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Marakele - Disappointing, yet magnificent

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:42 am Unread post
Paul Daphne wrote

Soon we can change the title of this topic from 'Disappointed in Marakele' to 'Mad about Marakele'.

:dance: :clap:

Thank You Paul :clap:
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Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 10:49 am Unread post
Paul Daphne wrote
Picture of Waterberg Mountains taken from the new guest house - still to be named.



Mountain view?


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 11:21 am Unread post
Hi JenB

The buffalo were released in the 'Big 5' section. In time (2 years?), however, we will create a corridor across the Hoopdal road to allow the free movement of animals between the Kwaggasvlakte section and the main Park area. This is mainly done for biodiversity reasons, although there will be tourism benefits.

The Modikela bush camp will in all liklihood be ready only by next Easter - we will be replacing the small concrete pondokkies with small wood and thatch structures. (nothing too elaborate as the budget is limited and we want to retain the rustic outdoor feel)

The guest house just off the Hoopdal road should be on the system by the end of October. We have turned 2 semi-detached units into one open plan 4 bedroom guest house. It may require a 4x4 or high clearance to access.

These developments often take longer than anticipated but Marakele is definitely on the front burner for SANParks in order to realise it's enormous potential.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Tue Aug 07, 2012 10:09 am Unread post
Great news about the buffalo!

We are great fans of Marakele and especially of Bontle. When will construction of the tents start? And I suppose that if the two sections of Markele are eventually joined the campsite will be fenced which will be a great pity.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:27 pm Unread post
We are going out on tender for the tent construction, and it will probably be around 3 or 4 months before the work starts.

Once the two sections of Marakele are connected we would have to fence the Bontle camping area, but it need not be a large and obtrusive fence.

The fence we have recently put around the Mountain Zebra rest camp is very discreet and designed to keep both buffalo and lion out. At Mapungubwe we have put elephant exclusion zones in place through electrified cables.

We will be looking at something similar for Bontle to keep the wonderful sense of connectedness that makes this camping area so special.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 4:39 pm Unread post
Wich ever way you look at the fence, a fence is a fence and bontle will never be the same agian big pity as we love going there.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 5:25 pm Unread post
Fencing Bontle? :cry: :cry:


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:11 pm Unread post
Paul Daphne wrote
Soon we can change the title of this topic from 'Disappointed in Marakele' to 'Mad about Marakele'.

Great to have someone knowing the ins 'n' outs on this topic. Thanks Paul!!

I think we are quite a few that are already 'Mad about Marakele', but possibly partly because its not too developed :wink:

How is it going with the two Cheetahs that were introduced sometime late last year, in the beginning they were often seen around the Environmental Educational Center ?

Will be back 17-19/Aug/12 :mrgreen: (if anyone there fell free to say hello, we are in a white Landy, and will have discrete yellow ribbon or banner on tent at Bontle)

All the best, Michael


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Wed Aug 08, 2012 11:11 pm Unread post
I can appreciate the fact that there is not enough accommodation in Marakele so the additional tents, guest house and bush camp makes good sense and I can even live with a hotel in Marakele but fencing Bontle...... :cry: :cry: :cry:

The whole attraction of Bontle and for me Marakele is the fact that game have free access to the camp site and in the rutting season you have impala and wildebeest charging through the camp keeping you awake at night with their snorting and barking while other large grazers come right up to humans during the rest of the year and create such an experience that one could never have anywhere else. The predators will still be at Welgevonden and the buffalo will hide up in the mountain somewhere and I wonder whether it would be worth destroying the character of Bontle for the sake of opening a corridor.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Thu Aug 09, 2012 7:30 am Unread post
Bontle seems to be a much loved place.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 7:43 am Unread post
Sparks i can not agree with you more, my son calls it "jakkals fontein"
We've been to Bontle nearly more times than Kruger, the runting season with a fullmoon is the best time to lose sleep, impala runting and "jakals" calling in the full moon.

Man oh man winter be gone.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:29 am Unread post
I can see the possibility of fencing Bontle (even with a discreet fence as we have at Mountain Zebra) is causing some angst among those who love the open character of this site. If we do, however, open the expanded Kwaggasvlakte section to the main park then we will probably have no choice in this regard. (We will however have a number of options in how the barrier is designed and aligned depending on what sort of species we are designing for)

SANParks is currently being sued for two buffalo attacks in the Mountain Zebra National Park, which took place before we put the fence around the camp. For those who get the chance to go Mountain Zebra please have a look at the fence there and tell us what you think. (The camping site at Mapungubwe is also worth a visit to see another model for providing protection to our campers)

Thanks to all for the comments. We are still in the planning stage and it is useful to get this sort of input before we take any specific steps.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:46 am Unread post
Paul, i do understand that the park must look at its vissitors safety, it is just a pitty, it might be a good thing to fence the vissitors in and leave the animals out.


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Fri Aug 10, 2012 9:47 am Unread post
Thanx for the explanation Paul. :)
I can understand the reasons for SANParks having to fence Bontle should the corridor be opened.

We'll just have to make the very best of Marakele before the hopefully very discreet fence goes up and maybe after that we'll see some excellent predator sightings from our camping chairs.

I just hope someone will train the rooibokkies how to behave around predators because right now I don't think they have a clue. :lol:


Re: Disappointed in Marakele

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Sat Aug 11, 2012 1:49 am Unread post
I really appreciate you coming back and taking note of concerns Paul, this shows that Sanparks don't just decide unilaterally as they have been accuse of doing :clap:

With a corridor open I can see the need for a fence (spit), I have on a few occasions witnessed stupid behaviour by visitors towards some of the large herbivores that come right in to the camp. My question is what other benefit would be had by opening a corridor? I know that the Kwaggasvlakte is on sweet veld and is home to quite a few herbivores as well as the smaller predators like jackal and gennet. The isolation that these animals have lived in would be a disadvantage when the fences are dropped as the large predators would have a party amongst the "ignorant" plains animals and elephant will move down to the nutrient rich plains vegetation placing more stress on it as well.

Marakele is a park with a different feel to it. If you expect a mini Kruger you will be disappointed like the original poster. Camping in Bontle you don't wake up well before gate time to be the first out, no, you rise as the sun rises and sit on your favorite camp chair with a steaming cup of coffee while the game comes down to the waterhole and parades for you. there are no road blocks at sightings just fellow campers bringing a chair to sit and enjoy nature in its naked best. The best part of this little gem is not that it is a big 5 park but the serenity and beauty of nature that it has. Going to the big 5 side is not so much to see a predator but to get to the top of the mountain 1,1 km above Bontle and have a view of what one forumite described as a garden of mountains, if you are lucky and the time coincides with the thermals being just right you can see the biggest breeding colony of vultures rising from their roosting sites and flying over the top at treetop height to forage and with a few alpine bird species this is a birder's treat. If you had kept your eyes open en route you might have been lucky to see the shy reedbuck or the elusive sable but regardless of that the mountains will be unforgettable.

Would having a few predators on the plains justify the loss of character of Bontle camp? If the fences are dropped on the road they will unfortunately have to be erected around the camp. As for the question of what species to cater for with the fence, easy, humans.
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