After having a meeting with the acting head of Marakele, Mr Tinus Smith on Friday , I decided to stay over and visit Marakele the next day.
05:00 - Early rise on Saturday, we rushed to the gate to get there by 06:00, - only to find that the park opens at 07:30 for day visitors.
At 07:55 we went through the gate at the Greater area, and were on our way to the top!
Four kms into the 18km drive we came upon fresh rhino dung.(steaming fresh
) I waited for 30 minutes but no sign of him(her?). Further on, a group of six Klipspringer stood beside the road. Opposite them eight Mountain Reedbuck rose from the grass and one ewe was particularly amazed as she stood a mere 5 meters from my window!
Near the top we encountered several rock hyraxes (Dassies) also bathing in the sun. I took a few pics but they quickly vanished as soon as my camera's flash went off.
We stayed for more than four hours at the top enjoying the view. Occasionally a few Cape vultures were seen in the distance trying to catch an early thermal. The crags where the colony is, is quite far from the look-out point and unless one of them drifted towards the look-out point, I could not ID them positive as Cape vultures.
Other birds we saw on top were Cape Rock Thrush, Buffstreaked Chat, Mocking Chat, Redwinged Starlings and a few unidentified LBJ's. As it got hotter, the occasional agama came out to bath in the sun.
The rest of the day we spend driving the 4x4 routes(which now are more sedan friendly-Johannes). At Modikela bush camp a giant Kudu bull and cow stepped from the bushes. I managed to take two pics of them before the ghosts vanished.
From above, looking down towards Thlopi, I saw activity of warthog, zebra, impala and giraffe on the plains between the look-out point and the dam.
Just before leaving, we went into the Kwaggasvlakte area (Bontle camping area). We were disappointed as we, on a 12km drive only saw a few Blue wildebeest, one impala ram, a solitary warthog and a pair of Grey Loerie(Go-Away Birds)
I tracked most of the roads and focal points on my GPS and with SANParks' permission & blessing I will start working on a map soon.