Leopard Series: Whiskers
The Pilanesberg National Park exists within the transition zone between the dry Kalahari and wetter Lowveld vegetation, commonly referred to as "Bushveld". Unlike any other large park, unique overlaps of mammals, birds and vegetation occur because of this transition zone. Over time, wind and water have carved a spectacular landscape. There is a varying and fascinating combination of geology, landscape and rainfall which give rise to different patterns of vegetation - wide open grasslands, steep hill slopes, rocky outcrops, wooded valleys, thickets and thickly wooded gorges.
There are more than 50 species of large mammals and many smaller species, over 132 species of trees, at least 68 species of grasses, and more than 360 species of birds.
Pilanesberg is also one of only three Alkaline Volcanoes in the world. The formation of the Pilanesberg volcano occured about 2000 million years ago and towered 7000 meters in height, rivaling Mount Kilimanjaro. A series of eruptions occured and erosion over the millennia have worn the volcano down to what we see today. The highest peak now is Matlhorwe and stands 700 meters high.
Pilanesberg is one of the largest volcanic complexes of its kind in the world. Its rare rock types and structure make it a unique geological feature. The area is fringed by three concentric ridges or rings of hills - the formation rises from the surrounding plains like a bubble. The structure of the park is termed the "Pilanesberg Alkaline Ring Complex". Ancient, even by geological time scales, this extinct volcano is the most perfect example of an alkaline ring complex. A number of rare (but not necessarily economically important) minerals occur in the park. Pilanesberg rates high amongst the world's outstanding geological phenomena.
Pilanesberg has survived ages of erosion and stands high above the surrounding bushveld plains. The early presence of man can be seen in the numerous Stone and Iron Age sites that are scattered throughout the park.
The colourful hues, varied habitats and panoramas delight photographers and visitors. The very topography makes the area a feast for the eye - the syenite koppies, thickly forested ravines, typical bushveld, rolling grasslands and lightly wooded areas.