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Marakele: ADVICE

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Marakele distance and time

Unread post by glynsay » Sun May 27, 2007 6:21 pm

Hi Everyone,

I am wanting to go to Marakele next weekend. Problem is I can only leave Bruma lake at 15h00. I will be towing a caravan. Will I be able to make Marakele before the gates etc close? I believe they close at 18h00. Is that also correct?

I plan going via Warmbaths. Is this the better route or is the Brits route better.

Do they have late entry permits at all like Kruger.

Sorry for so many questions. Any help would be appreciated.



Glynn and Lindsay

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marakele distance and time.

Unread post by Pieter Steyn » Sun May 27, 2007 8:02 pm

Hallo Glynsay

During the winter months the gates close at 17H30.

From Pretoria via Brits on the platinum highway the distance is 270km. It is properly the best rout to follow. Do not know the distance via Warmbad.

If you leave at 15hoo, it leave you with two and a half hours. I do not think that you will make it in time as you have to go through 2 toll gates. Seeing it is over a weekend and it is also the end of the month weekend, you will encounter traffic.

As for the late entry permit you will have to phone Marakele.There telephone number (014) 777-1745 or 083 564 6255

Bontle Caravan & Camping Site is close to the entry gate. If they do allow you to enter late, there will be enough electrical lights to set up camp. I would suggest that you try and set up camp in the Sable loop as it is next to the water hole and all the animals visit it. Remember that the camp is not fenced in that the Rhino's and other animals enter the camp at will.

I would suggest that you leave at the latest at 14Hoo if you can. Marakele is very beautiful and is definitely worth visiting.

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Unread post by Shidzidzii » Mon May 28, 2007 2:29 pm

Via warmbaths is the beter route because the road from warmbaths past leeukop to thabazimbi is low traffic whereas the road from brits to thabazimbi is very high density traffic .

but you realy need about 3 hours non-stop , so try for the late arrival option or leave earlier .

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Unread post by dianne » Tue May 29, 2007 6:32 pm

I will have to post about my adventures in Marakele in a little Corsa Lite :lol: I must say though the little car came through for me...but I´m looking forward to a little more accessibilty, at least till I can get something a bigger and higher...thanks Hendrick :D

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Recent trip at the end of May

Unread post by eladn » Sun Jun 10, 2007 9:30 am

We spent a night in Tlopo at the end of May.

The road to the towers (Can somebody explain me why there are AM/FM/Microwave antennas swarming the top of this drive, after which it is named?) was narrow, but we saw many klipspringers and rock daisies around (which was nice, since we missed Augrabies falls NP because of our KTP vehicle breakdown) but now vultures.

Tlopi tented camp was nice but somewhat basic, there is apparently a resident civet around, which popped for a visit while we were preparing dinner.

The access road was barely accessible with a sedan (Nissan Almera), and when you park near the tent you are decending down a soft sand ramp, and going up the next day you have no traction going up with a 2X4, I had to zig-zag around with a fixed torque around the loose sand and somehow managed to get through, but it was not a nice experience.

The tent becomes very cold at night. we also made the mistake of putting the food inside the sleeping tent, since the kitchen was open (always place food inside closed cupboards, and never in the sleeping quarters). I am very sensitive to small noises (this is how I located the civet) and woke at the middle of the night hearing floor-boards creaking (probably due to the wind) and our plastic bags rustling. I thought I was just hearing ghosts, but after a while I decided to get up with a torch and look around, and 5 seconds later I spotted 2 field mice eating through our bread. They obviously came through a crack between the tent flap and the end of the floor-board (I notified the Marakele reception about it the morning after).

The other section of Marakele, which you access from the reception, had nice viewings at early morning which included Tsessebe, white rhino, ostrich, jackel, Kudo, Impala.

Most of the roads are easily accessible by sedans, one around the picnic spot requires more care but is nevertheless still sedan accessible. There were a couple of roads under grading which will probably be sedan accessible after the work is finished. There were a couple more roads signed as "4X4" without any machines around, so these might stay 4X4.


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Unread post by Owl » Mon Jun 11, 2007 3:30 pm

Dear Zypresse,

I stayed at the wheelchair friendly tent from the 9th to the 14th of May this year. I am a paraplegic and I was I was in a 2x4 Honda Jazz. The access road from the tar tower road I had just been graded and made non sedan accessible and was a pleasure to drive on. I was part of a conference taking place in other sections of the park and had an after hours permit, and had no concerns about the state of the road driving at night. I cannot imagine it has regressed that much between then and now. Hendrickm who is active elsewhere on this post is the park manager and will be able to update on the state of the road.

The slope off the camp road down to the parking outside the wheelchair tent is steep and over loose earth, but I was able to turn my car around at the parking level and drive out unhindered in my automatic vehicle.

One problem I have asked the park to look into is the erosion of the ground beneath the access ramp. This means that instead of being flush with the ground the wooden access ramp has an approximate 2 inch ridge to negotiate. I was strong enough to grab onto the 2 gum poles at the start of the ramp and pull myself over the ridge onto the ramp surface. If you have travel companions they can give you a nudge over this ridge, or hopefully by the time you get there in september the park will have corrected it.

Apart from this the unit is very comfortable for a person in a wheelchair. The mirror above the basin is not in a suitable position for a chair user and needs to be supplemented with one that is.



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Re: Recent trip at the end of May

Unread post by eladn » Mon Jun 11, 2007 5:51 pm

Zypresse wrote:If coming to Tlopi with a 2x4 is so difficult (we also made a reservation for Nissan Almera...) - any idea how to manage the way from parking area to the tent with a wheelchair? We got a reservation for the accessible tent in September - but reading your report I get a little nervous...

It is difficult but possible. The only problem is the last few hundred meters from the turn-off to the Tlop camp. You get big rocks and uneven surface, but if you drive 10km/h very carefully you will pass with the Almera.

It is strange that the road was clear 2 weeks ago, but it is always possible somebody with a 4X4 stormed in/out of the camp, causing damage to the road.

The decent into the parking is steep (for the car), but after that you have a couple of meters from the parking to the stairs which are pretty even, so I guess you can manage with the wheelchair. It is possible that the wheel-chair accessible unit was a bit more properly graded - we obviously had the ordinary one, since there were stairs and not a ramp at the entrance to the unit.

The biggest issue was getting the car up the ascent into the few bad hundred meters - once again try zig-zaging slowly with a steady torque (around 1500 RPM on the Almera IIRC), drive slowly but don't leave the gas pedal unless you hit something.

If you are careful and a bit resourceful with the car you should be fine. Regarding wheelchair accessibility once you leave the car, hopefully things will work for you as Owl indicated.


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Unread post by Fhatuwani » Tue Jun 12, 2007 8:59 am

Dear Zepresse

Good day. The contract to upgrade all roads network in Marakele is almost finished and one of the main target was to improve accesss to Tlopi tented camp and Bontle camping site. Tons of crashers has already been offloaded and levelled along them access road to Tlopi and the contractor assured me that the road upgrade will be finished before the end of July 2007.


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Re: Weather conditions at Marakele in december and january

Unread post by JoelR » Thu Jun 28, 2007 3:54 pm

sanjac wrote:I am planning to visit Marakele with my family late December or early January and would like to know the weather conditions at that time of the year.

Nice & Hot! :wink:

The SANParks website wrote:Summers are hot but the area does not suffer from the stifling humidity so typical of the eastern Lowveld. The park is situated in the summer rainfall region and rainfall occurs in the form of heavy thunderstorms or soft rain.

I would expect afternoons between 30 and 40 degrees Celcius and nights around 20. 8)

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Unread post by Senyetse » Fri Jun 29, 2007 8:38 am

Don't forget the sunscreen and sun hats. Also the raincoat because that's the middle of the rainy season.
Dec '11 - Storms River
June '12 - Berg-en-Dal

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Marakele news and way to....

Unread post by Little Simba » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:36 am

Hi there,

we will visit marakele in the beginning of september.
I guess best way to marakele will be via R511 Thabazimbi?
Has anyone visited marakele in the last weeks and can give some info about sightings?
Thank you very much in advance.

kgalagadi wildlife pics now at

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Unread post by Loams » Fri Aug 31, 2007 10:58 am

I don't know what the road is called, but the best way from JHB/PTA is via Warmbad (Bela-Bela) to Thabazimbi.

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Marakele Travel

Unread post by Louper » Tue Sep 25, 2007 4:30 pm

A couple of quick questions, well three, possibly four.

Can anyone give me an estimate of the time it takes to get from Madikwe to Marakele and from Marakele to Jo'berg airport?

Also can anyone confirm that it is possible/easy to get to Tlopi Tented Camp in a normal car?

Lastly what is the situation with wild dog in the park?

Any help greatfully received



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Unread post by Pieter Steyn » Tue Sep 25, 2007 8:11 pm


Marakele is about a 3 hour drive from the airport. Depending on wicth day of the week and time of the day. Meaning weekdays peak traffic between 6 and 8 in the morning and 4 to 6 in the afternoon. Then it will take you longer.

Yes you can reach tlopi tent camp with a normal sedan.

As far as I know the wild dogs have been released at Kruger due to them braking out of Marakele. The situation might have changed.

Marakele is beautiful and make sure that you visit the towers.

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