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Unread postPosted: Tue May 29, 2007 6:32 pm 
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Junior Virtual Ranger
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I will have to post about my adventures in Marakele in a little Corsa Lite :lol: I must say though the little car came through for me...but I´m looking forward to a little more accessibilty, at least till I can get something a bigger and higher...thanks Hendrick :D

Dianne

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2007 8:30 am 
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Sorry to hear you are calling Marakele off.........what a pity, but there will always be a next time!!! We are going in four months time (yes please!!!) for the weekend! Can't wait........

It really is such an awesome place!

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 Post subject: Recent trip at the end of May
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:30 am 
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Joined: Wed Sep 13, 2006 3:01 pm
Posts: 65
Location: Israel
We spent a night in Tlopo at the end of May.

The road to the towers (Can somebody explain me why there are AM/FM/Microwave antennas swarming the top of this drive, after which it is named?) was narrow, but we saw many klipspringers and rock daisies around (which was nice, since we missed Augrabies falls NP because of our KTP vehicle breakdown) but now vultures.

Tlopi tented camp was nice but somewhat basic, there is apparently a resident civet around, which popped for a visit while we were preparing dinner.

The access road was barely accessible with a sedan (Nissan Almera), and when you park near the tent you are decending down a soft sand ramp, and going up the next day you have no traction going up with a 2X4, I had to zig-zag around with a fixed torque around the loose sand and somehow managed to get through, but it was not a nice experience.

The tent becomes very cold at night. we also made the mistake of putting the food inside the sleeping tent, since the kitchen was open (always place food inside closed cupboards, and never in the sleeping quarters). I am very sensitive to small noises (this is how I located the civet) and woke at the middle of the night hearing floor-boards creaking (probably due to the wind) and our plastic bags rustling. I thought I was just hearing ghosts, but after a while I decided to get up with a torch and look around, and 5 seconds later I spotted 2 field mice eating through our bread. They obviously came through a crack between the tent flap and the end of the floor-board (I notified the Marakele reception about it the morning after).

The other section of Marakele, which you access from the reception, had nice viewings at early morning which included Tsessebe, white rhino, ostrich, jackel, Kudo, Impala.

Most of the roads are easily accessible by sedans, one around the picnic spot requires more care but is nevertheless still sedan accessible. There were a couple of roads under grading which will probably be sedan accessible after the work is finished. There were a couple more roads signed as "4X4" without any machines around, so these might stay 4X4.


Elad.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sun Jun 10, 2007 12:00 pm 
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Thanks for the report, eladn!

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 8:37 am 
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Thanks Eladn :D

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 Post subject: Re: Recent trip at the end of May
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 2:31 pm 
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eladn wrote:
We spent a night in Tlopo at the end of May. ...
The access road was barely accessible with a sedan (Nissan Almera), and when you park near the tent you are decending down a soft sand ramp, and going up the next day you have no traction going up with a 2X4, I had to zig-zag around with a fixed torque around the loose sand and somehow managed to get through, but it was not a nice experience.... Elad.


Thanks for your report, Elad.:clap:
If coming to Tlopi with a 2x4 is so difficult (we also made a reservation for Nissan Almera...) - any idea how to manage the way from parking area to the tent with a wheelchair? We got a reservation for the accessible tent in September - but reading your report I get a little nervous...

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:30 pm 
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Dear Zypresse,

I stayed at the wheelchair friendly tent from the 9th to the 14th of May this year. I am a paraplegic and I was I was in a 2x4 Honda Jazz. The access road from the tar tower road I had just been graded and made non sedan accessible and was a pleasure to drive on. I was part of a conference taking place in other sections of the park and had an after hours permit, and had no concerns about the state of the road driving at night. I cannot imagine it has regressed that much between then and now. Hendrickm who is active elsewhere on this post is the park manager and will be able to update on the state of the road.

The slope off the camp road down to the parking outside the wheelchair tent is steep and over loose earth, but I was able to turn my car around at the parking level and drive out unhindered in my automatic vehicle.

One problem I have asked the park to look into is the erosion of the ground beneath the access ramp. This means that instead of being flush with the ground the wooden access ramp has an approximate 2 inch ridge to negotiate. I was strong enough to grab onto the 2 gum poles at the start of the ramp and pull myself over the ridge onto the ramp surface. If you have travel companions they can give you a nudge over this ridge, or hopefully by the time you get there in september the park will have corrected it.

Apart from this the unit is very comfortable for a person in a wheelchair. The mirror above the basin is not in a suitable position for a chair user and needs to be supplemented with one that is.

Regards

Owl


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 Post subject: Re: Recent trip at the end of May
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:51 pm 
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Location: Israel
Zypresse wrote:
If coming to Tlopi with a 2x4 is so difficult (we also made a reservation for Nissan Almera...) - any idea how to manage the way from parking area to the tent with a wheelchair? We got a reservation for the accessible tent in September - but reading your report I get a little nervous...


It is difficult but possible. The only problem is the last few hundred meters from the turn-off to the Tlop camp. You get big rocks and uneven surface, but if you drive 10km/h very carefully you will pass with the Almera.

It is strange that the road was clear 2 weeks ago, but it is always possible somebody with a 4X4 stormed in/out of the camp, causing damage to the road.

The decent into the parking is steep (for the car), but after that you have a couple of meters from the parking to the stairs which are pretty even, so I guess you can manage with the wheelchair. It is possible that the wheel-chair accessible unit was a bit more properly graded - we obviously had the ordinary one, since there were stairs and not a ramp at the entrance to the unit.

The biggest issue was getting the car up the ascent into the few bad hundred meters - once again try zig-zaging slowly with a steady torque (around 1500 RPM on the Almera IIRC), drive slowly but don't leave the gas pedal unless you hit something.

If you are careful and a bit resourceful with the car you should be fine. Regarding wheelchair accessibility once you leave the car, hopefully things will work for you as Owl indicated.

Elad.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jun 11, 2007 9:21 pm 
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Thanks Owl and Eladn for you replies. The more information the better - travelling with a wheelchair is sometimes a bit more preparation than just packing the bags and fly... But we enjoy it immensely.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:46 am 
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Location: Thabazimbi
freespirit wrote:
Thanks Annie.
Will say hello for you!
You didnt catch a glimpse of the wild dogs did you?
I hope they are still there.

K


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:59 am 
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Location: Thabazimbi
Dear Zepresse

Good day. The contract to upgrade all roads network in Marakele is almost finished and one of the main target was to improve accesss to Tlopi tented camp and Bontle camping site. Tons of crashers has already been offloaded and levelled along them access road to Tlopi and the contractor assured me that the road upgrade will be finished before the end of July 2007.

Regards


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Tue Jun 12, 2007 6:10 pm 
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Thanks, Hendrickm, for your information. So all will be well in September, I hope. :D

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 Post subject: Weather conditions at Marakele in december and january
Unread postPosted: Wed Jun 27, 2007 10:39 am 
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I am planning to visit Marakele with my family late December or early January and would like to know the weather conditions at that time of the year.

Your input would be appreciated.

Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Weather conditions at Marakele in december and january
Unread postPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:54 pm 
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sanjac wrote:
I am planning to visit Marakele with my family late December or early January and would like to know the weather conditions at that time of the year.

Nice & Hot! :wink:

Summers are hot but the area does not suffer from the stifling humidity so typical of the eastern Lowveld. The park is situated in the summer rainfall region and rainfall occurs in the form of heavy thunderstorms or soft rain.

I would expect afternoons between 30 and 40 degrees Celcius and nights around 20. 8)


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:38 am 
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Don't forget the sunscreen and sun hats. Also the raincoat because that's the middle of the rainy season.

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