I have not been able to post this TR easily on the site, so will do it over 3 posts…
I was in Marakele for a few days in early Feb. To start with, unfortunately there is limited information about Marakele, and if you are not South African, the lack of info makes a visit to Marakele an even greater challenge. I did get the maximum info and knowledge about Marakele from this forum, so here is my bit to add to the info about Marakele.
I would like to make a suggestion for Sanparks – the map of Marakele needs some working on and you need to add distances between various points on the map – I did get confused more than once and while I am a bit daft when it comes to navigational skills, I would request some work to go into this.
Anyone wanting to visit Marakele should consider a 4x4 or at least a SUV with higher ground clearance. There are limited paths to traverse in the park and a normal sedan would struggle at some stretches.
We stayed at the Tlopi camp, which is in the ‘big 5’ section of the park. The ‘small 5’ section of the park has the popular Bontle Camping site and a fair amount of game in terms of zebra, giraffe, various antelopes and rhino. ( The terms big 5 and small 5 sections are from the park map and do not mean to offend anyone
)Driving from the entrance gate thru the ‘small 5’ section we also spotted a baby rhino with Big Momma running away after a mud bath – unfortunately the pic is not sharp.
Once we crossed over into the ‘big 5’ section, it took ages for us to spot any animal in the thick bush and hilly terrain. We decided to leave the hill climb for the next day and instead drive around the Mdibi loop and there our first surprise sighting of the trip – a herd of eland
. We saw the usual suspects but little else in terms of animal sightings which could in any way cause a cheer to be raised.
However the drive around was an experience by itself and the tented accommodation at Tlopi which is unfenced, more than makes up for the lack of game. It is serene and has a magnificent view. There was a resident cormorant – I am guessing resident since it did not leave its tree perch in the dam for the 3 days that we were there – but did not spot any fish eagles. Even though I read a fair bit about the monkey menace, we did not encounter any problems whatsoever – we did notice that someone had pushed a chair under the fridge handle
, presumably to keep the monkeys at bay.
To be continued...