Bontle Caravan & Camping Site - Camp Layout
Tlopi Tented Camp - Camp Layout
- No driving at night is allowed in the Park.
- As outdoor lighting in camps is limited, a torch/headlamp is required when walking outside at night.
- No collection of firewood.
- You will be warned at reception about roads that are inaccessible in the Park. Should you drive on these roads and get stuck we will contact a towing company for you and you will be charged for recovery expenses.
- Fines will be given if you drive off the roads.
- Your vehicle can be searched at exit points.
- Be aware of BABOONS and VERVET MONKEYS. Keep your tents closed when driving around and lock food in the tent’s cupboard. You may even turn the fridge slightly so that the door does not open easily. Don’t let anything lie around.
- Please do not feed the animals. Vervet Monkeys will soon become habituated to this and create serious problems in the future.
- You are not allowed to get out of your vehicle, except at places indicated to you on the map, by the receptionist.
- No pets are allowed in the Park.
- A general speed limit of 30 km/h must be maintained within the Park’s boundaries.
- Firearms must be declared at reception.
- You have to vacate the tent at 10:00 on the day of departure.
- The key for the gates must be returned to reception on the day of departure. Alternatively you can leave the key at the points indicated to you by the receptionist.
- Please keep your entrance permit with you while driving in the Park.
- No fishing is allowed in the dam.
**If you have a problem with the interpretation of the rules, please enquire at reception.**
Check-in and Check-out times
- Check in 14:00
- Check out 10:00
- Reception opens 07:00 and closes at 18:00 from 1st Sept to 30th April
- Reception opens 07:00 and closes at 17:30 from 1st May to 31st August
Entrance from 07:00 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.
- No visitors are allowed at the back of open vehicles.
- Your vehicle can be searched at exit points.
- No collecting of firewood.
- Day visitors have certain areas and roads where they can drive. You will be warned at reception about roads that are inaccessible in the Park. Should you drive on these roads and get stuck we will contact a towing company for you and you will be charged for recovery expenses.
- Fines can be given should you drive off the roads.
- People are not allowed to get out of their vehicles, except at places shown on the map by the receptionist.
- No pets are allowed in the park
- Firearms must be declared at reception
- A general speed limit of 30 km/h must be maintained within the park’s boundaries.
- Office hours are from 07:00 in the morning until 16:00 in the afternoon.
- The gates close at 18:00 in summer time and at 17:30 in winter. If you are still inside the Park after the gates have closed you can be given a fine.
- Tour operators must be licensed with FGASA and SATOUR to operate in National Parks. A proper game-drive vehicle will be required.
- Tour operators will pay a set entrance price – check details with park. Tour operators must be registered with the Department of Environmental Affairs and Tourism (DEAT) and be in possession of a valid Deat membership card as proof.
**Should you be uncertain as to the interpretation of a rule, please enquire at reception.**
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. Winter is moderate with frost occurring in the low-lying regions only. Mornings and nights can be cold, but day temperatures are pleasant. Rainfall between 500 – 700mm per annum.
Hints & Tips
- Remember to bring a camera, binoculars, bird and wildlife reference books, a hat and sunscreen lotion. Also remember to take along medicines such as anti-histamine and lotion for insect stings and bites.
- Cool clothing for summer and warm for winter - the region is subject to sudden changes in weather, particularly in the mountains.
- Remember charcoal or wood, as this is not available in the park.
- Visitors should also remember to take a torch along, as the camp has no illumination between units at night.
- The safari camp has not been fenced and therefore visitors to Marakele are warned to stay within the confines of the tent and deck area. Walking outside the confines of the camp will put you at risk of dangerous game and negatively affect the experience of other visitors.
- Pets are not permitted in a national park.
- Vehicle fuel is available in all parks (or is available on the park periphery) - South African legislation stipulates that fuel stations will accept legitimate petrol/fuel/garage/credit/debit cards or cash as a form of payment for any fuel purchase.
- Firearms must be declared at the entrance gate.
- No open vehicles are allowed. Passengers on the back of an open vehicle are also not allowed.
- Medical, pharmaceutical, vehicle repair, fuel, post office and police at Thabazimbi.
For enquiries email Marakele National Park or phone us on the following numbers:
- Park Tel: +27 (014) 777 6928 / 29 / 30 / 31
- Fax: +27 (0)86 650 3051
Birding in Marakele National Park
Arguably the Park’s biggest birding attraction is the largest colony of Cape Vultures in the world (around 800 breeding pairs). However the park is also appealing to birders as it falls within the transition zone between the dry western regions and the moister eastern regions of the country.
Thus it is possible to see certain closely related species alongside one another. These include (eastern species first) Southern Boubou and Crimson-breasted Shrike, Arrow-marked and Southern Pied Babbler, Tawny-flanked and Black-chested Prinia, Pin-tailed and Shaft-tailed Whydah, Dark-capped (Black-eyed) and Red-eyed Bulbul, Grey and Cape Penduline Tit and White-browed and Kalahari Scrub Rob in .
The park is an excellent place to look for raptors, with many species using the uplift generated off the cliff faces of the Waterberg to ride thermals. Apart from the vultures, visitors should look for African Harrier Hawk (Gymnogene), Jackal Buz za rd and several eagle species, including Verreaux’s (Black), African Hawk, Black-chested (breasted) Snakeand Brown Snake Eagle. In summer Wahlberg’s Eagle becomes prominent. Rock Kestrel are prominent on the mountain plateau, while Peregrine and Lanner Falcons should be watched for.
On areas of high ground Cape Rock Thrush, Buff Streaked Chat, Mocking Cliff-Chat; Mountain Wheatear, Cape Bunting , MalachiteSunbird, Lazy and Wailing Cisticola, Gurney’s Sugarbirdand Swee Waxbill should be searched for.
Other species to look out for in the lower lying bushveld and broadleaf woodland regions include Purple Roller, Black Cuckoo-shrike, Brubru, Southern White-crowned Shrike and White Crested Helmet-shrike and the exquisite Blue, Violet-eared and Black-cheekedWaxbills. Bee-eaters are conspicuous, particularly White-fronted and Little with Swallow-tailed (winter) and Carmine and European (summer) present as well. The Matlabas River (formerly home to the Tented Camp, but now only accessible from the Hoopdal Road ) can be scanned for signs of Half-collared Kingfisher and African Finfoot. From the relocated tented camp, now called Tlopi, water birds have a different profile. Black Crake may be seen in the rushes just in front of the units. A steady stream of woodland species uses the foliage around the safari tents to drink from the water’s edge. At night Freckled and Fiery-necked Nightjars and Spotted Eagle and African Scops Owl compliment the pulse of crickets and cicadas.
An annual birding census in the park and surrounding farms is organised by the Marakele Honorary Rangers . Check the Big Birding Day link for sightings records and details on how to take part.
Marakele is home to most of the large mammals synonymous with the African bush, including elephant and leopard. Large Predators such as brown hyena, leopard and now also lion, occur in the park. Resident antelope include, sable, kudu, eland, impala, waterbuck, tsessebe and many smaller species. Chacma baboon and vervet monkey are two species to be watched carefully for mischief, particularly around the rest camps.
Download the Marakele National Park mammal list.
Approximately 55% of the park is characterized by the Waterberg Moist Bushveld vegetation type (veld type 12).
This vegetation type occurs in the intermediate to high lying areas in the southern and south-eastern portions of the park. This area is characterized by relatively high rainfall (719 mm) and the resultant leaching of the soils results in a fairy low soil nutrient status. This limiting factor in turn results in a fairly low carrying capacity and only ubiquitous species such as kudu and common reedbuck are common in these areas. This vegetation type is characterized by Transvaal beechwoods (Faurea salinga), proteas (Protea caffra) and stem fruit trees (Englerophytum magaliesmontanum). The vegetation along the tarred road leading to the towers are typical of the vegetation type.
Another major vegetation type is the Mixed Bushveld (veld type 18), which covers approximately 42% of the park. This vegetation type is mainly found in the northwestern and isolated southwestern pockets of the park. It occurs predominantly on the undulating to flat plains and the soils are generally clayey, deeper and more nutrient-rich. Most of the charismatic game species such as black rhino, elephant and wild dog will be associated with this vegetation type. This vegetation type is characterized by species such as silver cluster leaf (Terminalia sericea), sickle bush (Dichrostachys cinerea) and round-leaved teak (Pterocarpus rotundifolias). The vegetation around the camping site and tented camp is typical of this vegetation type.
Less than 3% of the park is comprised of Sweet Bushveld (veld type 17). This veld type is mostly found along the banks of the Matlabas River and forms an important winter refuge area for game particularly during limiting periods at the end of the dry season. The planned western expansion of the park will include more of this vegetation type, which is crucial to sustain adequate numbers of prey species for large predators such as lion and spotted hyena.
One of the rare and threatened plant species of Marakele is the Waterberg cycad (Waterbergbroodboom) Encephalartos eugene-maraisii. The naturalist, author and poet Eugene Marais lived in the Waterberg for 16 years and this cycad was named in his honor. This cycad is endemic to the Waterberg region and grows to 5 m tall among low shrubs at an altitude of 1 450 m.
From its Waterberg Cycads to Yellow-woods and Camel Thorns, Marakele National Parks supports about 765 plant species.
People with disabilities
Marakele is a wilderness area with limited tourism facilities for everyone. Much of the park requires a 4x4 vehicle. The safari tent camp has 10 units, one of which is accessible to people in wheelchairs, with an access ramp and adapted ablution facilities (roll-in shower). No accessible facilities are available at the Bush Camp.
Tlopi Tented Camp
The unit is accessible to the mobility challenged. The tent features two single beds and a bathroom with universal access shower, a fan, and kitchen.
Accommodation images may differ from the actual units as refurbishment of various accommodation types occur on an on-going basis.
Accessible Activities & Facilities
- The new reception block has a unisex ablution facility for people with mobility impairment.
- The camping site also has ablution facilities for wheelchair-bound visitors.
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