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Marakele: ADVICE

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele

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brau
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traveling with children

Unread postby brau » Sun Aug 07, 2005 5:57 pm

Hallo,
we will go for 4 weeks to SA in august and September. We are a family with two girls, 12 and 15 years old. We hired a car for the first 10 days where we will go from Johannesburg up to Marakele, the area round Luis Trichard and through the Krüger park to Nelspuit.
Now my questions:
- Which places are the best for to walk - guided or not guided- to watch animals.
-There are places in wintertime where we can make a nice boat trip seeing game.
-Do you know camping places in game reserves where we can walk unguided.(of course, where are no dangerous animals)
-Is there a place where we can swim with dolphins in nature.
-Where is a good place for snorkelling, direct from the beach, best would be near a camping side.
-Who has experience with buses in SA.
-Is it easy to go from Nelspruit to Durban or ST.Lucia with public transportation.


Please answer as soon as possible, because we are leaving soon.

Thank’s a lot
Maria

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Bushbaby
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Unread postby Bushbaby » Sun Aug 07, 2005 7:22 pm

Wow and welcome - that is a lot to do in 4 weeks.

Some answers

If you are in the Louis Trichart area there is a small reserve often used as an overnighter to the Northern part of Kruger called Ben Levin. You are able to walk and ride in the reserve unguided and there is very comfortable camping and chalets available.

The long distance buses are fine and travel between most towns and cities and all have websites so try Intercape, Greyhound and Translux. You may need to connect in a city to reach another city. I.E. Nelspruit, JHB, Durban.

Most of the companies and groups offering dolphin swimming have their opperations in Mozambique try Dolphin Encounters. This is also perfect snorkelling coast. You can, however, get great snorkelling on the Kwazulu Natal north coast. Most of the small towns have campsites close to the beach.

Boat trips to view game are best done in Zimbabwe, IMHO, on the Zambezi or in Kariba.

Don't spread yourselves too thin and try to do too much, you want to enjoy everything and not loose too many days travelling.

Don't worry about the girls - they will have a blast.

Enjoy!
Not all who wander are lost.
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PAPA SMURF
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Unread postby PAPA SMURF » Sun Aug 07, 2005 9:44 pm

Hi Maria and welcome
With all you are trying to do it may be better to hire a car for the full period of your holiday.
The KZN NATAL tourism web site is
www.kzn.org.za
and this carries a lot of informarion.
Dont try to do too much -- there is lots to see and do.
Enjoy the holiday
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bert
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Unread postby bert » Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:10 pm

PAPA SMURF wrote:Dont try to do too much -- there is lots to see and do.
Enjoy the holiday


Hi and welcome.
General remark. Try to stay a few days at each place/camp
Makes a place feel like home, especially to children.
And try to get a swimmingpool at every place.

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Unread postby brau » Mon Aug 08, 2005 8:35 pm

Hallo,

Thanks for your nice and quick reply! Very good information! As you told us not to hurry, we’re convinced to travel slower.
Some more questions about Mozambique:
We want to go by bus from Nelspruit to Mozambique to spend some days there, for snorkelling, to swim with dolphins and maybe to watch whales. Does anyone know a good place to stay? Is it difficult to travel in Mozambique?

Many greetings from Salzburg, Austria
Maria

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Mozambique traveling

Unread postby CATs4x4 » Mon Aug 15, 2005 1:47 pm

Maria

Mozambique can be a bit of a culture shock to some and traveling may be slow and troublesome with the added border crossing a possible further delay! I would not advise you to go there on a first visit to SA for such a short period of time. South Africa has plenty to offer on it's own which will keep you more than busy.

For some trip reports on traveling in Mozambique go to the overland website which is more 4x4 related traveling.

http://www.overland.co.za

A good starting point is this trip report giving an indication of travel dificulties and time required:

http://www.overland.co.za/Photo_Albums/ ... _2005.html

Enjoy

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Unread postby Bushbaby » Mon Aug 15, 2005 9:52 pm

Hi again B, as to Moz and travelling. I don't know about whale watching but beaches, snorkelling and dolphins are definitely a go.

Try the dive sites and packages as they will fly you in from Nelspruit as the buses will be a bit hit and miss. Self drive is also an option for the more patient traveller.

As CATs4x4 said the culture and pace of life is very different and sometimes it pays to be looked after a proffessional operator.

Enjoy!
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Re: once again Marakele

Unread postby lam » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:47 pm

annelies wrote:We want to go to Marakele at the end of October for 3 nights. Reading this forum it is a littlebit confusing. Can we or can we not go by f.e. 2x2 Condor? Please let us know. We need to hire a car for our trip in SA and need to know what kind of car.
Thanks,
Annelies, The Netherlands


No you don't really need a 4x4. You will be only slightly limited. We didn't enjoy the 4x4 road as they were just to bumpy.

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lam
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Re: Rainy Season?

Unread postby lam » Sun Sep 11, 2005 1:56 pm

Kaiolesch wrote:Hi, these questions may sound a bit naive, but I just moved here from Germany.
Is it possible to go camping at Marekele mid of March? Or may heavy rainfalls occur, flooding the whole camp site?
Another enquiery: I want to spend a romantic time in the bush, is this at all possible on the campsite or will there be a lot of people running around?
Thank you very much for your advise, Kai


Weekends will be busy as its close to Johannesburg.

For a romantic time. Try the Mapungubwe trails camp instead. (Although they do only have single bed) R300 night for 2 and we had the place to ourselves.

Heavy rain showers can happen at any time in summer, but it is hot, so everything dries very fast.

My underwear dried in about 20 minutes in winter!

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Unread postby Imberbe » Thu Oct 06, 2005 11:16 pm

Hi Annelies

I have been to Marakele quite a few times and wil be going again at the end of October. (maybe we will meet!) Your decision to visit Marakele wil be rewarded! It is a beautiful place!

Regarding the confusion on the roads: It is true that there are some roads in the mountain section of the park that is marked 4x4 only. They used to be in a terrible condition (I did all of them in a 2x4 and survived - just!). 8)

Recently they have been upgraded. The aim of the park is to make all of those roads accesible by sedan motor. They are definatley not there yet! You will however be able to travel all the roads in a 2x4 or 4x4. They are not comfortable! They are quite bumpy! :shock: A regular sedan is just to low on the ground to make it on these roads.

As you may have read, the National Park is devided in to two sections, which is seperated by a public road. The "Kwagga Vlakte" area is the smallest area and is mostly flat, and harbours the most game. Here there are lots of different species e.g. White Rhino, Sable, Kudu. Game viewing is easy and animals are plentiful. The roads there are in a good condition, but can deteriorate considerably after heavy rains. Then you must be aware of getting stuck in the mud. Otherwise you wil have no problems! There has not been any good rains as yet, but the rainy season is about to start.

The mountain section is the biggest part of Marakele NP. There are relativley few roads in this section. The tarred road leading up to the "Towers" are the only road in this section that is really comfortable and accesible to all types of motorcars. It is worth the drive up to the Towers just for the view.

Some rather ignorant people lament the fact that there are few animals in this section. They dont seem to understand that this is a result of the ecology and topography of this beautiful section. There are also quite a few species of animals and plants that occur in this section because of its caracter, that does not occur elsewhere.

The 4x4 roads is also in this section.

If you ask me, it is not at this stage really worth it to try and drive the 4x4 roads. There are some beautiful scenery only visible from these roads, but there are just as beautifull scenery on the other roads. If you stay at Marakele for a long time you might get board with travelling the same roads, but then the park is not that big and even with the 4x4 roads, there is not that many roads to travel.

Enjoy your visit!
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Unread postby Toddelelfe » Fri Oct 07, 2005 3:28 pm

Hi Imberbe,

thanks for this explanation. This could be helpful for me, if i go to Marakele thi syear (maybe).
:hmz: Thinking about the next trip :hmz:
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Marakele

Unread postby annelies » Wed Oct 12, 2005 3:56 pm

Hi Imberbe,

Thank you for your explanation. I have already hired a car Nissan X-trail. We arrive at the Topli Camp on 26th October and stay for 3 nights. We leave Holland on the 23rd.
See you,
Annelies

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Imberbe
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Unread postby Imberbe » Fri Oct 14, 2005 1:00 am

The X-trail wil be perfect! :clap:

We arrive the 27th and stay for four days. I wil be looking for an X-trail! :P

Enjoy!
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Unread postby Bush Baptist » Thu Feb 16, 2006 8:17 pm

Hi all,

Do they allow caravans and can you get to the campsite easily towing the caravan.

Thanks,
BB
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Imberbe
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Unread postby Imberbe » Thu Feb 16, 2006 9:39 pm

YES AND YES!

There are a beautiful campsite which is in easy reach.

The campsite (Bontle) is about 1 km. from the reception. There are a tarred road all the way to Marakele. The road from reception to Bontle is gravel, but is kept in a good condition. Should you have lots of rain, it might be a little tricky, but you should not have any problems.
:wink:
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Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


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