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 Post subject: Steyn's trip, Marakele : 26/12 to 01/01/07
Unread postPosted: Tue Dec 26, 2006 4:32 am 
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hi

Early morning hours and we are up and packing. Marakele about 300 km away. Hope to be there between 1 and 2 as we are planning to drive at our leisure, stop where ever we want to as the roads might be very busy to day.

Will be back on the forum on the second.

Wishing you all a prosperous new year, good health and lots of sightings in our parks.


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 Post subject: steyn family trip to Marakele
Unread postPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2007 6:59 am 
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Hi

I am back, hope every body enjoyed yesterday with their loved once. Have a lot to report on, from yoga in the nude and violin being played in camp and animals that properly could not believe their ears, reaction. Rino's in the camp and me that found out that I can still jump.


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 Post subject: Steyn's trip. Marakele 26/12 to 01/01/07
Unread postPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2007 8:24 pm 
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Hi

I have done the first part of the trip report.

We arrived at Marakele Kwaggasvlakte section at 14H00 and started setting up camp, in the Tsessebe loop of the Bontle camping site. The camping area is not fenced in and we had an excellent view on the water hole.

Whilst my son and I were busy with the caravan tent we heard a commotion at the water hole. Two Rhino bulls were engaged in a vicious fight. Charging each other head on, pushing each other backwards, trying to stab each other with their horns. The younger bull of the two succeeded to stab the older one with its horn on the right side of its neck, the older bull fell to its knees got up and ran into the camp area. The younger bull followed it for a short distance turned around and disappeared into the bushes. The injured bull then started to feed amongst the caravans and tents. :shock:

When I realised what was going on I had my video camera set up on a try pod and forgot about my camera. I where able to get nice footage of the fight and the rhino in the camp. Needless to say every body started taking photo’s of the animal inside the camp. What an experience it was to witness the fight. :D

At sunset more animals came down to the water hole, Giraffe, zebra’s, Impala’s, Blue wildebeast, Tsessebe’s, warthogs, rooi hartbeest and jumping hare. Later on the Impala and Zebra settled next to the camp for the night. The injured rhino moved out of the camp and settled between the camp and waterhole.

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Kudu, Tsessebe and Impala

Early the next morning we were out and explored the Kwaggasvlakte section and.visited the towers. The tar road is very narrow and steep. And one has to drive very slowly as you do not know if there is vehicle coming from the front. Near the top there was a camper van coming down and I thought that I will have to reverse all the way back to bottom of the mountain as it looks as if it was blocking the entire road. The driver indicated that I must come and tried to pull of the road. Some how we managed to shuffle past each other. :roll:

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Narrow tar road going up to the towers. One vehicle can drive with ease on the road. However; There’s a problem if two vehicles have to pass one another.The trick is to watch out for vehicles higher up on the road coming down. A bit difficult if it is your first time going up.

Eventually when we reached the towers we were pleasantly surprised with the view. It seemed that you can look forever into the future. We saw Cape Vultures circling above us high in the sky.

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View from the top.

The flora and fauna on top off the mountain is absolutely beautiful.

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Can some one please I.D this flower. ( Afrikaans: Kandelaarblom, Brunsvigia natalensis)

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Klipspringer with the top of her ears missing. :(

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Rock-dassie


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Layers of rock It looks as if some one has placed the layers of rock on top of each other.

We have also seen a verity of birds, to name a few Malachite Sun bird, :x (as I was about to take a photo a guy behind me blow his horn and the bird flew away. This is a story for another day) Mocking Cliff-Chat, Red-winged Staling, Golden-breasted Bunting.






.


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 Post subject:
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 1:13 pm 
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Part two:

The next morning we explored the Kwaggasvlakte with the expectations that we are going to see the Marakela Lions, Elephants and Wild dogs. However we saw an elephant, Sable, Eland and Mountain Reedbuck when we travelled on the 4 x 4 road.

I believe there are three only elephants left at Marakele. Can some one tell us how many are indeed at Marakele.

We herd that the wild dogs were back in the boma. No change of seeing them. A disappointment indeed. I don’t know weather there are any lions left. However we did see spoors that we believe belong to a leopard.


Late the afternoon it started raining and I was glad that we did not have to travel down from the towers to the gate. Later people who did travel down in the rain told me that it was a nightmare as visibility on the road was down to about 5 meters. From Bontle camp we could see that the mountains were covered with a blanket of clouds.

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At about 19H30 the common fungus-growing termites started flying in the rain. All the lights that were on attracted them in there hundreds. We were forced to switch all our lights in and outside the caravan off, as to keep them out of the caravan and tent. them. At the ablution blocks I watched frogs and gecko’s having a feast as they caught the flying termites. The next morning their where dead termites everywhere. I have never seen termites that actually blocked drains. An unbelievable site.

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Some of the men in the camp collected buckets full off termites at the drains to freeze and to use them for fishing later on. Just before 5 in the morning I saw one of the most spectacular sun rises that I have ever seen. Two days later early the morning at 04H15 My neighbour called me as I walk past his caravan and showed me the bush babies having a feast on the termites that still blocked the water tap drain next to his caravan. There were 9 bush babies together competing with each other to get the biggest and fattest termites. As usual as I see something interesting like this I don have my camera with me. When I returned with my camera they were gone.

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Sunrise


We again visited the kwaggasvlakte section and visited the Tlope tented camp. I am sure Markwilddog will have something to say about the beautiful views from the tents.

Whilst driving there I realised that the Eco system in the park is healthy as I saw hundreds of dung beetles and fungus es growing on elephant dung.



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Dung beetles

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Fungus growing in elephant dung.

Quote Kruger Guru Monday Dec.27 2004 “ The Mariele National Park in the heart of the Water berg Mountains, as its, Twain name suggest, has become a “place of Sanctuary”. Contrasting majestic mountain landscapes, grass-clad hills and deep valleys characterise the park.” If you are a mountain lover then Marakele is a must on your list and is less than three hours drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria. Not to far away for a weekend or long weekend break away.



A bus station is a place where buses stop, a train station is a place where trains stop, a work station is a..... guess what?


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 Post subject: Steyn's trip. Marakele 26/12 to 01/01/07
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 7:29 pm 
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Mikev

Marakele is divided into two areas. The area where the reception office is, the road are all dirt roads and about 95 % of the roads is assessable for normal sedan motors. However, very view of the roads have sign boards and one has to keep your marbles together not to get lost.

The greater Marakele park area about 20 % is assessable with a sedan motor. This include the tar road to the towers. Apart from these roads the are very view roads roads and the are all 4 x 4 vehicle roads. If one have a vehicle with a high Clarence one would be able to drive on them. I did not once have to change my vehicle to diff-lock. Neither did my son have to change to 4 x 4 with his bake.

A visit to Marakele is diffidently worth it.


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 Post subject: Steyn's trip. Marakele 26/12 to 01/01/07
Unread postPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:24 pm 
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Part 3



Image

The elephant that we saw.

The weather during our visit was actually very nice. We only had two really warm days, on the day off our arrival and the day of our departure. The rest of the time it was either overclouded with short periods when the sun break trough and then it was really hot, or it was raining.

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soaking wet ostrich male and female.

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Ostrich babies that spend the night in camp

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Mountain covered in cloud blanked.

On our way down to Matlabas Zyn Kloof on the 4 x 4 route we came across this steam.

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Notice the colour of the water. (It looks as if the parks board has issued all the animal corps with soap to wash. Witch they did, probably a bit higher up the steam.) Some sort of chemical must have washed down with the water. I have never seen this before.

At Matlabas Zyn Kloof I took a photo of this palm tree.

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Totally out of context with the rest of the vegetation. It’s a clear indication that somewhere in the past there was a homestead. I just wonder how did they get down the mountain with out 4 x 4 vehicle and how long did it take them to travel down the mountain and up again.

On two afternoons, of course there was a lady doing Yoga in the nude! On the second day My neighbour wanted to know what is going on, I told him that she tanning her cheeks, he was of the opinion that nobody will believe him if he tell this story and took a photo whilst she was standing on her hands and knees.

One day we visited the bush camp, as the call of nature was really big. What a disappointment to see the condition that it was in. Some of the hut door was standing open and the inside was covered with bird and dassie dung.. The condition of the toilet was shocking, there were even women under wear lying around and no running water. Luckily we had our own toilet paper with us. Is it possible that the bush camp is only maintained and cleaned when they expect guests?

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Busch camp hut.


The second last day with our arrival back at the camp the fun really started. A young lady took out a violin and stated plying on it next to the fence on the inside of the camp. A blouwildebeest standing on the outside of the camp gave a warning grunt, shook his head, you only saw saliva from his mouth flying in all directions, stamped his front feet on the ground. This kept on for some time. The blouwildeeast grunting, shaking his head and stamping his feet on the ground and she kept on paying her violin. It really looked as if she was trying to teach the animals to dance. Every body that witnessed it could not stop laughing.

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Sun set
Later that night as we had our dinner six rhino’s where feeding just outside the camp.

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The next moment I heard a sound of grass being cut, when I looked up the rhino who was injured a couple of days before, was feeding not 5 meters away from me. I never saw him moving closer to me. I got a fright of my life; with one movement I was standing on the other side of my bakkie, placed my tray with food on the bakkie opened the door and went for my camera. (Why I went for my camera I don’t know) I did all of this with out spilling my food on the ground.

Still in shock I started taking photographs of the animal only to realise that the flash is not working. With shaking hand I have put the flash on without adjusting the camera and took another two photo’s. Needless to say it was not very good photos. The rhino did not like this and moved closer to my chair behind the bakkie where I sat moments before enjoying my meal. I then realised that my Johnny Walker were still standing next to my chain. I spoke out and told the Rhino, don’t you dare to drink my whisky “boetie” because then it will be you and me. (An idle threat) I don’t know what I would have done if he did. Maybe offer him another one? And joined him. Eventually he went of and almost tripped on the tent ropes of my caravan. To my amazement my pants were still clean. This incident made me realise that I can still jump at my age.

In short, Marakele is breath taking beautiful. But it is not our beloved Kruger.


Last edited by Pieter Steyn on Mon Jan 15, 2007 8:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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