christo, Spotted Cat, Meandering Mouse, Toddelelfe, p@m, sable:
Thanks for your comments. Yes, you should definitely go to Marakele, the landscape is breathtaking, it is truly worth a visit.
One thing we noticed as a minus of Tlopi Tented Camp: the tents are build too close to another. During our stay a family occupied two tents next to us. They were a little bit noisy. Especially one of the women laughed a lot. It sounded like an animal close to death…. And actually she laughed constantly.
Tuesday morning, 25.09.07, we are glad that our tent did not fly away during the night. Between landing and tent wall sometimes there was a gap of at least 50 cm, so hard did the wind blow. It was loud, lightning made everything look light bright daylight. I did not sleep very much that night and occasionally we considered whether we should rather sleep in the car. But it was much too cold outside compared to the bed, in which we settled so smugly.
SO feels well enough to go for a drive, so our way leads us first to Thabazimbi, in order to buy some food (medicine against tummy bugs). Slowly and on detours we drive through the western part “Kwaggasvlakte” of the park.
The landscape is beautiful, it is very dry – and no animals to see. Well, not quite right: we see an ostrich.
After returning from our shopping therapy we take the Tsessebe loop. And when we already think also here all animals are actually on strike: Tsessebes, about 6 to 8 in the bush.
We drive past Tlopi Camp and take the Mbidi Loop. In the middle of the thick bush beneath the dam we hear and suspect three elephants, sometimes little bits of skin flash. The rest of the loop is quiet in terms of animals.
However the landscape, the views in the in the afternoon sun are wonderful.
thought of the day:
Today well lived makes every yesterday a dream of happiness... (unknown)
On Wednesday, 26.09.07, we vacate our tent in Marakele Tlopi Tented Camp early and hit the road to Mabungubwe. (sorry, no pics for the day!) The driving is smooth, the storm is blowing heavily and: did it rain already??? (answer to self: no, it didn't)
We follow R 572 from Thabazimbi via R 510 to Lephalale (Elliesras), continue to Alldays. Here we stock up on fresh food, refuel and reach Mapungubwe in the afternoon.
At the Main gate reception we are checked in and receive a map with references, how to find our way to Limpopo Tented Camp in the western part of the park: back toward the main street, drive in direction to Alldays, turn right on the Den Staat gravel road. Follow this road, through the gate and then there are signs posted. But be aware, once passed the gate you have reached the game area, drive slowly, animals are present. So back we start, we happily look forward to three nights in the tented camp. Upon arrival a new shock: the assigned tent (no. 7) is totally unfit for a wheelchair, steps without end, and a bath much too narrow. Finding out from the attendant we are told the universal accessible tent is actually no. 3. But this one is occupied. The people staying there do not want to change tents. They are travelling with friends. These people stay in no. 4 and they all want to stay together. No way to convince them otherwise.
So, now we have got a problem. What shall we do? Going back to reception (I admit, we must have been speeding then…). The way to Limpopo forest tented camp took us 45 minutes, the travel back approx. 20 minutes. Worries on the way: what, if they are fully booked and can’t find another place for us to sleep? Can we find accessible accommodation somewhere else around? Are we going to sleep in the car? When we arrive back at main gate at around 5 p. m. the ladies at reception first don’t know what to do. But then our knight in shining armour arrives and sorts the problem. Obviously the error is “in the system”: SANP’s reservation system has no 7 as unit for the physically challenged, although this is actually tent no 3. Norman Mudau takes care of our problem. We get allocated to a bungalow (No. 18) at Leokwe Maincamp. This unit unfortunately has 2 giant steps in front of the door but got lots of space inside. The promise is that we can change to a wheelchair-accessible bungalow first thing next morning. Meanwhile it is pitch dark, the day was exciting and exhausting so we decide just to have a little snack and then go to bed.