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 Post subject: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:19 am 
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Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:03 am
Posts: 74
Location: Mentally travelling in Kruger
Just spent a weekend in Marakele.....

Marakele - the pros and cons:

Pros
1. Some of the most splendid and awesome scenerey I have ever seen;
2. Tlopi tented camp - stunning location, perfect accommodation;
3. Close proximity to Pretoria;
4. Exceptional flora and birdlife;
5. Serene and calming for the soul.

Cons
1. Bad advertising and marketing - pamphlets and website boast cheetah, wild dog and the Big 5. There are no cheetah, no wild dog, no buffalo, no lion (no way there are 16 lion, as the receptionist stated - not enough game for food in that part of the reserve and the bush is just way too dense). Granted there must be leopard. I think there are only two elephant in the reserve - one of which charged us so seriously, that I now have enough adrenalin in my system for the next year. But a serious charge!! My sincerest thanks to the section ranger, who then escorted us up the mountain until we were past the Ellie! Although one can certainly enjoy Marakele with what it has, don't then mislead the public with false marketing.....
2. There are very, very few roads to travel in the park;
3. The famous viewpoint overlooking the Cape Vulture breeding colony - this is a serious road - barely wide enough for one car - you ascend the mountain with your left tyres literally on the edge, with no barrier, but just one amazing drop to the valley floor below - way, way below. What do you do if you meet a car coming from the front? You cannot reverse down, you cannot turn around. There is no indication on the pamphlets, that this is a somewhat treacherous road;
4. It seems that there is a clear lack of hands-on management and planning for the park as a whole;
5. Tent downsides:
5.1 Only one towel per guest - no hand towel;
5.2 Although our fireplace had been cleared of the ashes, our grid had not been cleaned;
5.3 Although stunning, stunning view - perhaps they should consider clearing an area on the opposite bank, where game could come down to drink.

I really don't wish to be too negative, as this could be truly a gem, but I do feel that the marketing should be re-looked and some serious management issues should be addressed.

I have not, however, scratched it off my list!!

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:31 pm 
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Senior Virtual Ranger
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Hi woodlin.
Sorry to read your trip report and about your disappointment.
We visited Marekele during March 2007 and my impression was also that maintenance to the accomodation at Tlopi left a lot to be desired, but game viewing was quite good at the dam area.
We saw a large herd of Elephant drinking upon our arrival.
We had daily visits of Impala and Kudu to the Dam.
We also had a visit of a Lion coming for a drink at the dam.
Birdlife was quite good.
We regarded the drive more as a scenic drive and did not expect to see much however we sighted some Eland and a few magnificent Kudu.
We found quite a lot of game while driving in the Western area.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
No to Legalized Rhino and Lion trade.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 1:55 pm 
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Guru
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Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:16 pm
Posts: 69
Location: Pretoria
Special Features at Marakele

A narrow tar road takes visitors up to the top of the waterberg massif. The view and scenery are spectacular.

One is also in the proximity of the vulture colony and these large birds will soar past at close quarters.

Accommodation in Marakele National Park

Bontle Camping Site

38 campsites with power points arranged into 3 clusters with one communal ablution block per cluster

Tlopi Tented Camp

With furnish tented units overlooking the banks of the Apiesrivierpoort Dam. Each tent has two beds (Two stretchers are available which are more suitable for children) private bathroom and a fully equipped kitchen with a refrigerator/freezer, two –plate stove and electricity. Each tent has a veranda with table and deck

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 2:24 pm 
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Honorary Virtual Ranger
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woodlin wrote:
1. Bad advertising and marketing - pamphlets and website boast cheetah, wild dog and the Big 5. There are no cheetah, no wild dog, no buffalo, no lion (no way there are 16 lion, as the receptionist stated - not enough game for food in that part of the reserve and the bush is just way too dense). Although one can certainly enjoy Marakele with what it has, don't then mislead the public with false marketing.....

Let me add a few notes here:
Dogs:
After repetitive breakouts from the park, wild dogs were removed and donated to Mashatu Nature Reserve, Botswana, during November 2007. Mashatu Nature Reserve is within Botswana’s section of the Limpopo Shashe TFCA.

Lions:
Three lions from Madikwe Game Reserve were introduced into the park to enhance the genetic quality of the Marakele population and to increase predator sightings.
The census seems to be a bit behind, for 2007 it lists 5 lions in total.

Buffalos
The Marakele buffalos were unfortunately confirmed positive for Theileria (corridor disease) and it was decided that they be removed from the system. They will be captured and transferred to KwaZulu-Natal in the coming year.

This you can find in the Annual report 2007/ 08, whis is a 4 MB pdf-file.
woodlin wrote:
Although one can certainly enjoy Marakele with what it has, don't then mislead the public with false marketing.....

I think the pages and folders have not been updated to reflect the changes, will ask SANParks to check the pages.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 3:36 pm 
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I understand your frustrations Woodlin. I do think it is more a case of info net being kept updated, rather than false advertising/marketing.

Then again: I still need to see the "big 7" in Addo, the leopard keeps avoiding me. :twisted:

Maybe it is a bit misleading to promote something if it has changed in the interim or to market something in a park that a visitor would probably have very little chance to see.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 5:17 pm 
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Hi woodlin,
I'm sorry to hear about your disappointment regarding Marakele. As mentioned on this forum numerous times before, it's about being at the right place at the right time. :wink: Yes, that road up the mountain is narrow but we drive a Pajero and as long as every one is on the lookout for traffic, there are passing opportunities. We did and quite safely too. Then again, what gives? Africa is not for sissies! :lol: You had to be escorted past an ellie! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

Just a few post here on forum by some of the 'mites. :wink:

Cherries wrote:
............
We went to Marakele for the day but the camera forgot to pick itself up and get in the car. I had binocs, cell phone and a lazy snoozing cheetah lying on concrete path way over there. .........


ingrid60 wrote:
.................Ellies, a lot of Ellies came out of the bush.All sorts of sizes.We stopped counting by 32!The small place was crowded
with Ellies!!!Also tiny ones!!Soooo cute!!We were so excited!We could
watch them from our desk, very comfortable!! :D :D
The Ellies also showed a relaxed behaving.Have a look yourself and you will
see,what I mean!

Image

Image

This was the smallest!
Image

We felt sad,as the all disappeared again!
Unforgettable sighting!!!The rest of the day,we stayed in camp,talking
about,what we have seen.After a peaceful night,we left Marakele,early
morning.I think,we will come back again!It is worthwhile! :thumbs_up:


JenB wrote:
And then!
Image


JenB wrote:
Image

JenB wrote:
SPRINGHARE!!!

Image

They were also not in the very least bothered about being watched and kept on digging and feeding. Now THAT was beyond all my expectations. Every now and again one moved off with long kangaroo-like jumps! Amazing, to me, it was incredible to watch!


I had the same discussion a few day ago about the apparent "scarcity" of game at Marakele and my take is: Marakele is still a young park, give it time. Rather allow the animals to increase their numbers naturally than over stocking to satisfy the tourist market and having to start culling in a few years time. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:07 pm 
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Hi woodlin,
I am sorry,that you didn't really enjoy your visit to Marakele!!
We were there in Sept.08!

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=26416&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 26, 2009 11:19 pm 
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I just love that "treacherous road" up the mountain! It is seriously narrow, but never so narrow that you actually have to drive on the edge! That's a feeling not a fact! :twisted: And it is tarred.

There are places where two cars can pass, but that may be a bit upsetting to "sensitive viewers"! :lol:

I do hope that they will never change that road! It would cause considerable damage to upgrade it.

Though the mountain area offer considerable less game viewing, the "kwaggasvlakte" area has tremendous game viewing. Including many species which do not occur in Kruger NP.

A highlight is always the Rhino's walking literally in to the camping site! Be warned!

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 3:57 pm 
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woodlin wrote:
Just spent a weekend in Marakele.....


Cons
1. Bad advertising and marketing - pamphlets and website boast cheetah, wild dog and the Big 5. There are no cheetah, no wild dog, no buffalo, no lion (no way there are 16 lion, as the receptionist stated - not enough game for food in that part of the reserve and the bush is just way too dense). Granted there must be leopard. I think there are only two elephant in the reserve - one of which charged us so seriously, that I now have enough adrenalin in my system for the next year. But a serious charge!! My sincerest thanks to the section ranger, who then escorted us up the mountain until we were past the Ellie! Although one can certainly enjoy Marakele with what it has, don't then mislead the public with false marketing.....


I've never had the opportunity to visit Marakele but if it is stated on pamphlets and websites that the Park has cheetahs, wild dogs and the Big 5, one should be able to trust such statements!! If such statements are false it's non excusable. :x :x

Parks are run on business principles...advertising, marketing, income, expenses, profit, investment, etc, etc, and care should be taken by any business or entity on the correctness of all statements! :big_eyes:


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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 27, 2009 4:00 pm 
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ingrid60 wrote:


Great report ingrid60. :clap:


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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 1:04 am 
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This idea of "Bad advertising and marketing" concerns me as I don't think sanparks will deliberately try to con people with such cheap tricks into visiting their parks. We are not talking about sun international that can program and book events by date but of an organisation that has the primary objective to conserve nature. They provide different levels of accommodation in their parks for our benefit and the only marketing they need is the fact that they provide one thing that no other resort can and that is the closest you can get to unspoilt nature at an affordable tariff.

The bush in the big 5 section is very dense, so dense that sanparks can advertise pink elephants and no one would be able to dispute that (unless DuQues comes up with the fact sheet :lol: ) I have my own theory on how to overcome that but unfortunately it is not practical so we will just have to give nature time to sort her self. The narrow road is wide enough for my 4x4 and with a bit of courtesy other cars can pass safely as long as you don't speed that also produces a lot more game. The other advantage of driving an off roader is there are more roads available to travel on and even the odd chance to pull the short lever :twisted:

If we nitpick we will find petty things like a braai grid that has not been polished or not enough towels but at least the overall impression is favorable and the desire to return stated.

Personally the privilege to be able to enjoy the tranquility and scenic beauty is more than enough to recharge my battery, any game is a bonus even an angry ellie. Best of all it is virtually on my doorstep.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 9:49 am 
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Thank you TheunsH for your compliment about my Marakele report!

I have to say it again,we enjoyed the visit very much!It is a peaceful
place to relax and refill someones energie and power!( Food for the
soul as well)!And all the sightings were a bonus to it!!
:dance: :dance:

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We do not see nature with our eyes, but with our understandings and our hearts.
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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:47 pm 
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Hi

To me, Marakele is one of those rare finds. It is not overcrowded, it is peaceful, tranquil and the the wildlife viewing from Bontle overlooking the grass flats towards the waterhole is magnificent. The best part is that it is not fenced off so the game wanders through the campsite to graze! This makes it very special as there are few places in South Africa where you can camp this close to the animals sharing the park with you. Granted, there are no elephants or lions in this part of the park, but to us, that's fine. The rest of the experience make up for it. In my opinion the road up to the view site is actually quite good and with the tarred surface you do not have the challenges that something like Combrinck's Pass in the Baviaanskloof provides. I like Marakele just as it is.

Image


Last edited by Suni on Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:53 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:52 pm 
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Hi Suni! :D
Welcome to the forum! Hope you will be spending many happy hours here. :wink:

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent
Unread postPosted: Wed Jan 28, 2009 6:57 pm 
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Thank you for the welcome, JenB, I am sure that I am going to enjoy It!


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