Excerpts from 700-word article

TRACKING IN PILANESBERG

Pilanesberg National Park, S.A. Gus stuck his finger in a pile of dung and sniffed it before pronouncing: "Still warm, no more than an hour ago. Female rhino." It was an interesting start to our sunrise walk through the South African bush....

As early rays of sunlight painted the distant hills, Cilly pointed to a dozen elephants moving down through the bush.They were, she told us, heading for a waterhole, where they would drink up to 200 litres by siphoning it with their trunks to squirt into their mouths. Further along the trail, she passed around pieces of what looked like muddy shredded wheat. The undigested food showed why these huge beasts spend 18 hours a day browsing on acacia trees to keep up with their energy needs.

Anyway, it was probably a bad start to her day. That single growl had alerted all the neighbourhood animals. By now, dozens of ears were attuned and dozens of eyes searched for movement in the grass. Not only the zebras, but eland and gemsbok as well as giraffe grazing together in a mutual protection society.....

Our game walk is just one of this park's activities. The two to three hour motorized game drives in the early morning and late afternoon are more popular for their close-up views of the large animals. Other tours take in the park's human history, with a visit to a partially restored village founded by settlers who arrived from East Africa three thousand years ago.