Skip to Content

Marakele: ADVICE

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele
User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17062
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Marakele Visit 2010

Unread post by JenB » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:35 am

Hi Bous, welcome to the forum. :D

The two parts of Marakele has been joined and you do not have to leave the park in order to get to the "other side". :wink:

Have a look at my Trip report, I tried to include as much info as possible.
More Marakele Trip reports.

Marakele is a lovely park with many surprizes, enjoy!
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17062
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Marakele Visit 2010

Unread post by JenB » Tue Sep 01, 2009 8:20 am

Hang on..... I'll ask. :wink:

*Edit*
Didn't have to ask, there you go:
Marakele 4x4 Eco Trail
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

LEIGHVLASSO
Posts: 27
Joined: Tue Mar 07, 2006 11:23 am
Location: Benoni, South Africa

Marakele 1st time

Unread post by LEIGHVLASSO » Thu Sep 10, 2009 10:07 am

Hi everyone

I've booked to go to Marakele, camping this weekend. We are usually Kruger fanatics going up every 3 months -but cant manage to make it out there due to work lately, so we are trying something closer just to get away.

I know that Marakele isnt Kruger and i dont expect to see what we do there, but after reading some posts on the forum i'm quite disappointed at all that has been said.

Are the big 5, cheetah, wilddog etc still in the park - the forum reports are quite contradictory. Can anyone also pls send me a link to what current census has been done on game in this park? :huh:

Also what is the km and approx travel time from Johannesburg - Benoni to the park.

Any response will be appreciated.

Thanx
Leigh
"To my mind, the life of a lamb is no less precious than that of a human being. I should be unwilling to take the life of a lamb for the sake of the human body."
--M Gandhi

woodlin
Posts: 53
Joined: Mon Jan 28, 2008 9:03 am
Location: Mentally travelling in Kruger

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by woodlin » Thu Sep 10, 2009 11:56 am

Hi Leighvlasso. I am also a Kruger purist and nothing can and ever will match it. We went to Marakele earlier this year and although somewhat disappointed for the reasons given below, it is still a beautiful spot!

No - the Big 5 are not there. No buffalo. They say there are lion, but I have my serious doubts! The Big 5 were apparently in the upper section of the reserve - where you camp, are just antelope, rhino etc. The Ellie (we saw one lone bull and were seriously charged!), leopard (there must be in those mountains), and lion ( :huh: ) as I say are in the upper section whic you access through a motorised gate. We stayed at the tented camp which was beautiful and the trip up to the Vulture nesting site, although quite a scary adventure, has aewsome scenery.

There are also no cheetah nor wild dog. My complaint was that the reserve is marketed badly as they still promise the Big 5 on brochures.

No doubt you will see some lovely game, but I will not easliy go back there - would rather drive the extra 2 hours to Malelane!

I know some of the forum memebrers will shout me down for my negative comments, but that's just this Kruger one-and-only be loyal!

:D
"And there is a silence beneath the trees, the living silence of continuous sound"

User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17062
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by JenB » Thu Sep 10, 2009 12:59 pm

Hi Leigh,

There are lions in Marakele but I believe that they keep to the northern area of Marakele which is away from the tourist roads. I have seen a photo of a male on one of the trip reports though. Leopard has been spotted on the top of the mountain before but sightings are not very regular. All the buffalo were removed from Marakele during 2009 because they tested positive for sentinel disease which is fatal to the cattle population surrounding Marakele. They were moved to Isimangaliso Wetland Park and an 18 month buffalo free period need to be maintained before they can be reintroduced. All the wilddogs were moved to Kruger because they kept on breaking out and came in conflict with the neighbours surrounding the park. I know of one member who has been lucky enough to see cheetah on the paved road just beyond the entrance to the "big 5" area. The elephant population seems to be doing well and they are regularly being seen particularly from Tlope when they come down to the dam to drink.

We are planning a trip again during October for about 4 or hopefully 5 days. I cannot wait to get back there because it is a totally different experience to Kruger. We are the ones creating the traffic jam just watching a dungbeetle struggling to roll it's ball uphill and we can sit quietly within our own thoughts just waiting for birds or anything else to show up. I enjoy watching the wildebeest and rhinos watching us from just beyond the light of the fire, not tame and not begging for food but just completely at ease with our presence. Seeing the springhare feeding close to the tent or the bushbabies in the tree above gives me the same pleasure as watching a pride of lions. I'm looking forward to camping in Bontle again, I feel blessed being able to watch the stars or listen to natures music without human interference. Marakele is so very rich in all the little things we so often overlook in search of the bigger stuff.

I do agree with Woodlin. :wink:
From reading your post I think you will be disappointed visiting Marakele, nothing wrong with that, just different strokes for different folks as the saying goes. :wink: Rather drive the extra two hours to Malelane and feel happy and rejuvenated when you return.
Hope you have a whale of a time wherever you decide to go. :D

We'll be watching for a trip report. :D
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

User avatar
Back to Nature
Posts: 59
Joined: Fri May 15, 2009 1:26 pm

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Back to Nature » Thu Sep 10, 2009 1:44 pm

Ok so Marakele is not well known for its big 5. For me just being there is enough. The camping and the tented camp are both amazing. There are not many places where you can go and in the middle of the night have a munching sound outside your tent and on further investigation find that there is a rhino eating your front lawn. We had a great time there. We would lay in our tent with the door open facing the waterhole the one morning we saw 5 rhino, A jackal, zebra, kudu, giraffe, warthog and squirrels all just laying in our tent.

In July we stayed at the tented camp and wow what a treat we had elephant right on the other side of the gate that you open and we didn’t want to open it in case he made a run for it. we didn’t see lions but we heard them every night which was amazing.

It isnt Kruger but it is still AMAZING.
Life is like a box of chocolates.

User avatar
Imberbe
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 13619
Joined: Wed Aug 31, 2005 12:28 am
Location: Pretoria, RSA

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Imberbe » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:28 pm

If you want to see the big 5 ... go to Kruger.

If you want to experience a beautiful park, see some amazing mountain scenery, spot quite a lot of animals and birds that do not occur in the lowveld, really experience rhino and ostrich close up, enjoy an amazing array of different plant species and have a wonderful break away ... go to Marakele.

The one offers what the other can't.
Imberbe = Combretum imberbe = Leadwood = Hardekool = The spirit of the Wildernis!

Want to know more about the SANParks Honorary Rangers? Visit www.sanparksvolunteers.org


One positive deed is worth more than a thousand critical words.

User avatar
Pjw
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2180
Joined: Sun Jan 20, 2008 2:52 pm
Location: Africa's Largest City

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Pjw » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:48 pm

Kruger and Marakele cannot be compared. They are very different. As has been said, you are unlikely to see the big 5, but that's not why you are there. Look at the smaller stuff the scenery and the birds. You will relax and come back to the big city refreshed. Just DON'T expect Kruger's abundance of game and you won't be disappointed. We truly enjoyed our trip there a few years back and are planning to go back in the near future.
"In the end we conserve only that which we love, we love only that which we understand, we understand only that which we are taught"
(Baba Dioum, Senegalese Ecologist)

Hippotragus
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 2742
Joined: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:15 pm
Location: Kyalami, South Africa.

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Hippotragus » Thu Sep 10, 2009 2:49 pm

We had our first visit to Marakele at the end of June this year. We stayed in the Tlopi tented camp. Had, literally, freezing weather but really enjoyed every moment.

First night heard lion (staff told us lions are often near the camp). Next morning sat on our deck and watched a breeding herd of 25 elephants come down to drink. Had a wonderful drive up to the viewpoint - really spectacular.

The wild dogs (as far as I know) were relocated to Tuli Block in Botswana and are flourishing. I heard that they have produced two litters.

Marakele is not KNP. It must be taken for what it is. The scenery is beautiful, the trees amazing, and it is slow-paced and relaxing. Well worth a visit - we will certainly go back.
Skukuza 1-4 March 2018 (Cricket weekend!!)
Lower Sabie 4 March 2018
Satara 5-9 March 2018

User avatar
Thunderbird7
Posts: 54
Joined: Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:41 pm
Location: In a Cornish Smugglers cottage - or KNP

Marakele Which Gate?

Unread post by Thunderbird7 » Fri Sep 11, 2009 8:43 am

Hi folks, I'm visiting Marakele next week for the first time and planning to stay at Bontle campsite. I'm driving up from Sandton and just want to check where the best gate to enter is - the maps on here are not very detailed!!

Do I drive up via Thabazimbi and enter from that direction - also, I understand the gate shuts at 1600?

Thanks guys. :huh:

User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17062
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Marakele Which Gate?

Unread post by JenB » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:07 am

Hi Thunderbird7,

Yip, you drive through Thabazimbi, the road is signposted. The Main entrance is only about 15km ahead. Bontle camp is quite close to the gate.
:hmz: I'm not sure about the closing time, will see if I can find the info. :wink:

Have a wonderful time!! :dance:
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

User avatar
JenB
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Distinguished Virtual Ranger
Posts: 17062
Joined: Sun Oct 07, 2007 1:41 pm
Location: Johannesburg - where they cut down trees and name streets after them.

Re: Marakele Which Gate?

Unread post by JenB » Fri Sep 11, 2009 9:15 am

Here you go. :wink:

Office Hours
07:30 to 17:00 - 1 May to 31 August
07:30 to 18:00 - 1 September to 30 April

Day Visitors
Entrance from 07:30 to 16:00. No need to book in advance. Currently there is no limit on number of people per day. 4x4 routes as well as routes for sedan vehicles are open to day visitors.


I think as an overnight visitor you can enter until gate closing time. We arrived at 16-50 and were let in no problem (was in May).
"Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened." ~ Anatole France

User avatar
Sparks
Senior Virtual Ranger
Senior Virtual Ranger
Posts: 1874
Joined: Wed Apr 23, 2008 3:02 am
Location: Suburbia

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Sparks » Sat Sep 19, 2009 11:22 pm

@ G@mespotter

If you are camping at Bontle, doing some stargazing after dark and you hear a crunching sound behind you it could be one of two things, 1 a big grey heavy with a can opener on its nose or 2 a miniature kangaroo like animal doing its best to keep the grass short, a springhare. We were privileged to have both rhino and springhare in the camp and seemingly not afraid of humans.

As for the rest, birding is awesome and you will have a ball and the aardvark :hmz: well think of it this way, if you don't see them they might just see you :D

Definitely NOT kruger but who needs all those people in any case :thumbs_up:

Enjoy :mrgreen:
Adventure is out there. Go find it

Cassius
Guru
Guru
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Marakele: ADVICE

Unread post by Cassius » Tue Sep 22, 2009 7:56 am

Marakele National Park; does not only provide the good landscape and majestic mountains; it also provide facilities that; are of interest to all our clients, from Bontle camping site to Tlopi Tented camp and the New 4x4 trail that is very breathtaking and worth taking. Marakele has really become the park of interest to all the wild adventures
SANParks
Regional Communications Officer

Cassius
Guru
Guru
Posts: 65
Joined: Fri Jun 08, 2007 2:16 pm
Location: Pretoria

Re: Marakele 1st time

Unread post by Cassius » Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:19 am

Hi Leigh

In addition to what has been said by other forum members; here are some of the activities you can seek when you in Marakele; Sunset drive; 4x4 Adventure Trail and Guided Bush walk

You can also look for the following

• Cape Vulture
• Leopard
• Silver Sugarbush
• Common Reedbuck
SANParks
Regional Communications Officer


Return to “Northern Parks”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

Webcam Highlights

Addo
Submitted by MacDragon at 08:14:59
orpen
Submitted by Pikkewyn101 at 08:43:44
satara
Submitted by Pikkewyn101 at 08:51:47
nossob
Submitted by MacDragon at 08:13:15