Marakele - August 2017

Tell us about your breathtaking experiences in the parks
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

One of the many joys of visiting South Africa is the diversity of ecozones and ecosystems ranging from mountains, forests, deserts and coastlines. Among all of these are various national parks, preserving the flora and fauna for all of us to enjoy. Consequently, each park is unique.

So, to broaden our experience of such wealth, this 'place of sanctuary' in the middle of the Waterberg had to be visited. We booked one night in Bontle and two nights in Tlopi at the very end of August 2017. Before departing Barry, Hilda and Isinkwe warned us that it would be very different. A good enough reason! The thought of seeing new bird species appealed to me.

So after about four hours from Jo'burg, we reached Marakele. :clap:
SA2017-0829-111414.jpg


At first I found the maps, which are not to scale, rather confusing as the park is sooooo much smaller than others we have been to. What we thought might be longish drives turned out to be the opposite. :wall: :doh:

Image

So we settled in to Safari tent no 1 in the unfenced camp . The accommodation suited our requirements and the kitchen was well equipped. You will see from the pictures that it was built with materials more solid than canvas and was also caged in, obviously to prevent monkeys from entering.

SA2017-0829-122107.jpg


SA2017-0829-122507.jpg


SA2017-0829-122553.jpg


SA2017-0829-122538.jpg


SA2017-0829-122255.jpg


SA2017-0829-122304.jpg


tbc............
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Thank you Karin Mitton, Kendall M, salamanda, Mischief, manicwalker, Meandering Mouse, gatita, isinkwe, Matthys, CoS and Pumbaa for climbing on board. :gflower:

With so many joining this journey, we need to have plenty of supplies ........
ImageImage :popcorn:

As we had a couple of hours before needing to set up the braai, we left this view
Image

and headed off out to explore and see what was around. As I have mentioned already, the distances are small and before we knew it we had reached Bollonoto bird hide, despite having to drive carefully.The roads are not as good as in the Kruger, but that's fine. After all, we are in the middle of the bush. The water level was very low. Consequently there was very little about.

Image

During our meanders along the various drives and loops we saw

swallow-tailed bee-eaters. It was lovely to see them again after two years
Image

wildebeeste
SA2017-0829-132606.jpg


a woodpecker
Image

some grey go-away birds which seemed to be less shy than their Kruger cousins
SA2017-0829-135817.jpg


a squirrel
SA2017-0829-141613.jpg


a yet-to-be-id'd LBJ.......any ideas :hmz:
Image

some zebbies
SA2017-0829-142115.jpg


green woodhoopoe investigating the contents of a tree
SA2017-0829-142852.jpg


legs looking like trees!
SA2017-0829-143856.jpg


crowned lapwing
SA2017-0829-143923.jpg


ostrich
SA2017-0829-144803.jpg


After enjoying our braai, we sat listening to the sounds of the bush. A scops owl was calling. So we attracted its attention by calling back. It just had to investigate.

Image

And so to sleep in Marakele. :zzz :zzz
Last edited by umtali1 on Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:31 pm, edited 2 times in total.
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Many thanks for your interest in our trip :gflower:

Before continuing, here is another shot of the pipit in the previous episode.
Image

The next morning, Inyanga 1 went to make coffee and discovered we had a visitor.

Image
Image

We set off exploring this side of the park before going to the gate to get the key for the Tlopi safari tent.

Image

On our way round we saw lots of birds. It's a great place for ticking off new species.
Marico flycatchers, we think

Image
Image
Image

White bellied sunbirds

Image

Southern white crowned shrikes. This was only the second time we'd seen this species. Both occasions this year!

Image

Might these be red billed queilias?

Image

We also saw crimson breasted bushshrikes - such a splash of colour!

A family of banded mongooses were very busy going about their business.

Image

They were difficult to capture on camera as they're constantly on the move :lol:

There were butterflies too.

Image

It looks like a leaf!

After collecting the key from reception, we headed off to the other side of the park through the gate and on to a tarred road in the depth of the african veld. Why? :hmz: The reason became apparent later.

Image

tbc.......
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

We arrived at Tlopi.

Image

A family of ellies were having great fun in the dam, so that delayed our settling in to Hamerkop.

Image

Image

Image

Another ellie came down for a drink.

Image

We enjoyed our meal looking at this wonderful view of a portion of the Waterberg mountains. Mountains are fascinating as the colours and shadows are constantly changing. I can while away many hours just looking at them. BIG SIGH :D :D :D

Image

Image

Image

In the next episode we shall set out for the Lenong Pass.............

tbc.......
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Ascending the Lenong Pass

The next morning dawned beautiful and clear. Before heading off up the Lenong Pass, where we were hoping to see cape vultures soaring on the thermals, Inyanga 1 saw some black ducks - another lifer for us

Image

This relic of the dinosaur age was ambling along minding his business

Image

Image

:big_eyes: HEALTH WARNING - SERIOUS OVER INDULGENCE OF SCENERY SHOTS! :big_eyes:

We were very impressed with the spectacular scenery. For someone who loves mountains, I was in "seventh heaven." (Hilda, I hope you're holding on tight :k Isinkwe, these are for you when your views were obscured by fog :whistle: )

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

We were puzzled why we had a wi-fi signal at Tlopi camp - a place miles from nowhere - as well as the tarred road :hmz: :hmz: The explanation is in this picture!!

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

While enjoying the views from the top we chatted to a visitor, who visits the park regularly, about the narrow track up the Lenong Pass, saying how relieved we were not to have met any ellies en route. He had encountered some once and had had to reverse several hundred metres to let them by. :big_eyes: :shock: (It is single track with very few passing places, for those who don't know!)
Last edited by umtali1 on Sat Nov 18, 2017 1:24 pm, edited 1 time in total.
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
Karin Mitton
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 52450
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2014 10:56 am
Location: Jhb

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by Karin Mitton »

Beautiful photos umtali1,
I've heard about that track up the mountain - sounds interesting to say the least!
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

On top of the Lenong Pass

The drive up was well worthwhile, just to get this view

Image

In between watching the cape vultures riding the thermals,

Image

Image

Image

Image

mocking cliff chats, cape rockthrushes, cape buntings, familiar chat and dark-eyed bulbul provided us with lots of photo opportunities. Some more lifers for us :dance:

Mr and Mrs Mocking cliff chat

Image

Image

Mr and Mrs Cape rockthrush

Image

Image

Buntings - are they cape or female cinnamon breasted?

Image
Image

A familiar chat

Image

A dark-eyed bulbul

Image

Some interesting information about a rare butterfly

Image

tbc......
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

The descent of the Lenong Pass
:eviltreath: :eviltreath:
Image......

Before reaching the really scary bits, we saw this yet to be id'd LBJ.

Image

Hold on tight everyone and keep your eyes open Image......we were VERY close to the edge. :big_eyes: :big_eyes:

Inyanga 1 wasImage

Image

Almost straight down Image

Image
Image
Image
Image

Looking across the valley

Image

A little bit more of terra firma in the foreground overlooking Tlopi dam

Image

It really did feel like you'd been on a rollercoaster :sup: and was good to be on firm ground!

Image

Image

We were very pleased not to have come across these tracks

Image

and their owners on the way down. :great: Whew!

Image

More ellies

Image

Some impala resting in the shade

Image

A wattled lapwing

Image

and looking at the camp from opposite side of the dam

Image

tbc.....
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
inyanga 1
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1771
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:57 pm
Location: Comberton, nr Cambridge, UK

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

my SO exaggerated. . it was quite close to the edge. Those pics were taken by me out of my drivers door window - point the camera down and click. you can see what minimal edge there was....

I'm not sure umtali1 would contemplate even opening the window on the way down. She took the photos on the way up :cam:
A few TR's - 2016 Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps.. Cape to Namibia .. Mokala & KNP .More KNP.. .etc
last http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948
WYSIWIT - Photos aren't photoshop'd except for mono, sepia & cropping
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Once back at camp we enjoyed a restful afternoon watching the comings and goings of the park residents

A waterbuck living up to its name

Image

Image

A single buffalo

Image

A troop of baboons

Image

A natal spurfowl

Image

the african black ducks provided us with a fly past

Image

Image

Image

Image

As dusk started to fall this water monitor swam across on both evenings and landed on the bank right under our chalet.

Image

Image

So with the sun setting on the dam and our last night at Tlopi,

Image

time for another Inyanga 1 special

Image

Image

looking at this gorgeous view

Image

Tomorrow would be our .......tieth wedding anniversary.........
tbc
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Our final morning in Marakele and a pretty good place to spend a wedding anniversary.
We had arguably one of the best gifts ever......

Image

Image

Image

Image

This foliage intrigued Inyanga 1
Image

In what seemed a very short time, we were almost at the gate. :(

A marico flycatcher
Image

crimson breasted bushshrike
Image

yellow throated petronia
Image

bennett's woodpecker (?)
Image

Image

blue waxbill
Image

were there to send us on our way........

tbc with our reflections on this visit .........
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
inyanga 1
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1771
Joined: Fri Apr 30, 2010 6:57 pm
Location: Comberton, nr Cambridge, UK

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by inyanga 1 »

isinkwe wrote:...

What's that supper all about inyanga Image
Have you forgotten how to Image


MMM.
Image
I haven't yet come across a braai method for avos. As far as I know they would react the same way as braai'd jam jellies

Now the next course was as close as you can get to recycling... without the recycling.
Image

Others wouldn't know that this was the last day of a three week BIG family outing to SA.

Three generations in the party and guess what.. Ouma and Oupa had been donated the left over tins to use up (aka recycle) before we left SanParks ..

so it comprised :-
spiral spagetti (beloved by the grandees but obviously not braai'd on coals)
braai'd on coals potato frittas (beloved by the grandees)
braai'd on coals lamb chops (ditto)

I was not sacked as sjef van die dag so :dance:
A few TR's - 2016 Reis verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps.. Cape to Namibia .. Mokala & KNP .More KNP.. .etc
last http://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?&t=93948
WYSIWIT - Photos aren't photoshop'd except for mono, sepia & cropping
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Now for our final thoughts........

We had been warned to expect something very different, and that it certainly was. We were surprised at how quickly we travelled all the roads in both sections. Before we knew it we were back at base. We traversed the loops in the western section several times hoping to see more wildlife. :(

The roads were not up to standards as we had experienced in other parks, but that is to be expected in the wilds of the African bush. They were however quite usable.

We were disappointed at the small number of birds and herbivores that we came across in August. We expected to see large birds like raptors, korhaan, bustards, southern pied babblers, but, sadly, saw none. The only birding highlight was the cape vultures, mocking cliff chats, cape rockthrushes at the Lenong viewpoint.

There were very few large herbivores visible. :cry:
Perhaps they were all located near water sources miles away from the tourist roads. The waterhole and Bontle dam were dry. Presumably there are other drinking places in the wilderness areas. I know we were there in the dry season, but we did expect to find water at the points marked on the park map. I did hope to see more around Bontle especially as it’s unfenced.

The only permanent water source that we saw was at the dam at Tlopi. We did see ellies here once. Only single herbivores like buffalo, waterbuck and kudu came down to drink. :shock:

The carnivores must have been elsewhere too, as we saw no sign of any of them. :cry:

So, I ask the question “ Where Is the water for the animals to drink?
“There must be rivers traversing the park away from the areas accessible to visitors.”

We’re pleased that we’ve been and really appreciated the tranquility there. We enjoyed being right out in the bush, with no fences. We loved staying in the comfortable luxury tents.

The drive up to Lenong viewpoint was an unforgettable highlight :wink:

Would we return? I think we would visit some of the other smaller parks still on our bucket lists , as well as a couple of smaller parks, that are calling us to return, before going back to Marakele.
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
User avatar
isinkwe
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 4578
Joined: Thu Jun 03, 2010 11:27 am
Location: Between here and there

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by isinkwe »

inyanga 1 wrote:I haven't yet come across a braai method for avos.


imagesMVA1GLP1.jpg
imagesMVA1GLP1.jpg (10.69 KiB) Viewed 3750 times


I have not tried that myself yet inyanga , seems odd to cook avo , :hmz: but I suppose you never know until you try. I might give it a go , sort of test it out and let you know what its like :thumbs_up: ( I have been known to do many , many strange , weird and odd things :lol: :lol: )
Isn't it just amazing how potatoes give us fries and vodka? :D The rest of the vegetables should get their act together :rtm:
User avatar
umtali1
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Legendary Virtual Ranger
Posts: 10181
Joined: Mon Jul 04, 2011 1:34 pm
Location: Comberton, Cambridge UK ...rejoicing at the beauty of planet Earth.

Re: Marakele - August 2017

Unread post by umtali1 »

Christmas got in the way of finishing this story. :doh: :wall:

On reflection, it was worth going. The beauty of the mountains and the tranquility are its selling points. It was a complete contrast to the thrills of a family holiday (yes! 9 of us!) in the Kruger.

So, it's time to wind up SA trips for now. We'll leave you with a few shots of the sun setting on the mountains near Tlopi and a couple of our favourite pictures.
Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

Thank you everyone for your comments. :gflower: :gflower: Reading about other 'mites' experiences in the parks encourages us to broaden our horizons. Who knows where we will go next :whistle: :hmz:
:thanx:
umtali1

Marakele - August 2017
https://www.sanparks.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=27&t=101340

2016 Reis Verhaal from Kruger 'Bush' Camps
2013 Mokala and KNP,
2015 "Cape Town to Namibia border"
Locked