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Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Marakele National Park Part 2 of 3

Marakele National Park by from Alex Aitkenhead on Vimeo.

In this post of Marakele National Park we will be covering the following subjects:
1. Cape Vulture Breeding colony.
2. Lelong View point
3. Tlopi Tented Camp
4. Walking on a guided tour with Tinyiko Ndlovu.
5. Other activities of Marakele
This lovely stretch of road takes you to the top of the Waterberg mountain.  This is called the Lelong viewpoint as seen below.  Here you can sit for hours enjoying the panoramic views and admire the Cape Vultures as they effortlessly glide past on the thermals.  This is a relatively small National Park of about 700km2 and also the only one that features the typical highveld bushveld.
We found this Ceder tree (Widdringtonia Nodiaflora), commonly known to us in the Cederberg as an endangered flora and can only be found at high altitudes.  This tree is related to the trees found in the Cederberg in the Western Cape.
While trying to photograph the surrounding birds, this cute little shrew made a quick appearance.  
It is important to note that this park has the big 5, however if this is why you would like to visit then you might be disappointed as animal sightings are difficult in this type of thick highveld type vegetation.
To make up for the lack of exciting animal viewing, you will be pleasantly surprised with the other attractions, such as:
  1. Beautiful scenery
  2. Trees and small creatures
  3. The bird life in this park is fantastic, and they have recorded so far up to 280 species thus far.

Once you return from Lelong view point, an alternative route back to Tlopi Tented Camp offers this view of the camp next to the dam.

The sand stones cliffs filled with iron formed 1.5 billion years ago, change to gold every evening for the setting sun.  Mining in the area around Thabazimbi helped this town to develop into what it has become today.
Going for a bush walk in Marakele is about the only way you can really experience the bush in it's full glory.  We were very disappointed when we were advised that our pre-booked walk with Fhumulani Mikoisi was cancelled due to ill health.  This disappointment was short lived when alternative arrangements were made for us.  Tinyiko Ndlovu was brought in from Mapungubwe National Park (having already had 10 years of experience at Marakele) to take us on our guided walk.

Tinyiko's knowledge of the elephants, fauna and flora was remarkable and he took great time and effort to explain the various elements to us.    There was hardly a flower or a bug that he did not know or had great knowledge of, making for a very interesting 3 hours with him indeed.
Other activities that can be enjoyed at Marakele are the following:
  1. Morning and Sunset Game Drives
  2. Bush walks
  3. 4x4 Echo Trail

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