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 Post subject: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 11, 2014 5:45 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 3:37 am
Posts: 57
Location: Sarasota, Florida USA
Newbie needs help:

We leave Timbavati on Saturday morning, 18 October. We must be back in J'burg evening of Wednesday, 22 October.

Questions:

1. Can we leave Timbavati around 9 a.m., provision somewhere along the way, and make MAPS before the gate closes?
Google maps shows it is 6.75 hours with no stops. If we can do so, where should we provision and get fuel?

2. If we need to stop enroute to MAPS for the night of 18 October, where might you suggest? And if this is the case (that we do stop) then this would mean we have only nights of 19-20-21 at MAPS, and not enough time to make Marakele. Where should we stop for the night? Where is the best best for groceries?

3. If we must stop/should stop enroute as mentioned ^ would it be wise to do 1 night in northern KNP? We will have an unlimited Parks Wild Card, as we are international visitors. What KNP gate should we exit, what route and place to best shop, if we choose to go through KNP?

4. Or should we do stop 2 nights 18-19 October in a northern KNP Park and then on to MAPS 20-21 October, drive back to J'Burg?

The dilemma is: a) hubby is a history buff and is super excited to go to MAPS, he saw there is a restaurant and is even more excited so cooking will be a minimum. I really like the photos of MAPS, but the scenery of Marakele (and the big 5) appeals more to me. However, coming off a 5-day safari in Timbavati we will have already seen quite a bit of game, a bit of culture is more in order. [I would like to stop at a cultural village, if possible, near Polokwane]

This will be my 3rd trip to SA and hubby's 2nd. After this northern route we head to Cape Town and then onto KTP. Also we have already seen Blyede's Canyon, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 5:21 am 
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Hi kimanjome, that is a dilemma.

I can only speak of MAPS and how much time I would recommend.

The Mapungubwe hill tour is a must. You can only do it as a booked tour and it will take up a full half day. I prefer the morning, as MAPS can get very hot. You could then spend time in the lovely new information center.

Mapungubwe is divided into two sections. The eastern side has the confluence site and the lovely canopy walk. I would recommend a day for that. It would take too long to travel all the way to the western side for the waterhole and riverine area.

The western side has a completely different eco zone. The waterhole is the main attraction and really deserves a bit of time. My estimation is that Mapungubwe needs a minimum of three nights. Others might disagree and I am sure that you will get many opinions.

The historical value of Mapungubwe, as well as its unique eco zone makes me suggest that you take a little more time there.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Tue Aug 12, 2014 4:52 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jan 08, 2014 8:23 am
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I would stick to 1 and between the 2 I would go to MAPS - scenery, animals and history, whereas Marekele is essentially just for scenery. Remember the 4 nights gives you 3 full days as you have quite long distances to cover on the travel days


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 4:30 am 
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 3:37 am
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Location: Sarasota, Florida USA
We've decided to stay the entire time in MAPS. Next question: how do we get therethere from Timbavati, and where can we overnight enroute?That's a topic for another post.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:32 am 
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If I was you, and if I could leave Timbavati earlier I would do this trip in one day stopping at Tzaneen for supplies and Fuel. Leaving later I think you have the following options

Timbavati - Tzaneen resupply and find accommodation in Tzaneen area (see SAFARINOW website for options)
Tzaneen area - Louis Trichardt - Musina - Maps (Jest check that Musina - Maps road is open all the way - I think some bridges were washed away some time ago, but may be repaired by now)

OR

Timbavati - Orpen gate (KNP) - Satara - Oliphants - Letaba (overnight) app 5:30hrs travel time. Leave early as follows
Letaba - Phalaborwa Gate - Tzaneen (then as above) with resupply possibilities at Phalaborwa, Tzaneen or Musina app 7.5hrs


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 9:37 am 
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Legendary Virtual Ranger
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There is a really good shopping centre in Louis Trichardt where you should be able to get everything that you need. Don't try Musina, as it is used by masses of people making day trips across the border. They use Musina as a place to getting stocks for Zim. It can be horribly crowded.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 2:42 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 3:37 am
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Location: Sarasota, Florida USA
My concern is the bridges at Musina. If they are not repaired by the time we leave in October, must I re-route another way, like through Polokwane?

Also, we leave Timbavati after our last game drive and big breakfast....so, about 8:30.

The idea of backtracking into KNP and heading north through the park, though considerably longer in time, might make for a more pleasant trip. Will have to consider that.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:28 pm 
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I believe that 1 bridge is still washed away on the direct route Musina - Maps, but their is a detour (see the thread Maps getting their) or one can take the lower (South) road, but best of all is phone and/or email Maps to get the latest


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Fri Aug 15, 2014 3:51 pm 
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It is about 300kms from Orpen Gate to Punda Maria Gate which is fairly close to Louis Trichard. That is about a 10 hour drive is you are stopping for a meal.

167kms from Orpen to Phalaborwa Gate (about 6 hours). It would be feasible to take this drive and spend a night in Tzaneen. I rather like the Tzaneen area. It is very scenic, but not a road that I would like to do in the dark.

Were I making the choice, that would be my preference.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 12:18 pm 
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It is a good decision to stay only in Mapungubwe. It is very special. I did go there for 3 nights in July 2010 after a 5-night stay in KNP. Did leave through Punda Maria and went to Louis Trichardt. As you have done safari for 5 days I would not go back to KNP again but actually go to Tzaneen and from there to Louis Trichardt and stay there for Saturday night. On Sunday morning you can go shopping in LT before leaving for Mapungubwe.

Tzaneen is a very scenic area and there is a lodge/hotel with old history, beautifully located and nougat is manufactured at the site. A stay there is for special occasions but you could possibly have a nice lunch there. In Tzaneen there is also an “odd” African museum.

I stayed in a small nice lodge west of Louis Trichardt and I will send a PM with details. It is not super budget but really not expensive either. The lodge is involved in different community projects which are interesting.

Instead of going north to Musina, we did drive west and north to Mapungubwe along roads R 522, 521 and 572. I think it is longer but from what I remember there were no major road problems (4 years ago). I cannot say which is the best way from Timbavati to Tzaneen (and further to Louis Trichardt) but notice that AA has good updates of road works at their home page.

Leokwe camp in Mapungubwe is absolutely great with wonderful sunsets. We had 3 elephants in and around the camp during our entire stay. You had to look out. An elderly couple did not, and did not notice an elephant 15 m away when chatting on their walk to the pool in the afternoon. The elephant did see them but luckily did not bother.

I would not move to the western part for one or 2 nights. We checked out the tented camp after which we cancelled it and stayed all nights in Leokwe. Saw Verreaux’eagles at several occasions and Meyers parrot (along the Treetop walk), and some different animals if not very many.

Have a great trip!


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie: can/should I do MAPS and Marakele in 4 days?
Unread postPosted: Sun Aug 17, 2014 1:35 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 24, 2011 3:37 am
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Location: Sarasota, Florida USA
Thank you. Very helpful tips, all. I will not go through KNP and instead will route through Tzaneen, it sounds a very interesting area. I did book all our nights in Leokwe, as suggested. We are super excited to visit MAPS!


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