Just returned from a 3 night stay at Marakele where we stayed at the Tlopi tented camp overlooking the dam.
The park is divided into two distinct sections. The Kwaggasvlakte area where the main reception is and the Greater Park area where the Bush Camp and Tlopi Tented Camp are. The Kwaggasvlakte area is accessible to all vehicles, with smooth sandy roads. Here you will find all sorts of antelope, giraffe, ostrich etc, but no cats, elephants, etc. There is a picnic spot here with clean toilets and a separate camp site.
If you want to explore the Greater Park area you most definitely need a 4x4. The tracks here are very rough and unmade. However, for those of you without such vehicles, you will still be able to visit the towers, which is the highest point in the park as this road (19km) is tarred. On our trip, whilst driving around, we saw eland, wildebeest, zebra, hartebeest, impala, kudu, grey rhebok and rhino. We also saw lots of birdlife, but unfortunately, being the very amateur twitchers we are, we had left our bird book at home. Last time we will do that. I would describe the park more as one of outstanding natural beauty rather than one obviously full of wildlife.
Our best animal sightings came from the veranda of our luxury tent. Here we saw giraffe, kudu, impala, Nyala, Warthogs, Baboons, Vervet Monkeys, 3 rhino and the highlight by far, wild dogs. They seemed to be fairly resident in the area. On our first morning at the camp, we witnessed 2 impala jumping into the dam to escape 2 wild dogs who then stood on the bank for approx 10 minutes watching the impala try to swim away. We were hoping for a kill, but no such luck. Then, in the evening, whilst having sundowners, we saw what must have been the whole pack of dogs, between 15 and 20 in number, appear. A few of them started to half heartedly chase a wildebeest. We thought that again we would be unable to see any kill. Next second, all hell broke lose on the bank right opposite us as an impala ran for safely. It got no more than 5 yards before being brought down by the dogs. Within seconds the whole pack were there, having their share of the spoils. All of this whilst having a beer on our veranda! The dogs then played and relaxed for about 20 minutes before wandering off. They appeared again the next morning, trotting along the bank of the dam and off into the bush!
Marakele is definitely somewhere I want to go back to, ideal for a weekend away from the stresses of life where you can unwind and recharge your batteries. The scenery is superb, the solitude fantastic and the wild dogs out of this world!