Swept Away in the Pilanesburg

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February is known worldwide as the month of love. The fourteenth of the second month of the year is a day when husbands, lovers and boyfriends are expected to execute elaborate and sometimes expensive displays of affection. It can be a daunting task; coming up with something special each year, whether it’s a candlelit dinner on the top of a mountain or quiet picnic in the forest. This year you should consider spending a weekend away in the Pilanesburg and treat your loved one to a breathtaking ride in a hot air balloon.

The Pilanesberg National Park is a few hours outside of Pretoria and offers its visitors a well-balanced ecosystem that lies on the floor of a long-extinct volcano crater. (http://www.pilanesberg-game-reserve.co.za/). Covering an area of 55 000 hectares the natural fauna and flora spreads out and lives in the rocky landscape, wide-open grasslands and the wooded thickets. It is truly a perfect setting for a once-in-a-lifetime trip over the great expanse.

Just imagine the look of joy and awe in your partner’s face as the two of you fly over the impressive wildlife and harsh terrain below. It’s a chance to enjoy the enchantment of the natural world below with your closest companion beside you; wake up to a “magic carpet ride”.

You can have a hot air ballooning (http://www.southafrica.to/transport/hot-air-ballooning/North-West/hot-air-balloon-Pilanesberg.php) experience memorable for years to come. You’ll be transported by safari vehicle from your hotel to the takeoff spot where you and other guests will be invited onboard. Trips take place in the morning and last for a good hour. After you land you will be treated to some sparkling wine; the perfect ending to a serene morning experience. Then you and your special partner can relax and enjoy each other’s company as you are served a full English breakfast on the ground. You can sit back, eat a hearty morning meal, and recount the exhilarating experience you’ve both had together.

What better way to spend Valentine’s Day than in the heart of, and traveling over, one of South Africa’s enigmatic national parks?

Make sure you come prepared; you never know what the temperature is going to do up above the earth so make sure you bring along a warm jersey or jacket. Some sun cream and a hat are good ideas too if you’re sensitive to the sun. If you are a little nervous about being so high in the sky take some rescue remedy to calm your nerves and talk to the organisers about your fears; as experienced hot air ballooners they will be able to tell you whether you are in danger.

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