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Marakele: ADVICE

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Unread post by ruud » Mon Oct 06, 2008 8:27 pm

Hi Dries,

I don't want to be too negative but we visited Marakel last year after we've been many times to other parks in Zambia,Namibia and offcourse SA. And also many times to Kruger. Maybe our expectations were too high, but it is very small and although it should be big 5 area..we've only seen 2 ellies and 4 Rhino's. In the first part of Marakele lots of other animals (bokkies and zebra and so on) and the wild dogs were in a boma (not for visitors..) So yes we were a little disappointed. I prefer Kruger much more but I can imagine that other people don't share my vision... :hmz:

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Unread post by Sparks » Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:25 am

It is a totaly different experience

I can not agree with ruud as far as disappointment goes. It is as if you are going to Wimbledon and expect to see Michael Schumacher.

Marakele is a totally different experience, we did not see the rhino, they came to see us, right in the camp, unlike other parks the lower section does not contain anything that wants to eat you and there are no fences around Bontle camp giving the animals free reign to come and go as they please, bringing nature right to your doorstep.

I do not doubt that there are elephant as I saw plenty evidence on the road but for once I was not preoccupied looking for them but rather finding the little orphans normally overshadowed by their presence. There is a myriad of smaller animals and plants that gives one the same if not more pleasure.

In my book there is nothing to compare with the peace and tranquility of Bontle with a steak sizzling on the fire and warthog , kudu, wildebeest and rhino doing their thing meters away from you without having a hyena begging for scraps.

Marakele is not Kruger it is different but well worth a visit. If you want a guarantee for the big 5 try Johannesburg zoo if you want to experience nature at its best try Marakele and as a bonus with a smaller park the staff are truly passionate about their park.
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Unread post by Senyetse » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:31 am

I have a normal bakkie and believe that only a very small area is accesible for normal vehicles.

Most of Marekele is now sedan friendly. They have upgraded the roads. Lovely park but not for the Big 5 seekers.
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Unread post by naomi c » Tue Oct 07, 2008 9:38 am

I totally agree with Sparks.
Marakele is a wonderful Park and well worth a visit.
We have camped in Bontle many times - one of our favourite campsites.

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Unread post by JenB » Tue Oct 07, 2008 3:17 pm

Marakele is a big 5 park but it's also a reasonably new park. KNP has taken 110 years to get where it is and Marakele is still very young in comparison. You will have regular game sightings but will not see the big 5 around every corner like you do in LS for instance. If you want an exclusive "Big 5" experience, you might be disappointed but if you can appreciate the smaller game and in particular birds and a "out there" bush experience, you will be more than happy.
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Marakele- Birding

Unread post by Batmad » Wed May 27, 2009 9:17 am

Ok forumites....

i need your help please....

we are going to be going to marakele soon and i need advice on the birdlife there pleas!!!

please, please, please help me??


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Re: Marakele- Birding

Unread post by Boorgatspook » Wed May 27, 2009 9:36 am

Batmad, here's some links: Birding in Marakele National Park and a checklist

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Re: Marakele- Birding

Unread post by naomi c » Thu May 28, 2009 9:24 am

Hi Batmad!

When we were there in February I got a lifer - Shelley's Francolin on the tar road up to the Towers! :D

Where will you be staying? We always camp and just by walking around in the campsite you will see a lot of birds. Also in February there were Whitebrowed Sparrow Weavers nesting in the campsite and I have also seen Meyers Parrot in Bontle.

If you stay in Thlopi you have the added bonus of the dam in front of the tents where you may see some waterbirds. Apparently there are plans for building a birdhide on one of the dams in the Kwaggasvlakte section which will be very nice to have. Maybe you can find out if this has been started yet?

Enjoy - Marakele is great and I hope you find some bats too! :thumbs_up:

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Re: Marakele- Birding

Unread post by JoelR » Thu May 28, 2009 9:41 am

Hi Batmad.

Birding in Marakele is quite rewarding, because of the different habitats. In the lower areas, I'd recommend you just point your binos at everything that moves; many different bushveld species can be encountered! The real gems can be found on top of the Towers look out point. Park your car and take your time there. The view is stunning and the birds seem quite relaxed and can be studied from relatively closeby. Look out for groups of Cape Vulture flying overhead, check the rocks for hopping Cape Rock Thrush, Buff-streaked Chat, Mocking Cliff-Chat, Cape Bunting and Lazy Cisticola. In the sparse bushes on the summit, you might find the beautiful Malachite Sunbird and even Gurney's Sugarbird.


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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by cookie » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:21 pm

We love Marakele. We spent a week at Tlopi in December 2007 ( our first visit). It took us 3 hours from Four Ways, Joburg and we stopped off at Warm Baths for lunch on the way - it has a great restaurant area along a canal on the outskirts of town. Thabazimbi has a Pick and Pay where we got all our food and wood for the trip and we went there for top -ups of perishables. It also has a Wimpy for snacks. It is a nice town and only a small distance from the main gate to the park.
At Tlopi, we stayed in camp number 10 (Barbet) which is at the end of the dam and great for seeing animals coming down to drink - but all the tents have views. We had some incredible electric overnight storms but no water got into the tent and the next day it was warm and sunny - not too hot.
We saw Rhino, Elephant, Eland, Kudu and all the common buck. We also saw a 15 foot rock python kill an impala and get stuck in the boundry fence :shock: - we had to call the rangers to free it! We had an X Trail but you don't need a 4X4 or 2X4.
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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by Cassius » Fri Jul 03, 2009 11:56 am


Marakele National Park is subdivide into two sections, from the Gate you can use your normal sedan car however, on the other section we highly advice that you must use your 4x4 car due to the mountainous roads.
Please note that you can still arrange game drive with our game viewing cars available in Marakele National Park.

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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by phil82 » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:11 pm

Hi everyone,

we plan to go to Marakele in July 2010 during our visit to the world cup. After all that I've read on the official homepage and here in the forum I'm really excited about the park and also the Safari Tent which we plan to rent.

But now I'm a bit worried about the weather respectively the temperature there in July, how cold can it be then? And are there possibilities to heat the tent?

Thank you for your advice :)

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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by Imberbe » Tue Aug 11, 2009 9:29 pm

I just spent the weekend there. The days were lovely! The nights became freezing cold between 3-6 am.

I haven't stayed in those tents so I don't know whether they have heaters. I have stayed in similar tents in the other parks and know that they are not that good at keeping the heat in at night. They are made of a thick canvas. They are lovely to stay in, great atmosphere, and the tents at Marakele have a beautiful view!

I would suggest taking a small heater with you should be a good option. If you come from outside of SA you can buy an inexpensive blow heater at Thabazimbi the nearest town ... it would be worth it. :thumbs_up:
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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by Hippotragus » Tue Aug 11, 2009 10:05 pm

Hi Phil82

You will love Marakele. It is beautiful - amazing scenery.

We were in the Tlopi Tented Camp at the end of June this year. Never been so cold!! The tents are right on the dam. One morning - frost all around and car windows hard ice. We took extra sleeping bags to use as duvets, in addition to the blankets provided and just coped. There are no heaters - you are in a tent! The tents are very nice but, being just canvas, have no insulation. Shower worked well, so you can get warm in the morning. Just take plenty of warm clothes and extra blankets etc.

One morning we sat on our deck and watched a breeding herd of about 25 elephants come down to drink - almost within touching distance!
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Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by Seph » Mon Aug 24, 2009 6:42 am

Hi all,

I will be visiting the park in December. Planning to stay in the Tented Camp Thlopi. Can I ask is this part of the "wild" area?

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