Hello everybody, this is my first post to the SANPark forums.
In a nutshell, what are the arguments for/against Pilanesberg over Marakele?
I will be visiting South Africa for the first time in January
next year and would like to spend 2 nights in a park.
My parents have been living in Pretoria for a year now. They are not that big on safaris but have been several times in Pilanesberg and loved it - hence strongly recommend it to me. However, I am a bit concerned about the proximity to Sun City, specially considering the time of year I will be there! I would obviously like to spot the Big 5 but not at the cost of seeing more Homo Sapiens
than anything else...
I don't consider Kruger an option in my case ("wrong" season, malaria, not enough time and money to spend to be worth it). Marakele sounds great but I can't seem to find out very much information on that park (other than what's on SANparks.org and marakele.co.za).
So, some questions:
- Are my fears of an overcrowded Pilanesberg during the first week of January well founded or just paranoid?
- How tricky is the driving in Marakele during the rain season? As I have no previous experience with driving a 4x4, would this be unnecessarily risky (just generally speaking, getting off the main road but without seeking any specially difficult spots on purpose)
- How is the game viewing in Marakele vs. Pilanesberg in this season? I don't need to "chalk up" the Big 5 at all costs, but obviously would love to see animals!
- My budget is not that big (definitely not enough for private game lodges), is there any accomodation in Pilanesberg comparable to the Tlopi Safari Tent camp as far as price and amenities? Not basic camping - my girlfriend won't do that!
- Are there any other parks you could suggest for my situation?
Thanks a million for any thoughts on that topic!