Magnificent Marakele

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11 years 2 weeks ago #3110 by gordon
gordon created the topic: Magnificent Marakele
What a place!

If you are after incredible birding and spectacular views this is the place to go and for those of you that stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria it is relatively close by...

Marakele hosts one of the largest breeding colonies of Cape Vulture in the world...

First you have to brave the Towers road to the top...


To be rewarded with spectacular views


And maybe even a Gurney's Sugarbird (this was a lifer for me)


Or two


There is some pretty special scenery in the area with view of high mountains where vultures breed


And small cliffs where Kestrels, Gymnogene, Crow's and Falcons come to play.


Another perspective of those cliffs again!


If anyone would like directions or more information you are welcome to contact me.

Cheers
Gordon

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11 years 1 week ago #3112 by Johann
Johann replied the topic:
Hi Gordon,

Yes, I've been wanting to go to Marakele for some time but have not been able to do so, yet. I might get a chance during December holidays though.

One question (one I've asked Sanparks but never got any response): What are the roads in the park like? Will I be fine driving my sedan?

If they're ok I might just put Marakele on the itinerary with the other places in Limpopo province I'll be visiting.

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11 years 1 week ago #3114 by gordon
gordon replied the topic:
Hi Johann,

There are roads in the park that are 4X4 roads only with very steep inclines on dirt, however there are also plenty of sections that are accessible with a normal car, the towers section is one of those that is tarred all the way to the top (I think most 4X4's would battle to get up if this was not tarred!).

I know both the Safari style tents on the dam (Tlopi), the Bush Camp, and the camping ground (Bontle) are accessible with a normal car. The park is made up of different sections. You use public roads to drive between the different entrance gates. Tlopi is in the "main" part of the park on the Kareehoek side. The Safari Tent camp and Bush camp both have roads leading up to them that are accessible for normal vehicles. From these camps there is a 4X4 only route that leads both to Matlabas-zyn Kloof and to the tarred Towers road, However a normal car would have to drive about 16km's outside the park to get to the start of the tarred section of road that leads up to the towers.

Then there is another section of the park called Kwaggasvlakte that has many parts accessible to normal vehicles, just watch the warning signs. This part of the park houses the main reception and the camping ground.

The park itself is not the only "attraction" of the area, there are plenty of roads nearby with spectacular views as well as very varied habitat ideal for birding. Don't forget that you can use the park as a base to explore the greater area. Both Northam (Yellow-throated Sandgrouse) and Borokolalo (Meyer's Parrot, African Finfoot) are relatively close by.

Their rates are:
Camping site R110 per night (max 6 people)
Tlopi Safari tents R590 per night (2 people)
Modikela Bush Camp ??
Conservation fee R15 (per day, free if you have a wild card)

International and SADC conservation fee rates:
SADC adult/child R30 (per day, free if you have a wild card)
International Adult (per day, free if you have a wild card)
International Child (per day, free if you have a wild card)

The above rates are valid from the 1st Nov 2006 to 31st October 2007 as per the rates given to me at reception, however it is still wise to check up on this before you go.

Marakele reservations phone number is +27 (0)14 777 1745 or <!-- e --><a href="mailto:reservations@sanparks.org]reservations@sanparks.org[/url]<!-- e -->

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Gordon

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11 years 1 week ago #3121 by Johann
Johann replied the topic:
I'll be staying in Naboomspruit for a week or two (visiting grandpa) and will be doing day trips to various spots in the Limpopo area. I'll have to check and see if I can squeeze Marakele in as well. Really hope we can.

Thanks for all the info. Much appreciated. Will be using my Wildcard so no need to pay the fees then. Seems like there might be enough roads to be able to at least see some of the Park. Dirt roads don't bother me that much, my Clio must think it's a mini 4x4 by now. Especially after my April trip to a wet Kgalagadi <!-- s:lol: --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_lol.gif" alt=":lol:" title="Laughing" /><!-- s:lol: --> I just don't want to go down donga's and some other serious stuff.

Now to look at the planning again and get it in somewhere.
Thanks again.

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11 years 1 week ago #3127 by gordon
gordon replied the topic:
Hope you enjoy!

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