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 Post subject: Marakele: Tlopi Camp
Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 4:56 pm 
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We have booked for eight of us for four nights in the Tlopi camp. While the actual camp looks quite beautiful, we were disturbed to hear that recent visitors to the Park, (though not to the tented camp) saw very little game - a few kudu was about it.

My question is ; are we going to be bored after a day and a half? Though some of us are keen birders, these people said they saw very few birds too. How does one fill 3 days there if there is so little to see? Are there good and bad areas from a game viewing point of view? Please put my mind at rest as I am so worried my guests will be disappointed.


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Unread postPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2008 5:38 pm 
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Hi raine.balderson & welcome to the forum!

Marakele is a stunningly beautiful park but is not an ideal place for a "big 5-trip", although lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo all occur! Game viewing is easiest in the smaller section around the reception - expect good general game. White rhino is also easy to spot here.

In the bigger, mountainous area around Tlopi game viewing is usually a bit slower. Personally I have seen elephant, white rhino, giraffe, zebra, blue wildebeest, kudu, impala, mountain reedbuck, red hartebeest, klipspringer in this area - so not THAT bad. Part of the greater Marakele conservation area is privately owned and not accesible from the SANParks-roads. In this private area I have seen lions, roan antelope and aardvark. All of them could freely roam into the SANParks-side, although the lions seem to prefer the sweetveld in the private area.

I very much enjoy birding in Marakele, especially because it consists of radically different areas. From the acacia thornveld (with a mix of lowveld AND kalahari birds) up to the Two Towers, with roosting Cape Vultures and lots of mountain birds. Check HERE for the specials.

Although I don't know what your guests are expecting, you can send me to Marakele anytime for three days and I'll enjoy myself greatly. :wink:


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Unread postPosted: Sat Mar 22, 2008 5:03 pm 
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Hi JoelR :) and welcome to the forum Raine!

Our family went to Marakele yesterday purely as day visitors and perhaps our experience will set your mind at rest, Raine, with regard to the sightings you can expect. (You did not specify your dates?)

On arrival we were told that a cheetah was lying on the small road at the tunnel which connects to the "big 5" section" of this park. On route through the lower section - zebra, ostrich, red haartebees, squirrels - all on the main road to the tunnel.

Sure enough cheetah still lying and lifting his head to watch the security gate open and close. Perhaps he did think he could "escape" to the lower section. The vegetation changes dramatically on the climb to the Sentech towers but we did see the most beautiful giraffe family. Baby still had the tufty fluffly horns.

We saw our first mountain reedbuck - frantic searching in the mammal book for this strange looking combination of one colour on head and neck to a totally different body. Klipspringer also did a quick hop for us.

So we did the climb to the top of the mountain and on the way back down spotted the elephant. We counted at least four hiding in the thick bush but with binoculars as they were quite far in.

Back down in the lower section - lovely picnic spot with braai facilities. Good if you don't want to go all the way back to tented site.

We saw different herds of zebra, more giraffe families, impala and although we didn't see the rhino, the most amazing bull kudu - three huge males with horn spans so much wider than their bodies. Females were also out and about.

We were in a sedan car and you are now allowed on more roads than previously mentioned in the web page. We had to leave for the long journey back to Randburg - groan!

Enjoy your tented camp site - it looks so peaceful and we are sure you will not be disappointed with the wildlife. Looks as if JoelR and I will be fighting over your accommodation if you decide you don't want it! :twisted: :twisted:


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 Post subject: Tented Camp
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 9:31 am 
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Location: Bruma, JHB
Hi all

I'm new to the forum.
Couldn't resist registering.

Just a few questions.

Myself and my fiance (Getting married December :dance: ) will be going to the Tlopi Tented Camp in December for our Honeymoon (My dad's wedding gift).

How close is the tents to each other? :redface:
And what is the condition of the 4x4 route?
I have a 4x4 and will be going on it.
What is the tents like and the kitchen and bathroom?

I did read all I could on the sanparks webpage and had a look at the photo's, but words (text :D ) means more than pic's

Thanks


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Fri Mar 28, 2008 5:41 pm 
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Hi bushytail, and welcome to the forums! :D

I haven't been to Marakele, sadly, but I'm sure that one of the forumites will be able to answer your questions. In the mean time, I suggest that you have a look at some of the recent trip reports from people who have visited there:

- Pieter Steyn's report
- Zypresse's report (she stayed at Tlopi)
- RichardS's report
- bill's report

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Mar 31, 2008 8:39 am 
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Location: Bruma, JHB
Hi restio

Thanks for the reply! :D

I read the trip reports and I'm even more excited to go... :dance:

I wish the time would past just a bit faster until then :(


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 Post subject: Tilopi Area
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:49 am 
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Took my first trip to Marakele and camped out in the Bontile site and had a great time. It was fantastic to see the wldlife so close. We had rinos grazing within 10 meters of our tent. An excellent site!!

I also driove up and inspected the Tilopi tented area and noticed that it is within the Big-5 area, but I didn't see any fencing around the tents. Is there a danger that a lion will enter the tents?

Peter

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 12:58 pm 
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Hi Peter!

So glad you enjoyed your trip. Did you have nice weather for star gazing? And a suitable campsite?

I have never heard of any problems with animals at Tlopi, although we have never stayed there ourselves.

If you read through the posts on Marakele it seems like the lions tend to stay in the concessional area - I wonder if one has ever been spotted by a normal tourist?! The same goes for leopard. A cheetah has however been spotted according to one of the posts on the Forum - very fortunate indeed!


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:18 pm 
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Hey Naomi!

Yes, had a great 2 nights of stargazing and managed to take a few photos too. Once I get them developed I will see if they came out OK.

We stayed at the middle campground, next to the eatering hole. A great place and we will be going back in two weeks!

Peter

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 Post subject: Re: Tilopi Area
Unread postPosted: Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:44 pm 
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pkennett wrote:
<...>Is there a danger that a lion will enter the tents?<...>

Aha! Interesting question... :lol: The answer - well, sort of - can be found in Expect The Unexpected by Jan Kriel.

Page 99 a.f. to be exact. :wink:

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 Post subject: Marakele - Tlopi Camp
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 12:41 am 
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Hi all,
We (my hubby and I) have just spent three nights at the Tlopi Tented Camp. We thoroughly enjoyed our stay. The tent is located on the most divine dam with awesome mountains all around - they really do have a life all of their own. The tents are very cool too.
At the dam we watched the resident pied kingfisher, and admired the fish eagle, who attracted our attention with his unmistakable call.
Animals were scarce at the dam, - a water buck, and the local manic monkey! This dude needs therapy, and clearly NO food!
On our drive to Kranskop we took pictures of giraffe, zebra, hartebeest and gnu. When we got there we enjoyed the klipspringer, dassies (lots of them), sugar birds and aged yellowoods. As for the veiw - awesome! Unfortunately no vultures - maybe they're on winter vac?
The highlight of our stay was definitely the white rhino with her calf. Up close and personal is the only way to describe what we shared.
Looked hard for ellies, but no luck, just lots of droppings!
Constructive criticism - by-roads could be better marked, and although reception was friendly enough a bit more info would be helpful.
Gerard and Gillian Sanderson


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Sat Jul 12, 2008 1:53 pm 
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Hi samgill, and a warm welcome to the forums! :D Sounds like you had a wonderful trip. Marakele sounds great - a pity it's so far from CT.

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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:33 pm 
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Location: The Netherlands
Hi,
We are planning a trip in September. Can you access Tlopi with a sedan?


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Wed Jul 16, 2008 12:35 pm 
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Hi petries, welcome to the forum. :D
Yes, you can. Enjoy the trip, Marakele is great!

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 Post subject: Re: Marakele - Tlopi Camp
Unread postPosted: Mon Aug 25, 2008 10:59 pm 
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We are planning to stay in Tlopi camp in July 2009. We will be in a sedan non 4WD vehicle. I know we can get to the camp in the sedan vehicle but can someone advise me how many roads we can access from the camp? I know the area is mainly for 4WDs. I need to work out whether we will be able to get around at all in our car.
We would also consider booking a drive or walk from the office but I think this is subject to availability so it may not be possible.
The area looks very beautiful so I would very much like to go there.

Joanna


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