the tribal authority. They were moved to a newly planned town to the east of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve.
Around the same time, Sun International obtained a ninety-nine-year leasehold over an adjacent farm and built the Sun City complex.
Operation Genesis, which involved the reintroduction of long-vanished species after completion of approximately 100 km of fencing around the reserve's perimeter, started during the 1970's.
The creation of the Pilanesberg Game Reserve is considered one of the most ambitious programmes of its kind to be undertaken anywhere in the world. Operation Genesis is still the largest game translocation undertaken in the world, and as a result the park now has in excess of 10,000 animals.
Additional info for visitors
* Pilanesberg Accommodation
* Pilanesberg Map
* Pilanesberg Safaris
* Pilanesberg Wildlife