Bakubung Bush Lodge

As part of a tour of the North-West Province, we paid a visit to Bakubung Bush Lodge on the 17th September 2009, and found it to be a fantastic spot for spotting wildlife (both from the lodge and as a staging point for game drives). We knew that (unlike the Kruger National Park) the Pilanesberg is malaria-free, but what we didn't realise is that the Pilanesberg is more undulating and has more open valleys, meaning that it is much easier to spot wildlife from a distance than through the thick bush of the Kruger (the result of the Pilanesberg being a massive ancient volcano?).

Bakubung info & Reservations

Bakubung email Reservations

Bakubung Bush Lodge in the Pilanesberg, South Africa

Isn't it meant to be hard to see wildlife?

Immediately after turning off to Bakubung we saw elephants, and as we got closer we saw elephants again...and close-up, right next to the fence. This isn't the greatest of photos, but it gives an idea of just how close the elephants (in the shade on the left) get to the boundary fence of the Bakubung Bush Lodge.

elephant on the boundary fence of the Bakubung Bush Lodge


The rooms at the Bakubung Lodge overlook the Pilanesberg Nature Reserve, and from our room at the lodge we saw vervet monkeys, zebras, warthog and wildebeest. The rooms are divided into 2 floors, and we were on the lower deck (which had the advantage of being able to walk out into the open, but the upper deck has better views).

Beds in the Bakubung Bush Lodge

View from a room at the Bakubung Bush Lodge.

beds at the Bakubung Bush Lodge

view from a room at the Bakubung Bush Lodge

A TV & Study in a room at Bakubung Bush Lodge

The Bakubung Bush Lodge has its rooms divided into an upper and lower deck.

TV & Study at Bakubung Bush Lodge

Bakubung Lodge rooms
Internet in room

We got a username and password for internet in our room (purchase at reception and plug in your laptop).

Live camera

The Lodge has a live camera overlooking the waterhole, which you can view from the TV in your room. So, if you see something interesting on your telly, just hop out of your room to see it live.

Grey Louries

We spotted a few Grey Lourie birds (Corythaixoides concolor) on the ground and in the thorn-trees outside our room at Bakubung. The Grey Lourie is a fairly common and unthreatened bird in the northern parts of southern Africa, and is also known as the "Go Away" bird because of its call.

Grey Lourie on the dirt outside our room at Bakubung

Grey Lourie bird in the trees at Bakubung Bush Lodge in Pilanesberg

Vervet Monkeys

We saw a number of Vervet Monkeys prancing around outside our room at Bakubung, and you have to keep a close eye on them - one came into our room and stole our sugar (whilst we were in the room!). Vervet Monkeys (Chlorocebus pygerythrus) are found through much of southern and eastern Africa. Interestingly, there is also an invasive breeding species in Florida, where they are believed to have escaped from a Tarzan set in the 1950s!.

Vervet Monkey in a tree at Bakubung Lodge Vervet Monkey drinking water at Bakubung
Vervet Monkey at the drinking hole at Bakubung Lodge in the Pilanesberg Vervet Monkey at Bakubung outside a room

Game drives

The best game drives are from 4pm until 730pm and 6am until 930am (we saw more on the 6am game drive than on the 4pm game drive). Elephant and antelope (impala, wildebeest, kudo, steenbok, springbok) are plentiful in the park. On the 4pm game drive we also saw a few giraffes, plenty of white rhinos (no black), jackals, rabbits, hippos, an owl and zebra. We heard but did not see a lion. On the 6am game drive we saw wild dog (first time the guide has seen them in 6 months), jackal, hippos, white rhinos, giraffes, zebras, red hartebeest, brown hooded kingfisher, helmeted guinea fowl, grey loerie bird, 2 lions mating loudly (in the distance), kudo, pride of 7 lions (clearly at waterhole) and loads of warthog.

Our game ranger, Peter, demonstrates the difference between white rhino and black
rhino dung (black rhino dung has twigs in it).

Leaving the safety of the Bakubung Lodge.

game ranger holding rhino dung in Pilanesberg

passing the entrance to the Bakubung Lodge in the Pilanesberg

Pilanesberg zebra observed on the game drive.

Our game ranger picks up a Pilanesberg tortoise.

zebra in the Pilanesberg National Park in South Africa

tortoise in the Pilanesberg National Park

Hippos basking in the late afternoon sun near the Bakubung gate (appropriate since Bakubung means "People of the Hippo").

Halfway through the game drive we stopped at this Pilanesberg waterhole to do some birdwatching.

hippos spotted near the Bakubung gate

birdwatching at the Pilanesberg waterhole

This is the biggest rhino horn I have ever seen.

The beauty was not just in the animals but also in the fields and mountains.

big horn on rhino

beautiful field in the Pilanesberg

Blue Wildebeest / gnu grazing in the Pilanesberg.

The Bakubung Lodge vehicle which took us on our game drive.

Wildebeest grazing in the Pilanesberg

Bakubung game drive vehile

Springboks in the Pilanesberg.

This lion looked interested in hunting, but after seeing all the cars changed its mind.

Springboks in the Pilanesberg Lion on the prowl in the Pilanesberg

Here's some elephant photos in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve. As you can see from the photos, they are not shy to come close to the vehicles. Note that one of the elephants in the photos has only one tusk. Like humans are right-handed or left-handed, elephants may favour one tusk - in the rare event that they lose a tusk, they then need to learn how to use the other tusk (like a right handed human would need to learn how to use the left hand).

closeup photo of an elephant in the Pilanesberg near the Bakubung gate elephant approaching the front of a truck at the Bakubung gate
elephant eyeballing the front of a vehicle elephant standing with its ears wide open
elephant eating leaves off a thorntree in the Pilanesberg elephant with one tusk on a game drive in the Pilanesberg

Some of the giraffes in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve have a very light complexion - this is because they come from Namibia, where there was a natural adaption to being lighter coloured (it reflects more sunlight).

a Kruger National Park giraffe in the Pilanesberg Game Reserve giraffe at sunset in the Pilanesberg
giraffe from the Etosha pan in Namibia giraffe in the Pilanesberg in South Africa

Sun City

The Sun City resort is situated a few minutes drive from Bakubung Lodge. Access vouchers to Sun City are available at the Bakubung reception, at the discounted rate of R50 per person from 2 years or older. Access will allow you through the west gate of Sun City. You will need to display the voucher to allow you back through the west gate.

Other Bakubung photos

We didn't use the legacy internet lounage, as we had a laptop and had purchased internet access for our room, but this is no doubt useful for those who don't travel with their laptops.

Bakubung Bush Lodge is an official accommodation option for the Fifa World Cup 2010.

legacy internet lounge at Bakubung Bush Lodge in the Pilanesberg, South Africa

Bakubung Bush Lodge is an official accommodation option for the Fifa World Cup 2010

Bright green trees in front of the Bakubung Lodges.

The pool at Bakubung Lodge. Our toddler absolutely loved paddling in the baby pool on the left of the rocks.

bright green trees in front of Bakubung Lodges

pool at Bakubung Lodge

Trip to Bakubung

After purchasing our Bakubung reservation, we had caught a 1time flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg, rented a car with Comet Car Hire and driven through to Bakubung Bush Lodge with the help of the Greatguide GPS-enabled device. On our way from Johannesburg, the first Bakubung Lodge signpost we saw was as we turned onto the R104 after the Hartebeespoort Dam, with 105 odd kms to go. As we drove towards Bakubung Lodge we saw the Bushbabies Monkey Sanctuary (next door to the elephant sanctuary) - we didn't have the time to see them, but they both look like good visits on your way to Bakabung. Before we turned onto the N4 Platinum Highway towards Rustenburg and Sun City, we were reassured that we were on the right way by the signboard saying Kwa Maritane and Bakabung. Whilst not every turnoff is signposted from there on, it's easy to just follow the Pilanesberg and Sun City signposts (e.g. the turnoff on the R556). Along the R556 it was clear we were in Platinum territory, as we passed the larged Eastern Platinum Mines (and then later Impala Platinum). Another spot which looked interesting was the Ukutula Lion sanctuary, the Finfoot Lake Reserve, Kgaswane Mountain Reserve and, of course, the Sun City resort (after our stay at Bakubung we spent a night at the Sun City Hotel before moving on to the Hartbeespoort Dam).

Eastern Platinum mines

You'll easily be able to see the Eastern Platinum mines as you drive along the R556 (on your way to Bakubung it'll appear on your left). The Eastern Platinum mines are housed within Eastern Platinum Ltd, which is a division of Lonmin Platinum (Lonplats), which in turn is owned by London-listed Lonmin plc. and Incwala Resources Limited.

Eastern Platinum Mines in the North-West Province of South Africa

Meals at Bakubung

What a pleasure not having to pay extra for your meals - I love it when a lodge offers an inclusive price. We tried both the restaurant and the room service meals. The room service is not "typical", in that there is no menu in the room. However a friendly waiter was promptly at our door when we requested a menu through reception, with the Terrace Restaurant menu. The food was brought very quickly - a spaghetti bolognaise and a basil pesto and cheese toasted sandwich - and was delicious.

For our dinner, we had the buffet at the restaurant. It was a balmy evening, so we chose to sit outside and enjoy the weather. The restaurant has different themes on certain nights. The Tuesday we were there was an Indian / Asian theme. There was a good selection of choices if you enjoy spicy food and meat dishes. However, the quality was great and the puddings were fabulous. Our daughter particularly loved the ice cream and the fact that there were about 6 different toppings to choose from, as well as a variety of sauces.

The breakfast was also a buffet. Everything you would expect was available - cereals, yoghurts, fresh and dried fruit, pastries, cooked foods, etc. We had omelettes which were top notch. We liked that you could mix your own fillings for the omelettes and thus get exactly the preferred quantity of each item in. Good coffee was had, as well as juices.

Bakubung Bush Lodge

Written by

2015 Investment Cruise

Ritsgids logo