North of Johannesburg, there are a number of small parks and reserves which are popular with locals for short wildlife holidays. Pilanesberg Game Reserve, Marakele National Park and various private reserves in the northern and central Waterberg, are all good options for a short safari, or can be combined into a longer road trip to Mapungubwe National Park on the border with Zimbabwe.
The Limpopo Province is known for its vast African savannah, dotted with rocky ridges and the occasional larger mountain range. The roads are a mix of paved and gravel, and although some paved sections can be heavily potholed, they’re generally suitable for all types of vehicles.
The west of the province offers a range of accommodation, from well-run campsites to first-rate luxury lodges. Pilanesberg and Marakele are also good Big Five alternatives to Kruger National Park. Pilanesberg is luxury-orientated with more in the way of balloon safaris and guided drives. Marakele has camping, safari tents and cottages. There are many other excellent private campsites and lodges in the area so if you’re in Johannesburg and only have a few days, head this way and you’re certain to find something to match your budget and travel style, just a few hours north of the city.
Most travellers opt for booking a 4×4 with 4×4 rental South Africa to accommodate their travel plans.