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Marakele: ADVICE

Golden Gate, Mapungubwe, Marakele
wessie
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Joined: Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:35 pm
Location: Cape Town

Marakele 4x4 Trail

Unread post by wessie » Tue Nov 20, 2007 12:43 pm

Hi all,

Can anyone provide some info on the new 4x4 trail in Marakele?

Do you have to book?
Cost?
Grading?
Time requered?
Anyone who has done this; is it worth it?

I tried to call them a couple of times, but the line is so bad, I can hardly hear them.

Thanks

T-Anne
Posts: 1
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:36 pm
Location: Pretoria

Marekele

Unread post by T-Anne » Sun Dec 09, 2007 2:42 pm

I'll be a first time visitor to Marekele on the 17th of December. I'm just a little worried that so much is said about 4x4 routes. Is there much for non- 4x4 vehicles (i.e. VW Polo) ?
T-Anne

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Senyetse
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Unread post by Senyetse » Mon Dec 10, 2007 7:48 am

Hi T-Anne

I haven't been to Marekele yet (going soon) but I'm sure I read a press release the other day stating that many of the roads in Marekele are now sedan friendly. The Marekele website still says that most roads are 4x4 but I think they have not updated the site.

Here's the news item
Dec '11 - Storms River
June '12 - Berg-en-Dal

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ruud
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Re: Marekele

Unread post by ruud » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:03 am

Hi Anne,

we've been there in september this year, also for the first time.
The first part of the park is no problem at all. You can drive there with any vehicle. The second part, were you can find the tented camp, is a little different. You can make a game drive for about 1 of 1,5 hour, without needing a 4x4. But you also have 2 dead-endroads. One is going to the towers and this-one was a 4x4 but is tarred now, but sometimes very narrow...but you must have a strong engine,
and the other one is a 4x4 for sure, don't try it in a Volkswagen Polo.
Although people told us that there are also lion leopard wild dogs and so on, we were a little disappointed. We have been in many parks troughout southern africa and maybe we expected to much. And it is a small park. We saw a lot of antilope and some rhino in de first part of the park, but in the second part just 2 eli's and sebra and so on but no predators at all. The wild dogs were in a boma so not for the public.
Maybe we just had no luck during our visit so I hope you will have more luck :wink:

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RichardS
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Re: Marekele

Unread post by RichardS » Mon Dec 10, 2007 10:50 am

Hi T-Anne,

You car will be fine in Marakele. Most of the gravel roads are graded so a 4x4 is not required.

ruud wrote:Although people told us that there are also lion leopard wild dogs and so on, we were a little disappointed. We have been in many parks troughout southern africa and maybe we expected to much. And it is a small park. We saw a lot of antilope and some rhino in de first part of the park, but in the second part just 2 eli's and sebra and so on but no predators at all. The wild dogs were in a boma so not for the public.
Maybe we just had no luck during our visit so I hope you will have more luck :wink:


Rudd, we found that the drive up to the towers was spectacular and the best game viewing was sitting in our camp site at Bontle overlooking the waterhole.

Cheers
"The real adventure begins in earnest when things go a little wrong....." - Bear Grylls
16/12 Mokala NP
17/12 - 21/12 Karoo NP
30/12 - 02/01 Bontebok NP
02/01 - 07/01 Mountain Zebra NP
07/01 - 10/01 Mokala NP

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giraffee
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Location: Pretoria South Africa

Unread post by giraffee » Mon Dec 10, 2007 11:40 am

Hello T-Anne
We were at Marakele, the previous weekend. :mrgreen:
The dirt roads are now one big pleasure!

The once 4x4 route past the bush camp, underneath the mountain, at the back of Tlopi camp, has been transformed into a beautiful dirt road; any sedan can easily travel here.
I’ve already forgotten the name of the drive :redface: . You’ll see it on the map you receive at the gate.
Enjoy enjoy!
(The wild dogs are going back to Botswana, where they came from. Apparently they killed a lot of live stock outside the park.)

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ruud
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Re: Marekele

Unread post by ruud » Mon Dec 10, 2007 5:47 pm

Hi Richard,
we stayed at Tlopi tented camp, very beautifull place to stay but as I sayed, not much game, but you cannot always be lucky :wink:

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Senyetse
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Unread post by Senyetse » Tue Mar 25, 2008 8:20 am

We just returned from a 4 day stay at Bontle Camp Site at Marekele.
As mentioned, best game viewing is around the camp site, in the smaller non-big 5 area. Game is a lot less scarce in the big 5 area due to the terrain and veld type on that side. I would say that a 3 day stay is ideal for this park. Unfortunately there are no self-guided walking trails and I found birds to be quite scarce in the camp site and picnic site. However, I'm sure if you set your mind to it (which I must admit I did not really do) you should have satisfactory birding. It would have been nice if the area around the camp site only contained non-dangerous game and if several self-guided trails were provided. The vegetation simply begs to be explored on foot which one cannot do due to the presence of white rhino. I believe guided walks are available but one would like to freedom of a self-guided walk.

One word of warning, the road up to the Sentech towers is quite long, in some sections very very narrow and not recommended for those with a fear of heights. I was constantly worrying what to do if I met an oncoming vehicle. There are some places where the road is extremely narrow and overtaking would be impossible, you have an abyss to the one side a cliff to the other! One of the vehicles would have to reverse until one found a spot to overtake and there are not very many in some stretches. The view from the towers is spectacular and the mountain birds are also plentiful. But other than that there are no facilities and I am not too fond of the presence of the towers and the associated noise.

We saw a fair number of game, all the general game, giraffe, several white rhinos, a black backed jackal, a chameleon, and several birds. Strangely we saw no raptors apart from the vultures. No elephants, although the signs were everywhere. In the larger big 5 area we saw a fair number of animals just to the north of Tlopi camp but on the road to the Sentech towers we saw only baboons.

A big shortcoming of the park in my opinion is the lack of picnic and toilet facilities, there is only one picnic site and that is close to the entrance gate at the picnic site. There is nothing in the larger section of the park . Also the map and road signs give no indication of distances and do not seem to be to scale. Also do not waste any time going to the environmental education and information centres, we could not find them as there were no signs in the area where they should have been. We drove all the way to the fence and then had to do a u-turn. Where are these places? All we saw was a neglected looking house and another which looked lik a private residence, no signs whatsover. The photocopied map provided is also outdated. It would be nice if Marekele could put a bit more effort into their maps and road signs. We also saw old gates and bricks lying around, something that makes the place look untidy and neglected.
All roads (except the 4x4 trail) are very good and are easily accessible in a sedan.

Marekele is a park that has so much potential as a tourist destination but lacks in facilities and the touches that could make it a great park instead of just a nice one. The landscapes and vegetation however are spectacular. If you're a foreign tourist with very little time in SA, rather go to Kruger. But if you just love being in the bush and enjoy the diversity of nature then Marekele will not disappoint.
Dec '11 - Storms River
June '12 - Berg-en-Dal

pkennett
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camping at Bontile

Unread post by pkennett » Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:39 am

I am arriving this weekend (April 4-6) at the Bontile camp site. I have a few questions:

1. Does the campsite have a brai?
2. Does the campsite allow open fires or brai only?
3. Is there a freezer to store food?
4. Is the campsite fenced or open? If open, is there any danger that hyenas or other preditors wonder into the campground after dark? I am an astronomer and would like to be outside late at night – and I do not wish to be eaten.

For those who have camped there, is there a particular spot in the tent area that would be better for astronomy? I am bringing a large telescope for astrophotography and need a dark area with a good view of the sky.

Thanks for any advice!

Peter
------------------------
Peter Kennett
www.PetesAstrophotography.com
------------------------

naomi c
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Unread post by naomi c » Mon Mar 31, 2008 12:28 pm

Hi pkennett and welcome to the forums.

Each campsite has its own braai and open fires are allowed.

There are no fridge/freezer facilities - only kitchenfacility available is for dishwashing.

The campsite is not fenced. The only "dangerous" animals in the Bontle section are the rhino's which sometimes enter the campsite area.

Your best option for stargazing would be the campsites that face onto the waterhole - to your left when entering the campgrounds.

Enjoy and hope the weather is kind to you - cloudless nights with lots of stars.

naomi c
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Unread post by naomi c » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:23 pm

One cannot book a specific campsite - it's on a first come first serve basis.

The campsites facing the waterhole are usually the popular ones. I have not checked availability for this coming weekend, but try to be there as early as possible on Friday.

pkennett
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Joined: Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:26 am

Unread post by pkennett » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:33 pm

Rats!

I have to work on Friday until 2Pm and then it takes just over 2 hours to get there.

What time is the latest I can arrive?

Peter
------------------------

Peter Kennett

www.PetesAstrophotography.com

------------------------

naomi c
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Unread post by naomi c » Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:47 pm

According to the website the office is open until 18h00.

It seems like Bontle is not (yet) fully booked for the weekend. I am sure that you will get a nice campsite. All of them are nice - it is just that those facing the waterhole are more in the open.

Teresadfp
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Joined: Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:37 pm

Marakele vs. Kruger

Unread post by Teresadfp » Mon Apr 21, 2008 9:42 pm

I'm in the United States, and was fortunate to get to visit Kruger for 4 days in 2005 with my two sons and parents. Now I get to go to SA again in November, this time with my parents and 10-year-old daughter. My dad's friend, who took us through Kruger last time, is asking if we would like to try something different this time, and suggested Marakele. Do you think my daughter would enjoy this park? Are there other places in SA you would recommend for seeing animals?

Thanks so much for your help!

Teresa


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