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Top 10: Natural attractions in North West

Pilanesberg National Park On safari in the Pilanesberg National Park

1 Pilanesberg Game Reserve

Located in the crater of an extinct volcano, the 55 000 hectare Pilanesberg Nature Reserve Pilanesberg is home to the Big Five – elephant, lion, buffalo, leopard and rhino. Apart from prolific birdlife, you'll also see African wild dogs, brown hyenas and sable antelope. more

2 Magaliesberg Mountain Range

The scenic Magaliesberg is made up of rocky kloofs, undulating hills and sheer outcrops, all of which have created a fantastic destination for walking, hiking, swimming, exploring and rock climbing. Excellent birdlife and scenic waterfalls complete the picture. more

3 Madikwe Game Reserve

Close to the Botswana border, this Big Five reserve (which was once farmland) is home to abundant wildlife, and a great diversity of landscapes and vegetation. Apart from lion, elephant, rhino, buffalo and leopard, there are smaller mammals like the pangolin and rare species such as the wild dog. more

4 Barberspan Bird Sanctuary

A birder’s paradise, this pan is provides an important sanctuary for migratory birds and boasts the country's largest waterfowl congregation. It's home to more than 320 bird species including flamingo, heron, stork, ibis, maccoa duck, chestnut-banded plover and black-necked grebe. more

5 Taung Heritage Site (including the Blue Pools)

Tau means ‘the place of the lion’ (and the area named after the legendary chief of the Bataung people). The site is famous for Professor Raymond Dart’s discovery of the Taung skull, while the surrounding 'blue pools' constitute a natural wonder. more

6 Bloemhof Dam Nature Reserve

Along Bloemhof Dam's vast shoreline visitors fish for carp and barbel, while others take out their binoculars to see how many of its 250 bird species they can spot. For bigger fare, take a self-drive safari to view black and white rhino, eland, oryx, springbok, black wildebeest and smaller antelope herds. more

7 Hartbeespoort Dam

Hartbeespoort Dam and its surrounding areas are hugged by the scenic Magaliesburg Mountain range. Sailing, windsurfing, jet skiing, parasailing and water skiing are popular activities, along with sundowner cruises. Quad biking is offered on the surrounding rugged terrain. more

8 The Tswaing Crater

The most visible meteor impact site in South Africa today is the Tswaing Crater, 40-km north of Pretoria. Resulting from a meteor strike some 200 000 years ago, today the site looks like a big swimming pool surrounded by dense bush. more

9 Kgaswane Mountain Reserve

Kgaswane Mountain Reserve is most famous for its breeding herd of sable antelope, but is not shy when it comes to birds. Birds of prey such as martial and Verreaux's eagles as well as a breeding colony of Cape vultures are just some of the birds found here. more

10 Boskop Dam Nature Reserve

Situated over 3 000 hectares of grassland, this nature reserve is a popular spot for nature-lovers and bird-watchers. Angling, canoeing and game viewing are all on offer at Boskop which is best known as a recreational spot for anglers, campers, yachtsmen and canoeists. more