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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:56 am 
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Location: Mentally travelling in Kruger
Hi Leighvlasso. I am also a Kruger purist and nothing can and ever will match it. We went to Marakele earlier this year and although somewhat disappointed for the reasons given below, it is still a beautiful spot!

No - the Big 5 are not there. No buffalo. They say there are lion, but I have my serious doubts! The Big 5 were apparently in the upper section of the reserve - where you camp, are just antelope, rhino etc. The Ellie (we saw one lone bull and were seriously charged!), leopard (there must be in those mountains), and lion ( :huh: ) as I say are in the upper section whic you access through a motorised gate. We stayed at the tented camp which was beautiful and the trip up to the Vulture nesting site, although quite a scary adventure, has aewsome scenery.

There are also no cheetah nor wild dog. My complaint was that the reserve is marketed badly as they still promise the Big 5 on brochures.

No doubt you will see some lovely game, but I will not easliy go back there - would rather drive the extra 2 hours to Malelane!

I know some of the forum memebrers will shout me down for my negative comments, but that's just this Kruger one-and-only be loyal!

:D

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:59 pm 
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Hi Leigh,

There are lions in Marakele but I believe that they keep to the northern area of Marakele which is away from the tourist roads. I have seen a photo of a male on one of the trip reports though. Leopard has been spotted on the top of the mountain before but sightings are not very regular. All the buffalo were removed from Marakele during 2009 because they tested positive for sentinel disease which is fatal to the cattle population surrounding Marakele. They were moved to Isimangaliso Wetland Park and an 18 month buffalo free period need to be maintained before they can be reintroduced. All the wilddogs were moved to Kruger because they kept on breaking out and came in conflict with the neighbours surrounding the park. I know of one member who has been lucky enough to see cheetah on the paved road just beyond the entrance to the "big 5" area. The elephant population seems to be doing well and they are regularly being seen particularly from Tlope when they come down to the dam to drink.

We are planning a trip again during October for about 4 or hopefully 5 days. I cannot wait to get back there because it is a totally different experience to Kruger. We are the ones creating the traffic jam just watching a dungbeetle struggling to roll it's ball uphill and we can sit quietly within our own thoughts just waiting for birds or anything else to show up. I enjoy watching the wildebeest and rhinos watching us from just beyond the light of the fire, not tame and not begging for food but just completely at ease with our presence. Seeing the springhare feeding close to the tent or the bushbabies in the tree above gives me the same pleasure as watching a pride of lions. I'm looking forward to camping in Bontle again, I feel blessed being able to watch the stars or listen to natures music without human interference. Marakele is so very rich in all the little things we so often overlook in search of the bigger stuff.

I do agree with Woodlin. :wink:
From reading your post I think you will be disappointed visiting Marakele, nothing wrong with that, just different strokes for different folks as the saying goes. :wink: Rather drive the extra two hours to Malelane and feel happy and rejuvenated when you return.
Hope you have a whale of a time wherever you decide to go. :D

We'll be watching for a trip report. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:44 pm 
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Ok so Marakele is not well known for its big 5. For me just being there is enough. The camping and the tented camp are both amazing. There are not many places where you can go and in the middle of the night have a munching sound outside your tent and on further investigation find that there is a rhino eating your front lawn. We had a great time there. We would lay in our tent with the door open facing the waterhole the one morning we saw 5 rhino, A jackal, zebra, kudu, giraffe, warthog and squirrels all just laying in our tent.

In July we stayed at the tented camp and wow what a treat we had elephant right on the other side of the gate that you open and we didn’t want to open it in case he made a run for it. we didn’t see lions but we heard them every night which was amazing.

It isnt Kruger but it is still AMAZING.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:28 pm 
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If you want to see the big 5 ... go to Kruger.

If you want to experience a beautiful park, see some amazing mountain scenery, spot quite a lot of animals and birds that do not occur in the lowveld, really experience rhino and ostrich close up, enjoy an amazing array of different plant species and have a wonderful break away ... go to Marakele.

The one offers what the other can't.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:48 pm 
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Kruger and Marakele cannot be compared. They are very different. As has been said, you are unlikely to see the big 5, but that's not why you are there. Look at the smaller stuff the scenery and the birds. You will relax and come back to the big city refreshed. Just DON'T expect Kruger's abundance of game and you won't be disappointed. We truly enjoyed our trip there a few years back and are planning to go back in the near future.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:49 pm 
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We had our first visit to Marakele at the end of June this year. We stayed in the Tlopi tented camp. Had, literally, freezing weather but really enjoyed every moment.

First night heard lion (staff told us lions are often near the camp). Next morning sat on our deck and watched a breeding herd of 25 elephants come down to drink. Had a wonderful drive up to the viewpoint - really spectacular.

The wild dogs (as far as I know) were relocated to Tuli Block in Botswana and are flourishing. I heard that they have produced two litters.

Marakele is not KNP. It must be taken for what it is. The scenery is beautiful, the trees amazing, and it is slow-paced and relaxing. Well worth a visit - we will certainly go back.

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 4:42 pm 
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Back to Nature wrote:
we saw 5 rhino, A jackal, zebra, kudu, giraffe, warthog and squirrels all just laying in our tent.


Sorry, could not let this one go :wink:
A rather big tent then :hmz:

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 5:11 pm 
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:lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:46 pm 
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bert wrote:
A rather big tent then :hmz:

GRAPJAS

Things you will NOT find in Marakele:

1 The big 5, officially only 4 of the 5 are there and you will probably only
see2 of them if you are lucky
2 Traffic jams around sightings.
3 People rushing out to beat the gate
4 Ques at the camp store
5 Jeep jockeys rushing between sightings.
6 Large volumes of traffic on the roads

If you want the above Kruger is your best bet. If you want a quiet peaceful bush experience where the emphasis falls on nature and serenity and a place that the game come to you with frienly passionate staff that goes out of their way to assist you, do not look further than Marakele.

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 Post subject: Marakele Which Gate?
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:43 am 
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Location: In a Cornish Smugglers cottage - or KNP
Hi folks, I'm visiting Marakele next week for the first time and planning to stay at Bontle campsite. I'm driving up from Sandton and just want to check where the best gate to enter is - the maps on here are not very detailed!!

Do I drive up via Thabazimbi and enter from that direction - also, I understand the gate shuts at 1600?

Thanks guys. :huh:


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 Post subject: Re: Marakele Which Gate?
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:07 am 
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Hi Thunderbird7,

Yip, you drive through Thabazimbi, the road is signposted. The Main entrance is only about 15km ahead. Bontle camp is quite close to the gate.
:hmz: I'm not sure about the closing time, will see if I can find the info. :wink:

Have a wonderful time!! :dance:

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele Which Gate?
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:15 am 
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Here you go. :wink:

Quote:
Office Hours
07:30 to 17:00 - 1 May to 31 August
07:30 to 18:00 - 1 September to 30 April

Day Visitors
Entrance from 07:30 to 16:00. No need to book in advance. Currently there is no limit on number of people per day. 4x4 routes as well as routes for sedan vehicles are open to day visitors.


I think as an overnight visitor you can enter until gate closing time. We arrived at 16-50 and were let in no problem (was in May).

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 1:16 pm 
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Nice one Ben
They were in the tent and we were grazing :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele Which Gate?
Unread postPosted: Fri Sep 11, 2009 4:11 pm 
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Location: In a Cornish Smugglers cottage - or KNP
Thanks JenB, I'm sure I could have found that if I hadn't been so inept with the 'puter!

Looking forward to it!


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 Post subject: Re: Marakele 1st time
Unread postPosted: Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:09 am 
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Thanks for all the comments (included that of 'grapjas' :lol: ). I hope to be there in October 2009, and cannot wait :dance:

Not expecting Kruger anyway... Just a nice break with some game, STARGAZING, BUSHSOUNDS, maybe a few birds.

BUT: I DO EXPECT TO SEE AARDVARK! 8) :thumbs_up:

Yeah...I can be optimistic sometimes..... :whistle: :whistle:

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