If you don’t mind monkeys or weird-looking birds potentially stealing your fries while you dine, then you’ll love Zebra Crossing. (You do want to eat lunch while being surrounded by wildlife, don’t you…?) Needless to say, the draw of this restaurant is its location in the middle of Pilanesberg National Park, and although it’s super-touristy, the food isn’t half bad and the experience is fun.
When you first enter the restaurant, which is on a raised platform in the middle of the reserve, you’ll pass by a souvenir shop and an outside square where all the tables are. From the main dining area, you can look down on warthog, zebra, wildebeest, monkeys, and much more. The animals come to the area to use the watering hole and salt licks conveniently placed in the field (which the wildebeest go crazy over). Don’t worry — the restaurant is fenced in, and but the animals do run under the deck and look over your shoulder.
After marveling at the animals for awhile, we picked a picnic table in the far corner, which protected us from the sun and gave us a much closer look at the wildlife. As soon as we sat down, a monkey swung into the dining area and stole somebody’s leftovers before scampering away into the distance. Then a big fat warthog poked his head out from under the deck. I’d be lying if I said that didn’t make me a bit nervous. However, the restaurant seems pretty secure and most of the animals stay in their place.
The menu is filled with typical fare like burgers, pizza, pasta and salads. I ordered the Zebra Crossing burger with fries, my partner ordered a cheeseburger, and our friend had a veggie wrap. Both of the burgers were delicious and oversized and we had to squeeze them together just to take a bite — which is a good thing in my opinion. As we were dining, a comical-looking hornbill decided it would come watch us eat, so we gave him a few fries. He loved them and kept coming back and getting really close to us, so we ended up with a party of four at our table.
The only real complaint about Zebra Crossing was the bees. Our sodas seemed to attract every bee in Pilanesberg — maybe a sign we shouldn’t be drinking soda? Two of the bees drowned in our drink, and we ended up asking the waitress to take it away. The bees even started to bother our hornbill friend, and it had a spazz attack before hopping away from them.
This restaurant could have easily gotten away with serving sub-par food because of its location, but our meals were surprisingly delicious. I’ve never been to a place quite like it, and I definitely want to come back. The overall experience is something that you have to try for yourself.